The weeks seem to come and go without reverence. Time passes, yet it feels like a snap of a finger. For Spade and I, life has seemed to have us by the ears. New jobs and promotions, a softball championship, family obligations, and all the other day to day attributes of life have been cumbersome. I literally just finished a book that took me months to read. We have truly missed the interaction with our followers as well as the expression of our passion these past few months. What is passion and what drives it? I resolve that it’s a sense of exploration. An idea that there is more out there than meets the eye. A wise friend once said that the difference between those who are truly successful, those who do what they love and love what they do, is passion. It’s those who are not easily satisfied with what most people call success. They strive for more even when more doesn’t seem to exist. They see the dream when it hasn’t even been dreamt. Spade and I live by this ideology. We believe that this way of thinking is what’s making Youngstown special again. We have met a new friend along this journey who seems to share in this highly passionate endeavor. A new friend, Space Kat, brings a fiery passion to people’s tables daily.
Amidst the fair land that is downtown Youngstown, in a region most of us have not visited since our early 20’s, is a “fine diving” haven. Forge through the sea of flannels, beanies, and beards and take a left at the ring toss game. In the very back of the Draught House, you find a special place hiding. It’s as though the address is 9 and 3/4. It’s a place that you wouldn’t know was there if you had not been told. Yet, what comes from this funny little window in the back of the Draught House is more magical than any spell or potion. What happens in this tiny little kitchen is surely witchcraft.
Unbeknownst to any of us fair Youngstownians, there has always been a kitchen in the back of the Draught House. Most of us only went there to drink PBR and play pool, but it seems as we move into our 30’s we have a whole new reason to visit. Space Kat has taken over this hidden kitchen and is doing some amazing things. It’s what owner Jack Zizzo calls, (as previously mentioned) fine diving. Gourmet food being produced in the back of the most hole-in-the-wall bar that we all love. His menu boasts of eastern influence with a southern bbq flare. He brings his knowledge back to Youngstown from the heart of Texas studying under pit masters and head chefs. The menu seems to rotate according to the season. You’ll find adventurous items such as dry-aged duck sausage, shrimpwurst corn dogs, and blistered shishito peppers. The chef shows off his precision skills with one of the best flank steaks I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Cooked to perfection, it melted in my mouth. He also shows his more passionate side with the best bacon cheeseburger known to man. With bacon worked right into the freshly made burger crested betwixt homemade buns, this is truly what dreams are made of. This is world class food in a place you would never think to find it. What makes the experience even more enjoyable is his pleasant and humble demeanor. It is always a treat for Spade and me when we get to spend some time with this top-notch chef.
Downtown Youngstown has surely had its metamorphosis over the past decade. Places like Cedars and Lemon Grove ruled the land. Then we went through our inevitable Jersey Shore phase. You couldn’t go downtown without seeing a blowout haircut or a fist bump in the 2010-2015 range. Now we see another phase coming along nicely. New restaurants and hotels. Places that really make Youngstown special. Space Kat is one of those places that makes going downtown a very enjoyable experience. Bringing passion and fervor back to our hometown once again, thanks Space Kat.