Cleveland: Food Capital, USA

No shortage of acclaim was bestowed upon our esteemed dining scene in the past year

Cleveland: Food Capital, USA

Who could have predicted that Cleveland would have progressed from scrappy underdog to media darling in such a short time?

While there has been a steady trickle of positive media buzz surrounding our fair city's food and drink scene over the past few years, lately, it seems, Cleveland officially is "the next big thing."

Here are just of few of the high-profile nods.

The New York Times Travel section included Cleveland among destinations like Milan, Cuba and Papua New Guinea in its recent "52 Places to Go in 2015" list.

"A comeback fueled by art, culture and King James," they declared, where "waterfront warehouses are being transformed into restaurants and retail spaces."

No less a travel authority than Travel + Leisure deemed Cleveland worthy of inclusion in its recent feature on "Best Places to Travel in 2015." "One of downtown's most buzzed-about 2015 openings is Mabel's BBQ from Iron Chef and native son Michael Symon, who wants to establish a Cleveland-style barbecue. The innovative local food scene also counts farm-to-table Flying Fig and Mitchell's Ice Cream."

Fodor's just gave readers "5 Reasons to Visit Cleveland Now," with nods to our green spaces, arts scene, and expanding culinary scene. "The fact that Anthony Bourdain filmed an entire episode of No Reservations in Cleveland in 2007 is proof enough that the city's foodie scene is one of the strongest in the country." Specific mentions of Michael Symon, Doug Katz, Zack Bruell and Jonathon Sawyer all appear.

The LA Times added Cleveland to its round-up of "15 destinations for travelers to set their sights on in 2015," while Buzzfeed included Cleveland along with Patagonia, the Czech Republic, and Singapore in its listicle of "16 Spectacular Places To Travel In 2015."

Huffington Post gave readers "9 Reasons Why You Should Fly to Cleveland Right Now," stating that our city is home to "some very good, non-annoying celebrity chefs."

ABC Travel Guides for Kids predicted that Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Detroit all will feature prominently "as families seek a heavy dose of culture, sports and one-of-a-kind experiences for U.S. Family Travel in 2015." For a dining experience like no other, they say, visit Sokolowski's.

Popular travel scribe Carri Wilbanks touted Cleveland on her Catch Carri site, noting that "It's Not Just the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame." The food scene in Cleveland is both creative and diverse, she says. "Find everything from pizza and cannolis in Little Italy, Vietnamese in Asia Town and celebrity chef owned restaurants on E. 4th in the downtown core."

The Wall Street Journal recently shared "A Visit to the Home Kitchen of Cleveland Chef Jonathon Sawyer," where they chatted about ways that parents and kids can collaborate in the kitchen and Sawyer's own kitchen, which is undergoing renovations.

Meanwhile, Alimentari mag just dined at and loved Flour Restaurant, which "Brings Italian Philosophy to a Cleveland Kitchen." They raved about chef Paul Minnillo and Matt Mytro's food, including the pancetta-wrapped, chorizo-stuffed dates, which "will haunt your tastebuds long after you have left."

Cleveland's booming beer scene nearly rivaled the food scene in terms of media love, with the likes of Condé Nast Traveler including our town among "America's Best Beer Cities, As Chosen by Beer Experts." "The freshest flavors and most creative styles pour in places like Cleveland, home to super-small-batch start-ups such as Platform, Nano, and Market Garden."

Brew York recently planned a "beercation" to Cleveland, where it found a little slice of hoppy heaven. "Like many American cities, Cleveland now boasts a bona fide beer neighborhood: Ohio City. This area has a strangle-hold on craft beer with four breweries, two noteworthy beer bars, and a lineup of restaurants that have embraced the locally-brewed liquid."

Thrillist tagged Cleveland as one of "7 of the Most Underrated Food Cities in America," and just recently called Fat Head Brewery's Head Hunter IPA one of the best IPAs in the country. "It's one of the first real West Coast IPA recipes brewed East of the Mississippi, and it has a wonderful, intense, citrusy, and tropical fruit hop character, with substantial balanced bitterness," notes Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing Co.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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