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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Restaurant of the Weekend: Trip out at Tommy’s on Mother’s Day

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2008 at 8:45 AM

So you say you’ve put off making reservations at those fancy-pants Mother’s Day brunch spots, and now you’re up a creek? Allow us to toss you a vegetarian-friendly life preserver, in the form of Tommy’s, a Coventry Road landmark since 1972. What began as a low-key neighborhood soda shop quickly grew into the unofficial HQ for the region’s tie-dyed freaks and hippies, drawing in artists, writers, and students from Case to Kent State and beyond. Odds are, if Mom is a NEO Boomer, she herself harbors a store of fond, if foggy, memories of Tommy’s, and of nights spent assuaging the munchies inside this bastion of counter-cultural cuisine. ... Today, of course, the mainstream has caught up with owner Tommy Fello and his staff, and what was seen as outrageous in the Seventies – vegetarianism, for instance – has become commonplace. As a result, snagging a meal here today is no more a lifestyle statement than wearing sandals. But while it’s no longer the place where all the groovy kids go to plan their next protest march, the food remains wholesome, delicious, and freshly made – and set at prices that are no less reasonable now than they were back in the day of peace signs and love beads. Not that you have to be a health nut to dig the offerings. Burgers, hotdogs, corned beef, and fabulous french fries live in peaceful co-existence with their vegan, gluten-free, macrobiotic, and meatless brothers on the big breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, where many of the items bear the names of past and present customers. And while we have no doubt that Mom thinks the sun shines out of your ass, there’s still a corner of her heart that can only be filled by one of Tommy’s toasted-cheese pitas, sided by a crunchy Caitlin salad, piled high with sunflower seeds, shredded cheese, and alfalfa sprouts. And for dessert, treat her to one of Tommy’s beloved milkshakes – thick, creamy, and delivered to the table in an old-fashioned, aluminum mixer cup. Should all this arouse a need in Mom to share memories of love-ins, consciousness raisings, and naked encounter groups, feel free to let her reminisce: That, after all, is part of the gift. (Children under the age of 30, however, do have our permission to stick their fingers in their ears.) And because Tommy’s doesn’t take reservations, come prepared for a wait. An armload of Zap Comix, and Jefferson Airplane on the iPod should pass the time just fine. Tommy’s is at 1824 Coventry Rd., in Cleveland Heights; call 216-321-7757. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. – Elaine T. Cicora Read Elaine Cicora's restaurant reviews, food news, and comprehensive dining guide on the restaurant page at

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