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Mar 5, 2009 04:35 PM

Cleveland area - business trip eats ?

I am in Cleveland area for the next few days on a business trip. I am staying out in N. Olmsted but I have a rental car so I can drive pretty much anywhere within reason [east past 271, south to Akron/Canton, into the city, etc. doesn't bother me].

Looking for some good places to eat; for example, I plan to head to Sokolowski's and Slyman's so that gives you an idea of what I am looking for. Deli, Polish, also Italian, BBQ, Indian, American Burger/HotDog/Comfort Food, German .... basically decent 'local' places, not fancy or pricey or stuffy ---- and definitely not "chain" operations like the ones all around the hotel out here. Yeccch.

I remember going to Corky & Lenny's with my parents many times long ago but the last time I went myself a couple of years ago, it was not that good so I don't think I will go there this trip.

Anyhow this request would be for dinner Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday .... I have all day Sunday free so any of the '3 meals' would be a possibility then. Can anyone help ? I'll keep checking here on the Midwest CH board for your input. Thanks very much.

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  1. The burger at Buckeye Beer Engine is the only burger I eat around here. The rest of the menu is pretty reliable, too. Tomato soup.

    I like Hot Sauce Williams for BBQ. Going there would give also give you an opportunity to try a regional specialty: the Polish boy - pork shoulder, cole slaw, french fries and bbq sauce on a hot dog/sausage.

    1. If you're looking for a decent local place, nothing fancy but great food, you absolutely have to try Melt in Lakewood. ( Grilled sandwiches that defy belief, served with huge mounds of superb fries and slaw. It's on the far west side, so it won't be too huge of a trip from Olmsted.

      1 Reply
      1. re: asthmaticeog

        Good call on Melt. This is probably my favorite burger/sandwich place ever. However, you should be prepared to wait , just know that it will be worth the wait.
        My favorites on the menu:
        -The Parmageddon: Potato cheese pierogies, napa kraut, cheddar cheese, and onions grilled between two slices of thick bread.
        -El Diablo Burger: The spicy burger, but honestly all the burgers are pretty amazing.

      2. So many suggestions it's hard to know where to start. Here we go for a few off the top of my head.

        Sterle's Slovenian House:
        Anatolia Cafe:
        Lucky's for breakfast/brunch (weekends):
        Balaton (Hungarian):
        Stino da Napoli:
        Steve's hot dogs:
        Little Bar and Grill (for burgers): 614 Frankfort Ave, Cleveland, OH‎ - (216) 861-2166‎
        Carrie Cerino's (try the homemade sauerkraut balls, they are great!):
        Leolai bakery for a Cuban sandwich and flan:

        I can't recommend Sokolowski's for anything other than atmosphere, I think their food is cheap and terrible but a lot of other people really like it, hopefully you will too. Slyman's is definitely awesome.

        Let us know how things went when you get back!

        1. For Tuesday night, you can't beat the pig roast at Lolita. I love Lolita any time - they have 2 awesome happy hours daily. Their charcuterie is mostly house made and delicious. Chef Matt Harlan is certified as a Neapolitan pizza chef and they turn out some mouth-watering pizza. The fried marrow is to die for. And it won't cost an arm or leg.

          You are wise to skip Corky & Lenny's. Slyman's still has the best corned beef in town, though Mister Brisket is a close second - and Mr. B's pastrami is the best I've ever tasted! And Mister Brisket himself cannot be described - he must be experienced!

          IMHO, Cleveland doesn't have any outstanding Indian restaurants. However, if you are looking for dazzling flavors, you might try Phnom Penh, for Cambodian food. You might also want to check out Cleveland Asiatown ( My current favorite there is Wonton Gourmet for authentic Hong Kong style food. Other standouts in that neighborhood include Siam Cafe, Superior Pho, and Koko Bakery.

          You will probably also enjoy Sterle's Slovenian House, suggested by R&R.

          In Ohio City, there is Momocho (Nuevo Latino) Also Bar Cento, which is an enoteca featuring thin crust pizza and awesome frites (it is attached to and partner of McNulty's Bier Market), and your choice of 100 wines or an amazing beer selection.

          Report back!

          Wonton Gourmet and BBQ
          3211 Payne Ave, Cleveland, OH

          900 Literary Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

          Phnom Penh
          1929 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113

          Mister Brisket
          2156 S Taylor Rd, Cleveland, OH

          Phnom Penh Restaurant
          13124 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, OH 44111

          1835 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113

          Mc Nulty's Bier Market
          1948 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH

          1. First of all, thanks very much for the great suggestions. There's enough there to keep me fed through 5 trips !!

            So far, I went to Sokolowski's for Friday night dinner & had the perch (what else ?). I have been there before several times for lunch (usually I get the kielbasa & pierogies), and know that it is not "gourmet" by any means but I have always enjoyed the food and I guess part of the appeal is the quirky but genuine atmosphere of the establishment.

            Today [Saturday], I ended up at Jack's Deli on Cedar Rd. and had a cup of chicken noodle soup with a half turkey pastrami sandwich on rye. The food was good, wait for a table was short even though they were fairly busy, the waitress & table staff were friendly, portion size decent, prices were not cheap but I felt they were fair value for what I got, and I would definitely eat there again. Jack;s left a much more pleasant impression than what I remember of my last visit to Corky & Lenny's. No problem finding parking around the back of the building.

            For dinner tonight, I drove over to Melt in Lakewood as several of you had recommended. No trouble getting to downtown Lakewood thanks to my handy GPS but then I literally drove past the restaurant twice on Detroit Avenue without spotting it and I almost gave up. However, I turned down a side street in extreme disappointment with all intentions to head back to the hotel and then I saw the sign and entrance at the back of the building. Luckily there was an open parking spot in the metered lot right by the door where someone else had just left and I grabbed it without hesitation. I went in and asked the host how long it would be for a party of one (me!). He replied "you're not going to like my answer....about an hour [it was *busy*].....but you're certainly welcome to sit at the bar if there's room". Well, luck was with me again as a stool had just become available so I sat down there next to some other patrons who were also having dinner. The two bartenders were really on the run non-stop but I was given a menu and offered a drink very promptly. Once my food order was taken, it did take a little while to arrive (no surprise given that it was about 7 PM on Saturday evening and the place was full) but the time went fast people-watching and TV-watching. Even though it was crowded, people were polite and at no time did I feel crowded or jostled around as happens sometimes when you sit at the bar. I ordered the mushroom burger and it was great (medium ....exactly as requested, not mooing but still a bit of pink in the middle) as were the fries [very tasty] and the slaw [latter's produce tasted very fresh, had a nice tang, and was not saturated with mayo --- just the way I like it]. The bartenders made sure my drink was kept topped off and cold, and made me feel welcome. A couple of the desserts sounded good but I was comfortably full so maybe 'next time'. All in all, a good choice and I plan to take my wife (a big grilled cheese-aholic) there when we are in Cleveland on a trip together.

            So that's a partial report....still a couple of days to go. I'm leaning towards Stancato's in Parma one of the remaining weekdays for lunch since it's up fairly near where I will be for work and the instructor (an Italian gentleman I trust from the "old school") recommended it. Looking through the reviews, people seem to either love it or hate it (not all that unusual, I guess) but the love-its appear to outnumber the hate-its so I'll take that as a favorable indicator. Also I stopped by the Auto Show at the I-X Center this afternoon and they had a booth there handing out samples of their pasta & sauce....based on that limited tasting, their offerings seemed pretty good. Your assessments are, of course, most welcome.

            Meanwhile, thanks again !

            8 Replies
            1. re: bakersma

              Head over to the east side for a few of our favorites. Great Italian at Giuseppe's, 32 W. Aurora Rd., Northfield, OH, 44067, (330) 467-1108. Don't let the low key storefront location fool you. Chef-owner Giuseppe Ripa and wife Rosaria are from Naples, Italy. Absolutely the best veal Marsala in Cleveland area. Excellent pastas, sausage-stuffed peppers, eggplant roll-ups.

              For sushi try Pacific East on Chagrin Blvd. just east of I-271 at Eaton Collection. Outstanding!

              1. re: bakersma

                Thanks for the update. I'm not in the Stancato's fan club but let us know what you think. You might try Nuevo Acapulco in Berea, also right by the IX center.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  Went to Stancato's today (Tuesday) at lunch time, and had the luncheon buffet. I thought it was fine.....salad bar seemed fresh with good variety and I liked the house dressing which was offered along with all of the usual alternatives. I didn't try the soup (two choices, don't recall what they were) but it looked fine and I did see other people taking bowls full of it. I did try one of Italian sub sandwich slices which were on a tray and it was good 'appetizer'. Basically, I concentrated on the pasta [shells and rigatoni] with the mushroom red sauce (do Italians call it gravy in Cleveland ?) since I like mushrooms although I also tried some of their "Premier" sauce as well. I can see why they seem to do a good business in selling their sauces by the jar....had a good taste & consistency without being too salty, etc. as some restaurant pasta sauces unfortunately tend to be. I also sampled the Italian marinated chicken, beef tips, and roast beef which were all tasty. For vegetables, I had a couple of potatoes and some brussel sprouts. The only noteworthy observation on this part of the buffet is that the brussel sprouts may have been a tad overcooked compared to how I make them myself at home.....but they definitely weren't inedible or squishy or anything like that, and I can see how it could be difficult to control this aspect of preparation that precisely when setting up a buffet with relatively large quantities of food involved. On the other hand, the brussel sprouts & other produce did seem fresh and of good quality. The service was prompt and friendly, and the waitress did a good job making me feel at home. The tab was only $6.95 for the buffet + $1.50 for unlimited soft drink refills, and I felt that was a very good value for what seemed to be a bit-above-average spread.

                  1. re: bakersma

                    I am so glad that you are enjoying yourself! Make sure you report on where you dined tonight!

                    1. re: bakersma

                      Thanks for the report! I have known a few Italians here who call it gravy, it depends on the family.

                  2. re: bakersma

                    One more update.....for dinner yesterday (Sunday) evening, I went to Cafe Tandoor in Westlake. When I arrived about 7 PM, they were not particularly busy with about 15 other patrons (mostly older people but several tables of younger folks with children too) already seated and eating their dinners. The hostess and waiter were very courteous and attentive without being "in your face" (for lack of a better term). Lots of items on the menu looked good, but I ended up choosing the Indian Salad (nice selection of vegetables and great dressing; when I asked the waiter, he told me the recipe included lemon juice in it along with various Inidan spices) along with the Chicken Tikka Masala curry entree (also excellent; they offered a range of 'spiciness' --- I picked 'spicy' and it was terrific without being at all overwhelming [to me at least]) accompanied by saffron rice and an order of garlic nan bread (very delicious....glad I asked for it). The portion sizes were generous..... I was fairly hungry and finished a good deal of my entree ---- they gladly packed up the rest for me, and I had the leftovers for dinner tonight :-) I was tempted to try one of the Indian beers they offered but stuck to a non-alcoholic soft drink because I was driving a company-provided rental car. Clearly this was not a 'bargain buffet' sort of restaurant but rather I felt the meal was first-class and well worth the price. Also, as I was finishing up my dinner, a steady stream of customers began to arrive filling up some of the previously empty seating area.

                    Thanks very much to cmm33 for the great tip on Cafe Tandoor, and also to everyone else who suggested other Indian/vegetarian establishments. Much appreciated :-)

                    1. re: bakersma

                      I am really glad you enjoyed Cafe Tandoor, it is definitely one of my favorite places.

                    2. re: bakersma

                      Log on to and you'll find over 80 independent restaurants. In that price range, if you're a mussel lover, you've got to get over to Tremont Tap House for their moules frites or burgers (huge beer list, too!). If you look at the gift certificate sale page under the $25 listings, you'll find lots, lots more. If you're adventurous, try Empress Taytu for Ethiopian. Luxe Kitchen is a great place with a real NY feel.