Another step in restaurateur Fady Chamoun's campaign to blanket the Midwest in hummus and fool medames, the Hudson Aladdin's is a good-looking monument to the appeal of all things healthful, with plenty of vegan/vegetarian options, a long list of freshly squeezed juices and fruit smoothies and a small selection of beer and wine too.
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.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
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.
Casually upscale yet family-friendly, this good-looking reincarnation of Hudson's old Red Tomato offers everything from pizza and pasta to filet mignon.
The architecture of downtown Hudson may be the epitome of preppy, but tripping through the doorway into Dave's is like waking up back at Kent State circa 1969. Yet even without the psychedelic decor, we would gladly stage a love-in here, just to savor Dave's oversized subs, stuffed with fresh ingredients and wrapped in the best crisp-crusted rolls in the region.
Every town needs a good family-owned and operated deli with offerings that range from corned beef and burgers to hot dogs and pulled pork; in Hudson, Deli on Rye is it. A long list of classic deli combos many named after surrounding communities adds to the fun, especially when paired with a cold beer.
Elegant, intimate, and friendly, this staple of the Hudson dining scene is a winner. Tapas-like small plates and not-so-small plates make up the menu; but despite the wine-bar motif and an occasional Asian accent, the fare owes much to the classic French bistro, with the depth of flavor that only made-from-scratch cooking can impart.
Like the South's great roadside BBQ stands, this little eatery is tucked into a Plain-Jane building with minimal charm. Fortunately, the tender, slow-smoked meats -- ribs, brisket, pork tenderloin, chicken,turkey,and sausage -- more than make up for it. Add tang with one of a half-dozen house-made sauces representing various regional styles. Carry out or dine in.
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.
Operated by chef Shawn Monday (One Red Door), Flip Side builds its gourmet burgers from all-natural, grass-fed Ohio beef, a welcome change from the corn-fed versions everywhere else. Nearly a dozen different models are available, plus the expected crunchy sides like onion rings, french fries, and housemade potato chips. Great milkshakes and craft beers round out this urban saloon-style eatery.
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.
Blink your eyes as you zip through town, and you're likely to miss this little Italian restaurant and that would be a shame, because the selection is broad, the preparations are sophisticated, and the prices are reasonable. For dessert, don't miss the mascarpone-dense, barely sweetened, homemade tiramisu.
Baker and proprietor John MacMillan left a corporate job to open this bakery. Now he's up to his elbows in dough and couldn't be happier. Crisp baguettes, dense loaves made with organic flours, tender sweet rolls, berry-filled muffins, and old-fashioned cookies come rolling out of John's ovens. Enjoy them at an indoor table with a cup of coffee or tea; better yet, in summer, eat your snack on the breezy porch.
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.
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.
While the atmosphere at this Hyde Park location may be a smidgen less elegant than at its Cleveland-area counterparts, the Prime dry-aged steaks here are second to none. For unforgettable flavor, pick the thick Kansas City bone-in strip. At 20 ounces, this juicy hunk of beef will almost certainly require a doggy bag, but it's one of the best steaks around.
Ken Stewart's newest endeavor is a top-notch restaurant disguised as a fanciful homage to rural rusticity. Fish and seafood are the stars of the contemporary menu, and while the prices are as up-to-date as the preparations, generous portions, imaginative decor, and polished service make a meal here seem like a value. Impressive wine list.
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.
This classy-looking Mexican eatery complete with handsome bar and first-rate tequila selection features well-organized lunch and dinner menus encompassing all the usual crowd-pleasers, including burritos, tacos, and fajitas. But in our book, the savory chicken in mole sauce steals the show.
Dimly lit, slightly scruffy and immensely popular with the locals, circa-1949 Luigi's is the epitome of old-style pizza parlors, complete with Chianti in straw-covered bottles. (It is also alleged to be the inspiration for "Montoni's" in Tom Batiuk's Funky Winkerbean.) Personal faves include the cheese-smothered tossed salad, the ultra-gooey lasagna and of course, the prize-winning pizza, loaded with zesty toppings.
Taking a page from the Big Apple playbook, this pretty little bakeshop is all about cupcakes, in dozens of flavors and garnished with a superlative buttercream frosting. Served on a cupcake-sized plate, a cup of tea on the side, they may well be the sweetest snack in town.
This dim cantina hosts blues and rock bands during and after dinner. Mexican decor includes pottery and photos of Pancho Villa with his motorcycle.
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.
Finally, a proper British tearoom, free of Victorian fuss or clutter, where even manly men can feel welcome. Despite the frivolous name, Mrs. Ticklemore is serious about her top-grade teas, indulgent pastries, and delicious little savories, making the fare at this tearoom as good-tasting as it is refreshing to the spirit.
Warm, welcoming, and handsomely appointed, this upscale Thai restaurant offers a large selection of well-prepared if somewhat understated curries, stir-fries and noodle dishes, including lots of vegetarian creations.
Cantilevered over the mighty Cuyahoga River, this upscale Italian restaurant offers a spectacular view and an impressive dinner menu of imaginative seasonal cuisine, created under the direction of acclaimed Akron chef Roger Thomas.
Like a modern-day roadhouse, noisy, energetic Russo's features a wildly eclectic repertoire of Cajun, Italian, Asian and southwestern-influenced dishes. To really feel part of the action, grab a seat at the bar surrounding the open kitchen, and watch the culinary magic unfold.
A southern outpost of the Shaker Heights original, this well-appointed eatery offers a solid lineup of classic Indian fare, including curries, tandoori dishes, and spicy vindaloos, along with many meat-free options. Besides the standard menu, midday diners can check out the lunch buffet, and on Monday evenings, a vegetarian buffet is a popular draw.
This is what happens when you mix devotion to mindful living with a straight-out passion for delicious food: You get deceptively simple and savory entrées like slow-roasted pork shoulder or braised breast of free-range chicken inspired by seasonal, regional and often organic ingredients, and an artfully rustic ambiance that underscores the handcrafted quality of the cuisine. Yes, it is a long ride to Wooster. But it's worth it.
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