Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LocalEats Announces its best Cleveland Restaurants for 2012

  • Best African/Ethiopian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best American Traditional Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Asian Fusion Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Bagels in Cleveland
  • Best Bistro in Cleveland
  • Best Brasserie in Cleveland
  • Best Breakfast Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Brewpub in Cleveland
  • Best Brunch in Cleveland
  • Best Burgers in Cleveland
  • Best Cajun Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Cambodian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Caribbean/Tropical Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Chinese Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Contemporary Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Creole Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Deli in Cleveland
  • Best Dim Sum Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Diner Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best French Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Gastropub in Cleveland
  • Best Greek Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Hot Dogs in Cleveland
  • Best Hotel Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Hungarian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Ice Cream/Confections in Cleveland
  • Best Indian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Irish/British Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Italian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Japanese/Sushi Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Late-Night Dining Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Latin/South American Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Locavore Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Mexican Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Pizza in Cleveland
  • Best Polish Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Sandwiches Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Seafood Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Spanish Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Sports Bar/Pub Food in Cleveland
  • Best Steak House Restaurant
  • Best Subs/Hoagies/Po-boys in Cleveland
  • Best Turkish Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant in Cleveland
  • Best Wine Bar in Cleveland
  • Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Symon Set to Battle for 'Next Iron Chef'

    IN THE NEWS: Food Network's new show The Next Iron Chef kicks off at 9 pm EST/PDT Sunday, Oct. 7 as eight chefs compete from across the country compete to join the ranks of legendary Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali. The eight competitors: Aaron Sanchez, chef-owner, Paladar and Centrico, New York; Mourou Outtara, chef/owner, FarrahOlivia by Morou, Alexandria, Va.; John Besh, chef/owner Restaurant August, Luke, The Besh Steakhouse at Harrahs, New Orleans; and La Provence, Lacombe, La.), Traci Des Jardins, chef and co-owner Jardiniere; chef/owner, Mijita; managing chef, ACME Chophouse, San Francisco); Chris Cosentino, chef, Incanto and co-owner, Bocccalone Artisanal Meats, San Francisco); Jill Davie, chef de cuisine, Josie Restaurant, Los Angeles; Michael Symon, chef-owner, Lola and Lolita, Cleveland; and Gavin Kaysen, chef de cuisine, El Bizcocho, San Diego. ...

    The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger notes the opening of Portland, Ore.-based McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant at Beachwood Place and also reports: Vito's Italian Grill in Aurora has reopened after a fire. ... The newest Yours Truly, the eighth, has opened on Rockside Road in Valley View, in the former Park City Diner space. ... Debbie Snook reviews Piatto Novo in Cuyahoga Falls. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Venezia (16300 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, 216-226-0006), and also visits Wonder Bar (2044 East Fourth Street, 216-298-4050, and Sarah's Vineyard (1204 West Steels Corners Road, 330-929-8057 or ... Free Times Douglas Trattner features chef Ben Bebenroth's Plated Landscape dinners, held throughout the year at various farms and vineyards in Northeast Ohio.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Don's Lighthouse Celebrates 35 Years

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger notes the 35th anniversary celebration during September for Don's Lighthouse, a landmark on Cleveland's near West Side (8905 Lake Ave., 216-961-6700), and also reports: the end of September opening for owner Ilona Simon's Budapest Blonde, a European-style martini and wine bar in Independence on the site of the closed Halite restaurant in Ohio City. ... the post-fire reopening of the Rustic Restaurant in Rocky River is delayed until late this month. ... Taste of Cleveland winners: Best Restaurant - Bubba's Q World Famous Bar-B-Q & Catering of Avon (first), Battiste & Dupree Cajun Grill of South Euclid (runner-up); best entree - jambalaya from Real New Orleans of Toledo (first), barbecue ribs by Bubba's Q (runner-up) ... Fahrenheit partners Rocco Whalen and John Owen have opened the Wine Bar in Rocky River. ... The new Zocalo Mexican Grill & Tequileria on East Fourth Street downtown boasts 99 tequilas, 26 margaritas and a menu of Mexican beers. ... David Farkas reviews Velocity American Bistro (10427 Clifton Blvd., Cleveland). ... The Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Sara's Place (1501 Chagrin River Rd., Gates Mills, Ohio, 440.423.1000). ... The paper visits the new Mexican eatery Zocalo (2017 E. 4th St., 216.781.0420) and notes the closings of Shanti's Kitchen, located in a tiny shop in Garfield Heights, and Strickland's Frozen Custard, the custard shop on the second level of the Coventry Mall. Also noted is the opening of Tea House Noodles second cafe in Little Italy (2218 Murray Hill Rd., 216.229.8599). ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Henry's at the Barn (36840 Detroit Road, in Olde Avon Village, Avon, 440-934-6636). ... Zagat Buzz reports that to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the James Beard Foundation is hosting a series of food festivals and special dinners in 20 cities nationwide. The events kick off on September 18th in New York with a lavish menu inspired by Beard at Four Seasons. The celebrations continue the next week with elaborate dinners cooked by first-rate toques in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Short Hills, NJ and Washington, DC. All of the events are unique, with different chef lineups and dining formats ranging from gala dinners to walk-around tastings, so check the individual city pages for details. Though prices for the dinners vary, all of them will be followed up on September 29th with special events at local Williams-Sonoma stores where chefs will be offering cooking demos, book signings, specialty food tastings and kids' educational activities free of charge. For more information about the event, log on to

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Opening of Boccuzzi's Dante Set for Sept. 29

    IN THE NEWS: In its September 2007 edition, Cleveland magazine's Laura Faye Taxel profiles chef Dante Boccuzzi, who's closing down the renowned Lockkeepers restaurant this month, to reopen as his own place, Dante, on Sept. 29. ... The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger notes the Sept 17 local openings of Louisville-based chain Sedona Grill in Sheffield and Portland-based McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant at Beachwood Place. ... Debbi Snook reviews Ballantine (4113 Erie Street , Willoughby, 440-942-5151). ... Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Ballantine Gastropub (4113 Erie St., Willoughby, Ohio, 440.942.5151). ... Trattner also notes the opening of chef Rocco Whalen’s Wine Bar (1313 Linda St. in Rocky River), and notes Revolver (110 East Sandusky St., 419.424.4020). ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Metro Seafood & Steakhouse (2119 Mentor Avenue, Painesville Township, 440-639-8301, and notes the 30-plus year old Gamekeeper's Taverne (87 West Street, 440-247-7744) and the second location of Maha's Falafil, (14769 Pearl Road, Strongsville, 440-238-3172). ... Northern Ohio Live magazine's September 2007 issue features Robert Neimojewski, chef/owner of Nemo Grille (36976 Detroit Road, Avon; 440-934-0061;

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Wednesday, September 5, 2007

    Kluck's to Close Sept. 7 After 70 Years

    The Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports that German and seafood restaurant Kluck's Restaurant, a landmark on West 117th Street between Detroit Road and Clifton Boulevard in Cleveland, will close Friday, Sept. 7, after 70 years. Here's the link.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    Symon's Lolita Serving Neopolitan Pizza

    IN THE NEWS: The Scene's Elaine Cicoro reviews West Side Market Cafe (1979 West 25th Street, 216-579-6800) and reports that celebrity chef Michael Symon will begin serving traditionally rendered Neopolitan pizza pies at his Lolita (900 Literary Road, 216-771-5652). ... She also notes the Sept. 6 opening of Zocala (2071 East Fourth Street) and the late September opening of Budapest Blue (2800 Clinton Avenue) in the former Halite space. ... The Plain Dealer's David Farkas reviews Paladar. ... In the September 2007 issue, Cleveland magazine's Laura Taxel reviews Light Bistro (2801 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-7130).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, August 27, 2007

    Ali Baba, Tannour Top Critics' Mideast List

    IN THE NEWS: The Scene's Elaine Cicora considers Middle Eastern eateries, proclaiming the best as Ali Baba and Tannour. ... The Plain Dealer's David Farkas reviews The Century Grille (formerly the Grandview Inn). ... Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews The Baricelli Inn (2203 Cornell Rd. Cleveland), and the paper reports the opening of Organic Energy (28500 Miles Rd., 440.349.1500), a health-conscious cafe and juice bar.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Inn at Turner's Mill, Truffles Close Doors

    IN THE NEWS: The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern (6025 Kruse Drive, Solon) and reports: The Inn at Turner's Mill, an 18-year-old Hudson landmark, closed its doors on Aug 18, while Truffles Pastry Shop, a mainstay in the West Side's historic Edgewater/Clifton neighborhood for almost 25 years, shuttered abruptly on July 31. ... The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports, "Next month, a former appliance store in Cleveland's Kamm's Corners neighborhood will be resurrected as P.J. McIntyre's Irish Pub. It's the venture of partners Tom Leneghan (of 806 Wine & Martini Bar and the Tree House, both in Tremont) and Patrick Campbell, once a lead in the touring Lord of the Dance troupe." ... Debbi Snook reviews Table 45. ... Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Der Braumeister (13046 Lorain Ave.), notes the opening of Wonder Bar (2044 E. 4th St), and reports, "Chef Jonathon Sawyer is entering the Cleveland restaurant scene much earlier than anticipated. The former Parea chef is still planning to open Gastropub in the coming year, but a more immediate opportunity presented itself: Sawyer has partnered with Sam McNulty and will open Bar Cento in early October the space adjoining the Bier Market."

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Popular Thai Lemon Grass Set To Close

    IN THE NEWS: The Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Crop Bistro (1400 W. Sixth St., Cleveland) and reports, "After 11 successful years, executive chef and owner Paul Wongngamdee is selling Lemon Grass (2179 Lee Rd.), his popular Thai restaurant. "Unless something goes terribly wrong, it's a done deal," said Jay Staggs, general manager. A Thai restaurant owner from Los Angeles is in the process of buying the business from Wongngamdee and the building from Hiroshi Tsuji. If all goes as planned, the transition should take place by the end of August. Wongngamdee, who was diagnosed with cancer but is now healthy, plans to open a smaller place in a warm-weather state. ... After almost six years as chef de cuisine at Renaissance Cleveland Hotel's signature restaurant, Sans Souci (24 Public Sq.), Ben Fambrough has submitted his resignation." ... The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports: the Sept. 6 opening of tequila-heavy Zocalo Mexican Grill & Tequileria on East Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland. ... Fady Chamoun and his Aladdin's Eatery management team have added Camille's Sidewalk Cafe, a national chain opening its first local spot at Westgate in Fairview Park late this year or early next. ... Samir's Diner, which was supposed to replace the landmark Ruthie & Moe's downtown months ago, is still working through a frustrating city permit system. Operator Samir Khouri insists the diner's still a go. ... Anatolia Cafe, a gem for Turkish cuisine, will move in early October from Cedar Center in University Heights to the Cedar-Lee area of Cleveland Heights because Cedar Center is being demolished and redeveloped. ... Light Bistro, which replaced Parker's in Ohio City about five months ago, has added lunch hours on Wednesdays through Saturdays. ... Kurt Steeber, executive chef and partner in Ballentine, the promising new Willoughby gastropub, left less than a month after opening. ... Local Heroes Grill & Bar (formerly Alice Cooper'stown) near Gateway has a new executive chef. Matthew Pell was most recently at the West Side Market Cafe. ... Debbie Snook reviews Twinsburg's Fresh Start Diner. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Ballantine (4113 Erie Street, Willoughby,

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    Fire Food & Drink, Light Bistro Top Poll

    IN THE NEWS: Winners of Northern Ohio Live magazine's Best Restaurants 2007 readers poll are out in the August 2007 edition. Winner include Fire Food & Drink as best restaurant, Light Bistro as best new restaurant, and Light Bistro's Matthew Mathlage and Lola's Michael Syman tied as best chef. ... The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports, "When McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant debuts at Beachwood Place in mid-September, the upscale Portland, Ore.-based chain will offer some local flavor -- both in personnel and on the menu. David Walker, general manager at the former Charley's Crab, will run the place. (He's hiring about 100 people.) And his executive chef will be Doug Fulton, who had a hand in opening Blake's Seafood Restaurant & Bar and Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse at Crocker Park in Westlake and ran the meat and seafood sections of Akron's West Point Market. ... Sunny and Matt Kanegkasikorn, married partners in the popular Mint Cafe on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, are working on a second location. Construction has begun to convert a shop at Landerwood Plaza in Pepper Pike into an 80- to 90-seat restaurant with the same Thai menu as the Coventry spot, which they opened in early 2006. This one will be called Peppermint Thai Cuisine, playing off the location. They're hoping for an October opening. ... Rivals Sports Grille has opened (three months later than hoped) in Middleburg Heights in the former Instant Replay spot. ... Cyrus Davarpanah has already left the restaurant that carries his name -- Cyrus Waterfront Restaurant & Patio. The place opened in May at the Powerhouse on the west bank of the Flats. Partner Brent Lewanski took over as interim general manager. John Bateman was promoted from sous to executive chef. ... David Farkus reviews Stino da Napoli. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Velocity American Bistro (10427 Clifton Boulevard, and reports on the Aug. 2 opening of 27-year-old entrepreneur Andy Himmel (Boulevard Blue)'s second restaurant, Paladar Latin Kitchen, in Woodmere's Eton-Chagrin, with Nuevo Latino cuisine from chef Matt Mytro. ... Paladar takes up about half the space that once was Bossa Nova. The other half belongs to partners Jack Ngo and Ben Wu, who will be opening Pacific East-Eton in November. ... Cleveland magazine's August 2007 issue reviews 2182 Bistro & Wine Bar (8918 Brecksville Road, Brecksville). ... Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Le Petit Triangle Café (1881 Fulton Rd. Ohio City, Cleveland). ... visits Cleats Club Seat Grille (30829 Euclid Avenue, Wickliffe).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Max's Deli Plans Holiday Season Rebirth

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports the scheduled Aug. 4 closing of highly regarded Little Italy eatery Battuto Ristorante. Giovanna and Mark Daverio, partners in the 7-year-old restaurant listed among America's top restaurants in a 2006 Zagat survey, said that business had been off for about a year. ... Lubinger also reports the closings of Cleveland Heights fixture The Pub on Lee, and May Wah in Euclid and also reports, "Max's Deli will resurface near the place it called home for a quarter-century. Owner Michele Kotach said Max's, which closed June 30 when she chose not to renew the lease after 25 years in Rocky River, will emerge at Westgate in Fairview Park. She's hoping for an early November opening but definitely in time for the year-end holidays. Expect roughly the same number of seats and the same menu, especially the desserts for which Max's was known. But unlike the original, this version will feature plenty of parking and an outdoor patio with garage-style windows that pop open when weather permits. Kotach also intends to ramp up the catering business. ... The much-anticipated Paladar, with dishes from Central and South America, Cuba and the Latin Caribbean - plus a rum bar - opens Aug. 2 at Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere. ... Solon's former Valerio's will reopen as Pasha Mediterranean Grill in mid-August. ... Jeff Coyle and his partners in Cereal Central opened a cereal restaurant near the Ohio State University campus in Columbus last year with ambitious plans for about 100 nationally within five years. But the ride's been a tad bumpy. First, they had to change the name from Cerealitious when the concept's originator, Cereality Bar & Cafe, threatened to sue. Next, expansion has been slower than expected. But a second location may finally open at a spot near Detroit Avenue and Warren Road, hopefully in September. ... Carolyn Fitzgerald bought out her business partner in Cafe Limbo in Cleveland and has expanded the all-vegetarian menu to offer a choice of meat and fish dishes ... Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries, a chain with a cult following along the East Coast, is set to open a second Northeast Ohio location as part of a major rollout. Five Guys debuted in Avon a few months ago. Next up is a spot outside the Westfield SouthPark mall in Strongsville, that will open Monday, Aug. 6. ... And the local Fat Burger folks opened a third location, this one in North Olmsted. A fourth, at Harvard Park in Warrensville Heights, arrives mid-September. ... Lubinger interviews Doug Katz, chef-owner of the popular Fire Food & Drink on Shaker Square in Cleveland, who offers his five favorites places for cheap eats: Mint Cafe (1791 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights,; Stone Oven (2267 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights,; Nate's Deli and Restaurant (1923 West 25th St., Cleveland's Ohio City neighborhood); Lucky's Cafe (777 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood); Tommy's (1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, ... David Farkus reviews Shooters on the Water. ...

    The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Cyrus Waterfront Restaurant (2000 Sycamore Street, in the Powerhouse, Flats West Bank, ... Cicora also reports, "So chef-restaurateur Michael Symon (Lola, Lolita) hasn't been using his downtime to unwind since he resigned from N.Y.C.'s Parea late last month. Instead, he and his partners (wife Liz Symon and colleague Doug Petkovic) are busy plotting their next moves. "I'm sure we'll do another New York project in the next year or two," Liz Symon says. "We know the city, we know the vendors, and we have a lot of friends there. I can't see us not going back." Petkovic is more circumspect, admitting the partners have been cultivating a new concept, but insisting it's still little more than a seedling. "It's something that may show up somewhere sometime," is about all we could coax out of him. Also coming up is next spring's project, Hush, and its upstairs annex, Hush Up, just two doors down from Lola, on East Fourth Street. Food won't be served, but expect a full lineup of cocktails and wines. And, of course, there's Symon's Food Network gig, The Next Iron Chef, which he has been taping in New York since the beginning of the month." ... Free Times' Douglas Trattner reviews Grill at Bainbridge Commons (17800 Chillicothe Rd., Bainbridge Township). ... visits Luisa’s Mexican Grill (41 N. Broadway, Geneva).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    Symon Among Finalists for 'Next Iron Chef'

    The Food Network has announced its eight finalists to compete in The Next Iron Chef, which premieres Oct. 7 (7 pm CT). The eight: John Besh (New Orleans), executive chef, Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence; Chris Cosentino (San Francisco), executive chef, Incanto; Jill Davie (Santa Monica, Calif.), executive chef, Josie; Traci Des Jardins (San Francisco), executive chef and co-owner, Jardinière, Mijita, Acme Chophouse; Gavin Kaysen (San Diego), chef de cuisine, El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; Morou Ouattara (Washington, D.C.), executive chef and owner, Farrah Olivia; Aarón Sánchez (New York City), executive chef and owner, Centrico, Paladar; Michael Symon (Cleveland), executive chef and owner, Lola, Lolita.

    IN THE NEWS: Sources close to Michael Symon tell the Cleveland Scene that Symon resigned from the trendy Greek restaurant Parea in New York City's Flatiron District about three weeks ago because Symon, who served as Parea’s consulting executive chef, disagreed with his partners over the restaurant’s direction. “It was a struggle for him,” says one insider. “He was in business with four investors who were very difficult for him to work with. He liked the guys, he followed through with his part in the kitchen, but in the end he just thought his time could be used better elsewhere.” The 14-month-old restaurant was shuttered July 10. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Rocky River's Pearl of the Orient (19300 Detroit Road, inside Beachcliff Market Square, Rocky River) and revisits Cowboy Food & Drink (8586 East Washington Street in Bainbridge). ... The Plain Dealer's busy Bill Lubinger reports, "Fanny's owner Terry Kollar said he's negotiating to sell the landmark Cleveland restaurant on East 156th Street. The sale is contingent on resolving about $1 million in unpaid state and federal taxes and related penalties. His family owned and operated Fanny's for almost 60 years until it was shut down a few months back because of tax problems. ... Dish Global Deli, featuring a health-conscious, globally influenced deli menu and a Sunday brunch that varies weekly, will take the former Opa! spot on West 25th Street in Cleveland on July 24. It's run by Heather Campbell, former chef at the Fulton Bar and Grill, and her sister, Betsy, former executive director of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. ... A replacement has been found for the recently closed Sushi on the Square in Shaker Square. In October, chef Scott Kim will open Sasa, which means "bamboo" in Japanese. Known for his Matsu Japanese Restaurant in Shaker Heights, Kim will feature Japanese dishes and izakaya (Japanese-style tapas) and other Asian cuisine at the new place. But because the restaurants are so close, plans are to close Matsu in November." ... New owners, management, and menu at Flying Burrito Mexican Restaurant & Cantina in Madison Township, which has reopened after about four months. ... Lubinger also notes the opeings of Memphis Eatery, which serves home-style breakfasts and lunches starting at 6:30 a.m., on Memphis Avenue in Cleveland in the former location of 83 Degrees Caribbean Cuisine. ... And Heidi's Brooklyn Deli, a chain begun as a bagel and ice cream shop in Denver by folks transplanted from Brooklyn, N.Y., has found a spot on Rockside Road in Independence. ... Noted closings: Casa Nova, a Portuguese restaurant in LaGrange Township ... Picasso's Steak House in Westlake ... Whitmore's Barbecue at Cedar and Lee roads in Cleveland Heights, where it was a fixture for 13 years. Whitmore's, founded 64 years ago, still exists at four other East Side spots. ... Debbi Snook reviews Brooklyn's Wild Ginger, and Lubinger notes Zinc Brasserie (142 Columbus Ave., Sandusky).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Former Lolita Chef To Open Gastropub

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain-Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports: the return of chef Jonathon Sawyer (Lolita), who's looking to open a local gastropub called, simply enough, Gastropub; a new name and menu at the former Grandview Inn in Middlefield Township, now called the Century Grille at Grandview; Dave Behr, of late at Chester Tavern, is now directing the kitchen at the North Woods Grille in Bainbridge Township. ... Joe Crea gives three stars in his review of 2182 Bistro & Wine Bar (8918 Brecksville Road, Brecksville, ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Dish Deli & Catering (1112 Kenilworth Avenue). ... reports, "Paladar, Northeast Ohio’s first Nuevo Latino restaurant, will serve unique combinations of Latin comfort foods in a colorful and trendy atmosphere when it opens in August at Eton Chagrin Boulevard.

    By Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Falls Grille Closing; Chester's Reopening

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain-Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports, "Tim Ogan, chef-owner of the 2-year-old Falls Grille in Chagrin Falls, has closed the place to reorganize. He's in talks with a new partner. If things work out, the restaurant could reopen by early August, although he left open the possibility that the business might be closed for good. ... Owner Wayne Koury, who originated Chester's on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights in the mid-'70s with crepes and omelets, is bringing Chester's back - at the same location on the hill in Independence. (It's not affiliated with Chester's Fine Cuisine in East Cleveland.) A mid- to late-July opening is expected, this version with a 75-seat outdoor patio and a menu featuring more organic and locally grown food. Koury, who closed Frank & Pauly's on Public Square in early 2006, sees a void in places that serve up smaller, fairly priced portions. So he'll offer, for instance, 20 from -scratch appetizers, each for less than $6 that can be affordably paired with a selection of 50 wines by the glass and 20 draft beers. ... Gary Lucarelli's Sweetwater Restaurant Group is taking over operations of the private restaurant at Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Ave. A private dining club for 47 years, the restaurant reopens to the public as Stages at the Cleveland Play House in time for the theater's September season-opener. ... Fady Chamoun and his family have been hugely successful with Aladdin's Eatery - up to 27 company-owned or franchised locations and counting in Ohio and five other states. They're introducing a twist on the shawarma, hummus, kebabs and other tasty dishes. It's called Sittoos, or "grandma's," in Lebanese. The first of 10 locations planned for Greater Cleveland in the next five years arrives July 17, in Parma. ... Chez Francois is expanding its operation to open an upstairs martini and wine bar called Touche as well as a special-event dining room and a revamped patio. ... Elaine Cicora reviews Mangiamo! (7289 State Route 43, Twin Lakes; www.mangiam for the Scene. She also rounds up al fresco dining spots, including Fire Food & Drink (13220 Shaker Square). ... Cleveland magazine reviews Henry’s at the Barn, (36840 Detroit Road, Avon) and Glenwillow Grille and Austin Powder Tavern (29765 Pettibone Road, Glenwillow). ... visits Mi Pueblo (11611 Euclid Ave., Cleveland) and Cabanas (8500 Station Street, Mentor).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Boccuzzi's Dante To Replace Lockkeeper's

    IN THE NEWS: The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews The Buckeye Beer Engine (15315 Madison Avenue, Lakewood) and reports on the much-anticipated Sept. 5 opening of young chef Dante Boccuzzi's Dante at the soon-to-be-former Lockkeepers (8001 Rockside Road in Valley View), which closes in mid-August. Boccuzzi, who bought the restaurant in late March, boasts a sterling résumé: Culinary Institute of America grad, two-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star nominee, and former executive chef at New York's award-winning Aureole. ... The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports on the opening of chef-partner Kurt Steeber's gastropub in downtown Willoughby called Ballentine. He also notes the new branches of Otani Japanese Restaurant in Hudson and the Original Pancake House in Westgate Mall in Fairview Park. He also notes: Joy and Tom Harlor have transformed the former Le Oui Oui Cafe in Ohio City into Le Petit Triangle Cafe; Gary Riegelsberger, co-owner of the Rustic Restaurant on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River, had planned the eatery's 60th anniversary celebration in August. But the Rustic, a place known for its homemade burgers, suffered a fire this month that has closed the restaurant for as long as 45 days. So the August gala will now be co-promoted as a grand reopening and birthday, possibly featuring such specials as burgers at 1947 prices; Todd Mueller, most recently pastry chef at the acclaimed Fahrenheit in Tremont, runs the kitchen at the new Grill @ Bainbridge Commons; Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in the Flats closed June 24 after nearly 15 years on the barren east bank. ... Debbi Snook reviews Bice, while the paper also stops by The Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern (6025 Kruse Drive, Suite 148, Solon) ... reviews Mary’s Diner (666 E Main St., Geneva).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Say, the Neon Lights Are Bright on E. 4th St.

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain-Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports on the reviving East Fourth Street entertainment and dining scene. (The street is closed to cars, except for valet parking, through October to promote outdoor cafes and encourage pedestrians.) He mentions the upcoming openings of: Wonder Bar of Cleveland, a swank jazz club, later this summer; Teresa's Pizzeria & Vino Dolce, coming late July, is an expanded version of the locally owned suburban Teresa's Pizza chain; Mexican restaurant Zocalo Cantinam, expected in late July: and local restaurateur Terry Tarantino brings Mediterranean bistro La Strada ("the street") to the block in August. ... Debbi Snook reviews The Tavern at Twin Lakes, while Scott Stephens reports that Mark Wise, who operated the Brew Keeper in Bedford Heights, has moved to 34445 Center Ridge Road, North Ridgeville. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Grumpy's Café (2621 West 14th Street) and details a Food & Wine magazine's stops in Cleveland for a feature in the November 2007 issue, including dinner at Lola. ... raves about the cheeseburger pizza at Winking Lizard (9570 Mentor Ave, Mentor).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Earl of Sandwich Chain Eyes Cleveland

    IN THE NEWS: A Florida-based restaurant chain is putting out feelers that it wants to greatly expand its reach, the Denver Business Journal reports. Earl of Sandwich, founded in 2004 and based in Orlando, says it's looking for franchisees around the United States, including Cleveland. ... The Plain Dealer's John Campanelli reviews Nick's Diner (4116 Lorain Ave., Cleveland), while David Farkus visits the new Cyrus Waterfront Restaurant & Patio, in the Powerhouse building on the west bank of the Flats. ... Bill Lubinger reports, "Garrulous chef-owner Moha Orchid recently snared a beer license and seasoned his menu for the summer with lighter, refreshing preparations at Venezia Restaurant (16300 Detroit Ave., Lakewood;

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Westpark Village Tavern, Others Open

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain-Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports on: The former Bartley's Tavern near Kamm's Corners in Cleveland reopening June 8 as the Westpark Village Tavern Sports Bar & Grill; the opening of Steak on a Stone, the first of what could be multiple locations, in the former Kristofer's spot in North Olmsted (30111 Lorain Road); the closing of Indigo Luna Exotic Eatery & Teahouse in Hudson; the addition at Gavi's Restaurant of a create-your-own seafood bar; the opening of Melt Gelato and Crepe Cafe at Westfield Great Northern mall in North Olmsted, with another due later this year at Westfield SouthPark mall in Strongsville; the addition of another location of Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats at Harvard Park in Warrensville Heights; and Pulp Juice and Smoothie Bar replacing a former Dairy Queen on Detroit Road in Rocky River (across from Herb's Tavern), with plans for three more locally. ... Joe Crea reviews the scaled-down menu at Baricelli Inn. ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Local Heroes Grill & Bar (2217 East Ninth Street). ... reviews Josie’s Restaurant & Pizza (9670 Mentor Avenue, Mentor).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, June 5, 2007

    Stone Mad Sets Summer Opening

    IN THE NEWS. The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports, "Pete Leneghan, who owns the Treehouse in Tremont, is rebuilding the old R&A Lounge on West 65th Street as Stone Mad, a stone-adorned pub, grub and bocce place that should be a real draw for the city's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood this summer. ... A tasting room was part of the plan all along when Mike and Margaret Lytz planted a vineyard in 2003 in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, across from Blossom Music Center. That piece of Sara's Vineyard, a venture named for their 19-year-old daughter who died in a car accident in 1998, has finally opened. The tasting room, opened this month, is a renovated 1846 post-and-beam building with a small art gallery and light gourmet menu. ... Broken Rocks Cafe & Bakery in Loudonville, known for its artisan European-style bread made fresh daily, is adding a second, larger location in Wooster. Owners Glen and Lisa Grumbling hope to open in early July. ... Halite, the trendy wedge-shaped restaurant in Ohio City, was set to change hands earlier this year when the buyer backed out. The owners tried to keep the place going for a few months, but recently pulled the plug." ... The Plain Dealer's Joe Crea offers advice on "helping to tune up the overall quality of the dining experience in Northeast Ohio." ... The Scene's Elaine Cicora reviews Bice (Tower City Center, 230 West Huron Road) and rounds up area weekend brunches, including Grumpy's Café (2621 West 14th Street, Tremont). ... The blog reviews the pizza at Mamma Santa’s (12301-05 Mayfield Road).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Quagliata's Cafe Toscano Sets July Opening

    IN THE NEWS: From the Plain-Dealer's hard-working Bill Lubinger, "One of the biggest names in Cleveland dining is bringing the distinctive tastes of Tuscany to Aurora. Carl Quagliata, who already bounces back and forth between his classic Giovanni's Ristorante in Beachwood and Casa Dolce, a bakery with prepared foods in Mayfield Heights, is reworking a former Arabica coffee house near Ohio 82 and 43 as Cafe Toscano. ... Look for Cafe Toscano to open in mid to late July. ... Marmalade, a new, locally owned contemporary American cuisine concept, soon will fill the former American Cafe space at La Place Fashion Centre next to Beachwood Place. Owner Andy Zelenkofske is a Hunting Valley CPA, lawyer, investor and self-described "frustrated chef." He was also a partner in Sinergy (restaurant and nightclub) in Cleveland's Warehouse District and recruited Sinergy's Joe Bemer as executive chef and Mike Ina as general manager. ... Actually, Susie Porter, whose Southern-laced flavors and hospitality drew a cross-section of appetites to her Town Fryer, never left. She had fallen in love, threw a going-away party and shut the place down in late March to join him in San Diego. He died suddenly. "It's been a rough couple of months," she said. Porter is now investing her energy to reopen in June, at the same location on Cleveland's East Side, but just for lunch and maybe private parties at night served family style. She also may drop "Town" from the name and is expanding the menu with healtful options -- a kind of good-versus-evil approach, she said. ... The former Bainbridge Diner, which closed in December, is getting new life. Chef-owner Mark Jacobson and his wife, Leigh, hope to open the 60-seat Grill @ Bainbridge Commons in Bainbridge Township next month. ... Fanny's Restaurant owner Terry Kollar said he's talking to three potential buyers for the closed Collinwood landmark, which would have turned 60 in June. Each would retain the Fanny's name. The restaurant's huge tax debt, which forced the closing last month, complicates any possible deal. ... Teahouse Noodles, whose salads, smoothies and inventive rice and noodle bowls peppered with a menu of sauces has been a quick-stop staple in downtown Cleveland for years, is adding a second location on Murray Hill Road in Little Italy. It's expected to open later this month. ... Savy & David's Restaurant, Bar & Deli, which opened this year in a Beachwood office building but abruptly closed within weeks without explanation, is back. But David is out. It's just Savy's." ... Lubinger also notes Helena's Puerto Rican Cuisine & Cafe (8933 Cedar Ave., Cleveland) ... The Plain-Dealer's Sam Fulwood III looks at the revival of Larchmere Boulevard, including the addition of restaurants: "Felice (12502 Larchmere Blvd.) Margaret Mueller promises her restaurant in a beautiful Victorian house will serve "good food" and feature an outdoor dining garden when it opens later this summer; Big Al's Diner (12600 Larchmere Blvd.); Cafe Limbo (12706 Larchmere Blvd.); Boulevard Blue (12718 Larchmere Blvd.); Academy Tavern (12800 Larchmere Blvd.); Larchmere Tavern (13051 Larchmere Blvd.); Flying Crane's Cafe (13006 Larchmere Blvd.). ... Debbi Snook reviews Lakewood's Melt Bar and Grilled ... Cleveland Scene critic Elaine T. Cicora reviews Light Bistro (2801 Bridge Ave.) . ... Lilly's Kitchen Table is the next stop on the Great Burger Hunt for the blog Restaurant Widow

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Crop, Max's, Brendan O'Neill's in the News

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports on: the late June opening of Crop; the move of Max's Deli in Rocky River; the May 14 closing of popular Irish pub Brendan O'Neill's in Westlake; the temporary closing and move of the Lobster Trap in Twinsburg; and the May 21 reopening of Tannour Mediterranean Cuisine. Meanwhile, Debbi Snook reports on the new generation of locally owned coffee shops, including Gypsy Beans (near West 65th Street in Cleveland) and Cafe Marika (in the North Collinwood section of Cleveland), plus Shanti's Kitchen (south, in Garfield Heights). ... Elaine T. Cicora reviews Brunswick restaurant Madd Chef's and lists some of her favorite and not so favorite things of the season, including new fave Baby Cakes (2154 Taylor Road), a Cleveland Heights bakeshop that opened March 2. ... The blog reviews Champps Americana (5835 Landerbrook Drive, Lyndhurst), Minh Anh (5428 Detroit Road, Cleveland), Cheddars (5810 Detroit Ave., Cleveland), and Cleats Club Seat Grille (30829 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe).

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    America's Best Restaurant Cities

    "Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

    Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
    1. New York City
    2. Chicago
    3. San Francisco
    4. Los Angeles
    5. New Orleans
    6. Houston
    7. Washington, D.C.
    8. Atlanta
    9. Boston
    10. Las Vegas

    Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

    IN THE NEWS: David Farkas reviews Mint Cafe, 1791 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, in The Plain Dealer. ... Columnist Bill Lubinger reports: "Agave, a new locally owned tequilarilla and grill featuring Latin-Mexican fusion cuisine, will fill the rest of the former Hoggy's restaurant at Crocker Park in Westlake ... He's shooting for a late August opening, once the space is overhauled into a lively, colorful room with a glass storefront to expose the hip-shaking energy inside. ... And one of the city's hottest sushi restaurants is coming to Eton Chagrin Boulevard in Woodmere, Stark Enterprises' other lifestyle center. Pacific East on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights is opening a second location next to Paladar in the rest of the former Bossa Nova spot. Look for an October opening. ... The Pub, an English-style restaurant and tavern with 20-plus beers on tap, will fill the former Gamekeeper's space at Beachcliff Market Square in Rocky River. Beth Kretschmar, the center's manager, said a September opening is likely. The Pub is one of four dining concepts by the Cincinnati-based Tavern Restaurant Group, which also operates the Polo Grille, Nicholson's Tavern & Pub and deSha's Restaurant & Bar in southwest Ohio and Louisville and Lexington, Ky. ... As it does each May through October, Jackalope Lakeside has opened for lunches and on Sundays. ... Velocity American Bistro, on Clifton Boulevard near the Cleveland-Lakewood border, was due to reopen Tuesday (May 15) after a fire had shut the place down just two months after opening last spring. ... Management at C&Y Chinese Restaurant in downtown Cleveland expected to reopen Tuesday after closing for about a month to remodel. . . .The closed Hornblowers Barge & Grille, with its prime downtown lakefront site, is getting some looks from possible buyers, but just tire-kickers so far. ... The Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern has opened in Solon with a menu featuring deep-fried pickles, fish and chips and 80 international beers in a casual, family-friendly setting. Cameron Mitchell (Mitchell's Fish Market in Woodmere) is a partner in the Columbus-based chain." ... Cleveland Scene critic Elaine Cicora reviews Babushka's Kitchen in Northfield Center Township and also stops by Kris Kreiger's Berea butcher shop, Chef's Choice Meats. ... Blogger reviews Longo’s Pizzeria, 8907 Mentor Ave. in Mentor ...
    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    James Beard, Silver Spoons Awards Set

    Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit

    Beard Award highlights are:

    AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

    Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

    BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

    BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

    BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

    BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

    BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

    BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

    BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

    BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

    BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

    BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

    BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

    OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

    OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

    OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

    OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

    OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

    OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

    OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

    RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

    Selected James Beard Media Awards
    Barbara Yost, The Arizona Republic
    Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle
    Elaine Cicora, Cleveland Scene
    Miriam Morgan and Jon Bonne
    San Francisco Chronicle
    Dara Moskowitz, Minneapolis City Pages
    TELEVISION FOOD SHOW, LOCAL: Check, Please! Bay Area, Host: Leslie Sbrocco, KQED Public Television, Producer: Tina Salter

    Cleveland magazine has announced its 2007 Silver Spoon Award winners:

    Best New Restaurant
    1. Lola
    2. Ty Fun
    3. Sergio’s Saravá
    Best Local Chef
    1. Michael Symon, Lola/Lolita
    2. Pete Joyce, Blue Point Grille
    3. tie: Rocco Whalen, Fahrenheit/Doug Katz, Fire Food & Drink
    Best Fine Dining
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. tie: Fire Food & Drink/ Ristorante Giovanni’s
    Best Cheap Eats
    1. Tommy’s
    2. Yours Truly
    Best Cheap Eats (chain)
    1. Chipotle
    Best Seafood
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Blake’s Seafood Restaurant
    3. Pier W
    Best French/Continental
    1. Sans Souci
    2. Chez François
    Best Italian
    1. Mama Santa’s
    2. Ristorante Giovanni’s
    Best Indian
    1. Cafe Tandoor
    2. Saffron Patch
    Best Chinese
    1. Pearl of the Orient
    2. Hunan on Coventry
    3. Hunan by the Falls
    Best Japanese
    1. Shuhei
    2. Otani
    3. Sushi Rock
    Best Other Asian
    1. tie: Lemon Grass/ Phnom Penh
    3. tie: Pad Thai/#1 Pho
    Best Mexican
    1. Luchita’s
    2. tie: Lopez/ Nuevo Acapulco
    Best Greek
    1. The Mad Greek
    2. Niko’s on Detroit
    3. Opa on 25th
    Best Middle Eastern
    1. Aladdin’s
    2. Taza Lebanese Grill
    Best German or Other Central European
    1. Balaton
    2. Der Braumeister
    3. Sokolowski’s University Inn
    Best Spanish/ Portuguese
    1. Mallorca
    2. Marbella
    3. Viva Barcelona
    Best Caribbean/ Puerto Rican/ Latin American
    1. tie: Johnny Mango World Cafe/Lozada’s
    Best Caribbean/ Puerto Rican/ Latin American (chain)
    1. Bahama Breeze
    Best Ribs
    1. Damon’s
    2. Hoggy’s
    Best Steak
    1. Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
    2. Delmonico’s
    3. Red the Steakhouse
    Best Pizza
    1. Geraci’s
    2. Mama Santa’s
    3. tie: Angelo’s/Marotta’s
    Best Hamburger
    1. Heck’s Cafe
    2. Yours Truly
    3. Boulevard Blue
    Best Barbecue
    1. Bubba’s-Q
    2. Hot Sauce Williams
    3. Hoggy’s
    Best Barbecue (chain)
    1. Smokey Bones
    Best Appetizers
    1. tie: The Cabin Club/ Delmonico’s
    Best Desserts
    1. Max’s Deli
    2. Moxie the Restaurant
    3. Blue Point Grille
    Best Desserts (chain)
    1. Cheesecake Factory
    Best Sandwich
    1. Max’s Deli
    2. Slyman’s
    3. Alvie & Gary’s Jack’s Deli
    Best Soup
    1. The SouperMarket
    2. Salmon Dave’s
    Best Soup (chain)
    1. Panera
    Best Vegetarian Selections
    1. Tommy’s
    2. Aladdin’s
    3. Mustard Seed Market & Cafe
    Best Wine List
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Swingo’s
    3. Lockkeeper’s
    Best-Stocked Bar
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Winking Lizard
    3. Delmonico’s
    Best Beer Selection
    1. Winking Lizard
    2. Great Lakes Brewing Co.
    3. The Harbor Inn
    Best Local Microbrew
    1. Great Lakes Brewing Co.
    2. Willoughby Brewing Co.
    3. Rocky River Brewing Co.
    Best Place for Family Dining
    1. Yours Truly
    2. Sokolowski’s University Inn
    3. Winking Lizard
    Best Sunday Brunch
    1. Pier W
    2. tie: House of Blues/ Cleveland Chop House and Brewery
    Most Romantic
    1. Pier W
    2. Blue Point Grille
    3. Ponte Vecchio
    Best Sports Bar/ Restaurant
    1. Winking Lizard
    2. Champps
    3. Damon’s
    Best People Watching
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Shooter’s
    3. The Metropolitan Cafe
    Best Outdoor Dining
    1. Gamekeeper’s Taverne
    2. Three Birds
    Best Plate Presentation
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Boulevard Blue
    3. Lola
    Best Service
    1. Blue Point Grille
    2. Boulevard Blue
    3. Ristorante Giovanni’s
    Best View
    1. Pier W
    2. tie: Blake’s Seafood Restaurant/Ponte Vecchio
    Best Decor
    1. Lola
    2. Blue Point Grille
    3. Pier W
    Best Deli
    1. Corky & Lenny’s
    2. Max’s Deli
    3. Alvie and Gary’s Jack’s Deli
    Best Pastry Shop
    1. Corbo’s Dolceria
    2. Farkas
    Best Pastry Shop (chain)
    1. Panera Best Place to Buy Bread
    1. Stone Oven Bakery
    2. On the Rise
    Best Place to Buy Bread (chain)
    1. Panera
    Best Cheese Selection
    1. Heinen’s
    2. West Side Market
    3. tie: Baricelli Inn/ Miles Farmers Market
    Best Wine Store
    1. Minotti’s
    2. tie: Heinen’s/Rozi’s
    Web-exclusive Category Winners
    Best Margarita: tie: Momocho/Lopez
    Best Host: Ean Carroll, Boulevard Blue
    Best Pie: Eat’n Park
    Best Corned Beef: Sandwich Slyman’s
    Best Place for Tapas: Sergio’s Saravá

    IN THE NEWS: Orlando-based Darden Restaurants shut down more than 50 of its Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill locations across the country on May 5 and said it will sell the remaining 73, The Orlando Sentinel reported May 6. The closings include a Cleveland-area store in Elyria ... Plain Dealer dining columnist Bill Lubinger reports: Alexandria, Va.-based Five Guys Famous Burgers and Fries has opened its first area outpost at 36050 Detroit Road (French Creek Square Shopping Center) in Avon; restaurant openings or reopenings have been delayed for C&Y Chinese Restaurant and Samir's Diner in downtown Cleveland and Woodmere's Latin-inluenced Paladar. And Lubinger reports that Bix Foods in Beachwood isn't going to reopen. The paper also reviews Oggi's Ristorante in Broadview Heights. ... Cleveland Scene gives a so-so review of Wild Ginger, 5092 Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn. Critic Elaine T. Cicora's pick Asian hits follow:

    "For Chinese cuisine, it's hard to beat Chinatown mainstays Bo Loong (3922 St. Clair Avenue, 216-391-3113) and Li Wah (2999 Payne Avenue, 216-696-6556). Or check out the nearby Siam Café (3951 St. Clair Avenue, 216-361-2323) for outstanding Thai fare with an emphasis on seafood, and Superior Pho (3030 Superior Avenue, 216-781-7462) for excellent Vietnamese soups and more.
    "Downtown, consider Wu's Cuisine Shanghai Restaurant (2142 Rockwell Avenue, 216-781-9740) for old-style Chinese-restaurant classics, and for sushi, both Ginza Sushi & Steak House (1105 Carnegie Avenue, 216-589-8503) and Sapporo (1906 East Sixth Street, 216-579-7000) are first-rate.
    "On the West Side, options include Vietnamese restaurants Long Phung (5107 Detroit Avenue, 216-651-1119) and Minh Anh (5428 Detroit Avenue, 216-961-9671), Cambodian Phnom Penh, with two locations (in Ohio City at 1929 West 25th Street, 216-357-2951, and 13124 Lorain Avenue, 216-251-0210), Thai eatery Ty Fun (815 Jefferson Avenue, 216-664-1000), and for sushi, Kimo's Sushi Shop (1885 Fulton Road, 216-631-7463).
    "On the East Side, Japanese and sushi standouts include Pacific East (1763 Coventry Road, 216-320-2302), Shinano (5222 Wilson Mills Road, 440-473-2345), and Shuhei (23360 Chagrin Boulevard, 216-464-1720). For Chinese, consider Hunan by the Falls (508 East Washington Street, 440-247-0808), and for Thai, both Mint Café (1791 Coventry Road, 216-320-9915) and Lemon Grass (2179 Lee Road, 216-321-0210) are good bets." ...

    Cicora also reports that Kent's popular Mugzee's Wings & More owner Kurt Zitzner plans to relocate by late August from inside Club Khameleon (626 North Water Street) to the soon-to-expand Water Street Tavern at 132 South Water Street. And she details the Scene's Upcoming Iron Fork competition, part of the fifth-annual Tasteful Affair, 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, May 17. "Modeled after the Food Network's popular Iron Chef series, Iron Fork features a half-dozen of the region's most talented toques, including Brandt Evans (Blue Canyon Kitchen in Twinsburg), Jeff Fisher (Lago in Tremont), Richard Wise and Jamie Wynbrandt (Brennan's Colony in Cleveland Heights), Dino Tsarnas (the Cleveland Grill in Cleveland), and Brian Doyle (World's Fare Culinary Services in Brunswick). For food fans who haven't yet checked out Ohio City's newest hot spot, Light Bistro, the presence of executive chef and partner Matt Mathlage should sweeten the pot." Guests to the 21-and-over event can mingle, indulge in complimentary spirits, and sample dishes from more than 20 local restaurants, including Gusto! (Little Italy), Don's Lighthouse (Cleveland), Gypsy Beans and Baking Company, and Loco Leprechaun (Westlake). Partial proceeds from the event will benefit the Western Reserve Historical Society. Tickets in advance are $30 each ($40 at the door) or four for $100; order at or by phone at 216-721-5722, ext. 445.

    Compiled by Pat Embry,

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    James Beard Awards Await

    Roughly the dining out equivalent of The Academy Awards, The James Beard Foundation annual awards ceremony takes place Monday, May 7, at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. The talented Michael Symon of Cleveland's Lola is among the five nominees for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Go to for the complete list, but here's a partial list of national nominees:

    -- Outstanding Restaurant: Boulevard, San Francisco; Frontera Grill, Chicago; Magnolia Grill, Durham, N.C., Picholine, New York; Spiaggia, Chicago.
    -- Best New Restaurant: A Voce, New York City; Chochon, New Orleans; Cut, Beverly Hill, Calif; L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, New York City; Momofuku Ssam Bar, New York City; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas.
    -- Outstanding Restaurateur: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif; Keith McNally, Balthazar, New York City; Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (R.J. Grunts, Wildfire, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!), Chicago; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Rubicon), New York City; Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jean Georges restaurant, New York City.
    -- Outstanding Chef: Tom Colicchio, Craft, New York City; Lee Hefter, Spago, Beverly Hills, Calif.; Jean Joho, Everest, Chicago; Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Chicago; Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, D.C.
    -- Rising Star Chef: Nate Appleman, A16, San Francisco; Graham Elliot Bowles, Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel, Philadelphia; David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York; Patrick Connelly, Radius, Boston; Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, New York City.

    Playboy magazine's May issue includes its list of America's 10 Best Steakhouses. (Hey, now you can say you really DO read the articles!) Those deemed bunny worthy include:

    Bone's in Atlanta.
    Keefer's in Chicago
    Cresecent City Steaks in New Orleans
    Cut in Los Angeles
    Bern's in Tampa
    Craftsteak in Las Vegas
    Grill 23 & Bar in Boston
    El Raigon in San Francisco
    Red in Cleveland
    Sparks in New York City


    Restaurant magazine just released its list of the world's top 100 restaurants. ( Here are the U.S. entries:

    The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca. (No. 4)
    Per Se, New York City (No. 9)
    Jean Georges, New York City (No. 18)
    Le Bernardin, New York City (No. 26)
    Charlie Trotter's, Chicago (No. 30)
    Daniel, New York City (No. 32)
    Alinea, Chicago (No. 36)
    Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Ca. (No. 40)
    Masa, New York City (No. 56)
    L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon at the Four Seasons, New York City (No. 64)
    Peter Lugar, Brooklyn, NY (No. 69)
    Nobu New York, New York City (No. 89)
    Gramercy Tavern, New York City (No. 90)
    WD-50, New York City (No. 91)
    Zuni Café, San Francisco (No. 98)
    Alex at Wynn, Las Vegas (No. 100)

    IN THE NEWS: The Plain Dealer's Bill Lubinger reports that popular Cleveland Heights Mexican eatery Que Tal has just finished its first major remodeling since its opening a decade ago. Also, Tannour Mediterranean Cuisine in Peppar Pike has temporarily closed to retool its menu and address service issues. It's due to reopen the end of April, Lubinger reports ... Lubinger also recently detailed the latest change in ownership of Le Oui Oui Cafe, which is to become a French bistro as well as a creperie, and the closing of Mighal Fine Indian Restaurant in Parma Heights. And he reports that any day now the old TGI Friday's/Riverwalk Cafe space in the Powerhouse reopens as the American Contemporary restaurant Cyrus. Read more at ... Cleveland Scene critic Elaine T. Cicora reviews ML the Restaurant, 6725 Chillicothe Road, Bainbridge Township. ( ... Getting the blog treatment at Harvey’s at the Hamptons, 27040 Cedar Road in Beachwood; Nick’s Gyro’s #1, 8764 Mentor Ave., Mentor; and Winking Lizard, 9570 Mentor Ave. Mentor.