Our City, Our Food: Sample the Best of What Cleveland Has to Offer


What if you could grab a tray and slide down the buffet of your dreams, with all of your favorite iconic Cleveland eats in one place? If we could build and stock that buffet, it might include the following morsels.


What: Those wonderful potato-and-cheese stuffed dumplings

Why: Cleveland's Eastern European immigrants brought them generations ago, and they've been a beloved staple of the city's cuisine ever since

Where: Your first stop should be Sokolowski's University Inn, whose name has become synonymous with the dish. Also hit Parma's Perla Homemade Delight (pictured), where dozens of flavors are sold by the, well, dozen

Polish Boy

What: The glorious, messy marriage of kielbasa, cole slaw, french fries and barbecue sauce

Why: Every city has its claim to fame, and in Cleveland, our fate will forever be intertwined with the Polish Boy

Where: Add chili and cheese to your Polish Boy at the famous Seti's truck perennially parked at Dean Supply; or douse your dog with special sauce at Hot Sauce Williams

Bertman's Original Ballpark Mustard

What: The brown sauce we grew up with while watching the Tribe at Municipal Stadium, the Jake, and Progressive Field

Why: The sports-associated condiment has deep roots in Cleveland, with Bertman's battling its rival, Authentic Stadium Mustard, for fans' loyalty

Where: Find it smothered on Fat Head's Brewery's Brewben pastrami sandwich or layered on a Happy Dog hot dog topped with Spaghetti-O's as a hat tip to native son Chef Boyardee

Corned Beef

What: The sandwich stacked high on rye with mustard

Why: Nothing fuels a debate in Cleveland faster than asking which shop serves the best version of this Jewish soul food

Where: Slyman's has long been the home of Cleveland's best-loved corned beef, but Jack's Deli, Corky & Lenny's and Mr. Brisket ain't chopped liver either

Chicken Paprikash

What: The paprika-stewed Hungarian comfort food

Why: With a significant number of Hungarians settling in Cleveland during the 19th and 20th centuries, this traditional dish was a soulful inevitability

Where: Venture to the Clubhouse, a unpretentious Parma pub, for a home-style meal, or head east to Sterle's Country House (pictured) and add a side of stuffed cabbage

Bratwurst Sandwich

What: A 'sandwich' made with the perfectly spiced German-style sausage

Why: Frank's Bratwurst has been "serving the wurst since 1970," whether piled high with kraut and horseradish, or served plain with brown mustard

Where: The West Side Market used to be the only place to snag the famous Frank's, but a brat-mobile launched in 2011 has taken his famous sandwiches to the streets

Pizza Bagels

What: The doughy rolls coated in cheese and tomato sauce

Why: Cleveland's Frickaccio's was one of the earliest purveyors of the pizza bagel, tempting none other than President Obama, who stocked up on the bagels before heading back to the White House

Where: Frickaccio's has been slinging pizza bagels from the West Side Market for years, but recently expanded to a cafe in Fairview Park


What: The decadently sweet cake that received the Cleveland treatment

Why: Cleveland pastry chefs put a local spin on this classic by swapping out ricotta and candied fruit for custard and strawberry filling

Where: Stop into Corbo's Bakery or Baraona's Bakery (pictured), where Cleveland's take on cassata is a shop specialty

Coconut Bars

What: The airy, chocolate-dipped cakes dusted in flaky coconut

Why: The sweet treats were perfected by Cleveland Jewish bakeries decades ago

Where: Peruse the glass cases of Pincus Bakery in Cleveland Heights or stop by Little Italy's bustling Presti's Bakery


What: The deep-fried, jam-filled, doughnut-like Polish pastries

Why: The pre-Lent Paczki Day celebration is Cleveland's favorite way to exalt our temptations before we give up everything fun

Where: Visit the Slavic Village-based Seven Roses Deli (pictured) for authentic Polish fare and make plans to attend Kiedrowski's Simply Delicious Bakery's annual Paczki Ball