CLEVELAND — John Lane is a co-owner of the Winking Lizard Tavern. He originally picked the downtown location at the Galleria at Erieview because of its proximity to arenas, offices and apartments. 

What You Need To Know

  • The Winkling Lizard Tavern is leaving its downtown location at the Galleria at Erieview

  • The Galleria used to be filled with businesses

  • Now only a handful of tenants are left

​“Our goal was absolutely to be in this area," Lane said.

He will stay in downtown, but he’s moving to a new building across the street. That’s because he said the patio at his current spot is in a wind tunnel, where gusts are often knocking things over. 

“I came out here we gotta pick up the chairs all the time," Lane said. "The winds really blowing, and you can just feel the cold air just coming off the lake."

He’s the latest tenant to leave the Galleria at Erieview in Downtown Cleveland. Lane said only a handful of tenants are left. He is moving to the building right across the street, because he says it’s fully occupied. He is hoping to re-open by next year. 

“There’s a lot of talk on how they’re gonna redevelop it and I hope they do," Lane said. "I really do. I think even if they redevelop it, it’ll help us here.” 

Real estate investor James Kassouf bought the property for just less than $17 million in 2018. 

Neither Kassouf nor the current property manager responded to several requests for comment about how many tenants are left, or on what future plans they might have for the property. 

A previous owner listed the property as having 138,000 square feet of retail space. Only five spaces appeared to be occupied, including a new business called Nite Cat. The YMCA takes up a large portion of what was once retail space.

The food court and the entire second floor are closed off. One of the other tenants left is the Hungarian Museum, which has been here for around 20 years. 

That’s how long Anna Vagh has been a volunteer there. She said she’s seen fewer people walk through here over the years, since many of the stores have left. Now she said most of their guests are from out of town. 

“Retail stores will be very very helpful," Vagh said. "Let me tell you something. We got more retail stores. People will come in. They’re gonna come over here, and next door and all that.” 

Lane said he's looking forward to his new location across the street, where his patio will get less wind and more use. 

“We think we’re gonna be able to use this three seasons like the rest of our patios for sure," Lane said.