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Brown Bag Burger
The prototype for what owners hope will become a national chain, this cheerful “quick-serve” burger joint offers dribble-down-your-chin double-cheeseburgers, freshly cut fries and a small assortment of sandwiches and freshly made soups.
The city’s best jazz club books headliners from every corner of the genre. The dining room where acts perform — you can have dinner while you listen — was recently redesigned for even better sound and sightlines.
Wilbert’s mixes local acts with touring artists trying to get a toehold in town. Blues, rock, folk, indie, reggae, and jam bands all mingle here, so you’re never quite sure what you’ll hear.
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.
During daylight hours, this anchor of the Warehouse District party scene masquerades as a simple bar and restaurant. But on any weekend, the place becomes a holding pen for a unique cross section of clubbers, from gel-headed fratsters to hip-hoppers to suited execs.
Neighbors have thanked owners Marc and Ruth Levine for "not being another wing-and-beer joint," while others appreciate them for not being too upscale. Bistro 185 takes the glorious middle road, offering hearty made-from-scratch comfort dishes at blue-collar prices.
Still our pick for one of the best dinner values in town, Brennan's manages to combine the vibe of a well-worn bar with the quality of a contemporary bistro. While the kitchen does right by burgers, steaks, and sandwiches, the real thrills are the daily specials — full-meal deals ranging from porkchops, fresh fish, chicken and pasta, pegged at $22 or less.
While real pubs are woven into the fabric of a neighborhood, you’ll find Claddagh (part of a national chain) adrift in the middle of a parking lot, surrounded by a shopping mecca. Once you're inside, though, evocative decor, friendly service and a multipage menu of well-prepared dishes, including a standout version of fish ’n’ chips, help soften the blow. Nor does it hurt that the full bar carries a solid selection of draft beers as well as every Irish whiskey available in the U.S.
You can tell that chefs Brian Okin and Adam Bostwick spend a lot of time thinking about food. At Cork & Cleaver, they routinely push the envelope when concocting cunningly delicious dishes like "Rueben Ribs," chicken and waffles, and pork paprikash. The Board, C&C's version of the ubiquitous charcuterie platter, is packed with roasted bone marrow, seared foie gras and quivering pork belly. Locals say it's like a little taste of Tremont in sleepy Broadview Heights.
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 beefy, barn-style restaurant, formerly a Hoggy's, can accommodate 450 people. Fortunately, chef and owner Demetrios Atheneos knows how to win over diners with his impressive gastropub fare. The massive menu features tacos and flatbreads, snacks and starters, sandwiches and entrees. Fried chicken livers, spicy shrimp tacos, fried walleye dinner and ale-steamed mussels frites are all standouts, as is the impressive craft beer list.
An extensive collection of well-priced cocktails and wine is the major draw at this good-looking martini bar. But when the kitchen’s on its game, the concise menu of modern American and Mediterranean fare earns its props too.
Formerly the Akron Scorcher's and the Tap House, the sport-and-rock-themed Ripper Owens' Tap House now has the former Judas Priest singer as a partner. When he's not on the road, he makes appearances.
Short for Southern hospitality, SoHo serves fresh takes on Low Country, Cajun, and Creole cuisine. On the snappy and cohesive menu are classic Southern staples like shrimp and grits, catfish Po' Boys, and chicken and waffles, all dressed up for a more demanding modern audience. Even the cocktails scream Deep South, with bourbon, rye and moonshine-fueled bevies going down like sweet tea on a sticky summer day.
An unpretentious neighborhood bar on steroids, sprawling Stampers offers an extensive menu of craft and draft beers, a familiar but well-executed pub menu, and a roster of some of the area’s top blues and rock performers and singer-songwriters.
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