Buy, Sell or Hold: Here Are Some Local Dining Trends That We Can't Get Enough Of, Can't Get Away From, or Are Enjoying Just Fine, Thanks

Put an Egg on It!: Sell

It used to be that eggs were for breakfast – plain and simple. Now they come on every other dish in town, from hamburgers and tamales to pizza and asparagus. Fried eggs are now a required addition to the Sides portion of most menus because apparently, runny eggs go on absolutely everything. We respectfully disagree.

Mmm Donuts: Buy

Have a warm donut straight from the bubbly cauldron of oil and you'll forever turn your powder sugar-covered nose up at every box of cold dough pucks from here to eternity. Donuts are best enjoyed hot, fresh and by the dozen, making local donut shops – of which we are sorely lacking – an absolute must for any respectable neighborhood.

I Smell Bacon: Sell

We get it – bacon tastes gooooood. It tastes good with eggs, it tastes good on donuts, it tastes good in milkshakes, and it tastes good wrapped around a hot dog and submerged in fryer grease. You know when bacon doesn't taste good? When you eat it every day for a week. The reason we fell in love with bacon in the first place was because it was a rare and special treat. How quaint.

Neapolitan-Style Pizza: Hold

Traditionally built for one, these thin, crisp and sparingly topped pies have next to nothing in common with thick, doughy delivery pizza or floppy, cheese-shellacked New York-style pie. Add in the flavors of real wood, the blistered char that comes from hellish heat, and the gentle touch of a skilled pizzaiolo, and you have the makings of an undying and welcome trend. In the wrong hands, it's a waste of perfectly good wood.

Extravagant Burgers: Sell

Foie gras is not a topping. Lobster is not a topping. Gold leaf, for the love of jeebus, is not a topping. Let's be frank here; nobody is buying your $50 hamburgers. They are on the menu solely so media twits like us will cover them, your restaurant, and most important, you. Runny eggs? Now those are toppings.

Taco Tuesday: Hold

If it's Tuesday, it must be tacos. Tacos here, tacos there, tacos just about everywhere. A dollop of meat and veg wrapped in starch, tacos are the perfect meal – except when they're not. If you sell a tablespoon of mystery meat in a cold, thick flour tortilla, we don't care how cheap the taco is, it's inedible. Expend the extra effort to warm your flour, or crunchy corn, or better still, soft corn shell and we'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a dozen tacos today.

Mason Jar Glasses: Sell

Have you ever actually tried drinking out of a Mason jar? They're the original Dribble cup. There's a reason drinking glasses don't have threaded rims: because those wide threads, while great for forming a tight seal with the lid and band of the jar, do not form one with a human's lips. And don't think about popping a straw into the glass – that's just tacky.

Real BBQ: Buy

Those so-called "fall-off-the-bone" ribs sold at your neighborhood tavern do not qualify as barbecue. They have been boiled or steamed into submission before receiving a last-minute blast on the grill. In most hands, those all-in-one, wood pellet-fed electrical units aren't much better. Apart from two or three decent barbecue joints in all of Northeast Ohio, the BBQ scene here is reliably depressing.

Korean BBQ: Buy, Buy, Buy

When Seoul Hot Pot closed earlier this year, Cleveland lost its only true Korean barbecue joint. Sitting around the grill tables here with friends while grilling up marinated slices of beef short rib was one of the most enjoyable dining experiences in town. Now that's gone, and all we have in its wake are those sad little tabletop units at other Korean restaurants that steam the meat into tough and chewy strands.

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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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