“This feels like Chicago without the city prices,” was a comment echoed by several customers at the recently opened Stella Blue restaurant in Archbold.
The former Stotzer hardware store is now an eclectic mix of upscale casual with modern lighting, original hardwood floors, local artwork and a coffee bar with wireless Internet.
Add a full service bar, outdoor patio and live music, and Stella Blue becomes a very unique venue for Archbold.
The menu has a mix of appetizers, main dishes, sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts thanks to Aaron Weible, executive chef.
A Tinora graduate and Defi ance resident, Weible is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Pittsburgh. He apprenticed at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and was executive chef at an area restaurant for six years prior to coming to Stella Blue.
Weible likes the challenge of a new restaurant startup and creating recipes and a menu appealing to a variety of guests.
“I am pleased with the appetizer menu, which people will enjoy when they come in for a drink and to relax,” he said.
Local Produce, Meat
He is glad to be using fresh local produce and meat products. In the future, he hopes to work with local growers to provide what he needs.
When Weible was told of the customers’ comparison to large city restaurants, he said, “I believe the price point (of the menu items) reflects a desire to provide our customers above and beyond what they may expect.”
What customers can expect are Midwest favorites with Weible’s personal culinary crafting. Whether they are beef, chicken or fish, the dishes are pleasing to the eye and to the palate.
Weible said the Stella Blue kitchen is running smoothly due to the many days the culinary staff practiced before the low-key opening on Tuesday, Aug. 12.
He worked with restaurant owners, Cheryl and Dan Storrer, to hire staff that has a real desire and interest in the culinary arts.
“We want to appeal to a variety of crowds through the menu choices, and by offering a broad mix of music genres such as Blues, Jazz, Acoustic, Piano and cover bands,” said Cheryl.
“Sometime during the month there should be some music most patrons will like,” whether during the dining hour or for the late night set.
The restaurant opens at 4 pm and closes late most evenings.
Just inside the main entrance off Holland Street is a small area with a coffee shop feel. It is perfect for getting a cup of coffee and some gelato, while surfing the worldwide web or meeting friends.
Weible and the Storrers have plenty of ideas to keep patrons coming back and attract new diners.
They plan to change a bit of the menu seasonally and also integrate more pasta, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Weible is very receptive to patrons’ suggestions.
Stella Blue is a spacious, airy restaurant with plenty of space for dancing, which could mean ballroom and swing dancing lessons this winter.
The owners are trying to appeal to every age group and taste.
By the look of the crowds last weekend, it’s working.