Comedian Kerry Pollock plans magic-themed restaurant in Flats

Posted by Michelle Jarboe May 21, 2008 14:09PM

Categories: ICSC, Impact, Real estate, Retail
Comedian Kerry Pollock leads Bonk at Pickwick & Frolic. The game show he created years ago will be part of the attraction at a magic-themed entertainment and restaurant site he plans to open in the Flats East Bank development.

Watch a video of Bonk
Rub your eyes and look again. Is that beer bottle really emptying itself into your glass?

Yes it is, but it's not the alcohol tricking you. It's illusionist and comedian Kerry Pollock.

Pollock, a Cleveland native, signed a letter of intent Monday to open a magic-themed restaurant and entertainment venue in the Flats, where he began his career about 25 years years ago at D'Poos.

He revealed the deal this week at an annual retail real estate convention in Las Vegas. His plan will bring a quirky tenant to the eclectic lineup of the $522 million East Bank project under development by the Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties.

The venue will join the recently announced 1 Hotel & Residences - a new, eco-conscious brand launched by hotel mogul Barry Sternlicht - and a restaurant and sports bar planned by former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar.

Fairmount partner Randy Ruttenberg said the development team also is looking seriously at two restaurant concepts from New York and is in final negotiations with two nightclubs - one from the Atlanta area and the other from the Midwest. A national bookstore operator is considering a smaller-format store for the project. Plans also include a full-service grocery store.

"From our perspective, the vision for this development will be uniqueness, uniqueness, uniqueness," Ruttenberg said Tuesday. "So you'll be seeing very few, if any, national tenants."

Nestled on a ground floor at Main Avenue and West 11th Place, Pollock's restaurant - possible working name: "The Parlor" - will feature elaborate illusions on its fa ade and throughout the dining and entertainment areas.

Bar stools might sink slowly throughout the evening, putting puzzled patrons at eye-level with their cocktails. Order a zombie, and the bartender might slide out a morgue-style drawer, occupied by a drink-toting dead guy. Become a VIP member, and you'll learn in-house tricks to play on co-workers at dinner.

"A lot of this will be built in, so when you come back, you're kind of the performer for your friends," Pollock said during an interview at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Kerry Pollock
Dressed in a patterned shirt and shorts amid a crowd of suited businesspeople, the 53-year-old magician talked about creating a business that will entertain everyone from families to the corporate lunch crowd.

The magician is particularly taken by the promise of nearby office workers. Ernst & Young and Tucker Ellis & West LLP have committed to moving their downtown offices to the Flats project, and Eaton Corp. is flirting with the idea. Pollock envisions the restaurant as a high-end destination for a family weekend outing, a quick lunch break or a longer evening of drinks, appetizers and entertainment.

Pollock has performed in Cleveland, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Branson, Mo., among other places. He also has designed and built illusions for theme parks and performers including Criss Angel and David Copperfield - experience he'll rely on to craft the gags and electronic effects for his restaurant, which could open in mid-2010.

One night a week, patrons will be able to play Bonk, a comedy game show Pollock pioneered with former Seinfeld writer Marc Jaffe and Pat Sullivan. The show, a wacky combination of stand-up comedy and quiz questions, involves participants bashing each other's helmeted heads with foam mallets. It has won Pollock attention and accolades everywhere from comedy clubs to cruise lines.

The restaurant, including a performance space where Pollock and other comedians and magicians will headline, could cost more than $2 million to build. Pollock will be the majority owner, with a few friends in the magic business taking a share.

COMMENTS (2)Post a comment
Posted by Tremonster on 05/22/08 at 7:00AM

Wow...hope is turns out well....and don't pull a dissapearing act on Cleveland...POOF!

Posted by nutty7688 on 05/22/08 at 6:20PM

Good luck, its a shame that people stopped going downtown for entertainment. Can I say, GAS, PARKING, INFLATION.