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.
Part family restaurant, part community meeting place, this locally owned-and-operated eatery has been dishing it out for nearly three decades, to the delight of a devoted clientele. The enormous menu rambles from Reubens and blintzes to quesadillas, pork chops, and chicken Marsala with varying degrees of success. But the hot pastrami? That has never, ever let us down.
In addition to offering hot dogs with dozens of toppings, the Dog slathers on the live music — with an emphasis on local indie-style bands, mixed with some cool out-of-town rockers you wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
This aromatic eatery offers authentic Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes, flavored with ingredients like fresh Asian basil, lemongrass, and coconut milk. Much of the menu is devoted to noodles, including an assortment of pad Thai. Cash only. Carryout only.
Every college campus needs a nearby spot like Mama Santa's, with its retro vibe, cheap wine, and stunningly inexpensive Italian eats. Thin, greaseless, crisp-crusted pizza is the specialty of the casa; when you and the gang can score a 15-incher for less than 10 bucks, who cares if there's a wait for a table?
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun-Thurs, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fri-Sat
If you miss Mom's cooking, this is the place to get your fix. Big Al's has all the comforting favorites, like thick, steaming soups, housemade mashed potatoes with gravy, open-faced roast beef sandwiches and chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is served until the diner's late-afternoon closing time.
Classic American-style diner food is the star at Big Egg. While most days, the hours are a reasonable 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., an around-the-clock schedule is observed on Fridays and Saturdays, making it the ideal spot for sobering up after last call at nearby bars and clubs.
The menu at chef Nate Williams' Ohio City sandwich shop is as crisp as an album's track list. Just eight giant sammies: no soups, no sides, no desserts. All the meats are marinated, brined, and roasted in-house, and the drippings from each are reserved for use as gravy. Most of the sandwiches are modeled after classic American varieties and can be had drenched in jus or topped with chips for crunch. Best of all, the shop stays open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Mainly carryout.
Adjacent to Arts Collinwood, this corner storefront is a multimedia café hosting art openings, jazz recitals, and the Waterloo film series, as well as serving a light menu of savories and sweets. Wine, beer and cocktails are served, and patio seating is available.
Commuters who missed the upscale breakfast-and-lunch options at Juniper Grille can take comfort in Carnegie Kitchen, which seems to have picked up where that diner left off. Chef-owner Jeff Uniatowski, formerly of Mise and House of Blue, crafts a value-driven menu with broad appeal. Contemporary versions of diner classics like steak and eggs, corned beef hash and bagels and lox give way to chopped salads, mile-high Reubens, and grilled-salmon sandwiches.
The main attraction at this downtown bar and grill is the 40 beers on tap always fresh, always rotating. To go with, pick the fresh, hand-formed burgers on a pretzel bun. The casual atmosphere includes plenty of TVs tuned to sports, making it just right for a Gateway-district beer break.
Quickly becoming downtowners' favorite lunch stop, Josh Kabat's casual sandwich shop features almost a dozen meaty, Cleveland-themed creations. The Terminal, for example, combines Black Forest ham, brie, mustard and apricot jam in a soft 8-inch sub bun. Dining is mainly carryout, but a few tables accommodate those who can't wait to dig in.
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.
This sleekly outfitted restaurant and bar has a view like no other, overlooking the promenades of the elaborate, historic, and exquisitely restored Arcade. The glam setting, in combination with well-prepared breakfast and lunch fare, makes it a fine choice for travelers and downtown workers alike.
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