Salmon Dave’s now has a more contemporary feel with updated lighting, mosaic tiled floors and chrome accents. Photograph courtesy of Hospitality Restaurants

Thanks to Sapphire Creek Winery and Gardens for our March cover photograph. Sapphire Creek’s 15-acre property is beautifully landscaped by The Ohio Valley Group. It was designed, in part, to bring the Napa experience to Ohio, primarily by its seamless integration between the indoors and the outdoors, according to owner Kathleen Birkel Dangelo. Read more about the elements of restaurant design on page A12.

When it comes to opening a restaurant, great tasting food and excellent customer service are not the only elements in determining success.
Some restaurants have design features that make customers want to visit again and again.
A fixture of the historic Old River neighborhood since 1993, Salmon Dave’s Pacific Grille commemorated its 30th anniversary by making a serious reinvestment in its future.
A floor-to-ceiling remodel of the iconic restaurant that began on Jan. 1 has been completed. Hospitality Restaurants established Salmon Dave’s as a high-end seafood restaurant in Rocky River. The company has since opened seven more restaurants in Northeast Ohio. Hospitality Restaurants had planned a major remodel of Salmon Dave’s in 2020, but the effects of the coronavirus derailed plans.
“Over the years, we have continued to reinvest in our properties,” founding partner George Schindler said. “Salmon Dave’s has been a local staple for decades and is one of a mere handful of west side restaurants to have endured this long. We don’t take that accomplishment lightly. We continue to embrace the future while respecting our past and are excited to show our loyal patrons how truly invested we are in the Rocky River community.”
The transformation of Salmon Dave’s began last fall when the entire building exterior was painted and updated. Changes inside were carefully thought out to respect the bones of the century-old space, built in 1910, in balance with new materials. The restaurant now has a more contemporary feel with the installation of a new marble bar top, updated lighting, mosaic tiled floors and chrome accents. When Salmon Dave’s raises the bar, they mean it literally. Visible throughout the space, the decades-old mahogany back bar was carefully disassembled and reconstructed to sit nearly two feet taller, creating a dramatic backdrop for a spirited bar scene.
In addition to transforming the building both inside and outside, Culinary Director Marc Standen worked for months with the restaurant’s veteran chef, Mario Brown, to create an eclectic new menu. Outfitting the kitchen with new state-of-the-art cooking equipment has provided Chef Brown’s team with an opportunity to embrace a wider variety of cooking techniques.
Salmon Dave’s Pacific Grille is at 19015 Lake Rd. in Rocky River. Phone 440.331.2739 or visit
Sapphire Creek Winery and Gardens is the vision of Kathleen Birkel Dangelo and husband Andy Dangelo.
“We spent quite a bit of time traveling and we loved Napa. We loved the fact that, in California, there is such a seamless integration between the indoors and the outdoors,” Kathleen Dangelo said. They designed Sapphire Creek Winery to bring the Napa experience to Ohio.
“My husband and I owned this property since 2004. He passed away last year. It’s a beautiful piece of property with lots of trees and streams,” she noted. “We were fortunate enough to also own The Ohio Valley Group, a landscape design and construction company.” The Ohio Valley Group only occupied a small portion of the 15-acre wooded property. In early 2016, they began the design and build process and opened Sapphire Creek in March, 2018.
“When we designed the restaurant, we wanted it to have a lot of natural light. The skylight on the roof lets in a lot of light, and we installed storefront doors that can fold all of the way back,” she said.
“We thought ahead to what sort of spot we would want to accommodate weddings and events. We wanted to create a nice spot to greet guests. You can see the space from indoors and outdoors. One thing that we did for the lawn area that we use for weddings is to install artificial turf. It has been an absolute game changer for brides, especially when the weather is wet,” Dangelo added.
“When we designed the space, we wanted to design it so that you discover something hidden around every corner. We want our guests to take the time to stroll and enjoy the journey,” she said.
Sapphire Creek Winery and Gardens is at 16965 Park Circle in Chagrin Falls. Phone 440.543.7777 or