Brunch is a big deal for Clevelanders. Here's our pick of 10 to check out.
Dinerbar on Clifton
11801 Clifton Blvd., Lakewood, 216-521-5003, dinerbaronclifton.com
Loyal fans of the original Diner on Clifton, which operated for 17 years just 160 meters away from the new Dinerbar on Clifton, will quickly observe how much has changed. But they will also appreciate how much has stayed the same. They're packing them in on weekends for brunch, thanks to full bar service and reliable breakfast fare served all day. Well-made corned beef hash ($9.95) is delicious any time, especially when it features fat and salty chunks of meat, tender potatoes and sweet sauteed onions beneath a roof of over-easy eggs. The dish is joined by a handful of other egg dishes that can be ordered clear up till close. Items such as French toast, pancakes and eggs Benedict are reserved for mornings and weekend brunch only. One of the brightest storylines at Dinerbar is the sweets program, overseen by pastry chef Annabella Andricks. A glass-fronted display case taunts guests with mile-high salted caramel cheesecakes, giant swirled Ho-Hos and rainbow-colored "funfetti" cakes fit for a unicorn
777 Starkweather Ave., 216-622-7773, luckyscafe.com
Perennial Best of Cleveland "Best Brunch" winner, Lucky's Cafe cleans up annually thanks in large part to chef Heather Haviland's heavenly cheddar-scallion biscuits with scrambled eggs and sausage gravy. Bleary-eyed diners also flock to this Tremont coffee house for honey-coated granola, gingerbread waffles topped with maple-roasted apples, breakfast burritos stuffed with scrambled eggs, and the ever-famous Shipwreck, a dizzying mish-mosh of eggs, hash browns, bacon and cheddar. Hit up Lucky's during the week for the same great food; there's no rule that says brunch can only happen on weekends.
Le Petit Triangle Cafe
1881 Fulton Rd., 216-281-1881, lepetittriangle.com
This little French-inspired spot is an Ohio City jewel, a hidden lair with a locals-only vibe that truly is "easy like Sunday morning." Crepes, like the ham and d'Affinois, are always a great idea, but so too are fluffy omelets, sunny quiches and tangy lemon curd French toast. If you're feeling more "unch" than "br," dig into a salad Nicoise with salmon, egg, potato and olives or the roast chicken sandwich, an airy croissant layered with meat, goat cheese and mango chutney.
2801 Bridge Ave., 216-862–7551, blackpigcle.com
Brunch in Cleveland — heck, brunch anywhere — used to be an exercise in muted creativity: How many different dishes can we create from bacon, eggs, potatoes and bread? But then something magical happened: Chefs who couldn't be bothered with the traditional began jumping in with two feet — chefs like Mike Nowak, who works the sweet-and-savory balance beam like an Olympic gold medalist. While still relaxed, Black Pig's weekend brunch offers a level of competence not found at the corner diner. Not only do guests enjoy the benefit of a professional kitchen, but also the service staff that supports it. Come for the short rib hash with eggs and black garlic aioli, or the Black Pig Benedict, with pate-topped English muffin, eggs and Hollandaise, but stay for the relaxed efficiency of a well-run brunch.
West Side Market Cafe
1979 West 25th St., 216-579-6800, westsidemarketcafe.com
Most folks breeze right by this cafe en route to shopping at the West Side Market, but that's foolish. For starters, there are Bloody Marys inside waiting for you. And second, the food is always reliable, consistent and affordable. One thin Lincoln nets a diner a square breakfast of two eggs any style, home fries and toast. For a couple of bucks more, grab the eggs Benedict or huevos rancheros, a Latin stack of tortillas, refried beans, fried eggs, queso fresco and ranchero sauce. If you're in a hurry to head into the market, order the fried egg sandwich to go, a soft roll stuffed with a fried egg, spicy bacon and cheese. The doors open bright and early for those in search of the worm.
Ohio Pie Co.
1315 1/2 Pearl Rd., Brunswick, 330-741-4117, ohiopieco.com
A thin-but-not-too-thin crust, subtly sweet sauce, edge-to-edge cheese, and square-cut round pie combine to form Ohio-style pie, christened and now being dished up by the Ohio Pie Co. in Brunswick. Leftover pizza for breakfast is a trusty weekend remedy, but why settle for day-old when you can nab fresh pie early Saturday and Sunday mornings designed specifically for the occasion? Weekend mornings usher in a roster of brunch pies starring toppings like bacon, egg and potato on an "everything" bagel-seasoning-style crust with a cream cheese white sauce.
Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com
You know and love this eastside concert club for its unbridled devotion to hosting the world's best musicians, but did you know that they also make a mean chilaquile? The come-as-you-are vibe and the live DJ combine to make this "rockin' brunch" one of the illest, chillest in town. Start with a kicky chapula cocktail, a South-of-the-border eye-opener of tequila, orange juice and sour cherry, or any one of six different takes on the Bloody Mary. Those chilaquiles consist of crunchy tortilla chips topped with chicken (or beans), over-easy eggs and queso fresco. Potato latkes with lox and applesauce is a fun departure. People rightly adore the fried chicken and waffles, buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy, and the sturdy corned beef hash and eggs.
Spice Kitchen + Bar
5800 Detroit Ave., 216-961-9637, spicekitchenandbar.com
Since Spice Kitchen was built on the practice of making the absolute most of local resources, it's only natural that the menu thrives on the timeliest of options. And Sunday brunch is no different than the rest of the week at this Detroit-Shoreway gem. You'll find winter greens during winter, and spring veggies when the calendar turns, and so on. Locally sourced chicken finds a home in a tasty fried sandwich version or as one half of the ubiquitous chicken and waffle offering which, while common enough elsewhere, is elevated to heavenly status by Spice's crew. House-smoked salmon is paired with a Cleveland Bagel bagel, waffles are aplenty, and the dynamite pastry program translates to some of the best biscuits you'll ever sink your teeth into.
Fire Food & Drink
3220 Shaker Square, 216-921-3473, firefoodanddrink.com
You can't mention brunch in this town without bringing up Fire, an ageless American bistro on Shaker Square. The stylish yet industrial dining room with views onto the square is a charming place to ease into the day, aided by warm service and pitch-perfect food. The sticky buns here are the bomb, appearing on almost every table. Chef Doug Katz might have single-handedly launched the local shakshuka craze, with farm-fresh eggs poached in a harissa-scented tomato sauce. Fire's eggs Benny is textbook, its shrimp and grits a revelation, and don't get us started on those weightless lemon souffle pancakes.
Astoria Cafe and Market
5417 Detroit Ave., 216-266-0834, astoriacafemarket.com
Sunday brunch at Astoria is every bit as pleasant as lunch on Tuesday and dinner on Thursday. Given the cafe and market's Mediterranean bent, it's no surprise to see the menu populated with items like Tortilla Espanola, the frittata-like pie fortified with potato and onion. Here, it's capped with a poached egg and Hollandaise sauce because, why not? I've been absolutely obsessed with the gyro omelet ever since typing those two words, and I'm pretty certain that the duck confit hash and eggs is in my immediate future. If you haven't yet popped into this sunny spot, we recommend you remedy that forthwith.