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Locals get regional Emmy nod, Noodlefun opens

Gray Areas

Entertainment Editor Andy Gray

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

• A PBS documentary with several local connections is nominated for a regional Emmy Award.

“Lines Broken: The Story of Marion Motley,” which aired on PBS Western Reserve in 2021, is nominated in the Documentary Historical category. The movie looks at the career of Canton native Marion Motley, one of four black athletes who broke professional football’s color barrier a year before Jackie Robinson did the same in Major League Baseball.

David Lee Morgan Jr., a 1984 Warren G. Harding High School graduate, is one of the documentary’s producers. James Wells, a 1982 Harding graduate and football announcer for his alma mater, narrates the film.

Warren native Paul Warfield, a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee for his career as a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, is interviewed in the half-hour documentary, and Canton native and one-time Warren resident James Waters II is co-director and a producer on the project.

The Central Great Lakes Emmy Awards honor broadcast projects in portions of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony June 25 in Carmel, Ind.

• My wife and I had the pleasure of attending a preview event Saturday for Noodlefun, Nate Barker’s new restaurant on Courthouse Square in downtown Warren.

I have fond memories of the location at 176 N. Park Ave. from the late 1980s / early ’90s, when it was beloved lunch spot Simply Delicious, and later, when a good friend operated Blue Iris Cafe there.

Noodlefun continues the reputation for quality food those other restaurants established in that space.

Barker had been serving up the ramen bowls that are the centerpiece of Noodlefun’s menu every Tuesday at West & Main, where it usually sold out long before dinner service was over.

The depth of flavor in both the pork broth for the tonkotsu ramen and the chicken broth for the wedding soup ramen was exquisite (I’ll be trying the vegetarian version soon).

It’s hard for any protein to compete with a well-prepared pork belly, so the tonkotsu was the standout of the two. And as good as the ramen is, my favorite thing may have been the okonomiyaki, a cabbage and scallion pancake topped with a crispy piece of pork belly, bean sprouts, pickled ginger and a pair of wonderful accompaniments, bulldog sauce and kewpie mayo.

The space has an open kitchen and playful decor (I like the pool raft that looks like a bottle of Sriracha that hangs over the counter). Local artists painted the tables, and local art hangs on the walls. The bowls the ramen is served in were custom made by an area ceramic artist and are beautiful.

Nate’s wife, Carissa, said when they were first married, they had an apartment on Market Street and dreamed of opening a restaurant on Courthouse Square and being a part of downtown Warren’s revitalization.

It’s now a dream come true.

Noodlefun is doing a soft opening this week and will be open for regular hours after Memorial Day.

• I didn’t include this in the Michael Stanley tribute show preview elsewhere on this page, but Jonah Koslen also talked a little about his next album.

It will include three songs Koslen wrote and the Michael Stanley Band worked on following 1976’s “Ladies Choice” album. If MSB had released another studio record instead of the 2-LP live set “Stage Pass,” they probably would have been included, Koslen said, but he left MSB and formed Breathless in 1977.

“That was a really charged time, the band was really breaking through,” Koslen said. “That material always stayed with me. It was significant for me in my evolution as a songwriter. I always wanted to do it, so I’m taking the time to do it now.”

MSB drummer Tommy Dobeck will play drums on the tracks, and Daniel Pecchio, who was MSB’s bass player, is contributing backing vocals. Members of Stanley’s later band, The Resonators, also will appear on the album.

However, there is no timetable for the album’s completion or release.

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