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Cleveland's version of a theater-district deli, this Playhouse Square staple has been entertaining arts lovers and downtown lunchers for more than 100 years, with a cast of soups, salads, steaks, chicken, and stacked-up sandwiches, many — like the W.C. Fields and Fanny Brice — named in honor of old-time stage stars. Dinner hours vary with the theaters' schedules; calling ahead is always a smart move.
Short for Southern hospitality, SoHo serves fresh takes on Low Country, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. On the snappy and cohesive menu are classic Southern staples like shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all dressed up for a more demanding modern audience. Even the cocktails scream Deep South, with bourbon, rye and moonshine-fueled bevies going down like sweet tea on a sticky summer day.
Some of the city's top players belt out a soundtrack of classic blues and R&B from their perch tucked away in the corner of this neighborhood bar in one of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods.
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.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
Cops, lawyers, secretaries, hipsters, football fans, and neighborhood residents — sooner or later, everyone ends up at Karl’s, for the good food, well-stocked bar, and unpretentious vibe. A one-pound corned-beef sandwich is the house specialty; other good bets include the Friday-night fish fry and the well-dressed Snuggery Burger.
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.
Simple, lively and way affordable fare in a takeout place that’s added tables for those who can’t wait for carryout calzone. The house specialty is chicken in a crispy skin.
A friendly downtown gathering place for after-work drinks, Leader also serves salads, sandwiches, and appetizers during lunch and dinner.
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.
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.
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.
No pricey destination restaurant, Clifton attracts crowds with simple, appealing American fare, much of it served in large, sharable portions, along with craft beers, creative martinis, and fine wines.
Riding high from the success of two popular food trucks — not to mention a Food Network reality show appearance — Chris Hodgson landed his first bricks-and-mortar restaurant. Teaming up with the experienced Scott Kuhn, Hodge delivers exciting, approachable dishes with broad appeal. Who can resist lobster corn dogs, flaky goat-cheese tarts, and light-as-air gnudi? For the mains, dig into a pasta version of French onion soup, pitch-perfect duck breast, and luxurious braised lamb shank.
Heading into its fourth decade, this charming Ohio City café remains a reliable, if non-trendy, refuge for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch, best enjoyed in the airy garden room, a mug of cinnamon-scented coffee at hand. While gourmet burgers are the specialty of the house, other options abound, including salads, wraps, steaks, and pastas.
Saving students and staff from another semester of sloppy joes and shepherd's pie, this sharp bistro on the CSU campus looks, feels and tastes like an independent restaurant. Featuring locally sourced ingredients, the ambitious breakfast and lunch menus tempt both coeds and the community at large at weekday breakfasts and lunches. Attractive sheltered patio.
The ornamental leprechauns may be suspect, but the rest of the Old Angle is more Dublin than Dublin. Folk and blues musicians play solo by the fireplace hearth at the end of the bar.
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.
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.

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.

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