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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Established in 1953 as a rural roadhouse, Whitey's present-day specialties are booze, burgers, and superlative chili. The cozy atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, although on weekends, long waits for a table are to be expected.
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.
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.
Town and gown unite behind the swinging doors of this venerable tavern, where the burgers sizzle, the French fries rock and the beer list goes on and on.
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.
Noisy, friendly, and relaxed, the Lizard is one of Gateway's sure bets for juicy burgers, imaginative sandwiches, and overflowing salad bowls. The huge international beer list doesn't hurt either.
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.
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.
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.
One of many area outposts for this locally based tavern chain, the Independence Winking Lizard offers the typical combo of sports-themed decor, casual noshes including the better-than-average wings, burgers, wraps and big salads and a killer collection of suds. Full bar.
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!
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.
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.
The Hudson YT offers the same big menu of freshly ground sirloin burgers, cheese-covered fried potatoes, specialty sandwiches, and "anytime" breakfasts as the other Northeast Ohio locations, in the same casual Victorian atmosphere. The wide selection makes it great for family meals with the kids.
Just the ticket for the hike-and-bike crowd, the newest YT combines a prime location on the Towpath Trail with the usual lineup of burgers, chicken broils, entr'e-size salads, and signature omelets, in a retro-style space that pays homage to the classic American diner. (Hint: Indulge in the cheesy Notso Fries, then hit the trail to work off the guilt.)
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.
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