Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Eating by the Book 

Cleveland Ethnic Eats author relishes her work.

You'd think by now that Laura Taxel, that fearless eater, would be tired of thinking about Cleveland's ethnic eateries. After all, she's been writing the book -- literally -- on the region's ethnic restaurants, bakeries, and markets since 1995; the 2004 edition of Cleveland Ethnic Eats ($13.95 at area bookstores) marks the fourth time she has updated the guide to Cleveland's foreign fare.

The newest edition, released at the end of last year, includes descriptions of 380 authentic ethnic eateries and markets. Forty-five of the listings are new, and more than 20 of them come from the Akron area.

While Taxel remains preternaturally slim, her book has grown fatter each year, a development she credits to Northeast Ohioans' increased culinary sophistication. "We've traveled more, we've tried more things, and we've become more open to hot and spicy foods -- more willing to have our palates challenged," she notes. "As a result, we now have a lively, growing ethnic dining scene -- which, incidentally, is a good barometer of our cultural climate."

Taxel swears that her steady diet of palak paneer, falafel, and pho isn't getting stale. "I admit I never expected it to become a cottage industry," she laughs. "But it's been so much fun and taken me to so many special places that it's truly an endless pleasure!"

Like a ton of bricks . . . Restaurateur Andy Himmel's sense of humor appears to be in fine form. When his long-awaited jazz and supper club, Boulevard Blue (12718 Larchmere Boulevard, 216-721-5500), finally opens on March 12, "Falling Roof Ale" will top the beer list. A Killian's-style beer created for the restaurant by Rock Bottom Brewery, Falling Roof pays tongue-in-cheek homage to last summer's roof collapse that nearly destroyed Himmel's career plans. But the original building's sudden disintegration during renovations has turned out to be a good thing: Himmel and executive chef Scott Wuennemann got brand-new digs out of it, plus a heap of publicity.

Pasta, present, future . . . The lounge at the old New York Spaghetti House (2173 East 9th Street) reopened in January. Now, the kitchen should be all fired up in time for the start of baseball season. GM Nick Vroutos (former owner of the Cleveland Grill, before his cousin, Dino Tsarnas, took the helm) says the restaurant's new owners not only bought the building and the name, but the rights to all the former owner's popular Southern Italian recipes -- including the famous "brown sauce." Vroutos expects to bring a chef on board in the next few weeks. The restaurant, one of Cleveland's oldest, closed in 2001 after a 74-year run.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.