When Will Beach Glass Lounge Open?

Get the scoop on renowned glass artist Cary Ferguson's biggest project yet — a destination restaurant in Marblehead, Ohio.

Cary Ferguson should be very stressed out.

After all, his brand-new restaurant — the most ambitious yet in Marblehead, Ohio — is set to open in early July. On the day we’re there, though, in late May, it’s not much past the framing stage. Called Beach Glass Lounge, the restaurant will seat 150 inside and about double that when the outdoor spaces, including a bar, are finished. Steak and seafood will dominate the menu because, as Ferguson says, that’s what’s missing on the peninsula.

When we walk into Ferguson’s studio and gallery, which is right next door to his new restaurant, he seems to have blocked out the noise and bustle going on all around him. Instead, Ferguson is totally focused on hanging hand-blown glass pieces on the chandelier (pictured above) that will greet people as they walk into the restaurant.

“When it’s done,” he says, pausing and looking up, “it should be pretty spectacular.”

It’ll take Ferguson about three months to finish the chandelier, which he estimates would sell for $50,000 or so. The funnel-shaped piece hangs on a stainless-steel frame with more than 200 glass tiles in shades of blue and green. Ferguson, who learned to weld for the project, plans to mount a small fan inside the chandelier that will blow the glass, making a pleasant tinkling sound. Just behind us, there’s a half-finished 11-by-15-foot glass sculpture that will ultimately hang over the bar. “It’s almost like a public piece of art,” Ferguson says.

Ferguson envisions people coming to Beach Glass Lounge and, while they wait for a table, wandering next door to Ferguson Gallery to watch glass-blowing demonstrations — and maybe even making a little vase or bowl to take home.

“There’s just going to be this whole vibe going on that’s going to be pretty exciting,” says Ferguson, who opened his gallery 45 years ago. “With what we already have going on here with the gallery and the glass blowing, I think it’s going to be a destination location.”

While Ferguson works on the art, his son, Cary Ferguson Jr., is in charge of the business side of operations and his daughter-in-law, Shana Ferguson, is heading up interior design. “Me being an artist …” Ferguson says, “I don’t really deal in paperwork.”

Ferguson had long dreamt of opening a restaurant but got the final push he needed when his son and daughter-in-law moved to the peninsula during the pandemic — and never returned to the Cleveland area. It was during one of their weekly get-togethers that the idea for the restaurant gained momentum.

“We get together every Friday night,” Ferguson says. “It’s steak night at his house. We just started talking, and one thing led to another.”

To round out their team, Ferguson hired head chef Christian Lau, who has just tracked his boss down to let him know he’s canceled an order for a second freezer.

“We’re not going to need it,” he says.

That’s because all of the fish and seafood will be right out of Lake Erie or flown in fresh. Lau says he’s putting the finishing touches on one of his favorite menu items — scallops and risotto. “I don’t know a better combination, honestly,” he tells us.

Meanwhile, Ferguson is in the midst of transforming his gallery to make it fit in with the restaurant’s coastal theme. Originally designed to look like a train depot, the building is being whitewashed and the cupolas are being redesigned with metal. The glass-blowing studio will be just 20 feet or so from the restaurant’s outdoor space. “People are literally going to be able to sit on the deck and see glass blowing,” Ferguson says.

Ferguson is always thinking of slowing down, but that’s never what ends up happening. After working with glass for decades and earning a reputation as a master in the medium, he picked up a paintbrush for the first time about 10 years ago. His gallery — and hundreds of homes in the area and beyond — showcases his colorful, textured take on everything from Cedar Point to sunflowers. With his new restaurant, both his oil paintings and his glass will have an even bigger audience.

“The art really keeps me motivated,” Ferguson says. “I love what I do every day.”