Like a well-worn couch, this vintage corner tavern may show its age, but its comfort is undeniable. For proof, just look at the diverse clientele, chowing down on big portions of hearty, inexpensive food. While the burgers are always a good bet, the eclectic offerings include everything from ham & eggs to veal Parmesan, and chicken paprikash to black-eyed peas.
Neighbors have thanked owners Marc and Ruth Levine for "not being another wing-and-beer joint," while others appreciate them for not being too upscale. Bistro 185 takes the glorious middle road, offering hearty made-from-scratch comfort dishes at blue-collar prices.
Still our pick for one of the best dinner values in town, Brennan's manages to combine the vibe of a well-worn bar with the quality of a contemporary bistro. While the kitchen does right by burgers, steaks, and sandwiches, the real thrills are the daily specials full-meal deals ranging from porkchops, fresh fish, chicken and pasta, pegged at $22 or less.
An earthy swirl of brick, glass and polished wood, Crave provides a warm backdrop for chefs DeAnna Akers and Aaron Hervey's long, inventive menu of high-octane treats, featuring everything from Black Angus burgers to porcini-dusted scallops. The bar offers an enticing roundup of imported and craft-brewed beers, along with well-priced wines and savory martinis.
Operated by chef Shawn Monday (One Red Door), Flip Side builds its gourmet burgers from all-natural, grass-fed Ohio beef, a welcome change from the corn-fed versions everywhere else. Nearly a dozen different models are available, plus the expected crunchy sides like onion rings, french fries, and housemade potato chips. Great milkshakes and craft beers round out this urban saloon-style eatery.
If you think everything fades after three decades, check out this mainstay of the East Side dining scene, where the seasonal menu of well-crafted cuisine remains reliably, vibrantly up-to-date. Summer lunches on the shady, tree-lined patio are a high point of the season; in the winter, several fireplaces make for cozy indoor dining.
The plastic and neon of the Montrose shopping district are two miles and several decades removed from this little roadhouse. But while the Alley's big menu of sandwiches, pizza and salads seems soothingly unfashionable, execution is above average, the car-themed decor is charming, and the attitude is hip.
A devastating fire put Grumpy’s out of commission for two years, but owner Kathy Owad has resurrected the beloved Tremont café in a cozy new space. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, weekend brunch and late-night weekend dining, Grumpy’s pretty much has you covered morning, noon and night. Expect hearty plates of reasonably priced, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food served with cheerfulness.
The two-story guitar outside the Hard Rock is a beacon for music lovers, who pack the place every weekend to feast on mammoth burgers and music videos. The dining area is sometimes cleared for concerts, which typically feature rockers on the rise.
An Irish bar on steroids, the Harp isn’t just your corner joint with a few shamrocks on the wall. It boasts a large Irish-influenced menu and a spacious patio with a view of the lake. The music’s as likely to be rootsy rock or blues as Irish.
About as fancy as it gets at John Q's is a 16-ounce strip steak with a coating of cognac mustard and cracked black peppercorns. Other beef entrées porterhouse, filet mignon, rib steak, and prime rib are presented unadorned, all the better for you to enjoy their grilled flavor. The sprawling restaurant includes several romantic, curtained booths; ask for one when you make reservations.
Colorful, comfy, and family friendly, this neighborhood cafe is known for its homey breakfasts and Sunday brunch, as well as its afternoon lineup of soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Free wi-fi access and a cozy lounge area make it a good choice for catching up on e-mail while sipping a cup of freshly brewed joe.
Yup, it's a little bar all right: dim and a tad dingy. But that said, it's worth seeking out for its first-rate burgers, juicy ribs, freshly cut French fries, and a daily "comfort food" special like chicken Parmesan over penne pasta.
Although it has the sleek brass, glass, and polished-wood look of a chain restaurant, this charming pub is locally owned and operated. The large menu goes well beyond colcannon and boxty to embrace quiche, gyros, and even burgers; no matter what you pick, the warm, custardy bread pudding makes a sweet ending. Irish brews on draft.
Part of an international group, Cleveland's Morton's does the expected fine job with slabs of beef. Steak choices include porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip; prime rib, lamb, chicken, and seafood also put in appearances. Atmosphere is comfortingly retro, with dim lighting, cozy banquettes, and Ol' Blue Eyes singing in the background.
The city’s best jazz club books headliners from every corner of the genre. The dining room where acts perform — you can have dinner while you listen — was recently redesigned for even better sound and sightlines.
The lights are low and the vibe is friendly inside this snug neighborhood tavern, a recently remodeled gem where the kitchen belts out tasty riffs on all-American bar food, including fresh-ground burgers, zesty fried calamari, and saucy, spicy chicken wings. Besides a solid collection of artisanal brews, the bar serves up inventive cocktails — some with a seasonal twist. Come summer, the secluded patio is the place to be.
For over 30 years, Ricks has served as the kitchen away from home for hungry Chagrin Falls residents. Unfussy and satisfying, the hearty American fare includes homemade soups, fresh salads, great burgers and now-famous barbecue ribs and chicken. Full bar and small patio.
The South Side doesn’t quite overload all the senses, but it stimulates them with exposed brick walls, a winding granite bar, local artwork that changes monthly, and four big plasma screens equipped with surround sound. After the kitchen closes, an upscale-casual crowd gather in the bar.
Spice Kitchen + Bar, owned by Chef Ben Bebenroth, prepares foods grown right in our backyard – literally! Our seasonally inspired food and cocktail menus are sourced from our own farm and other small family farmers within 100-miles of Cleveland.
A smartly appointed alternative to the food court that sits below, this handsome downtown restaurant serves a solid assortment of salads, sandwiches, seafood, and pasta, with speedy service designed to get you back to your desk, or into your theater seat, with time to spare.
Hippie or hipster, young or old, meathead or vegan, Clevelanders have been flocking to this culinary landmark since 1972, hungry for the big assortment of creative and unusual sandwiches, soups and salads. After a healthy hummus-stuffed ripe tomato or a grilled-cheese sandwich with veggies, sunflower seeds and sesame sauce, be sure to splurge on a creamy, old-fashioned malt or milkshake.
Another changing of the guard has placed this convenient café inside the West Side Market in good hands. Tom Szoradi, veteran chef and owner of the long-running Juniper Grille, has elevated the quality, consistency, and creativity of this breakfast-and-lunch mainstay. Breakfasts are upscale versions of diner classics; sandwiches consist of house-roasted meats atop artisan-baked breads; and fun starters like sausage-studded Hanky Pankies (cheesy fondue) and tempura-fried shitakes kick-start the meal.
The triangular downtown Winking Lizard has 70 televisions, which display continuous sports, including games from all major satellite packages.
The Hudson YT offers the same big menu of freshly ground sirloin burgers, cheese-covered fried potatoes, specialty sandwiches, and "anytime" breakfasts as the other Northeast Ohio locations, in the same casual Victorian atmosphere. The wide selection makes it great for family meals with the kids.
Just the ticket for the hike-and-bike crowd, the newest YT combines a prime location on the Towpath Trail with the usual lineup of burgers, chicken broils, entr'e-size salads, and signature omelets, in a retro-style space that pays homage to the classic American diner. (Hint: Indulge in the cheesy Notso Fries, then hit the trail to work off the guilt.)
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