November 22, 2019

The 22 Most Important Old-School Lunch Spots in Cleveland

We're talking lunch. Because everyone needs that perfect lunch spot. Uncomplicated, simple. The perfect meal to break up the day. These 22 spots have been doing it forever in Cleveland, so check them out.

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 Nate’s Deli
1923 West 25th St., Cleveland 
Before West 25th became the West 25th that it is today, there was Nate’s Deli. While the neighborhood grows and changes, this family institution remains an enduring fixture. With such a devoted following for both the American deli and the Middle Eastern classics sides of its menu, how could this venerable urban lunch spot not keep the flame burning brightly? King-sized pastrami sandwiches, heaping plates of schwarma and stuffed pita rolls are all filling takeaways while on a work break or before or after trips to the West Side Market.
Photo via Nate’s Deli/Facebook

Nate’s Deli

1923 West 25th St., Cleveland

Before West 25th became the West 25th that it is today, there was Nate’s Deli. While the neighborhood grows and changes, this family institution remains an enduring fixture. With such a devoted following for both the American deli and the Middle Eastern classics sides of its menu, how could this venerable urban lunch spot not keep the flame burning brightly? King-sized pastrami sandwiches, heaping plates of schwarma and stuffed pita rolls are all filling takeaways while on a work break or before or after trips to the West Side Market.

Photo via Nate’s Deli/Facebook
 Heck’s Cafe
2927 Bridge Ave., Cleveland
If you’re on a search for the best burgers in town, Heck’s is surely not to be overlooked, as they’ve been serving up burgers since 1974. If you can handle the spice, the Hot Fire Burger is the way to go. Don’t forget an order of Heck’s Fries, topped with salt and pepper and a side of malt vinegar aioli. In addition to their original Ohio City location, they’ve expanded to Avon and opened a Heck’s Express downtown.
Photo via Scene Archives

Heck’s Cafe

2927 Bridge Ave., Cleveland

If you’re on a search for the best burgers in town, Heck’s is surely not to be overlooked, as they’ve been serving up burgers since 1974. If you can handle the spice, the Hot Fire Burger is the way to go. Don’t forget an order of Heck’s Fries, topped with salt and pepper and a side of malt vinegar aioli. In addition to their original Ohio City location, they’ve expanded to Avon and opened a Heck’s Express downtown.

Photo via Scene Archives
 The Place To Be
1391 Warren Rd., Lakewood
Good food, great prices and a family atmosphere is the name of the game at this Lakewood greasy spoon. The menu claims that they have the “best biggest omelettes in town” and who are we to argue?
Photo via The Place To Be/Facebook

The Place To Be

1391 Warren Rd., Lakewood

Good food, great prices and a family atmosphere is the name of the game at this Lakewood greasy spoon. The menu claims that they have the “best biggest omelettes in town” and who are we to argue?

Photo via The Place To Be/Facebook
 Superior Pho
3030 Superior Ave., Cleveland 
Because pho is an essential part of a balanced diet, not to mention one's sanity, noodle shops like this one hold a very important place in our lives. Winter or summer, a bowl of pho is more than food; it's a restorative elixir that sets us on a brighter path. Crispy spring rolls, citrusy cabbage salad, and meaty banh mi sammies also make us happy, so it's a good thing that the versions served at this perfectly acceptable dining room are as delicious as the noodle soup.
Photo via Scene Archives

Superior Pho

3030 Superior Ave., Cleveland

Because pho is an essential part of a balanced diet, not to mention one's sanity, noodle shops like this one hold a very important place in our lives. Winter or summer, a bowl of pho is more than food; it's a restorative elixir that sets us on a brighter path. Crispy spring rolls, citrusy cabbage salad, and meaty banh mi sammies also make us happy, so it's a good thing that the versions served at this perfectly acceptable dining room are as delicious as the noodle soup.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Sokolowski’s University Inn
1201 University Rd., Cleveland
The Sokolowski family has run this notable restaurant that was opened in 1923, making it the oldest family-owned restaurant in the city. Line up at the counter, select staples like pierogies and paprikash and their reuben, and you won’t be disappointed. Sokolowski’s was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate," selected by Michael Symon. 
Photo via Sokolowski’s University Inn/Facebook

Sokolowski’s University Inn

1201 University Rd., Cleveland

The Sokolowski family has run this notable restaurant that was opened in 1923, making it the oldest family-owned restaurant in the city. Line up at the counter, select staples like pierogies and paprikash and their reuben, and you won’t be disappointed. Sokolowski’s was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate," selected by Michael Symon.

Photo via Sokolowski’s University Inn/Facebook
 Slyman’s
3106 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland
16 tons and what do you get? The best corned beef sandwich in Cleveland. They still slice every sandwich to order, and every sandwich still towers above much of the competition. Amaze your friends by ordering in Slymaneze: a “natural” means plain; “original” comes with mustard; and “Smurf” buys you one with Swiss and mustard (which ain’t kosher, by the way).
Photo via Scene Archives

Slyman’s

3106 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland

16 tons and what do you get? The best corned beef sandwich in Cleveland. They still slice every sandwich to order, and every sandwich still towers above much of the competition. Amaze your friends by ordering in Slymaneze: a “natural” means plain; “original” comes with mustard; and “Smurf” buys you one with Swiss and mustard (which ain’t kosher, by the way).

Photo via Scene Archives
 West Side Market Cafe
1979 West 25th St., Cleveland
For price, ambience, and first-class people-watching, no place tops the West Side Market Café in the venerable West Side Market's southeast corner. And the food is really good.
Photo via West Side Market Cafe/Facebook

West Side Market Cafe

1979 West 25th St., Cleveland

For price, ambience, and first-class people-watching, no place tops the West Side Market Café in the venerable West Side Market's southeast corner. And the food is really good.

Photo via West Side Market Cafe/Facebook
 Vincenzas
603 Prospect Ave. East, Cleveland 
This pizza joint, located just outside the Fifth Street Arcades, has been called the best pizza in Cleveland by renowned chef Michael Symon.
Photo via Vincenza’s Pizza and Pasta/Facebook

Vincenzas

603 Prospect Ave. East, Cleveland

This pizza joint, located just outside the Fifth Street Arcades, has been called the best pizza in Cleveland by renowned chef Michael Symon.

Photo via Vincenza’s Pizza and Pasta/Facebook
 Rubin’s Family Restaurant
14651 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
This 24-haunt is the perfect place for people watching and to grab lunch. Located a stones throw from the entertainment district of Kamm's Corner, Rubin's caters to families and buzzed up patrons. The gyro omelette is a delicious, unique dish.
Photo via Rubin’s Deli and Restaurant/Facebook

Rubin’s Family Restaurant

14651 Lorain Ave., Cleveland

This 24-haunt is the perfect place for people watching and to grab lunch. Located a stones throw from the entertainment district of Kamm's Corner, Rubin's caters to families and buzzed up patrons. The gyro omelette is a delicious, unique dish.

Photo via Rubin’s Deli and Restaurant/Facebook
 My Friends Restaurant
11616 Detroit Rd., Cleveland
Ask most people and the name My Friends Restaurant is what first comes to mind for the ultimate late night breakfast eatery. This 24-hour Lakewood/Cleveland border haunt serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day, but the people watching is priceless after midnight. 
Photo via @Cle_Chi/Instagram

My Friends Restaurant

11616 Detroit Rd., Cleveland

Ask most people and the name My Friends Restaurant is what first comes to mind for the ultimate late night breakfast eatery. This 24-hour Lakewood/Cleveland border haunt serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day, but the people watching is priceless after midnight.

Photo via @Cle_Chi/Instagram