Iconic Clearview Inn reimagined as the NuVue

by Sheldon Ocker                                                                                                                           

When the Clearview Inn closed more than a year ago, many patrons in Bath and Richfield undoubtedly felt like they had been dumped by their high school sweetheart.

So when Chris Carson bought the building and began a total renovation, these same residents began thinking about the senior prom, at least figuratively.

“People stop here all the time,” said Jen Imhoff, the new manager.

The former Clearview has been reimagined as the NuVue, specializing in steak and seafood with a projected opening in April.

“We can’t even go out to eat, they’re swarming all around us,” Carson said of his prospective customers.

Imhoff and Carson tried to avoid the buzz. “We’ve been very secretive about people coming in to see what’s going on,” the owner said. “But everybody who has come in loves it. I bought a hellhole and turned it into something beautiful.”

The old Clearview also focused on meat and fish, but this is going to be “a whole different menu,” said Imhoff. “We’re trying to make it affordable. We don’t want to take advantage of our customers and make it crazy.”

The new chef is Neil Reilly, who has worked in kitchens ranging from a country club to a restaurant in Tallmadge. He also has done catering, which will not be part of NuVue’s skill set.

Imhoff worked as a bartender at the Clearview for more than a decade (“She ran the whole place,” said Carson, a former customer) and learned that the restaurant owners needed to sell.

“I called Chris and said there’s a great opportunity to buy this property, so let’s do it,” Imhoff said.

Carson became the owner of 4 ½ acres at the corner of Cleveland-Massillon and Everett roads that included Clearview and another building. It immediately became evident that the restaurant would have to be gutted, not surprising for a structure that dates to 1923, according to residents who knew the history of the Clearview.

“This was originally a check-cashing place; truckers used to come in,” Carson said. “I’ve had a lot of older folks stop by and tell me all the stories.”

As drywall and flooring were replaced, two Clearview menus, apparently from the Great Depression, came tumbling out of a hole in the wall. Restaurant prices in the 1930s: $2.50 for a T-bone steak with fries and a salad; $1.65 for chicken with a cottage cheese salad and fries; $1 for a pork chop with fries and applesauce.

The Clearview apparently served breakfast eight or nine decades ago. Orange juice was 15 cents; bacon and eggs or an omelet went for 65 cents.

Another find during the renovation was a wood plane, used for smoothing wood or reducing the thickness of lumber. “I had a guy look at it,” Carson said. “He told me it was from about 1890.”

The NuVue has a contemporary look, with black walnut tables and a quartzite tile bar with copper inlay. Carson said he replaced the windows and doors and installed new siding and insulation for the first time. There’s room for 80 diners inside; outdoors is an extended patio that has yet to be configured for customers.

“We have two nice bathrooms now,” Carson said. “You’re lucky you never went in there before. One guy was working and fell through the floor, it was so rotted out.”

When it opens, the NuVue hours will be Monday through Thursday from 3-10 p.m. plus Friday and Saturday from 3-11 p.m.

“Somebody could have bought this place and knocked it down,” Carson said. “So Bath was pretty happy that we kept it the way it is, and that’s fine with me.” ∞

The interior renovations include a new quartzite tile bar, consistent with the restaurant’s contemporary look. Photo by S. Ocker.

Photo (main/above): General manager Jen Imhoff and owner Chris Carson are running the soon-to-open NuVue restaurant. Photo by S. Ocker.