Moe Schneider has worked in the restaurant business since she was 13. So when Moe's Restaurant in Cuyahoga Falls was opened in 1998, running her own place was not so much a dream as a calling. "I'm supposed to effect some sort of change," she explains. "Whether it's environmental or whether it's some kid that's gonna come work in the kitchen and we're gonna make a difference in his life, I don't know. But I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do."
She had been interested in the 1916 Schnabel Building on a one-way stretch of Front Street, Cuyahoga Falls dominated by car dealerships, but the owner wanted more money than Schneider could raise. Several years later, he got back in touch with Schneider and revamped his asking price and she took another look at the location.
The structure had been built as a small A&P grocery, then spent about a quarter-century as Pete Swallow's Liquor. In the 1960s, it was the Kit Kat Club, a bar serving burgers and dogs. By the time Schneider walked through the weathered brick building, "it needed a lot of love;" she says. "But I loved the potential of it, and I loved the separation between the dining room and the tavern, so that you could sort of get two different things going and appeal to two different personalities."
Moe bought the building and commenced gutting it, ripping out the paneling and the drop ceilings to expose the original tin ceiling for restoration. The pool room became the main dining room, seating about 45. She kept the bar top and rail, as well as three original booths, on the tavern side, which seats 30. Each side has its own entry, but there's a crossover toward the back. Electrical and design work, as well as some of the grunt labor, was performed by friends. Moe's opened in November 1998, the restaurant's name in neon script atop the brick facade, an olive on a toothpick as the apostrophe.