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Man vs. Food suggestions.....

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Toronto, Canada
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Man vs. Food suggestions.....

I plan on heading to Cleveland in September for a Brown's game and there was three places featured on Man vs. Food:

Hot Sauce Williams for the Polish Boy Sandwich

Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood

Steve's Gyro at the West End Market.....

Are they worth the effort to try? Better places to try for "local fare"?

Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Cleveland
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1. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

Definitely visit the West Side Market, and, if you like gyros, Steve's is an excellent choice. There are many other eats there, such as Maha's, which offers the city's best falafel in the opinion of many. If you want to see WSM in its full glory when its shelves are full, visit early on Saturday, before the crowds arrive between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you just want to graze there, come after 2 p.m. (many baked goods will be gone). The Great Lakes Brewery a few minutes walk from the WSM is a must stop for beer lovers, and the Market Garden Brewery adjacent to the WSM is very good.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g50207-d272156/Clevel…

Check the Melt Bar & Grilled menu. If it appeals to you, by all means, visit it. It's now a small chain, so either the Cleveland Heights restaurant if in University Circle, or the Lakewood restaurant if downtown, would be closest. They are busy.

Read the TA reviews for Hot Sauce Williams. I've never eaten there, although I've driven by it many times.

TA reviews for Cleveland restaurants are generally very accurate IMO.

Apart from the MVF sites you've mentioned, other Cleveland favorites of the cable food networks include the WSM, Sokolowski's University Inn, and Momocho.

Sokolowski's is definitely worth a visit as it is one of Cleveland's few surviving legacy ethnic restaurants. It features Polish favorites in a cafeteria setting. There is a piano player in the evenings in the main dining room. It's a reasonably priced meal.

You'll need reservations ASAP at Momocho for its Mod Mex cuisine. It becomes very crowded if you come when the patio is closed.

Sterle's on East 55th St. is interesting when it has a polka band, once much more common in Cleveland restaurants. It's food may not be of the same consistent quality as Sokolowski's and the few other similar Cleveland restaurants.

If you enjoy Hungarian food such as Wiener schnitzel, spaetzle, and paprikash, definitely try the Balaton on Shaker Square, a personal favorite. You can reach it by the blue or green line rapids from Tower City (RTA day passes are $5, $2.50 for those over 65 and children under 13). It's a 15-minute drive from downtown (park behind the CVS drug store). If you like large servings of food, you'll find them at the Balaton.

Cleveland is known for its locavore restaurants that capitalizes on northerrn Ohio's superb agricultural output, including from Ohio Amish country. In the market district around the WSM, locavore restaurants include Crop Bistro and the Flying Fig.

Cleveland is well known for its emphasis on Mod ethnic offerings, including meats and organs. James Beard winner and Iron Chef Michael Symon's Lola Bistro and Lolita in Tremont exemplify this cuisine. The nationally honored Greenhouse Tavern also offers locavore and Mod ethnic food. Lola Bistro and Greenhouse Tavern are on East 4th St., easily reached from all downtown hotels. Fire on Shaker Square also fits in this mold.

Slyman's offers heaping corned beef sandwiches, but it is closed on weekends.

Cleveland is awash with great Italian restaurants, including Mod Italian at Ristorante Chinato on East 4th St. From downtown, Bruno's Ristorante probably is the most easily reached traditional restaurant with easy parking (a problem in Little Italy); the parking is guarded in the evening as it is in a sketchy neighborhood, but Bruno's offers great value. It's on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's A-list of the 100 best restaurants in Greater Cleveland.

Little Italy is fun, and Presti's bakery/deli is a special favorite of TA reviewers. If you're fit and can walk up a hill, you can take the RTA Healthline bus rapid, which runs in dedicated lines on Euclid Ave. 24/7, to its Cornell Road station and walk up Mayfield Road to Little Italy. Or drive there for lunch when parkiing may be less tight.

Tommy's on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, about 20 minutes from downtown, is known for its eclectic menu, featuring many vegan and vegetarian offerings, and its superb milkshakes, which Rolling Stone magazine once called the best east of the Mississippi River.

The Flaming Ice Cube on Public Square is a recent addition that has received excellent TA reviews from those seeking vegan offerings.

tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g50207-d31…

If you visit University Circle, which is highly recommended and easily reached on the Healthline (if you drive, park at the art museum), L'Albatros is a Cleveland TA favorite, especially if you like French cuisine or cheese. Its menu is priced very reasonably for the quality of the food. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the nation's best, but offers free admission to its general galleries. Severance Hall is often considered the most beautiful concert hall in the U.S. and is home of the world-renown Cleveland Orchestra. The Cleveland Botanic Garden is excellent.

Perhaps Cleveland's most beautiful restaurant is Rockefeller's in Cleveland Heights, about 20 minutes from downtown. It's on the Cleveland restaurant A-list, but additionally it's located inside an old office of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

See links to individual restaurants at the bottom of the following article.

cleveland.com/top-restaurants/index.ssf/2012…

For many of the restaurants above, you would be advised to make reservations at least several weeks early for a football weekend.

If you like hot dogs, definitely consider the Happy Dog.

Downtown, two small Cleveland chains offer an IMO above-average sports bar experience -- the Winking Lizard on Huron and the Happy Buffalo on East 4th St.

Good eats!

Edited: 1:25 pm, September 02, 2012
Cleveland
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2. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

The Balaton is about 20 minutes from downtown. I wish TA provided more time to edit posts and allowed more than one edit....

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

Awesome post! Thanks for all the info, it will be fun to digest it all....pun intended....

Bay Village, Ohio
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4. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

What would help with recommendations is, where and how long are you staying in town. What do you like to eat and if there is a budget you are trying to stay in.

Help us it everyone judges us on some of the restaurants shown on the Travel Channel and the Food Network. One persons paradise may be another person's hell! Everyone has their own perspective, objectives and preferences. There are several parts of the US that are famous for things that I just don't get. Like Skyline Chili dogs from Cincinnati or Spam Sushi in Hawaii With that in mind, my personal opinion on the three places you mentioned.

1. Hot Sauce Williams. Food ok with BBQ sauce a bit too sweet for me on everything, located in a area of the city I would not send my mother too.

2.Melts Bar & Grill, with more than one location now. Good quality food (sandwiches)and drinks. I would say yes to this one if you find the menu appealing to you.

3. Steve's Gyro, big, good, but also expensive for a gyros, you will have to wait in line for this one. Good, but sorry I have traveled a lot and am use to gyros in Greece and Turkey, so for me not worth waiting in line for, but the West Side Market is definitely worth a trip too.

TranscendentalEye pretty much mentioned all the other great places in Cleveland, except I think he missed Slyman's Restaurant with corned beef sandwiches as big as your head. (only opened Mon.-Fri)

td have a great trip!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

I plan in being in Cleveland only for two days, that's why I wanted to hit up what I thought looked to be intriguing local eateries....budget is middle of the road, I would not pay much over $30 a person, I am doing a "guys" weekend so to speak...

Thanks for the input though, it is helping the decision process!

Cleveland
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6. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

Hot Sauce Williams is not in the best neighborhood, but it's on a main thoroughfare. I don't think it's a particularly dangerous place to eat, especially during the day, but many persons in Cleveland wouldn't share my opinion. It's never crowded when I pass it, which, along with the reviews, explains why I've never stopped. However, it's on my bucket list. Many Cleveland pizza places have very good barbecue IMO.

With a $30 per person limit, I would focus on Sokolowski's and Bruno's for Saturday dinner and scratch Lola and Crop, for certain. Sokolowski's gets very crowded on Saturday nights, so get there early, as parking could be only on surrounding streets and the line could be long and seating perhaps even tight.

Balaton and several other restaurants would work if you skip either an appetizer or a beverage, but you can check the online menus. At Balaton, get the half portion (e.g., one schnitzel cutlet) to save money; it's plenty, but it's so good, it's easy for a big eater to eat two cutlets, although nobody should do so for one meal.

Sokolowski's doesn't accept reservations, but you definitely need one for Bruno's (it has limited seating) and it's advisable for the Balaton.

Harry Buffalo, Winking Lizard, Melt, Tommy's and the Happy Dog definitely would work. The WSM would definitely work, and there are several food stand options, as would eating at Great Lakes or the Market Garden, if you don't drink too much beer. Steve's does have long lines, which is why I suggested arriving later in the market day on Saturday if you wanted to avoid the peak market period.

Dewey's Pizza, the best pizza chain in Ohio in the opinion of many, has restaurants both in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights.

Enjoy Cleveland!

Cleveland
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7. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

If you drive to Shaker Square for the Balaton, use the free parking lot with access provided by North Moreland Blvd. behind the northeast quadrant (see maps linked below). The Balaton is at the eastern end of the northwest quadrant. There's a pedestrian walkway through the northeast quadrant with an entrance from the parking lot next to the CVS drive-through pharmacy window. It's less than a five-minute walk from the parking lot to the Balaton.

There is metered parking on the square, including directly in front of the Balaton, but it's tough to find an empty spot and it's a pain to drive around the square.

www.shakersquare.net/map-directions.htm

http://www.shakersquare.net/about.htm

Cleveland
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8. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

Be advised that seating is very limited at the WSM. There's a small balcony on the western side of the building, and a small park across W. 25th St. from the market's main entrance.

Bruno's allows you to order any of the chicken dishes with veal and vice versa. There may be an adjustment in the charge. Bruno's also claims to make all of its own pasta.

Cleveland
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9. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

Also, downtown, the House of Blues and Noodlecat reportedly have great happy hour bargains.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g50207-d2277…

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Man vs. Food suggestions.....

You're keeping me busy!!!