Chris Maggiore made his entry into the bar-restaurant world in 1992 when he bought and reopened the Sports Page on Fulton Road NW.
“I was a 25-year-old kid trying to figure out the business,” Maggiore recalled. “It was challenging, but I learned a lot the hard way. Finding good staff, keeping costs in line, coming up with promotions on very limited funds. We came up with some really cool events. We did St. Patrick’s Day with Matt Patrick. We had our first parking lot party in ‘92.”
Maggiore sold the Sports Page in 1997 when he bought the Pelican Cove in Akron’s Portage Lakes. A year later, he bought the Harbor Inn, another Portage Lakes staple. By 2002, he’d sold both lake spots. “The seasonality of those businesses was rough. If you had a rainy summer, you already knew winter was going to be rough. I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.”
In 2014, Maggiore was ready to re-enter the restaurant business. Ambitiously, he bought four properties that year: Jerzee’s on Fulton (formerly the Sports Page), Jerzee’s in Green, and two adjacent Jackson Township properties, Panini’s and the Pub Club.
“I completely gutted the Panini’s space and re-opened it as a Jerzee’s,” Maggiore said. His renovations included a new rectangular bar with football-leather stools and 32 craft beers on draft; a plethora of hi-def TVs; a glass front wall that can be opened in warm weather and a reinvented food menu. “I stayed with the (live) entertainment theme. There are a lot of restaurants in Belden Village. I wanted to find a niche.” Disco Inferno, the Chris Higbee Band and Buck Naked Band have been strong repeat musical attractions. “People come in for dinner and stay to catch the show.” Recently, he added a 22-by-5-foot video wall that can show one sporting event or up to 10.
Maggiore opened the upscale nightclub MBar in the former Pub Club space in November 2015. “I wanted to change the atmosphere there,” he said. “It’s a really cool space with a lot of detail, a lot of LED lights. It’s like you’re in a big city,” he said. Monthly themed mixology classes at MBar have been routinely selling out.
In May 2018, Jerzee’s in Green underwent a major renovation with the addition of a new room enclosed by five garage doors and features a rectangular granite bar. “It turned out really nice,” he said. “People in Green really seem to like it. A lot of regulars. It’s a great community up there.”
Maggiore spoke with much enthusiasm about Jerzee’s on Fulton and its proximity to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I’m really excited about the Hall of Fame vision of Michael Crawford and David Baker, and I’m excited to be a part of it on some level because I am across the street,” he said. “I’d like to completely reinvent the Jerzee’s location. I think it needs to be all NFL-themed.”