The History of the Taverne of Richfield1912

The Taverne boasts a rich history as one of the oldest structures in the village of Richfield. Built in 1886 by affluent townsman Baxter Wood, the building has worn many hats. In the 19th century, it was a stage coach stop called the Carter House. Weary travelers could grab a meal and a nap before getting back on the road. The horses were actually kept in the area we refer to as the Underground Martini Lounge. You can still see in the structure where the stalls would have been.

    carter_house1909     Early in the 20th century, it was a hall that hosted various community dances and socials. As the building lost its flair and the coaches became outdated, less reputable businesses moved into the crumbling building. In the 20's and 30's it was rumored to be a bordello and a speakeasy during prohibition, but there are little solid facts to confirm these rumors. In the 40's and 50's the Taverne was known as the West Richfield Inn. Motor cars were greeted with a chicken or steak dinner as they passed, and men would come into the bar to play billiards and drink beer. By the late 50's and 60's the Taverne was known as "The Underground" in reference to the Underground Railroad. The Taverne has been rumored to have been part of the Underground Railroad despite being built 20 years after the Civil War. The Underground did not have much success due to lack of maintenance. The Town of Richfield declared the building condemned and closed the doors for several years.

         In the 70's, restaurateur Mel Rose bought the building and that is when it first became known as The Taverne of Richfield. Mel, who was married to the heir1987 of the Stauffer company, had to sink a lot of money into repairing and remodeling the building. He restored the building to its original glory and was ready for business. The Richfield Coliseum was home to the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as several other teams. Many major events were held in the Coliseum, and the most popular place to socialize before and after the event was the Taverne of Richfield. Mel had close ties with the Coliseum and its owner, Nick Mileti. He owned several luxury boxes and would treat his guests to Cavs games and concerts. He was so successful that he opened a second restaurant inside the Coliseum. The Taverne was at the height of its success during those days.

  coliseum_1985       Unfortunately, the Coliseum closed its doors in 1994 and was demolished in 1999. Mel Rose closed the doors to the Taverne of Richfield in 1996, but not before opening a new restaurant in 1994. He had followed the Cavs to downtown Cleveland where he fed off the success of the Cleveland Indians and the Cavs. Mel was back in business and doing great, but the MLB and NBA strikes hitting at the same time affected the restaurant dearly. Without the professional games the restaurant was dead. He was forced to sell his boat and his car and remortgage his house to pay his employees. The restaurant closed in 1999, and he moved to Port Clinton where he opened a very small restaurant with manageable overhead. Mel passed away in the mid 2000's.

         After the demise of the Taverne it stayed closed for several years until the Stancato family bought it and opened it astaverne_history Stancato's Cafe. The family runs several restaurants and also packages sauces and dressings for retail sale. They stayed open for 8 years but closed in 2003 due to family rifts. Once again the poor building stood unoccupied. In 2005, a partnership between the building's owner, Dr. Doty of Brunswick, and restaurateur Freddy Salem opened and restored the Taverne of Richfield to its original beauty with some modern touches. New chefs were hired to make the menu fresh and new. It is now owned by Serena Raybould, who bought it October 13, 2010. It is currently known in the area as the place to be on a weekend night with a great happy hour during the week. Serena has introduced new things to the Taverne, such as the Underground barMartini Lounge, with live music and jazz nights. She also hosts Tango instructors on Wednesday nights for dancing in the ballroom. She has given the Taverne a 180 degree turn from its rocky past. Serena is always bringing fresh ideas and new events to the table. She is making history by keeping the old building beautiful, historical, and open to all that pass by! Thank you for dining with the Taverne and being a part of our history!







Taverne's Ghost Storiesbaxter

        We have had numerous sitings at the Taverne. The building was built in 1886 in Richfield Ohio as a hotel/stagecoach stop. We have 3 ghosts. The original
ghost is Baxter Wood who opened a hotel called the Center Hotel in the building which now houses local watering hole, the Doug Out. He later built and opened a new hotel across the street, the West Richfield Inn which is now called the Taverne of Richfield. He is described as a tall man in a suit and top hat with an "Abraham Lincoln" beard. He hangs out in the Ballroom, presumably since it's the most originally structured room, not much has been altered in that room since the building of the Taverne.

       boy1900 Our other 2 ghosts are Mrs. Rebecca Akers and her son, Elijah. Rebecca mostly resides in the stairwells often holding people's hands as they walk up and down the stairs. Although we caught a picture of her dancing in the ballroom.rebecca Her son Elijah is a feisty poltergeist who runs through the ballroom and says "Hi There." These two came only recently along with the stained glass windows that were purchased in 1996 from a burnt down church in Dayton Ohio. Rebecca died an older woman but her ghost is her as a young lady. It's rumored that Elijah died as a child so Rebecca's ghost reverted to when he died and they stayed together in the church posthumously. The stained glass windows memorialize Rebecca's name.

        Activity of ghostly happenings include doors opening and closing by themselves, glasses flying off the bar and tables,myrtle_and_bessie_1908_standing_on_the_taverne_balcony orbs appearing in pictures, chilly drafts, chairs scooting away from the bar by themselves, tables being unset. Recently, a patron and former employee from the 70's informed us that when he worked there they had a big wedding to set up for in the ballroom, They stayed late the night before and got all the tables, chairs, silverware, glassware, napkins and everything all set up. The next morning when the florist arrived they instructed her to go up and start setting up everything is ready for her. Much to everyone's shock (and dismay) the whole room was empty. Every table and chair stacked in a corner, every piece of silverware back in the drawer, every linen neatly folded and put back in the linen closet.

But that's just the stories, check it out for yourself!


Do you have a ghost story, a cav's story, a Mel Rose story, or just a favorite memory? Click below, we would love to hear about it!

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