You can tell that chefs Brian Okin and Adam Bostwick spend a lot of time thinking about food. At Cork & Cleaver, they routinely push the envelope when concocting cunningly delicious dishes like "Rueben Ribs," chicken and waffles, and pork paprikash. The Board, C&C's version of the ubiquitous charcuterie platter, is packed with roasted bone marrow, seared foie gras and quivering pork belly. Locals say it's like a little taste of Tremont in sleepy Broadview Heights.
One of Akron's top restaurants, clubby Ken Stewart's serves a large menu of seafood (the house specialty), steaks, chops, chicken and pastas, as well as dozens of daily specials. Prices can be high, particularly on specials; portions are massive; service is polished; and preparation is solid, if not always au courant. Impressively large wine list.
This beefy, barn-style restaurant, formerly a Hoggy's, can accommodate 450 people. Fortunately, chef and owner Demetrios Atheneos knows how to win over diners with his impressive gastropub fare. The massive menu features tacos and flatbreads, snacks and starters, sandwiches and entrees. Fried chicken livers, spicy shrimp tacos, fried walleye dinner and ale-steamed mussels frites are all standouts, as is the impressive craft beer list.
Formerly the Akron Scorcher's and the Tap House, the sport-and-rock-themed Ripper Owens' Tap House now has the former Judas Priest singer as a partner. When he's not on the road, he makes appearances.
Three dozen styles of hot dogs, topped with everything from celery salt to crushed pineapple, are the draw at this cheerful, child-friendly diner, and the chili-and-cheese-topped fries, thick milkshakes and foamy root-beer floats are pretty tasty too. Soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers as well as occasional pierogi or fish-fry dinners round out the menu, not to mention the clientele!
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.
One part vacation-town bar and one part homestyle restaurant, Fisher's is a favorite stop for brewskies and burgers (or salads and ice cream) after biking or hiking on the nearby Towpath Trail. In warm weather, seats on the shaded patio become prime real estate.
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.
One of several Lizards roaming Northeast Ohio, the Peninsula link in this homegrown chain of casual sports bars is our favorite, especially for the building's pre-reptilian history as a small-town roadhouse and 1950s-style nightclub. Besides the ambiance of slightly faded glory, we also enjoy the casual menu of reliably prepared foods, which include great wings, good burgers and hearty, well-dressed salads.
Always energetic and occasionally riveting rustic Mediterranean and American cuisine leads the way at this chef-driven bistro in Kent. Above-average desserts, too, from an in-house pastry chef.
Perched on a hill overlooking the Ohio countryside, this rambling lodge offers a lovely backdrop for Executive Chef Brandt Evans' hearty American fare. While entrées like short ribs and mac 'n' cheese may sound homey, count on Evans to update them with luxury ingredients and season them with culinary magic.
This neighborhood eatery and tavern may be far removed from the cutting edge; still, it draws big crowds, hungry for ample helpings of well-prepared ribs, chicken, salads, sandwiches, and chops. In season, a pretty outdoor patio in the namesake courtyard makes a popular lunch and dinner retreat.
It's easy to imagine a gaggle of heavy-set, cigar-chomping underworld figures hunkered over dry martinis and enormous steaks at this downtown Akron institution, but even today's suburbanite will enjoy the juicy steaks, chops, and seafood that make up Diamond Grille's simple, timeless menu.
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.
Theres something for everyone at this oddball crossroads tavern, from grilled bologna and pizza to Kobe beef and lobster. The charm factor gets a further twist from boxes, racks and countertops crammed with value-priced wine; coolers stuffed with imported beer; and a jukebox replete with tunes ranging from classic rock to show tunes.
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.
Short-order cooks toil inside this tiny vintage dining car, slapping around savory sirloin burgers and ladling up the best chili-and-cheese-drenched "Bubba Fries" in town. Other options include salads (even tough guys need their greens), soups, and juicy chicken sandwiches. The diner does brisk business for breakfast and lunch; hungry road warriors, or their Walter Mitty doppelgängers, can also catch an early dinner here on Fridays before 7 p.m.
This old-fashioned soda fountain and lunch counter not only provides casual fare in a family-friendly setting, but also serves as sheltered employment for clients of the Hattie Larlham agency. The vintage fixtures were salvaged from the former Saywell's Drug Store, a Main Street mainstay for almost seven decades.
Comfy, cozy, and family-friendly, Hudson's is a classic neighborhood restaurant, serving reasonably priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, as well as libations from the full bar. While the owners' culinary chops are apparent in creations like Jamaican-spiced pork loin or bourbon-glazed salmon, the menu is far more homey than haute, with enough burgers, chicken, and meatloaf to satisfy even the least adventurous eater.
While the atmosphere at this Hyde Park location may be a smidgen less elegant than at its Cleveland-area counterparts, the Prime dry-aged steaks here are second to none. For unforgettable flavor, pick the thick Kansas City bone-in strip. At 20 ounces, this juicy hunk of beef will almost certainly require a doggy bag, but it's one of the best steaks around.
Probably the only restaurant in the region to have an X-Wing fighter stationed in the parking lot, Mike's Place is full of weird decor and wacky humor. Nonetheless, the inexpensive food huge portions of casual fare thrown together with wild abandon is seriously tasty, ranging from tall homemade biscuits to Mike's award-winning barbecue. Large beer list.
Casual and unpretentious, the Pufferbelly has been bringing new travelers to Kent's landmark 1875 train station for more than two decades. The all-encompassing menu includes something for everyone, with varying degrees of success. But even if the restaurant can't claim to offer destination dining, as an occasional layover on life's travels, it generally fills the bill.
Launched by Wooster chef-restaurateur Mike Mariola, the Rail is one of the most attractive adaptations of the gourmet burger bar to hit Northeast Ohio. Mariola's meat methodology consists of using local, grain-fed beef for his meaty half-pounders. Pair them with crunchy starters and sides, great craft beers, creamy hand-dipped milkshakes, and a trio of salads.
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