Like the South's great roadside BBQ stands, this little eatery is tucked into a Plain-Jane building with minimal charm. Fortunately, the tender, slow-smoked meats -- ribs, brisket, pork tenderloin, chicken,turkey,and sausage -- more than make up for it. Add tang with one of a half-dozen house-made sauces representing various regional styles. Carry out or dine in.
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
Part family restaurant, part community meeting place, this locally owned-and-operated eatery has been dishing it out for nearly three decades, to the delight of a devoted clientele. The enormous menu rambles from Reubens and blintzes to quesadillas, pork chops, and chicken Marsala with varying degrees of success. But the hot pastrami? That has never, ever let us down.
This aromatic eatery offers authentic Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes, flavored with ingredients like fresh Asian basil, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Much of the menu is devoted to noodles, including an assortment of pad Thai. Cash only. Carryout only.
This locally owned gourmet coffee bar in downtown Wadsworth offers its own signature blends, along with soups, salads, paninis, wraps and breakfast items. Regular live music of all types and Wednesday open mics make Sonnets a place to hang out.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun-Thurs, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fri-Sat
If you miss Mom's cooking, this is the place to get your fix. Big Al's has all the comforting favorites, like thick, steaming soups, housemade mashed potatoes with gravy, open-faced roast beef sandwiches and chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is served until the diner's late-afternoon closing time.
Classic American-style diner food is the star at Big Egg. While most days, the hours are a reasonable 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., an around-the-clock schedule is observed on Fridays and Saturdays, making it the ideal spot for sobering up after last call at nearby bars and clubs.
The menu at chef Nate Williams' Ohio City sandwich shop is as crisp as an album's track list. Just eight giant sammies: no soups, no sides, no desserts. All the meats are marinated, brined, and roasted in-house, and the drippings from each are reserved for use as gravy. Most of the sandwiches are modeled after classic American varieties and can be had drenched in jus or topped with chips for crunch. Best of all, the shop stays open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Mainly carryout.
Adjacent to Arts Collinwood, this corner storefront is a multimedia café hosting art openings, jazz recitals, and the Waterloo film series, as well as serving a light menu of savories and sweets. Wine, beer and cocktails are served, and patio seating is available.
Commuters who missed the upscale breakfast-and-lunch options at Juniper Grille can take comfort in Carnegie Kitchen, which seems to have picked up where that diner left off. Chef-owner Jeff Uniatowski, formerly of Mise and House of Blue, crafts a value-driven menu with broad appeal. Contemporary versions of diner classics like steak and eggs, corned beef hash and bagels and lox give way to chopped salads, mile-high Reubens, and grilled-salmon sandwiches.
The main attraction at this downtown bar and grill is the 40 beers on tap always fresh, always rotating. To go with, pick the fresh, hand-formed burgers on a pretzel bun. The casual atmosphere includes plenty of TVs tuned to sports, making it just right for a Gateway-district beer break.
Quickly becoming downtowners' favorite lunch stop, Josh Kabat's casual sandwich shop features almost a dozen meaty, Cleveland-themed creations. The Terminal, for example, combines Black Forest ham, brie, mustard and apricot jam in a soft 8-inch sub bun. Dining is mainly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who can't wait to dig in.
Every town needs a good family-owned and operated deli with offerings that range from corned beef and burgers to hot dogs and pulled pork; in Hudson, Deli on Rye is it. A long list of classic deli combos many named after surrounding communities adds to the fun, especially when paired with a cold beer.
This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike.
Now under the ownership of first-class culinarian Manny Nieves, this Rocky River anchor is part wine shop, part gourmet market, and part deli, featuring everything from Saturday-morning coffee and pastries to weeknight carryout dinners. At lunch, a tasty variety of freshly made sandwiches star, including the signature 2X BLT, featuring a double dose of double thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon from fine-meats purveyor Blue Ribbon.
Settled inside the Golden Plaza, this modest bistro offers a full lineup of Korean specialties, including a version of bibimbap that is out of this world.
A friendly downtown gathering place for after-work drinks, Leader also serves salads, sandwiches, and appetizers during lunch and dinner.
Diners can expect the typical Tex-Mex, South-of-the-Border assortment of tacos, burritos, fajitas, and combination plates; for fast, friendly, filling, and cheap Mexican fare, Los Habaneros definitely fills the bill.
Maha's specializes in Mediterranean foods, especially falafal wraps. They've got burgers and BLTs, but the menu is also loaded with middle-eastern favorites like kibbie, hummus and mujadara.
Long known as Shticks, this East Side bastion of healthy eating has stepped ever so slightly away from exclusively vegetarian offerings. Its falafel sandwiches, pita melts, veggie wraps, turkey bacon BLTs, and soups are tasty and nutritious, and you dont have to be a member of the university community to feel welcome.
When it comes to freshly made Middle Eastern foods, Nate's is great. Especially beloved for its thick, smooth hummus with a texture like whipped butter, Nate's also makes smoky baba ghannouj, crisp fried kibbeh, and tender, plump meat or spinach pies. If your tastes run to more traditional deli fare, try a king-sized corned-beef or pastrami sandwich. Service is casual and friendly, and the place has the feel of a neighborhood cornerstone.
Prestis is bright, contemporary, and inviting, and, with two walls of tall windows, it offers some of the best people-watching in Little Italy. Fresh foods include bruschetta, stromboli, pepperoni bread, and frittatas, as well as sweets like cannoli, pignoli, biscotti, and strudel. After your meal, pick up a loaf of warm Italian bread to take home.
Slyman's claims it's the home of Cleveland's biggest and best corned-beef sandwich, and so far no one has come forth to challenge them convincingly for the title. The three-inch-thick corned-beef sandwich weighs in at a walloping 12 ounces, and a Reuben tips the scales at almost one pound. Thanks to that lean, tender, thin-sliced meat, both sandwiches are champs.
Besides providing breads for some of Clevelands top restaurants, The Stone Oven sells a variety of European artisanal loaves for at-home enjoyment. If the sight of all those golden-crusted beauties leaves you famished, treat yourself to a fat sandwich (on your choice of fresh-baked bread, of course), a colorful salad, homemade soup, or a giant piece of fragrant Sicilian-style veggie pizza. Counter service, with plenty of tables.
A welcome alternative to fast-food lunches, this funky downtown noodle house and juice bar combines fresh flavors and speedy counter service with a casual college-town vibe, for a dining "experience" as unique as it is inexpensive. That's probably why the lines are sometimes out the door. Go, and feel good.
Too tired to cook, but too cool for McBurgers? Family-friendly, quick-service Tom-Tom is just the ticket. The large menu includes lots of salads, soups, sandwiches, and build your own pizza options, freshly prepared in an open kitchen. Order at the counter, and before you know it, your meal is delivered to your table by cheerful staffers, no tipping required.
A welcome addition to Coventry Village's restaurant row, this comfy bistro serves a pan-Asian menu, with a focus on Japanese, Thai,and Korean cuisines. Big lineup of sushi, too.
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