Forget about all those Marvel movies. Frank and Malisse Sinito are the real Transformers.

By taking some of Cleveland’s most historic downtown locations and creating two of the city’s most talked about and visually impressive restaurants, the Sinitos have raised the bar for distinctive dining. With the opening of the Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar in the Key Center building in 2017 and the Italian fine dining spot il Venetian in the former David’s restaurant location last year, Cleveland’s already burgeoning restaurant scene received a huge upgrade.

Not stopping there, last year the Sinitos also opened the St. Clair Ballroom – a stylish, upscale wedding and corporate event venue with views of the Cleveland skyline. The Ballroom can accommodate large and small gatherings from weddings to rehearsal dinners as well as more intimate events in a lounge/bar area.

“Each location has a specific purpose,” said Malisse Sinito, president of the Millennia Hospitality Group, who manages all three locations in addition to longtime favorite Lockkeepers. “They were all real estate-driven but they all have great restaurant spaces.”

Sinito, who worked in a pizza shop as a teenager and served cocktails at the old River’s Edge in the Flats, has more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry. The Baldwin-Wallace graduate opened the original Lockkeepers with her husband in 1992 (a new version of Lockkeepers debuted in 2001).

While all Millennia restaurants are memorable for their atmosphere, the food is always the main attraction.

“They’re all chef-driven restaurants with phenomenal staffs who are dedicated to a great experience,” said Sinito. “None of them are run like corporate restaurants.”

Sinito’s son Tony and mother Renee are also a part of the family business. “My husband is usually eating lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants and gives me notes,” laughed Sinito. “But we’re both good cooks at home.”

Visitors to the Marble Room are wowed by the Corinthian marble columns, elegant chandeliers and quartz bar, not to mention a 1,600-bottle wine refrigerator. Thanks to the space’s classic architecture, guests are impressed before they’re even seated.

“People from out of town, no matter how famous they are, can’t believe they’re in Cleveland,” said Sinito.

Each location’s versatility enables all sizes of gatherings, be they professional or private. “We have traditional banquet spaces but also great private spaces in all of our venues,” said Sinito.

For downtowners in more of a hurry, the Sinitos have also added Marble Room Sushi (carry-out only) and il Venetian Doughnuts & Gelato in the Key Tower lobby.

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Photographs by Frank Cramer
Marble Room at left and il Venetian above.