Downtown Youngstown: Niche Restaurants, Variety of Art

By Taylor Fronk
Jambar Contributor

Not far from Youngstown State University is a plentiful supply of locations for viewing art, enjoying live entertainment and feasting on a variety of local foods. Owners of these locations encourage YSU students to join in on and enjoy what there is to be experienced. 

Space Kat Barbeque on Federal Street offers authentic Texas barbecue. Owner Jack Zizzo said his restaurant has something to offer students no other place in Youngstown can. 

“We’re in Draught House, Youngstown’s oldest bar. The drinks are cheap, the environment is really cool and it’s only, like, a five-minute walk from campus,” he said. 

Zizzo said Youngstown has always featured good food, and each restaurant has something different for everyone.

“It’s important for students who do go to Youngstown State to support their community,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of chain restaurants on campus, but down here we have good, local businesses.” 

In the entertainment realm, students can learn about Youngstown history at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center, walk on the new paths at Wean Park or check out upcoming events at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

SpaceKat Bar is one of many dining options downtown for students to check out. Photo by Taylor Fronk/The Jambar

“The Phelps Street Project will soon offer a walkable, safe space to enjoy local restaurants and attractions,” she said. “The main library on Wick Avenue is expanding and redeveloping outdoor space for events. We have improvement projects in the pipeline for walking and biking as well as a plan for pop-out expanded seating for the restaurants.” 

For those more interested in art, and a good photo-op, Youngstown has many murals and its own “Youngstown” sign in Wean Park. 

Organizations like CityScape, in association with The Youngstown Foundation, and the Raymond John Wean Foundation have funded different murals and continue to provide funds to artists to work on several more murals throughout the city. 

Crissi Jenkins, program coordinator at The Youngstown Foundation, said it’s vital for the foundation to donate to organizations like CityScape.

“It’s important that we support the arts and beautification of our neighborhoods,” she said. “We want our grants to strengthen our city, particularly our downtown, and just make it a better place for everybody.”

The Soap Gallery on Champion Street is a full-time fine art gallery. It offers a new show the first Friday of each month. Currently, it’s featuring the artwork of YSU alumnus Mark Lysowski. The exhibit will be on display throughout October.

The DeYor Performing Arts Center is preparing for its first show since the pandemic began. Easy Street Productions and the Youngstown Symphony will perform “Beauty and the Beast” Oct. 30, 2020 and Nov. 1, 2020. Tickets can be purchased at the box office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or by calling 330-744-0264.