Whether shopping at CW’s Purple Iris or dining next door at The Dolphin Restaurant, you’re certain to leave satisfied—and inspired

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Diners at The Dolphin Restaurant are invited to enjoy their meals on the CW’s Purple Iris courtyard on nice days, when ordered as a take-out and, when it is not booked for a party. The private area is outfitted with tables, umbrellas, couches, blooming flowers and three murals painted by artist Denise Ivey Telep. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Nina Polien Light

A customer told Sandy Mihalek, “If you go into CW’s Purple Iris and nothing speaks to you, you’re not listening.”

Not looking, either. The tranquil gift store, which Sandy describes as “more inspirational than spiritual or religious,” carries an eclectic and affordable mix of comforting gifts.

Items from the Natural Life line are among the most popular. These include prayer boxes, jewelry, car charms and framed plaques adorned with messages, such as “Be happy” and “Love you to the moon and back.” Glass prisms taking the form of crosses, hummingbirds and doves abound.

Soy-based Secret Jewels candles come in 12 varieties, each scented with the birth flower of a particular month. As the soy dissipates, a foil-wrapped necklace or earring fashioned from that month’s birthstone appears.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Sandy enthuses. “You never know when the jewelry will pop up.”

Ceramic travel mugs extoling positive messages, Tree of Life jewelry and car charms, defusing and essential oils, infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar, specialty coffee and loose-leaf tea are also offered.


But CW’s Purple Iris is about more than merchandise. The space honors Carol, Sandy’s longtime friend who loved irises and, unfortunately, succumbed to colon cancer a few weeks before the store opened three years ago. Sandy had been designing it as a peaceful space for her friend to relax, so it is furnished with a comfy seating area, where guests can connect with each other in a meaningful way.

“The atmosphere is calm, peaceful and welcoming,” Sandy says. “I often hear people talk about loved ones who passed from cancer.”


The spot is by no means depressing, however. Tables that accommodate 30 guests hold court in the back of the store and an adjacent, fenced-in courtyard is outfitted with tables, umbrellas, couches, blooming flowers and three murals painted by artist Denise Ivey Telep.

Both the indoor and outdoor spaces are available for small events and meetings, with catering provided by The Dolphin Restaurant next door, which Sandy co-owns with her husband, Sam Tsoumas.


Parties of 15 or more guests may choose a cold buffet of chicken salad croissants, a fruit and cheese tray, potato salad, a beverage and dessert, or a hot buffet of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, a beverage and dessert. Smaller parties may select from a chicken strip salad, chicken salad croissant with fries, or open-face roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. All come with a beverage and lemon meringue pie.

Diners at The Dolphin Restaurant are invited to enjoy their meals on the courtyard, when ordered as a take-out and, when it is not booked for a party.

All the down-home fare at The Dolphin, which is open for breakfast and lunch, is prepared in-house from fresh ingredients and is served in heaping portions at modest prices. These run from $4.99 for eggs with toast, home fries, or cakes (their version of from-scratch pancakes), to $10.99 for sirloin steak and eggs. Breakfast specials are offered weekdays until 11 a.m., when lunch specials become available. New at the restaurant are take-home dinner specials.

“We encourage takeout because we’re not open for dinner,” Sandy explains. “Come in for lunch and take home something fresh to warm up for dinner.”

One of the newest specials, stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes, is accompanied by a choice of soup or salad, and is available on Thursdays. Regular customers—and there are many—also favor the restaurant’s Denver omelet, homemade soups, cakes (pancakes), roast turkey, and a throwback to Mom’s kitchen.

“One of our biggest sellers is liver and onions because people can’t get it at other places,” Sandy says. “We slice it here fresh.”

The Dolphin Restaurant and CW’s Purple Iris are located at 26091 Broadway Ave., in Oakwood Village. A second location of The Dolphin Restaurant is at 792 Broadway Ave., in Bedford. Visit them online at https://www.loc8nearme.com/ohio/bedford/dolphin-restaurant/3698373/. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can reach The Dolphin (Oakwood) at 440-252-5381, CW’s Purple Iris at 440-945-6414, and The Dolphin (Bedford) at 440-786-0325.