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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Launched by Wooster chef-restaurateur Mike Mariola, the Rail is one of the most attractive adaptations of the gourmet burger bar to hit Northeast Ohio. Mariola's meat methodology consists of using local, grain-fed beef for his meaty half-pounders. Pair them with crunchy starters and sides, great craft beers, creamy hand-dipped milkshakes, and a trio of salads.
Nestled on the edge of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this lovingly built, family-owned and -operated winery, wine bar, and crafts gallery offers a small lineup of paninis and simple noshes to accompany the sweet Ohio wines. No one claims it's gourmet fare, but the rustic setting and pastoral views make it well worth a visit.
An Akron tradition since 1934, this old-fashioned drive-in (now with seven Northeast Ohio locations) is home to the beloved Galley Boy double cheeseburger, along with a substantial array of sandwiches, soups, salads, and thick shakes and malts. Hint: Try an order of deep-fried mushrooms for a juicy change of pace.
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.
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.
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