Driving by Cleveland/Akron
I'll be passing through on I-80 around dinner time in this area. I would like to try a distinctive restaurant--casual independent, ideally--that doesn't involve much of a time delay. Does a detour into Cleveland or Akron downtowns cost much time? (I'm fine with driving 15 minutes or so off the highway). Or is it even necessary? Maybe there's some worthy roadfood joint not far from the freeway?
You could exit at I-480 in Strongsville and go just a bit northwest to Twinsburg for Blue Canyon. Beautiful patio if the weather is nice, interesting menu with varying plate sizes, wild game features every day. The Cast Iron Cheese Bake appetizer is a platter of gooey sinful goodness.
I'm trying to think of what's around 80 that would be fairly easy to get to, but there isn't much that's worth a trip out of the way.
Sweet Mango in Strongsville is only one exit south of 80 in the cleveland area (exit at I-71 and go S one exit, turn R onto 82, take to Royalton Road and turn L, it's on your right about half a mile down the street. It's a good little Thai place with nice owners, but the menu is not partiucularly adventurous. I live in this area and it's overpopulated with chains and bad independents.
You could also hit Capri Pizza in Middleburg Heights - same exit, go one exit N to Bagley, turn L off the exit and go about 3/4 of a mile down the street, it's in the plaza that faces Panera. I like their pizza but it's mostly a takeout joint with a few small tables. Very informal.