by Colin McEwen
Stow -- As Grinders Above and Beyond restaurant makes the transition to Rockne's, the establishment will not need to close, as owner Dan Mazzola previously had planned.
Mazzola had expected Grinders to close Aug. 1 and re-open Sept. 1 as Rockne's at the same location, 4240 Hudson Drive in Stow.
Mazzola said June 20 Grinders will remain open, and the remodeling will take place during the evening hours.
"Things have changed," he said. "This works out a lot better for everyone. This keeps everybody working, and keeps the customers from finding another place to eat."
The remodeling is expected to begin in late June, at an estimated cost of $250,000, Mazzola said. The target date for the opening day of Rockne's has been changed to Aug. 1, he said.
Mazzola, who will own the new Rockne's restaurant, said because his franchise agreement with Grinders is ending in September, he wants to try something different.
"We're getting pretty excited," he said. "Rockne's lends itself more toward the clients we have here."
Mazzola said the restaurant will keep some of his signature house favorites, such as breakfast.
The restaurant currently is the only Grinders in the country that serves breakfast. Rockne's is allowing Mazzola to continue the breakfast tradition -- making his restaurant the only Rockne's to serve breakfast.
Mazzola said all 60 employees will remain on staff.
"Actually, we plan to increase the staff by 10 or 12, but not until late July," he said.
Mazzola said another reason for the conversion is the growth of the Steels Corners Road area, where the business opened nine years ago.
"We're looking forward to the change," he said. "We're at a point where we had to make a decision, and we thought [changing to] Rockne's was the best decision."
Stow Economic Development Coordinator Chuck Wiedie said the decision to remain open until the change is better for the city.
"We certainly don't want to see the restaurant close," he said. "Rockne's has a name that is more recognizable, and I think it will do even better."
According to the Grinders Above and Beyond Web site, there are seven other locations in Ohio.
There are 11 Rockne's restaurants in Ohio, according to the franchise's Web site.