A visit to Jim Anagnostos's shiny silver diner is a nostalgic trip back through time, to the days of all-American meals like meatloaf and gravy, liver and onions, and classic chili.
Chef, artist and musician Antonio Carafelli turns humble Tex-Mex and Latino standards into flavorful masterpieces in this little Lakewood storefront.
Aficionados of authentic Neapolitan-style pizza have been claiming this pizzeria serves the best pie in town. That is not a surprise considering that the pizzaioli uses time-tested ingredients, techniques, and equipment, including a 950-degree wood-burning oven. The menu is largely confined to pizza, but does include starters, salads, and desserts.
This is the spot where Dave Lombardy actor, playwright, and hungry guy launched his Cosmic Sub empire way back in 1997. Now he has branches all around the region, where he and his crew create nearly three dozen types of mouthwatering subs, stuffed with the finest ingredients (including vegetarian options), bundled up in the region's best buns, and served in a space as colorful as your favorite tie-dyed T-shirt.
Brothers has grown away from its funky blues-club vibe of days past. Now it features three rooms: a restaurant/tavern, a wine bar that specializes in acoustic sounds, and the roomy Music Hall, which hosts rock, blues, jazz, and reggae acts.
If you crave it, chances are that Freshlys serves it, from a big menu of tasty international noshes including corned beef, pastrami, gyros, pizza, salads, pasta, and wings. Service is mostly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who just hafta have it now.
Imported from Buffalo, the Chocolate Bar is part nightclub, part restaurant. By day, the airy space bustles with lunchtime activity, with diners digging into affordable salads, sandwiches, and entrées. At night, ladies (and the men who love them) pair chocolate martinis with decadent desserts. While chocolate finds its way into all manner of menu items, it's wise to stick to those that come with whipped cream or alcohol.
While most of his Lakewood neighbors aim high or low, Jim Sprenger steers for the middle, serving good-quality grub at rational prices in a comfortable setting. Family-friendly comfort food like chicken paprikash, fish and chips, and amazing grass-fed-beef burgers share the menu with creative sandwiches and bacon-and-cheese-topped fries. Toss in quality craft brews and attentive service, and you are indeed eatin' good in the neighborhood.
Friendly, clean, and cozy, Herbs Tavern is home to some of the West Sides favorite burgers (such as the mushroom-and-grilled-onion-topped Herb Burger), along with good homemade soups and chili. To wash them down, the bar stocks plenty of draft beers, as well as a wide selection of spirits and wine.
Comfy, cozy, and casual enough to take the kids, this tidy taqueria offers a large menu of freshly prepped Mexican and Tex-Mex standards, ranging from flautas, burritos, and homemade tamales to cheesecake and fried ice cream. Special menus for kids and non-carnivores make it a particularly appealing family destination.
An eye-opening experience for anyone who thinks Asian food is limited to lo mein in paper containers. This cuisine rambles between Cambodian home cooking and Vietnamese classics. The menu – heavy with descriptions and suggestions – reads like a textbook.
Michoacan state eateries celebrate the simple pleasures of mole poblano, Swiss enchiladas with chicken and green sauce, and pork ribs with tomatillo sauce. The west side location is a classic taqueria (read: diner) serving a crowd that grew up eating the stuff.
Boasting one of the very few wood-burning ovens in town, Vero turns out some of the most authentic Neapolitan-style pizza around. Owner Marc-Aurele Buholzer inherited the oven — and the space — from the previous tenant, La Gelateria. The gelato is the same, but the pizza is much improved. An airy, chewy edge blistered with char gives way to a thin, crisp inner crust supporting a few choice ingredients. These pies are meant to be enjoyed fresh from the oven.
Touch’s DJs spin the freshest cuts in town. They’ll also play stuff you’ve heard, but the DJs here pride themselves on the funk, soul, indie rock, and dance remixes that never hit the Top 40.
The beers the thing at this hip-yet-homey Lakewood pub more than two dozen choices on draft, including what owner Garin Wright calls breakouts, hot stuff, and things youve never seen before in your life. Still, the food is keeping up , with a satisfying assortment of burgers (including some meat-free variations) as well as salads, soups, and assorted noshes.
This sharp West Side café, set in the former Max's Deli space, features an all-day menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées and delectable desserts. Management endeavors to source local, sustainable and organic foodstuffs; soups, salad dressings and pastries are made fresh daily; sandwich bread comes from a nearby bakery. Bountiful salads, over-stuffed sandwiches and wallet-friendly entrees are this eatery's stock in trade.
The shelves of this fine Italian market groan beneath a vast collection of meats, cheeses, oils, sauces, breads, pastries and pastas. Meantime, customers waistbands groan beneath the delicious onslaught of Galluccis prepared carryout foods, including subs, salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan and especially authentic Italian-style pizza, available by the pie or by the giant rectangular slice.
This is the place to come if you crave authentic homemade Greek specialties, like souvlakia, dolmades, avgolemono and spanakopita. Or grab a $4 gyro and some handcut fries. Open for lunch and dinner.
Lakewood’s last call before you hit Rocky River, Around the Corner boasts multiple rooms and patios filled with burger munchers, karaoke hounds, and music fans taking in danceable local rock, blues bands, and DJs.
Somehow, life seems simpler after a meal at Superior Pho. Maybe thats because the main attraction at this tiny Vietnamese restaurant is pho: big bowls of homemade beef-and-noodle soup, with basil, lime and other flavorful trimmings. Combo meals featuring small appetizers and rice are also available.
You've gotta love Romeo's pizzas, award-winning numbers made from mountains of savory toppings slathered in tangy sauce and loaded onto thick but remarkably tender crusts and so delicious that they've taken pizza-meister Sean Brauser all the way to the World Pizza Championships in Italy. Romeo's menu also offers calzones, stromboli, salads, and sandwiches; except for one small table, it's carryout only at this bustling little spot.
Cozy and retro, this former workingman’s watering hole serves up food, booze, and a bowling machine along with the live music. You’ll find locals laying down everything from lounge and jazz to folk and bluegrass.
Following in the ultra-successful footsteps of Anatolia Cafe, Northeast Ohio’s first Turkish restaurant, Dervish introduces the Middle Eastern cuisine to far West Siders. Despite an exotic-sounding pedigree, the cuisine is remarkably approachable, largely healthful, and ideally suited to our meat-and-potatoes sensibilities. There are vegetarian spreads, flavorful grilled meat kebabs, and simply prepared seafood items. Comfort foods like stuffed peppers and Turkish pizza transcend cultural borders.
Part of a small Michigan chain, this little soup, salad, and sandwich shop offers good-tasting fare at reasonable prices. A dozen soups du jour provide plenty of variety, and while none of them are made onsite (they come fresh from a central commissary), the result is still brimming with homey comfort. Dine in, carry out, or order online.
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.
Aladdin's serves reliable, health-conscious foods like freshly squeezed juices, vegetarian chili, and an assortment of pita and roll-up sandwiches. For dessert, some diners can't get enough of the crunchy, honey-soaked walnut baklava, which is some of the best around.
Besides offering the usual takeout options, this storefront pizza palace supplies the eats for Hotz Café, next doors vintage tavern, thereby solving the problem of how to entertain your buds when the apartments a mess and the beer is all gone. For a touch of class, a buttery half-head of roasted garlic sits in the center of all the thick-crusted specialty pizzas. Ribs, chicken and salads are available too, along with bar noshes like fried pickles and wings.
Weve all been there: too tired to cook and too apathetic to pull on anything fancier than jeans. On such nights, this homey little eastern European spot is just the ticket, with its comforting, inexpensive food and staff of maternal servers.
Globetrotter, baker, and neighborhood booster, Niki Gillota offers a tempting array of edibles, including soups, sandwiches, and freshly made muffins, scones and pastries. Oven-baked chili is a mild-mannered crowd-pleaser, and rich lattes like the cinnamon-scented Mexico City have earned a following.
This Irish bar in the heart of downtown features live music most weekends — primarily singer-songwriters and Irish acts. But it’s best known for having Guinness on tap and throwing one hell of a St. Paddy’s Day party.
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