Dinner hosts Laura Ospanik and Stephen Robbins

A small group of FutureHeights supporters gathered on March 14 at a beautiful contemporary home in the historic Ambler Heights neighborhood of Cleveland Heights, owned by Cleveland native Laura Ospanik and her husband Stephen Robbins.
FutureHeights serves as the Community Development Corporation (CDC) for the City of Cleveland Heights, with an emphasis on community building, fair housing, civic engagement, and planning and development. It publishes the monthly community-written newspaper and weekly e-blast, “The Heights Observer,” and produces the Heights Music Hop festival.
FutureHeights donors who gave $500 or more were invited to this special event, meant as a “thank you” to ongoing supporters. The event’s

Mark and Hope Derrickson

proceeds of $6,750 benefit FutureHeights’ programs and operations in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
Head Chef Rasul Welch of Saroj & Carlos, with help from Assistant Chef Saralila Kalafat, prepared a veritable feast for 14 people. The son and grandson of missionary social workers, Welch grew up traveling and cooking in India, Europe, and the US.
Saroj & Carlos serves Indian- and Soul-inspired culinary creations at the highest level, from white tablecloth service to backyard BBQs. Formerly located inside the Bottlehouse Brewery & Meadery, Welch

Neall Distad and Brenda O’Reilly

now focuses his business on catering, as well as private and public events.
Guests enjoyed charcuterie and crudités for the appetizer. Following a home tour, they were treated to a first course of Sweet Pea Pann Cotta, Endive and Smoked Oyster Veloute. Dinner consisted of Trussed Hen stuffed with Morel, Sea Salt Poached Sunchoke, Tomato Chutney with Grilled White Asparagus and Aioli. Dessert course was Hard Cheese and Honey on a Fruit Herbed Shortbread, all paired with fine wines.
Ospanik, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art and current board member, is a graphic designer and art collector with a fine eye for employing local and national artists in painting, photography and sculpture. Robbins, originally from Los Angeles and a former professor, is one of the world’s best-selling textbook authors on organizational behavior and management. An avid runner, he also happens to be a member of the prestigious USA Masters’ Track & Field Hall of Fame with multiple national and world titles.
They purchased the existing house, not designated a landmark property, and eventually obtained permission to demolish it because of cost-prohibitive repairs and maintenance issues. They then built a contemporary home less than three years ago, with walnut wood accents, neutral tones and clean lines, paired with red and black accents. The house is equipped with an elevator with an eye for “aging in place.” It accommodates friends and family members with mobility issues, making the three-story home easily accessible.
Robbins mused that he wanted three things built into this new house: a media room, an outdoor patio off of the kitchen, and a home gym. “Everything else was up to Laura,” he admitted. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREA C. TURNER