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Cleveland--good Italian restaurant wanted before show at the Grog Shop

I have some friends from Japan visiting me in Columbus, Ohio. We are going to Cleveland on Saturday, December 13th to the Grog Shop on Euclid Heights Blvd. for a concert/show. The show is late. We have heard that the shows all begin really late at the Grog Shop, so we will be going to dinner first. They want good Italian--also pizza (pizza is VERY expensive in Japan) so we would like to do that. I will also take them for corned beef sandwiches----I have heard that there is a great place for that in Cleveland----nothing fancy. My friends from Japan are all about meeting new, FRIENDLY people, so that is always a big thing on their list. They want to talk to everyone, which is great...... They will also do a little Christmas shopping. I have not booked the hotel yet either, but need to be somewhere around Euclid Heights Blvd. because of everyone drinking in our little group. Any ideas? Thanks so much, Karen

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  1. Best Eastside pizza, hands down: Marotta's. http://www.marottas.com/. Marotta's pastas and other dishes are also outstanding.

    For a sit-down corned beef - the best place is Slyman's. http://www.slymans.com/. But the best pastrami sandwich in the world can be had at Mister Brisket www.misterbrisket.com. They do have a couple of tables if you want to "eat in". Neither of these places is open Sunday; Slyman's is closed Saturday also, but Mister Brisket is open on Saturday until 3pm.

    Enjoy your trip to Cleveland!

    1. The Grog shop is in Coventry just above Little Italy on Mayfield road, so Mama Santa's is a natural place for a pizza, but the reviews are varied. Valentino's Pizza is another good option.

      Slymans is the best corned beef in Cleveland.

      1. you'll have a great time at slyman's. just remember that they are only open until 2.30pm.

        as far as hotels in the immediate area cleveland heights area, the only one i can think of is the alcazar on derbyshire rd. it's a good location, and it has a lot of character. there is also glidden house at university circle.

        1. I second what others have said, the Alcazar is your best bet for hotel close by, and Slyman's is definitely the best corned beef in town but they do close mid-afternoon as someone else pointed out. Note if you do hit slyman's that the line that forms on the left is for take-out,the line that forms on the right is to dine-in, which you really shouldn't miss as it's tiny, NY-style no frills service. "We don't serve breakfast now!" "Get that at the register!" "Here's your pop, honey!" etc.

          As to shopping, you'll need to drive out to either Beachwood Place or Legacy Village. It's awfully cold to be shopping at Legacy as it's an outdoor mall, but interesting.

          1. ok. If you are willing to venture 20 minutes to the near west of downtown, this could be a funky shopping option the weekend your friends are here. The Bizaar Bizarre : http://www.bazaarbizarre.org/clevelan...

            I would kill to be an international visitor and see something local and original like this when I traveled.

            Also in the neighborhood:
            I like Kitch City for fun browsing and pop culture and gay centric gag gifts. http://cityvoter.com/kitsch-city-6511...

            This neighborhood is Detroit Shoreway and it it full on Cleveland. Take them here for a taste of an Irish bar and a well drawn Guiness: Stone Mad Irish Pub at 1306 W.65th Street

            If that is not your speed have a coffee and pastry at one of my favorite shops: Gypsy Beans http://www.gypsybeans.com/

            Slightly further afield (ie 10 minute walk or 2 minute drive from the other Detroit Shoreway places)s :http://www.suitelorain.net/ for vintage shopping. I may be off track here, but If I went to Japan, I would want to see the Japanese version of this place.

            Heading back to the Grog shop, I agree Moratta's is your best pizza bet. But if you cannot leave detroit Shoreway, Luxe is your place:
            http://www.luxecleveland.com/

            1. if its nice and you are taking them for a stroll around little italy, i must insist our japanese guests save room presti's donuts (gillys) for sour cream donuts for dessert. the japanese are crazy into this, it will blow their creampuff craze away....well, it will be a twist on that they will totally dig.

              ps -- there are also rooms available at the baricelli inn right there in the heart of little italy.

              pss -- if they want fancy designer-ish pizza vs italian-american style i'd add PLAYERS ON MADISON, but thats on the westside. maybe for lunch the next day?

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrnyc

                gilly's has been out of business for a while, unfortunately. makes my heart hurt.

                1. re: wleatherette

                  thats the worst news i've ever heard. ugh. even the BIG EGG reopening can't make up for it!

              2. Cool Cleveland is a great way to keep up with local news and events. They also have a local holiday shopping guide (http://coolcleveland.com/index.php?n=... ). They can do some holiday shopping that's distinctively local. A local shop proprietor wrote a "design guide" for design*sponge (http://www.designspongeonline.com/200... ). It's another good resource for finding stores with local character. Coincidentally, your concert happens to be on the same day as Cleveland's Bazaar Bizarre (http://www.bazaarbizarre.org/clevelan... ). I went a couple years ago and saw a lot of interesting craft gifts that you'd never have imagined existed. I'm going to try to go again this year even. They're not all local but there's a lot of very creative stuff there.

                For corned beef, I'd definitely recommend going to Vienna. There'll probably be a big line. I don't think you can order sandwiches. Just get as many pounds of corned beef as you need. Buy as much bread as you need, a bottle of mustard and some cheese if you're into that. Assemble and enjoy leaning over the trunk over your car. It's worth it. The corned beef is exactly what it should be. And it's very consistent. I've *never* had substandard corned beef at Vienna. A lot of corned beef places have decent bread but not all of them so it's worth noting that Vienna's bread is good and always fresh.

                -----
                vienna distributing co
                cleveland, Cleveland, OH

                1 Reply
                1. re: stuart

                  seeing as my previous post recommending local shopping over legacy/beachwood was removed, i'll try again. i heartily second lyn's and stuart's comments.

                2. Out of curiosity, what did you wind up doing in Cleveland? I'm always curious how Cleveland presents itself.