At 10:30 a.m., a half-dozen people were outside the door of B Spot, Michael Symon's new burger-brat-and-beer restaurant in the Greens of Strongsville, waiting for the grand opening at 11.
"We always like to be at a new restaurant on the first day," said Joe Kaderabek of Strongsville, who was at the head of the line with his wife, Linda. "When Don's Pomeroy opened, we were there. We got a free lunch -- I told the waitress if I'd known, I'd have ordered dessert."
Behind them in line, Tom Firment waited patiently with his daughter, Alyssa, 10.
"We always go to the latest and greatest in Strongsville," Firment said.
By 11 a.m., when general manager Brian Deibel swung open the door and said, "Welcome to B Spot," the line of lunch customers had grown to about 35.
Pretty much what you'd expect when an Iron Chef opens a restaurant in town. This is the second B Spot location for Symon, the down-to-earth and genial owner of the acclaimed Lola in Cleveland who rose to international fame by winning the Food Network's Iron Chef competition.
Brothers Joshua and Nathaniel Kochock walked to the restaurant Wednesday morning in hopes of meeting the Iron Chef himself.
"I hope he's here," Joshua said.
In fact, he was. Within minutes of opening, Symon showed up at his newest eatery, standing unassumingly near the kitchen as line chefs hustled to feed the flash crowd.
"So far so good," Symon said with a grin, eyeing the full restaurant. "It's the restaurant business, so you never know. I think people are curious."
He said he picked Strongsville for his new location, in part, because he knows it and likes it.
"We love the neighborhood," he said. "My wife was born and raised in Berea, so we're here all the time."
Symon said he also wanted to spread out B Spot locations to complement the original on Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere and another new one under construction at Crocker Park in Westlake that will open in July.
"We wanted to open one in the southwest in a community we like," he said.
Sam Lindsley, director of operations, said about 70 people have been hired to work at the new restaurant, from students seeking their first job to experts like Deibel, who until now was general manager of Lola.
"It's an exciting day for us," Lindsley said.
For the customers, too. "I think we need more restaurants like this in Strongsville," said Lorraine Madias, who stood in line for nearly a half hour to make sure she and her husband got a burger.
The eatery, which features Symon's signature burgers, as well as brats and beer, starts serving daily at 11 a.m.
Employees expected the steady stream of customers to continue all day, which was fine with Symon.
"We like it busy," he said.