When the Recovery Center of Medina County opened its doors in 2017, it was championed as an endeavor that was much needed due to the opioid crisis gripping the region.
Medina County Chief Probation Office Veronica Perry jump-started the project when she applied for and received a $300,000 grant.
But it was a 2018 addition to the center that sparked controversy.
The recovery center opened the Serenite Restaurant & Culinary Institute at the former Medina Steakhouse, offering members of the recovery community a chance to learn about working in a fine-dining restaurant.
It hasn’t been entirely easy for the recovery center. Many opposed the fact that alcohol would be served in the French cuisine restaurant.
The recovery center originally partnered with Robby’s Voice, but the nonprofit group cut ties over the decision to serve alcohol. The recovery center’s executive director, Stefanie Robinson, also quit.
The opposition didn’t end there. Medina City Council objected to the serving of alcohol and said it couldn’t support the project. It originally wanted to schedule a hearing with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control over the liquor license for Serenite Restaurant.
Council decided later to back off its objection, the restaurant eventually got its liquor license and is still drawing rave reviews.
Serenite founder Brandon Chrostowski patterned Serenite after his Edwin’s Restaurant in Cleveland, which teaches former prison inmates the ins and outs of the restaurant business.
This year, the culinary institute saw the graduation of its inaugural class of five students who are recovering addicts. There are 10 students in the current class, and Jess Hazeltine, administrative manager, said 35 to 50 individuals attend meetings regularly at the recovery center.
- Year in review: Highs and lows mark 2018
- Taste of Medina County serves with a purpose
- Recovery center being planned in Medina
- Culinary students in recovery coming into their own at Serenite
- Medina Council challenges Serenite's liquor license
- Serenite culinary student talks about recovery experience
- Recovery Center of Medina County looks to boost staffing
- Serenite Restaurant opens in Medina
- Medina council objects to liquor license for Serenite Restaurant
- Serenite Restaurant will open March 29 in Medina
- Operations director resigns from the Recovery Center of Medina County
- Commissioners praise Edwins president and CEO
- Robby's Voice leader cuts ties with Recovery Center of Medina County
- Robby's Voice, board at odds over alcohol sales at restaurant