Putting up a fight at The Battleground, new Mexican restaurant in Kent

In January, a new Mexican restaurant, The Battleground, opened in Kent in what used to be known for over 50 years as Ciccone’s. After closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re finally ready to reopen again.

Ciccone’s was a popular family bar and restaurant from the 50s until the owner died in 2017. New owner, Kirk Noden, said they have customers that come in telling stories of the old place and the good memories they had.

Now, husband and wife team Kirk and Rosi Peruyero-Noden, are trying to make their mark and bring some of Mexico’s traditions to Kent. Kirk is a Kent State graduate and Rosi grew up in Mexico. Together they run The Battleground, or did until they had to shut down due to the coronavirus.

Restaurants were ordered to close their inside dining per Gov. Mike DeWine in late March. Kirk said they stayed open for take out for a week or two and then shut down the entire month of April. 

Not because they couldn’t stay open, but “the virus was peaking and all of us were being encouraged to stay at home, it felt like we shouldn’t be open while we’re trying to flatten the curve,” Noden said. “I think putting people over tacos at any moment in time is always the right thing to do.”

The restaurant resumed take out and delivery in May, but has not opened the dining room, even after the OK from the governor. Noden said they wanted to give more time for their customers and also time to finish building their patio so they can have a “good setup.” 

Rosi Peruyero-Noden runs the day-to-day operations at the restaurant and has worked closely with the chef, Dudley Nieto, on the menu. Everything is homemade “including the salsas which are grounded and roasted everyday at The Battleground.” Kirk Noden said. He also said you won’t find bags of processed tortilla shells in the restaurant either.

The Battleground also offers the majority of its menu to gluten free customers. 

“Traditional Mexican food is gluten free because so much of it is made with a corn base,” Noden said. 

They also have authentic elote, Mexican street corn. 

“A vendor on every corner in Mexico is selling them, it is corn with butter, chile, a little bit of mayonnaise and spices.” Noden said. 

He also said the food has been really well received since they have been opened.

Kirk Noden started out in community organizing and nonprofits for economic social-justice issues. During that time a man who worked with Kirk, Adam Keck, later founded Modern Methods Brewing Co. and was able to partner with The Battleground for causes that sparked the social-justice beer project. Different beers have proceeds that go to its corresponding organization. Election Day IPA has money going to support registering voters in Ohio and election protection. Living Wage wheat beer supports the effort to raise the minimum wage in Ohio and Si Se Puede supports immigration reform and immigrant rights.

Now The Battleground is eager to reopen and is planning to open the dining room and welcome customers back on June 19.. 

They also hope to host events in the future like tequila tastings, Mexican cooking classes with Nieto and beer release parties, but there are no set dates at this time. 

“All of that is on hold until it’s safe to do events,” Noden said. “With COVID it’s still not appropriate to do events. Certainly down the road we think there’s all kinds of fun things we can do.”

Contact Nicole Harness at [email protected]