The 23 Hottest Restaurants In Cleveland

With the pandemic slowing down, more and more people want to spend a night out on the town. Luckily, between new restaurants, new locations of existing restaurants, new menus, new concepts and reopening of familiar restaurants, there are a ton of options that you just have to get to soon. Here's the 23 hottest restaurants in town.

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 Pizzeria DiLauro
17800 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls 
For three years, pizza lovers in Northeast Ohio got to know Adam DiLauro and his pies thanks to the Pizzeria DiLauro food truck, a mobile trailer with a built-in wood-fired oven. Last winter, DiLauro parked the rig to refocus his attentions on a brick-and-mortar pizzeria of the same name. When it opened in February in Chagrin Falls, Pizzeria DiLauro brought a little taste of the East Coast to the far East Side. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Pizzeria DiLauro

17800 Chillicothe Rd., Chagrin Falls

For three years, pizza lovers in Northeast Ohio got to know Adam DiLauro and his pies thanks to the Pizzeria DiLauro food truck, a mobile trailer with a built-in wood-fired oven. Last winter, DiLauro parked the rig to refocus his attentions on a brick-and-mortar pizzeria of the same name. When it opened in February in Chagrin Falls, Pizzeria DiLauro brought a little taste of the East Coast to the far East Side.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Momocho and El Carnicero
1835 Fulton Rd. and 16918 Detroit Ave., Cleveland
Apart from a brief couple of weeks last fall, both Momocho and El Carnicerohave been closed to dine-in customers, relying solely on carry-out business to see them through the pandemic. And that’s just what they’ve done, says chef and owner Eric Williams. But now, the chef is ready to welcome diners back into both establishments. In fact, Williams quietly opened the doors to both his Lakewood and Ohio City businesses last week. The under-the-radar approach afforded him and his staff the opportunity to prepare at their own speed. When they return, diners might notice new lighting, fresh paint and generously spaced tables in the dining rooms and patios.
Photo via Scene Archives

Momocho and El Carnicero

1835 Fulton Rd. and 16918 Detroit Ave., Cleveland

Apart from a brief couple of weeks last fall, both Momocho and El Carnicerohave been closed to dine-in customers, relying solely on carry-out business to see them through the pandemic. And that’s just what they’ve done, says chef and owner Eric Williams. But now, the chef is ready to welcome diners back into both establishments. In fact, Williams quietly opened the doors to both his Lakewood and Ohio City businesses last week. The under-the-radar approach afforded him and his staff the opportunity to prepare at their own speed. When they return, diners might notice new lighting, fresh paint and generously spaced tables in the dining rooms and patios.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Blu
3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood
Save for a few weeks of take-out service, Blu in Beachwood was closed since the start of the pandemic. Instead of sulk, owner Brad Friedlander used the downtime to reinvent the restaurant. When it reopened on Wednesday, April 28, it did so in name only. Diners can look forward to a new chef, a new menu and a fresh look. “We're opening a new restaurant with the same name,” says executive chef Brian Moses. “The entire menu is new, except for the Moxie burger, which we wanted to keep for nostalgia.” 
Photo via Scene Archives

Blu

3355 Richmond Rd., Beachwood

Save for a few weeks of take-out service, Blu in Beachwood was closed since the start of the pandemic. Instead of sulk, owner Brad Friedlander used the downtime to reinvent the restaurant. When it reopened on Wednesday, April 28, it did so in name only. Diners can look forward to a new chef, a new menu and a fresh look. “We're opening a new restaurant with the same name,” says executive chef Brian Moses. “The entire menu is new, except for the Moxie burger, which we wanted to keep for nostalgia.”

Photo via Scene Archives
 Blessed Cafe
401 Euclid Ave., Cleveland
This past February, The Blessed Cafe joined the food offerings in Cleveland’s Old Arcade. Opened by chef Denise Santiago, who moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico 10 years ago, the casual restaurant specializes in Latin foods. Guests can expect a rotating selection of hearty, homestyle foods like roasted chicken, beef stew, fried pork chops and stuffed pork loin. Typically two or three meat dishes are on offer each day, paired with sides like white rice and beans, yellow rice with pigeon peas, potato salad and fried plantains. For dessert, there’s tres leches and tembleque, a coconut pudding. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Blessed Cafe

401 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

This past February, The Blessed Cafe joined the food offerings in Cleveland’s Old Arcade. Opened by chef Denise Santiago, who moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico 10 years ago, the casual restaurant specializes in Latin foods. Guests can expect a rotating selection of hearty, homestyle foods like roasted chicken, beef stew, fried pork chops and stuffed pork loin. Typically two or three meat dishes are on offer each day, paired with sides like white rice and beans, yellow rice with pigeon peas, potato salad and fried plantains. For dessert, there’s tres leches and tembleque, a coconut pudding.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Zhug
12413 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights
If industry watchers are looking for signs of recovery in the restaurant world, there are worse people to observe than Doug Katz. The Cleveland chef and owner famously shuttered his 20-year-old flagship eatery Fire at the outset of the pandemic because he saw the writing on the wall. But at the beginning of April, for the first time since March of 2020, Katz reopened his new flagship eatery, Zhug in Cleveland Heights, for dine-in service. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Zhug

12413 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights

If industry watchers are looking for signs of recovery in the restaurant world, there are worse people to observe than Doug Katz. The Cleveland chef and owner famously shuttered his 20-year-old flagship eatery Fire at the outset of the pandemic because he saw the writing on the wall. But at the beginning of April, for the first time since March of 2020, Katz reopened his new flagship eatery, Zhug in Cleveland Heights, for dine-in service.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Vero Pizza
12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights
Marc-Aurele Buholzer has been baking pizzas in the same oven for nearly a dozen years, nine as the owner of Vero Pizza and two and half as the chef of its predecessor La Gelateria. Soon, he will be receiving and installing his “dream oven,” an Acunto from Naples. He says that his current wood-burning oven, while clearly more than serviceable, was not created as a true pizza oven. It was only through very intense wood management systems that he was able to get such consistent results from it. The timeline is expected to take four to five weeks and require a two- or three-week closure of the restaurant. Until the closure, Vero will be a weekend-only take-out operation. When the dust settles, Vero will open for dine-in service for the first time in more than 15 months. In addition to a full-capacity dining room, there will be an expanded outdoor seating area out front. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Vero Pizza

12421 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Heights

Marc-Aurele Buholzer has been baking pizzas in the same oven for nearly a dozen years, nine as the owner of Vero Pizza and two and half as the chef of its predecessor La Gelateria. Soon, he will be receiving and installing his “dream oven,” an Acunto from Naples. He says that his current wood-burning oven, while clearly more than serviceable, was not created as a true pizza oven. It was only through very intense wood management systems that he was able to get such consistent results from it. The timeline is expected to take four to five weeks and require a two- or three-week closure of the restaurant. Until the closure, Vero will be a weekend-only take-out operation. When the dust settles, Vero will open for dine-in service for the first time in more than 15 months. In addition to a full-capacity dining room, there will be an expanded outdoor seating area out front.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Avo Modern Mexican
2058 West 25th St., Cleveland
In four short years, Gabriel Zeller and Julie Mesenburg have gone from operating a single taco bar in Sandusky to overseeing a multi-concept portfolio of popular eateries that spans counties. The husband-and-wife team’s hands-on approach has propelled a rapid expansion eastward with stops in Amherst, Rocky River and now Ohio City with Avo. While the opportunity to flip Bakersfield to Avo Modern Mexican, Zeller and Mesenburg’s latest concept, might have been fortuitous, the owners’ ability to take on the project was no accident. With each new concept, Zeller and Mesenburg appear to elevate their game. Whereas Barra is a casual taco- and tequila-fueled restaurant, Avo is more of a finer-dining style modern Mexican bistro. There are tacos, sure, but they’re just one item tucked into a broad, diverse and appealing menu.
Photo via Scene Archives

Avo Modern Mexican

2058 West 25th St., Cleveland

In four short years, Gabriel Zeller and Julie Mesenburg have gone from operating a single taco bar in Sandusky to overseeing a multi-concept portfolio of popular eateries that spans counties. The husband-and-wife team’s hands-on approach has propelled a rapid expansion eastward with stops in Amherst, Rocky River and now Ohio City with Avo. While the opportunity to flip Bakersfield to Avo Modern Mexican, Zeller and Mesenburg’s latest concept, might have been fortuitous, the owners’ ability to take on the project was no accident. With each new concept, Zeller and Mesenburg appear to elevate their game. Whereas Barra is a casual taco- and tequila-fueled restaurant, Avo is more of a finer-dining style modern Mexican bistro. There are tacos, sure, but they’re just one item tucked into a broad, diverse and appealing menu.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Twisted Taino
1400 West 25th St., Cleveland
For nearly a decade, Jose Melendez has been steadily marching toward his goal of opening a Latin-inspired restaurant, overcoming setbacks with the full force of an NFL running back. Luckily for diners, he finally opened Twisted Taino in Ohio City and when you visit, you’ll see the cultures and flavors of Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico and various Caribbean ports of call “twisted” into delicious new ways. The eclectic menu items might not always look familiar, but the taste is undeniably authentic. 
Photo via Scene Archives

Twisted Taino

1400 West 25th St., Cleveland

For nearly a decade, Jose Melendez has been steadily marching toward his goal of opening a Latin-inspired restaurant, overcoming setbacks with the full force of an NFL running back. Luckily for diners, he finally opened Twisted Taino in Ohio City and when you visit, you’ll see the cultures and flavors of Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico and various Caribbean ports of call “twisted” into delicious new ways. The eclectic menu items might not always look familiar, but the taste is undeniably authentic.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Cent’s Pizza
5010 Lorain Ave., Cleveland
For nearly two and half years, we have been following the progress of Vincent Morelli as he has endeavored to open Cent's Pizza on the western edge of Ohio City. The ambitious project required a total renovation of the former PM Security building on Lorain (5010 Lorain Ave.) by the landlord. Like many projects, this one was stalled by the events of last year. Now, however, Morelli has crossed a major milestone. While the shop won't be open until July for dine-in service, it has begun selling pizzas for carry-out. They must be ordered in advance for Friday, Saturday and Sunday pick-ups, typically selling out far in advance of the weekend.
Photo via Scene Archives

Cent’s Pizza

5010 Lorain Ave., Cleveland

For nearly two and half years, we have been following the progress of Vincent Morelli as he has endeavored to open Cent's Pizza on the western edge of Ohio City. The ambitious project required a total renovation of the former PM Security building on Lorain (5010 Lorain Ave.) by the landlord. Like many projects, this one was stalled by the events of last year. Now, however, Morelli has crossed a major milestone. While the shop won't be open until July for dine-in service, it has begun selling pizzas for carry-out. They must be ordered in advance for Friday, Saturday and Sunday pick-ups, typically selling out far in advance of the weekend.

Photo via Scene Archives
 Proper Pig Smokehouse
17100 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
The Proper Pig in Lakewood turne five years old this coming April, and when that date rolled around, owners Shane Vidovic and Ted Dupaski had plenty to celebrate. For most of COVID, they focused solely on carry-out but recently reopened in March with many new features, including a brand new full bar. Proper Pig now has a selection of draft beer for the first time, including two proprietary labels from Cleveland’s Jolly Scholar. The Pig also has a special arrangement with Ole Smoky Moonshine. The Proper Pig might even bring in some live music and debut theme nights down the road, adds Vidovic.
Photo via Scene Archives

Proper Pig Smokehouse

17100 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

The Proper Pig in Lakewood turne five years old this coming April, and when that date rolled around, owners Shane Vidovic and Ted Dupaski had plenty to celebrate. For most of COVID, they focused solely on carry-out but recently reopened in March with many new features, including a brand new full bar. Proper Pig now has a selection of draft beer for the first time, including two proprietary labels from Cleveland’s Jolly Scholar. The Pig also has a special arrangement with Ole Smoky Moonshine. The Proper Pig might even bring in some live music and debut theme nights down the road, adds Vidovic.

Photo via Scene Archives