CLEVELAND — Many people have been picking up new hobbies and trying something new during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, that means sharpening up their skills in the kitchen and Stir Studio Kitchen in Ohio City has a plate full of options.
Stir serves up laid back, flexible cooking classes that are designed to be less formal and more focused on fun.
Their recipe is simple: One part exploration, two parts theater, a dash of play, a pinch of creativity and then stir.
“We try to keep it really fresh,” said owner Charlie Denk. “We’re not a typical restaurant experience. We’ve combined entertainment, drinking and eating.”
While many places have closed during the pandemic, Stir recently opened a second location in Chagrin Falls.
“I started the business about eight months before the pandemic hit,” Denk said. “I’m a young guy. I was 26 at the time. My entire life savings was put into it. I was looking down a long dark tunnel for a while.”
But success is a recipe that includes different ingredients for everyone. Denk gambled that people would eventually want to venture out, and it’s paying off.
“We’ve tried to stay true to our brand,” Denk said “A lot of people are pivoting and introducing new aspects to their businesses and we tried to avoid that.”
Available for your traditional date-night or a casual business dinner, Stir offers something for everyone and every skill level.
“You have people who are usually just stuck in an office together, not really yakking it up about their personal lives,” Denk said. “But they come in here. Drinks start flowing, they start cooking. You can tell that there’s some real connections formed.”
Stir supplies all ingredients, equipment and utensils needed for preparation and dining. Guests are welcome to bring wine or beer at no additional cost.
The instruction is one part theatrical, one part educational. Denk says customers shouldn't stress over the night, instead focusing on making meals and memories.
“Seeing this idea that you had, just a long shot of dream and people actually coming in and enjoying themselves,” Denk said. “That feeling never gets old. To see people sharing this idea.”