Popcorn Shop pops at Shaker Square

Thursday September 15, 2005



Dewey Forward, owner of the fabled Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop, will soon be serving popcorn at historic Shaker Square.

Forward saved the Village's landmark Popcorn Shop from demolition when he bought it four years ago. Now he will be a part of the effort to bring the Square, also a landmark, back to its former vitality.

But the original Popcorn Shop isn't going anywhere. "I just needed another project," Forward said this week. "I've been almost taking it easy out in Chagrin. Now my adrenaline is flowing again, although I'm getting less sleep at night."

Forward, with his partner, Diane Armstrong, will open The Popcorn Shop Factory and Dewey's Coffee House at the Square late this fall.

''We'd love to be open by Thanksgiving,'' Forward said during an interview in the spacious quarters of his newest popcorn venture.

Forward said Peter Rubin, new owner of the Square, called him about three months ago and asked if he wanted to open a coffee/popcorn shop there.

Now Forward and Armstrong are taking over the sunny 2,500 square foot space on the northeast quadrant that formerly housed Chico's clothing store. Their coffee and popcorn shops will be separate, but will be connected by a door so employees can serve customers in both.

Forward and Armstrong expect to hire 20-25 people.

Armstrong, 55, is an interior decorator, cook, baker and gardener who lives in Cleveland Heights. She will oversee Dewey's Coffee, which will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

It will serve custom-roasted coffees, as well as soups, salads, fresh bakery sandwiches, pastries and specialty drinks, including espresso.

The coffee house will feature a fireplace, private meeting room and wi-fi.

The Popcorn Shop Factory will provide entertainment as well as goodies and gifts, Forward said. Employees will make the shop's famous caramel corn in the front window, and Forward, 56, is toying with ways to give the place a factory feel. ''I want to have a little train filled with popcorn traveling through the shop, and maybe an erector set doing something, along with other bells and whistles,'' he said.

Forward, of Chagrin Falls, grew up in Shaker Heights and has been in the hospitality business since he was 7, when he sold hot dogs and 7UP in his ''Big Canteen'' in the basement of his Daleford Road home.

He founded and operated Peabody's in Cleveland Heights and in the Flats from the late '70s to the mid-90s. When Jacobs Field opened in 1994, Forward and Pete Bastulli opened Pete & Dewey's Planet next door, which Forward ran for three years, then sold to his partner.

Forward and Armstrong are now searching for a local artist to create art to be featured on the shop's collector popcorn tins. The artist chosen will receive $250 and have his or her biography included on the tin.

Artists can mail Forward at 13201 Shaker Square, Cleveland, 44120.

Contact Kurdziel at kskurdziel@yahoo.com

© 2005 Sun Newspapers

To read this story on the Sun Press site, click here.

To visit the Popcorn Shop web site, click here.

For more on the art contest, click here.

Dewey's Coffee House and The Popcorn Shop Factory
will open on Thursday December 15

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