Stir Studio Kitchen (4461 Lorain Ave., 440-829-3136), which opened in Ohio City last summer, will expand to Chagrin Falls, says owner Charlie Denk. The “social cooking class studio” brings in couples, small groups and larger private parties for a night of cooking, drinking, eating and learning under the watchful eyes of skilled culinary professionals.
While guests do learn skills like slicing, dicing and sautéing, the focus is on fun, explains Denk, which is one of the reasons the classes have been a hit, even now during the Covid crisis.
“I think we’ve taken the edge off,” he says. “I went into this pretty buttoned-up with no real identity for the business, but now we’ve kind of unbuttoned our shirts a little bit and gone wild, and that’s been fun.”
Next up for Stir is a second cooking studio in the heart of Chagrin Falls. The space, formerly home to Blue Buddha Studios, is located in the Stepnorth building (100 N. Main St.) near the intersection of Main and Orange. The space is larger than the Ohio City spot and has attached parking, two factors that appealed to Denk. Guests can expect a design aesthetic that is similar to the original location, which the owner describes as half industrial, half elegant. That translates to an interior of stainless steel, white subway tile and bare woods.
The expansion will allow Denk to shift his focus from hands-on participation to business management.
“Part of me just likes to do the next fun thing, but also expanding gives me some freedom,” he notes. “Now, I can sit back and run the business as opposed to actually teaching every single class.”
Denk is hoping to be up and running by the holidays. And after that, his sights are set on even more ambitious growth.
“It shocks me that there is no nationally dominant cooking class brand,” he says. “Long term, big, big picture, I’ve always had my eye on that ball.”