Name: Steve Brightman
Occupation: Master Data Management
Hometown: Chardon, OH
Current neighborhood: West Akron
What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar? Compass Coffee. Even though we live in West Akron, we head to Middlebury neighborhood when we have a jones for coffee/tea. The selection is awesome and the atmosphere is everything you want from a coffee joint.
What is your favorite local cultural asset? The people, the people, the people. There is such an incredible wealth of talented artists, singers, writers, social activists, business owners full of love for this city.
When did you fall for Akron? I think my transplant story is probably a familiar one. My relationship with Akron developed slowly. I came here a couple times when friends met at bars or had New Year’s Eve parties at their house(s) or played baseball in the summer with the Highland Square Baseball League. Slowly, but surely, I found myself spending more time here than not. When my wife and I got married and we were looking for places to live, Akron just made the most sense. Sure, it was a nice halfway point between her family and mine, but we couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s become a part of our bloodstream.
Where in Akron do you like to escape? Assuming you mean available to the public, so our backyard is not as viable an answer as I had hoped it would be. During the summer, it’s definitely Canal Park. During the other seasons, it’s Summit ArtSpace and/or the Akron Art Museum.
Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant? Everyone should try Nepali Kitchen because it gives you everything you want from a restaurant: great food that you can’t replicate at home and large portions priced right.
How do you hope Akron will be different in five years? Well, I wouldn’t mind fewer potholes.
Occupation: Intervention Specialist
Current neighborhood: Wallhaven
What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?
Akron is a small city with big city vibes. It has all the aspects of a bigger city that you could want with the charm and warmth of a smaller town. You may have to dig a little deeper but Akron has so much to offer anyone that gives her a chance.
What is your favorite local cultural asset?
People are kind. I am proud to live in a place that makes its people and its visitors feel welcomed.
When did you fall for Akron?
I stayed in Akron for college but I lived in the dorms at the University. I remember feeling like I got a whole new opportunity to experience my city from a completely different perspective. I always knew Akron as a safe place to call home but really fell in love with it when I got to know it as a place to build my life as an adult. Slowly but surely, friends came back to Akron after moving away and validated what I had learned, and what we all know, about this fair city.
Where in Akron do you like to escape?
Blu Jazz and Nuevo patio for date night. Akron metro parks for serenity. Yoga Bliss to sweat and regroup. Good Life for piercings ;). West Point market for special grocery finds. Highland Square or Maiden Lane to feel community and connectedness.
Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?
I have so many favorite restaurants. Bricco, Nuevo, Saffron Patch, Nepali Kitchen, Aladdins, Mustard Seed, Cilantro…the list goes on and on (we need to bring back the vegan restaurant!). Regardless of where you go, you’re going to find great food but most of all, the signature Midwest hospitality that Akron is known for. People are kind everywhere you go.
How do you hope Akron will be different in 5 years?
I hope to see independent and local businesses continue to grow and thrive. I also hope that the arts keep making a strong showing in our city. I’d love to see our downtown be a walkable and bikeable green city center bustling with activity and bursting with love. I hope our community continues to be a safe haven for people from all walks of life and all cultures and countries. I adore Akron, and if in 5 years the only thing that changes is that more people see what I see, I would call that a great success.
(photos courtesy of Steve Brightman and Maureen Farris)