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Cleveland: casual places midway between Fairview Park and Kirtland?

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Does anyone know of some decent restaurants/coffee shops/maybe even a quiet bar somewhere roughly midway between Fairview Park and Kirtland (Holden Arboretum area)? I'm dating someone and one of us usually drives to the other's town but it would be nice for a quick week-night get together to have some place that wasn't quite so far for either of us. Good food, casual atmosphere is all that we need.

Right now we're looking at a 45 minute drive between our two places, so "midway" would probably mean something in the 20-30 minute range for either/both of us. Downtown might work, I'm not sure.

I'm very new to the area so I just don't know where the good places are yet or even where to start looking.

Thanks for any help!

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  1. According to Google, downtown is about 30 minutes from Kirtland and 20 minutes from Fairview Park. Tremont and Ohio City are each 33 minutes from Kirtland and closer to Fairview Park. Little Italy is 30 minutes from each of you give or take a minute. Coventry, too. I forget the exact times for Chinatown but it was the best of the bunch though still more than 20 minutes for each of you. Anything along a midpoint stretch of Route 2 seems to be 30 minutes or just a couple minutes more.

    In Coventry, I'd recommend Pacific East for sushi. I'm not well acquanted with any of the other restaurants in the area but Coventry has plenty of casual restaurants: Panini's, Tommy's, Mint Cafe, Que Tal.

    In Chinatown, there's the excellent Siam Cafe and the equally excellent Korea House.

    Little Italy has plenty of casual restaurants and University Circle is nearby and has several more but none that I can personally recommend. That Place, Sergio's. I am very interested in Cedarlands at the Clinic but I haven't gone yet. Along Route 2 there's Grovewood Tavern (33 from Fairview Park) and E 185th Bistro ( 34 minutes) each of which I'm eager to try.

    1. I assume you are not looking for a place that seats you and you feel pressured to order at minimum, an entree and then leave when you are done...rather you want a place where you can relax order anything from an appetizer to an entree/dessert or even nothing to eat at all, but sip a drink or a coffee and just be able to hangout?
      if so, may I recommend:

      Tremont:
      Prosperity Social Club in Tremont. Nice Atmoshere, happy hour drinks and food menu as well as nightly specials. great place to linger, nice juke box

      Lincoln Park Pub in Tremont- slightly grungy, but not in a bad way at all. bar food (taco tuesday is great!)

      South Side-the bar area for drinks and appetizers (this place is a more expensive than the above).

      Civilization- coffee shop with desserts, some very good. Not sure how late it is open. Lucky's Cafe (Luckycafe.com)is the BEST coffee shop IMO , but would need to check hours.

      Ohio City:
      on Market Square:
      hit the Flying Fig for Happy hour (until 7) for reduced price appetizers and drinks. can head over to Talkies next door to linger over coffee and a sweet. Also on the same block, Market Ave wine bar, and Great Lakes brewing company both with food. feel free to mix and match, I sure do! Just down the street (w25 heading north) have a Belgian beer at the Bier Markt, enjoy Cambodian food at Phnom Penh.

      check out all of these places for possibilities:http://www.coolplacestoeat.com/. Probably Lava Lounge best matches the casual criteria though.

      Downtown:
      Can be kinda pricey. plus you have to park unless you take public transportation. here are some more casual places:

      my favorite: Little Bar and Grill. great burger and fries! not rushed to eat and get out (or even eat at all). great pub atmosphere. it is on a street called Frankfort, going west from w.6th street.

      on E 4th: Pickwick and Frolic. again a place where you can sit in the bar area and not get stink eye for not ordering a meal.

      a lot of the other places are either characterless, meat markets, or more upscale (or all of the above

      )

      Eastside/not far from I 90:
      I love many China Town spots on the near east side...not sure of you are interested though. not at all classically romantic in atmosphere.

      Euclid (getting far from Fairview) Beach Club Bistro-great nieghborhood bistro -pizza is awesome.

      there are a few nice neighborhood places on e185th...not my area of expertise, someone will jump in. although this is probably too far east. good luck! I am sure I am forgetting a lot of places.

      1. also maybe I should have asked first..details about what you all like in food? I like Stuart's recomendation of Pacific East (best sushi!) Tommy's (casual vegetarian...great place but not the best veg in town) But in my opinion I think you will not be happy about going to University Circle, Little Italy or the Heights on a weeknight as they are generally a real pain to get to and will add to your travel time. I am not sure what kind of hover craft will be needed to get from Fairview to Little Italy or Cleveland Heights in 30 minutes. I think these communities have great restaurants you should enjoy at some point...but it seems like you want as little travel time as possible. I could be wrong.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lyn

          I live in the heights area and have to agree with lyn-traffic is terrible in Hts and Little Italy. Takes me 20 minutes to get there!!! Perhaps Chagrin Falls may be an easy meeting point. It would be closer to Kirtland, but from Fairview Park it would be mostly freeway,exit at Chagrin blvd, take that all the way into the falls. very quaint area. Gamekeepers/87 West Wine Bar are great for hanging out. The locals prefer Rick's Cafe. Then there is Falls Grille (former "chef" from Grovewood Tavern). and even though it's mostly "chain" establishments, Legacy Village would be the perfect meeting point with easy freeway access for both.

        2. I second some of Lyn's Tremont recommendations. Lucky's cafe or Civilizations which are great coffee/hangout places. Lincoln Park Pub for casual bar type grub and informal atmosphere.

          1. Thanks for all the great suggestions! yes, we're just looking for a place to hang out a few hours, maybe eat (just about any kind of food is fine with both of us), maybe coffee/dessert or a beer or whatever. So you provided us with lots of great ideas. thanks again! Any additional ideas welcome, of course! :)