Nagoya owners named Restaurateurs of the Year


Barbara and Mel Ayers, owners of Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi, were awarded Restaurateurs of the Year for northern Ohio by the Ohio Restaurant Association on Jan. 28. This prestigious award was accepted by Barbara Ayers at The ORA Industry Awards Celebration which was held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The event was attended by various distinguished members of the ORA who came from all over the state of Ohio.

“We are truly humbled by the award, especially considering that there are so many wonderful food venues in Northern Ohio,” said Ayers at the awards ceremony. “We could not have opened and operated any of our ventures without the amazing employees who surround us daily. We are fortunate to have some of the most talented managers and chefs to be found anywhere.”

Ayers was accompanied to the Industry Awards Celebration by Marlene Lederman, general manager at Nagoya at Levis Commons, and Nagoya executive chef/director of operations, Paul Matthews.

“The belief that you win with good people is never more evident than in our success. An honor such as this is only possible with the people who have supported us over the years. The staff I’m proud to work with every day and the customers who have always been so loyal; we’re very grateful to and appreciative of all of you,” added Mel Ayers in his statement to the ORA organizers.

Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi in Port Clinton was the Ayers’ first venture to open in 2005, followed by Nagoya’s second location in Perrysburg at Levis Commons in 2007. They went on to open Ciao Bella Italian Restaurant in 2013 and Brown Dog Gelato Co. in 2016, both located in Port Clinton. In April of 2018, the duo will be opening their fifth venture named Basil Pizza and Wine Bar in Perrysburg at Levis Commons. The location of Basil was facilitated by the NAI Harmon Group and will be located in the Orleans Building, near its sister restaurant Nagoya. Basil will be steps away from the iconic amphitheater, clocktower and fountains, which are the heart of the quickly developing Entertainment District in the Town Square at Levis Commons.

Nagoya is located on East Harbor Road in Port Clinton, and also within Levis Commons in Perrysburg.