A Summer Place

There’s a generation of Rockport denizens who came of age at Tommy’s Mesquite Bar and Grille, dancing to their first Reggae and tasting their first chicken wings in the wayback machine that is and was the Go-Go 80s.

Not a bad legacy, one that still creates legions of smiles at the mention of the memories.

Tommy opened the original venue back in 1975, expanding through the years to include full kitchen and musical stage. The first show he hosted was the legendary bluesman Robert ‘Junior’ Lockwood. That night inaugurated an era of entertainment that would have lines filing out the door to see great musical acts and friendships forming on the dance floor, kindred acquaintances that often became best of buds while dancing to I-Tal and sharing wings at a table.

The establishment on Old Detroit Road (the space now occupied by Salmon Dave’s) spawned four similar, yet distinct, Rockport bistros: Tommy originally opened the Fairview Tavern on Lorain before passing it along to his nephew. He then transformed the old Napa Auto Parts store on Detroit into what is now the spacious atmosphere of the Beachcliff Tavern, with its back party room that’s become a destination for many Rockport fundraisers and festivities.

A generation of Rockport natives came of age at Tommy’s Mesquite Bar and Grille, dancing to their first Reggae and tasting their first chicken wings in the wayback machine that is and was the Go-Go 80s.]

Along the way was the old Laughing Sal’s, a comedy club on Center Ridge in the old Old Austria building. Factor in the historic Bonnie’s Tavern on Lorain, owned and operated by one of his proteges, Jim Kreige and his wife Terry, and Tommy’s influence can be felt around the neighborhood as he has been the prompt for many places, the reason for many enjoyable evenings.

TOMMY’S PLACE, on Linda Street, is a former home and tea house once called Treats, and it works its magic throughout the seasons. On summer evenings, rain or shine, the fen shui of French doors all akimbo, the acoustic winds of full screen breezes beneath  strings of front- and back-porch pixie lights, makes it a favorite place to spend the season’s evenings. Many nights there’s a fire stoking  on the back porch and it becomes a center of conversation and conviviality.

And while summer certainly works well with this porches motif, come Buckeye weather and Christmas eves, the fire still crackles and the ambiance maintains, becoming a cozy haven to catch-up with friends or get to know someone new.

Place on Linda Street, Check out the Tommy’s Web site for upcoming weekend live entertainment

Also check out All Fired Up, 34173 Center Ridge, North Ridgeville for Burgers, Beers & Barbeque

Matthew K. Weiland

Matt Weiland

Read More on Famous In the Neighborhood | Profiles
Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 4:54 PM, 07.09.2013