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Food & Drink

Food & Drink 

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Best Cheap Lunch

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

Aladdin's Eatery

It is hard to travel around Northeast Ohio without stumbling into an Aladdin's Eatery. Since 1994, founders Fady and Sally Chamoun have supplied Clevelanders with an endless banquet of Middle Eastern delights. It is largely because of them and their eateries that we know what the words hummus, baba and kibbie even mean. But now, thankfully, we fully comprehend how fresh, wholesome and wonderful this cuisine can be. The restaurant also has become indispensable to the area's growing number of practicing vegetarians and vegans, who love the menu's countless meat-free options. Multiple locations, aladdinseatery.com

Best Latin

Barroco Grill

It doesn't get more authentic than this Colombian owned and operated eatery, which single-handedly ignited a passion for Latin street food. Their specialty – arepas – hails straight from the food cart the family operated back home. The thick corn tortillas are griddle-fried, split and filled with all manner of deliciousness like zesty chorizo and cheese. Cut into fingers and deep fried, those same arepas become a utensil for melty, gooey cheese dip. But we really love this Latin upstart for the half-dozen housemade sauces, which diners use to customize their arepas, Cubano sandwiches, and everything else. Our favorites are the chimichurri, ranchero and spicy peanut. Fans of this addictive fare now have two spots to grab some Latin love, Lakewood and downtown. Multiple locations, barrocogrill.com

Best Tacos/Burritos

Ohio City Burrito

OCB is a classic example of a win-win. Clevelanders get all the gustatory pleasure of eating customizable burritos as big as their heads while supporting a locally owned and operated establishment. This home-grown, Ohio City-based, brother-sister operation delivers the same satisfaction of that other burrito place without the national chain stigma. Overstuffed burritos (and tacos) filled with shredded chicken, braised beef or roast pork deliver in the flavor department. A friendly staff, efficient service, and wallet-friendly prices all add to the experience. The cheery little shop is indie all the way, with festively painted tables and funky accessories that brighten every day. 1844 W. 25th St., 216-664-0908,

ohiocityburrito.com

Best Wings

Winking Lizard

You want to know the secret to success? Well, if you're the Winking Lizard, the answer is chicken wings. Those little fried and sauced flappers have helped this local legend grow from a single shop in Bedford Heights to a chain of more than a dozen spots. The fresh, never-frozen wings are the paradigm of the genre: big, juicy, crunchy and sauced to the hilt. With 15 flavors to choose from, diners can tailor their tastes from sweet and fruity to blazing hot. Teriyaki, spicy sesame, Caribbean and Thai offer more than just heat: They bring complex flavor to the party. But for tongue-blistering heat, diners know to go for the 911 or Magma. Yee-haw in a basket! Multiple locations, winkinglizard.com

Best Late-Night Menu

Bar Cento

"Good food and drink until 2 a.m. daily." It's that simple. Nothing to remember. Are you hungry? Is it late? Well, go to Bar Cento, silly. For a town crawling with killer restaurants, the number and quality of late-night options is embarrassing. Sure, we've got a few greasy spoons and questionable hot dog shacks, but when it comes to real food, we're generally SOL. That's why we all owe a debt of gratitude to this Ohio City haven. Belgian-style pommes frites, Neapolitan-style pizzas, meaty burgers — all of it served alongside great wine and beer in a cheery little pub. Everything on the menu is great, but we're partial to the Sunnyside pizza, with pancetta, eggs and heaps of black pepper. Good night indeed.

1948 W. 25th St., 216-274-1010, barcento.com

Best Bloody Mary

The South Side

Nothing kicks off a weekend like a great brunch, and for years the South Side has been the spot in Tremont to do just that. Everybody knows that the real reason we even drag our asses out of bed on a weekend and go to brunch is for the Bloodies, magical elixirs that gently transform pain into pleasure. With eight signature Bloody Marys to choose from, South Side offers guests everything they need to right the ship and carry on. Guests love the Bacon Bloody, a perfect medley of bacon-flavored vodka and spicy Bloody Mary mix. The garnish? A strip of bacon, natch. The rightly popular Bloody Caesar is made with Stoli vodka, Clamato juice and secret spices. It's served with a freshly shucked oyster. Did somebody say drunch? 2207 W. 11th St.,

216-937-2288, southsidecleveland.com

Best Dessert

Sweet Moses

Mourning the loss of the neighborhood soda fountain, Jeffrey Moreau did something about it. He transformed a neglected Detroit-Shoreway storefront into an elegant 20s-era soda fountain and named it Sweet Moses, after Moses Cleaveland. Traditional America sweets like hot fudge sundaes, chocolate malted milk shakes, root beer floats, and strawberry phosphates are not just old-timey, they're old-timey goodness in a glass. And like the Good Old Days, everything from the ice cream to the gourmet chocolates is handmade in house. Lazy summer evenings just aren't the same without a pit stop at this cherry neighborhood treats shop. 6800 Detroit Ave., 216-651-6800, sweetmosestreats.com

Best Taco Tuesday

Johnny Mango

If you haven't heard, Taco Tuesday is a thing. A big thing. Folks make weekly pilgrimages to their favorite bars and restaurants to pack away an ungodly amount of Mexican street food. Why this is done on Tuesday is beyond us, other than the obvious alliteration that is. Well, if you can't beat them, join them, and there is no better place in town to destroy an ungodly amount of tacos than this breezy Ohio City café. From 4 to 10 p.m., seasoned ground beef or bean tacos are just 100 pesos. Another buck or so will buy you a scoop of sour cream and guacamole on the side. Round out your Tuesday fiestas with $4 margaritas and half-priced beer and wine. 3120 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, 216-575-1919, jmango.com 

Best Up & Coming

Restaurant

brgr 9

Who ever said "a burger is a burger" has obviously never dined at BRGR 9 in the Warehouse District. The owners of Heck's Cafe(legends of burgers) in Ohio City have created a literal burger paradise at BRGR 9. One bite of their locally sourced gourmet burgers, and you will realize why this is a serious up and coming restaurant. The space is comfortable and trendy while also being price approachable. Signature must try burgers like the Eastside topped with pastrami and smoked mozzarella will excite any burger connoisseur. And don't forget the hand-dipped milk shakes, beer battered eggplant fries or the 9 wedge salad. Adult beverage with that burger? BRGR 9 offers a solid selection of craft beer, specialty drinks and martinis. 1382 W 9th St, Warehouse District,216.535.0001,brgr9.com

Best Cupcake /Cupcake Shop

Colossal Cupcakes

Size and taste both matter when it comes to the cupcakes at the popular Colossal Cupcakes. Owner Kelly Kandah’s cupcake palace has taken downtown Cleveland by storm with these “muffin sized” morsels. Creating a roster of over twenty daily selections it might seem like a daunting task to choose. The easiest solution is to try a different flavor each day at lunchtime or throw them all in the blender with some ice cream to make an award-winning cakeshake.

530 Euclid Ave, Downtown Cleveland,216.938.9609, colossalcupcakes.com

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