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Best Ice Cream
University Heights natives and brothers Mike and Pete Mitchell are magicians of ice cream. Mike is an Ohio State graduate with a degree in philosophy while Pete has a degree in psychology from Kent. But together they possess a PhD in ice cream science. For more than 14 years, the brothers have been building their local ice cream empire, all the while keeping smiles permanently plastered to their customers' faces. Lately, they've been challenging themselves to create cutting edge flavors borne from the freshest ingredients. Explosive creations like peanut butter chocolate chunk and toasted pistachio anchor the more than two dozen daily flavors. With eight locations and a huge new retail and production facility coming online in Ohio City, the future looks absolutely delicious for Mitchell's (and us). Multiple locations, mitchellshomemade.com
Best Sub Shop
Dave's Cosmic Subs
"I wanted to make the best sub on Earth," David Lombardy said as his motivation to get into the grinder game. And for 16 years he has been doing just that at his original Chagrin Falls location and at least a dozen more. If you can't find a sub to suit your fancy at Dave's then you just ain't trying. We lost count at "lots," but that's because we can't seem to order anything other than the Original Dave's Cosmic Sub owing to its perfect proportions of Italian meats, cheeses, veggies and Dave's Cosmic Sauce. But what we really love about our neighborhood Dave's are the staffers, who always act as if they really, really love working there. Considering that they probably get free food, that's wholly understandable.
Multiple locations, davescosmicsubs.com
Best Wine Bar
La Cave Du Vin
If you were to design the ideal wine bar on paper, it likely would look a lot like La Cave Du Vin. Subterranean as a wine cellar, darker than a bat cave, and run by passionate grape heads with the gift of gab. Sure, craft beer slowly has been edging out wine in terms of focus and selection, but what does remain is well curated and always worth a purchase. The best wine bars are date places, romantic nooks where privacy, conversation and discretion rise above all else. That describes this Coventry mainstay to a T, and that's why it ranks as the best in the biz. 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-6411, lacaveduvin.com
Best Patio Dining
The best outdoor dining spots are those that make diners feel as if they've escaped from the real world, if only for a meal's time. That's why diners love the patio at Reddstone (and before that Snickers). Not only is the restaurant off the beaten path, but the back patio feels like a retreat even from the restaurant, with mature trees shading a brick-paved expanse. A great beer and cocktail list is the perfect place to start – and end – a lazy meal in the "woods." Bring a few friends, snag a large table in the corner, and let the night unfold in its own way. That's what alfresco dining is all about: spontaneity. 1261 W. 76th St., 216-651-6969, reddstonecleveland.com
Great Lakes Brewing Company
Great Lakes Brewing Company has been proud to play a major role in the story of Cleveland. Over the past 25 years, owners Pat and Dan Conway have taken their business from a small startup in a forgotten neighborhood to one of the top 20 craft breweries in the nation. Along the way, they assembled a catalog of ales and lagers that rivals any in the world. Christmas Ale is a Cleveland phenomenon. Dortmunder is an old friend. Elliott Ness and Edmund Fitzgerald have a legitimate connection to local lore that is lacking in so many other labels. To celebrate 25 years, Alchemy Hour, Rye of the Tiger and a yet-to-be-named anniversary beer all have been added to the storied Great Lakes lineup. With each chapter, the story gets better and better.
2516 Market Ave, 216-771-4404,