From the adorable name to the sunny floral wallpaper adorning the restaurant walls, Plum Cafe has been charming its way onto every Clevelander's must-try list since opening its doors in April. Luckily, the restaurant’s menu is more salty than its sweet interior may suggest, serving creatively out-there dishes such as “Bone, Slugs & Hominy,” a stew of beef broth, escargot, sausage, hominy, basil, and chili marrow, and “Chickenrones,” puffed chicken skin sprinkled in sea salt and served in a tea cup with hot sauce for dipping on the side. Open Monday-Saturday 11am to 1am, diners have ample opportunity to sink their teeth into some of the hottest and most playful dishes in town.
Following two decades of cooking for notable Cleveland restaurants such as Lola, Flying Fig, and Black Pig, Chef Jill Vedaa had the opportunity open her own restaurant with her own vision this August. Salt offers original small plates, such as smoked sturgeon with tobiko, French onion mascarpone, bagel chips and pickles, as well as ever-so-thoughtful beverages, like the sweet and savory “Gloria," made of fig infused vodka, ruby port, ginger beer, and rosemary simple syrup. Reservations are not accepted for parties of less than six in this cozy, ambient Lakewood spot, but we can promise the experience is well worth any wait.
Opening your very first restaurant in the same week that a national celebrity chef opens his… 15th? This could be the opening premise of a novel that bodes a recipe for disaster. But like lots of underdog fiction, there's a twist: the little guy succeeds. Considering that The Proper Pig was competing directly with Michael Symon’s Mabel’s by serving the exact same genre of food, the hometown showdown turned Cleveland into the newest barbecue destination nearly overnight. By staying true to their own unique brand of smoked meats, owners Shane Vidovic and Ted Dupaski have successfully found their own place in this city's ever-expanding restaurant scene. Carnivorous-inclined patrons can enjoy all of the barbecue staples, cooked Texas-style, as well as a nice selection of and hearty sides and rotating local brews.
Prior to 2016, Cleveland wasn’t exactly known as a barbecue destination. Luckily, a few restaurants, including the aforementioned Proper Pig, are helping put our town on the slow-smoked map. The most recent venture from Cleveland native and host of ABC’s The Chew, Michael Symon, Mabel’s dishes out generous portions of “Cleveland-style barbecue,” which uses stadium mustard in the sauces, Eastern European spices in the rubs and sausages, and smokes meat over local wood. Not one to forget about the drinks side of things, Symon tapped Lola's general manager Nolan Cleary to oversee a beverage program heavy on bourbons, clever single and batched cocktails, and an extensive beer list that pulls all corners of the Rust Belt and the Old World. Situated along bustling East 4th Street, it's the perfect casual but not too casual pre- or post-downtown event spot.
Public Square received quite the facelift prior to this summer’s RNC. Once the madness left town and we could all breathe a sigh of relief, we were treated to a beautified, more vibrant central spot to gather in the heart of downtown. As part of the enhancements, REBoL opened its doors, inviting customers in for playful, healthful, and flavorful food and drink. From the owner of TownHall, the restaurant mainly purveys “bols” (bowls) such as tuna poke and spiced steak salad. It’s a totally excellent spot to grab a quick bite, plus a drink or two, and watch the world go by during the busy downtown lunch hour.