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Brandon’s guidebook

Brandon

Brandon’s guidebook

Bistro and Casual Restaurants
Our favorite restaurants are reasonably priced independent and intimate urban eateries with a creative chef, scratch kitchen and professional servers without too much formality. Much like Fat Cats!
Great neighborhood restaurant that happens to be one of the city's top modern dining destinations. Chic but casual space, and very unique collection of evolving seasonal menu items. Most fun to go with others and order rounds of different small plates. This is where you want to go when you want to avoid traditional, but not pay exorbitant prices. We enjoy snack time (happy hour) at the bar ! It is also next door to the popular Platform Brewery and too far walk from Forest City Shuffleboard when you are ready to bar hop.
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The Plum
4133 Lorain Ave
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Great neighborhood restaurant that happens to be one of the city's top modern dining destinations. Chic but casual space, and very unique collection of evolving seasonal menu items. Most fun to go with others and order rounds of different small plates. This is where you want to go when you want to avoid traditional, but not pay exorbitant prices. We enjoy snack time (happy hour) at the bar ! It is also next door to the popular Platform Brewery and too far walk from Forest City Shuffleboard when you are ready to bar hop.
Contemporary space with a delightful menu of refined Southern classics and creative twists. Top quality, and reasonably priced. We wouldn't recommend any where else on W.25th Street for dinner. Happy Hour in bar area is best kept secret in town with entree portions at tapas prices.
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SOHO Chicken + Whiskey
1889 West 25th Street
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Contemporary space with a delightful menu of refined Southern classics and creative twists. Top quality, and reasonably priced. We wouldn't recommend any where else on W.25th Street for dinner. Happy Hour in bar area is best kept secret in town with entree portions at tapas prices.
Charming Parisian inspired bistro and cafe. Menu is traditionally French, but priced right with relaxed atmosphere. Weekend brunch is one of the most popular services, but I prefer visiting for a late weekday lunch or dinner when it is not as busy.
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Le Petit Triangle Café
1881 Fulton Road
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Charming Parisian inspired bistro and cafe. Menu is traditionally French, but priced right with relaxed atmosphere. Weekend brunch is one of the most popular services, but I prefer visiting for a late weekday lunch or dinner when it is not as busy.
Modern Mexican eatery by acclaimed chef Eric Williams. Intimate cozy space with cool decor. Open Sunday night!
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Momocho
1835 Fulton Road
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Modern Mexican eatery by acclaimed chef Eric Williams. Intimate cozy space with cool decor. Open Sunday night!
Intimate contemporary dining space with an excellent menu for lunch and dinner. Has won many awards throughout the years.
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Ty Fun Thai Bistro
815 Jefferson Avenue
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Intimate contemporary dining space with an excellent menu for lunch and dinner. Has won many awards throughout the years.
Top Cocktail Bars
Most modern restaurants and bistros have an excellent bar program. These cocktail specific bars have helped elevate the entire scene in the city where fresh squeezed juices, seasonal house made syrups, top shelf spirits, and professional technique are the norm.
The Polynesian decor and menu make this the most fun cocktail bar in Cleveland. It is also one of the most nationally recognized. In warmer months it is a way to celebrate the summer out on the patio, and colder months to cozy up inside to forget the winter. It is located just South of Duck Island in between Ohio City and Tremont. Too far to walk from Fat Cats, but I do not recommend driving. Better use uber/lyft here to get you home.
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Porco Lounge & Tiki Room
2527 West 25th Street
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The Polynesian decor and menu make this the most fun cocktail bar in Cleveland. It is also one of the most nationally recognized. In warmer months it is a way to celebrate the summer out on the patio, and colder months to cozy up inside to forget the winter. It is located just South of Duck Island in between Ohio City and Tremont. Too far to walk from Fat Cats, but I do not recommend driving. Better use uber/lyft here to get you home.
The most creative and contemporary of any cocktail bar in Cleveland. The crew puts a lot of research, labor and technique in developing truly one-of-a-kind beverages. The sleek repurposed decor with backlit stained glass windows create a unique ambiance. It is located in Tremont and a reasonable walk from Fat Cats.
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The Spotted Owl
710 Jefferson Avenue
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The most creative and contemporary of any cocktail bar in Cleveland. The crew puts a lot of research, labor and technique in developing truly one-of-a-kind beverages. The sleek repurposed decor with backlit stained glass windows create a unique ambiance. It is located in Tremont and a reasonable walk from Fat Cats.
Cleveland's only viking themed heavy metal bar has some of the coolest cocktails and small plates in the city. Definitely worth venturing into Lakewood for a visit. Save money by taking RTA instead of uber/lyft. It is less than a half a mile from the (Red Line) West 117th Rapid Station.
L. B. M.
12301 Madison Ave
Cleveland's only viking themed heavy metal bar has some of the coolest cocktails and small plates in the city. Definitely worth venturing into Lakewood for a visit. Save money by taking RTA instead of uber/lyft. It is less than a half a mile from the (Red Line) West 117th Rapid Station.
The bar that started it all! This is the Cleveland cocktail bar institution with an emphasis on classic prohibition era recipes. The swanky speakeasy atmosphere features live jazz and piano on weekend nights. Due to its legendary status, its drinks are at a higher price point. Dress code has become more relaxed in the past decade, but there is still a formal expectation. Less than a mile from Fat Cats in Duck Island, but late night would recommend an uber/lyft home.
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The Velvet Tango Room
2095 Columbus Road
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The bar that started it all! This is the Cleveland cocktail bar institution with an emphasis on classic prohibition era recipes. The swanky speakeasy atmosphere features live jazz and piano on weekend nights. Due to its legendary status, its drinks are at a higher price point. Dress code has become more relaxed in the past decade, but there is still a formal expectation. Less than a mile from Fat Cats in Duck Island, but late night would recommend an uber/lyft home.
Markets
Markets can be a real cultural experience that define a city. The different combinations of food and people coming together in a public place inspires us.
This beautiful municipally owned market hall has been serving the community since 1912. Separate vendors specialize in specific categories like meat, dairy, produce, bakery, pastry, prepared foods. Some stands have been operated by same families for generations. The beaux arts architecture with its signature clock tower was inspired by central city European train stations. Its a great place to grab a snack and photo from inside on the second level balcony or outside in Market Square Park. Although most vendors are happy to accept credit cards and offer bags, locals know to bring cash and shopping totes. If I'm in the mood for a healthy snack I like to grab a fresh juice blend from the Juice Garden (East Edge Central Arcade) and then order an authentic falafil wrap from Maha's (Northeast Corner). When I'm feeling true to my local roots I enjoy a bratwurst sandwich from Frank's (Northwest Corner) "Cleveland style" with sauerkraut and ballpark mustard with a nice light-roast black coffee from City Roast (Southwest Corner Central Arcade). This is the unmistakable anchor of the W.25th Street / Market Square area of Ohio City near Great Lakes Brewing Company and many other bars, restaurants and cafes.
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West Side Market
1979 West 25th Street
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This beautiful municipally owned market hall has been serving the community since 1912. Separate vendors specialize in specific categories like meat, dairy, produce, bakery, pastry, prepared foods. Some stands have been operated by same families for generations. The beaux arts architecture with its signature clock tower was inspired by central city European train stations. Its a great place to grab a snack and photo from inside on the second level balcony or outside in Market Square Park. Although most vendors are happy to accept credit cards and offer bags, locals know to bring cash and shopping totes. If I'm in the mood for a healthy snack I like to grab a fresh juice blend from the Juice Garden (East Edge Central Arcade) and then order an authentic falafil wrap from Maha's (Northeast Corner). When I'm feeling true to my local roots I enjoy a bratwurst sandwich from Frank's (Northwest Corner) "Cleveland style" with sauerkraut and ballpark mustard with a nice light-roast black coffee from City Roast (Southwest Corner Central Arcade). This is the unmistakable anchor of the W.25th Street / Market Square area of Ohio City near Great Lakes Brewing Company and many other bars, restaurants and cafes.
Heinen's is an upscale regional supermarket (like a local version of Whole Foods), but the downtown location is anything but a traditional grocery store. It is located in the rotunda of a historic bank building under a tiffany glass dome with painted murals and marble columns. The prepared foods and salad bar make it a fun place for lunch. The second level balcony is for wine and beer which you can taste inside the store! It is located prominently downtown on E.9th and Euclid next to Geiger's Clothing in the Theater District near Playhouse Square, and in between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Progressive Field.
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Heinen's of Downtown Cleveland
900 Euclid Avenue
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Heinen's is an upscale regional supermarket (like a local version of Whole Foods), but the downtown location is anything but a traditional grocery store. It is located in the rotunda of a historic bank building under a tiffany glass dome with painted murals and marble columns. The prepared foods and salad bar make it a fun place for lunch. The second level balcony is for wine and beer which you can taste inside the store! It is located prominently downtown on E.9th and Euclid next to Geiger's Clothing in the Theater District near Playhouse Square, and in between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Progressive Field.
This is truly a fantastic dining destination with an extensive Greek and Mediterranean inspired Cafe. The market component features excellent prepared foods, cheese and wine for carry-out.
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Astoria Cafe & Market
5417 Detroit Ave
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This is truly a fantastic dining destination with an extensive Greek and Mediterranean inspired Cafe. The market component features excellent prepared foods, cheese and wine for carry-out.
Deli and Sandwiches
We love a good sandwich. Particularly in the afternoons for something quick when out and about in a particular neighborhood with a plan.
Larder is a relatively new deli on the scene with inspiration from traditional Kosher. It is led by a talented culinary team who does all of the fermenting, brining and baking in house. New accolades from the James Beard Foundation and renowned chef Thomas Keller! The space is located in a historic fire station with much of the retained features. It is located in Hingetown area of Ohio City across the street from special art exhibit space Transformer Station and SPACES. Both are free admission, and it makes for a fun afternoon.
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Larder Delicatessen and Bakery
1455 W 29th St
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Larder is a relatively new deli on the scene with inspiration from traditional Kosher. It is led by a talented culinary team who does all of the fermenting, brining and baking in house. New accolades from the James Beard Foundation and renowned chef Thomas Keller! The space is located in a historic fire station with much of the retained features. It is located in Hingetown area of Ohio City across the street from special art exhibit space Transformer Station and SPACES. Both are free admission, and it makes for a fun afternoon.
This authentic middle eastern deli serves up some of the best traditional fare along with excellent vegetarian/vegan options. Very reasonable prices, and you have a variety of portion sizes to choose. When I do my shopping at the West Side Market and need a complete meal for lunch - this is my number one favorite.
Nate's Deli & Restaurant
1923 West 25th Street
This authentic middle eastern deli serves up some of the best traditional fare along with excellent vegetarian/vegan options. Very reasonable prices, and you have a variety of portion sizes to choose. When I do my shopping at the West Side Market and need a complete meal for lunch - this is my number one favorite.
Over 50 some options to choose from and you can specify what kind of bread or wrap. Larger portions won't leave you hungry. It isn't too far from Fat Cats, and I enjoy calling ahead for pickup or dine-in. It is usually ready by the time I walk over.
La Bodega In Tremont
869 Jefferson Avenue
Over 50 some options to choose from and you can specify what kind of bread or wrap. Larger portions won't leave you hungry. It isn't too far from Fat Cats, and I enjoy calling ahead for pickup or dine-in. It is usually ready by the time I walk over.
The Cleveland Bagel Company created a distinctive hybrid of New York and Montreal bagel recipes. Their bagel shop is a short detour off the Lakefront Bikeway Trail, which makes it a great place to pick up a breakfast or lunch sandwich before heading into Edgewater park for a quick picnic by bike, scooter or car.
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The Cleveland Bagel Company
4201 Detroit Ave
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The Cleveland Bagel Company created a distinctive hybrid of New York and Montreal bagel recipes. Their bagel shop is a short detour off the Lakefront Bikeway Trail, which makes it a great place to pick up a breakfast or lunch sandwich before heading into Edgewater park for a quick picnic by bike, scooter or car.
Curated beer and wine selection for dine-in and retail. Food consists of sausages, poutine and sliders. Probably one of the best spots to enjoy a traditional Cleveland style Polish Boy sandwich.
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Banter Beer and Wine
7320 Detroit Ave
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Curated beer and wine selection for dine-in and retail. Food consists of sausages, poutine and sliders. Probably one of the best spots to enjoy a traditional Cleveland style Polish Boy sandwich.
Nightlife Destinations
The Cleveland nightlife scene for locals mostly consists of going to your neighborhood corner bar where everyone knows your name. On weekends people like to venture a little out of their own neighborhood with a close group of friends involving food, drink and some kind of activity or music. These places offer a bit of everything.
One of the most diverse crowds in the city come together to have fun here right in Tremont. It pioneered the idea of a trendy casual urban bar and lounge with great food. Ricardo of Fat Cats is co-owner with chef Jack Anfang. Cool place for all occasions like socializing with strangers, having a romantic date, and organizing a last minute group party meetup. Atmosphere is more relaxed in early hours of night with happy hour drink and food specials till 8 PM. Starts to draw a crowd on weekend nights when DJs start at 10 PM. No cover.
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Lava Lounge
1307 Auburn Avenue
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One of the most diverse crowds in the city come together to have fun here right in Tremont. It pioneered the idea of a trendy casual urban bar and lounge with great food. Ricardo of Fat Cats is co-owner with chef Jack Anfang. Cool place for all occasions like socializing with strangers, having a romantic date, and organizing a last minute group party meetup. Atmosphere is more relaxed in early hours of night with happy hour drink and food specials till 8 PM. Starts to draw a crowd on weekend nights when DJs start at 10 PM. No cover.
You can build your own gourmet hot dogs with options of nearly 50 toppings. This large vintage oval bar from the 1940s is a hip neighborhood spot. At 9 PM the space turns into a concert club with a cover supporting a lineup of local and touring musicians. It does a trivia night on Monday, and has some other unique programming as well. It is a fixture of the Gordon Square area of Detroit Shoreway.
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Happy Dog
5801 Detroit Road
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You can build your own gourmet hot dogs with options of nearly 50 toppings. This large vintage oval bar from the 1940s is a hip neighborhood spot. At 9 PM the space turns into a concert club with a cover supporting a lineup of local and touring musicians. It does a trivia night on Monday, and has some other unique programming as well. It is a fixture of the Gordon Square area of Detroit Shoreway.
This complex features a vintage bowling alley, indie concert club, sometimes themed dance parties, and a fun bar with colorful murals. Early evening is more family friendly and later night caters to a young adult crowd. It is a fixture of nightlife on Lakewood's Madison Avenue pub crawl mile.
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Mahall's
13200 Madison Avenue
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This complex features a vintage bowling alley, indie concert club, sometimes themed dance parties, and a fun bar with colorful murals. Early evening is more family friendly and later night caters to a young adult crowd. It is a fixture of nightlife on Lakewood's Madison Avenue pub crawl mile.
Shuffleboard is no longer relegated to retirement communities and cruise ships. It's a trend for hip young professionals to enjoy an activity while drinking with friends. The pop-up kitchen is always rotating food operators with something new to try. It is near The Plum Cafe and Kitchen, and Platform Brewery in the Lorain-Fulton area of Ohio City.
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Forest City Shuffleboard Arena and Bar
4506 Lorain Ave
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Shuffleboard is no longer relegated to retirement communities and cruise ships. It's a trend for hip young professionals to enjoy an activity while drinking with friends. The pop-up kitchen is always rotating food operators with something new to try. It is near The Plum Cafe and Kitchen, and Platform Brewery in the Lorain-Fulton area of Ohio City.
University Circle Attractions
University Circle is the city's cultural, education and medical district. It is full of heavily endowed renowned institutions within a square mile including Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. Three main visitor-oriented districts within the neighborhood include Wade Oval, Uptown and Little Italy.
A remarkable building combining classic and modern elements with a renowned collection. It is generally regarded as one of the top 5 comprehensive art museums in the country, and the only one FREE to enjoy its general collection. Art from all over the world and time periods are recognized here with dedicated wings. Recognizable masters in Ancient, Medieval, African, Asian, Renaissance, American, Impressionism and Modern art. In terms of actual museum quality, this should be your number 1 spot. It anchors picturesque Wade Lagoon and Wade Oval.
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The Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
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A remarkable building combining classic and modern elements with a renowned collection. It is generally regarded as one of the top 5 comprehensive art museums in the country, and the only one FREE to enjoy its general collection. Art from all over the world and time periods are recognized here with dedicated wings. Recognizable masters in Ancient, Medieval, African, Asian, Renaissance, American, Impressionism and Modern art. In terms of actual museum quality, this should be your number 1 spot. It anchors picturesque Wade Lagoon and Wade Oval.
One of the most recent institutions to undergo an expansion and remodel. The outdoor live animal exhibits are among the favorites. Located just across from the Cleveland Museum of Art, and includes a Planetarium.
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Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Drive
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One of the most recent institutions to undergo an expansion and remodel. The outdoor live animal exhibits are among the favorites. Located just across from the Cleveland Museum of Art, and includes a Planetarium.
Unlike the Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA has no permanent collections. The entire space is dedicated to current artists and exhibits rotate frequently. Daily admission is now free. The museum anchors the Uptown district of University Circle with many fast casual dining options catering to visitors, employees and students in the neighborhood.
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Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland
11400 Euclid Avenue
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Unlike the Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA has no permanent collections. The entire space is dedicated to current artists and exhibits rotate frequently. Daily admission is now free. The museum anchors the Uptown district of University Circle with many fast casual dining options catering to visitors, employees and students in the neighborhood.
The Cleveland Institute of Art is a renowned higher learning school of art and design. There are a number of events and exhibits throughout the year, but visitors should take note of the Cinematheque. Independent, art house and foreign films are featured in its programming to the public. It truly operates like a year round film festival.
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The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque
11610 Euclid Avenue
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The Cleveland Institute of Art is a renowned higher learning school of art and design. There are a number of events and exhibits throughout the year, but visitors should take note of the Cinematheque. Independent, art house and foreign films are featured in its programming to the public. It truly operates like a year round film festival.
The entire University Circle neighborhood is served by a convenient Red Line rapid station on Mayfield Avenue in the heart of the Little Italy district. This district is a collection of charming Italian restaurants and art galleries. Presti’s and Corbo’s are popular bakery and cafes packed for lunch, while Nora’s for modern Italian dining and Michaelangelo’s for traditional Italian dining pack for dinner. Mama Santa’s is a popular family friendly pizza parlor, and Guarino’s is perhaps the oldest restaurant in the city.
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Литл Итали
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The entire University Circle neighborhood is served by a convenient Red Line rapid station on Mayfield Avenue in the heart of the Little Italy district. This district is a collection of charming Italian restaurants and art galleries. Presti’s and Corbo’s are popular bakery and cafes packed for lunch, while Nora’s for modern Italian dining and Michaelangelo’s for traditional Italian dining pack for dinner. Mama Santa’s is a popular family friendly pizza parlor, and Guarino’s is perhaps the oldest restaurant in the city.
Lakeview Cemetery is working cemetery and picturesque park with many notable notable monuments including Wade Chapel and Rockefeller family plot. Climb the stairs of The James A. Garfield Mausoleum for excellent views of downtown and the lake. Many of the Italian immigrants in Little Italy worked as stone cutters and sculptors.
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Lake View Cemetery
12316 Euclid Avenue
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Lakeview Cemetery is working cemetery and picturesque park with many notable notable monuments including Wade Chapel and Rockefeller family plot. Climb the stairs of The James A. Garfield Mausoleum for excellent views of downtown and the lake. Many of the Italian immigrants in Little Italy worked as stone cutters and sculptors.
Classic Tremont
Our neighborhood is ever evolving, but some institutions stand the test of time connecting generations of Clevelanders.
This traditional Polish restaurant has been serving up food cafeteria style for generations. It one a James Beard Foundation distinction as an American Classic. Dinner service only offered Friday and Saturday nights, but its popular lunch service runs Monday-Friday. It's just around the corner from Fat Cats! You might get caught in a line out the door if you aren't first to descend, or might want to consider dining after the prime rush.
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Sokolowski's University Inn
1201 University Road
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This traditional Polish restaurant has been serving up food cafeteria style for generations. It one a James Beard Foundation distinction as an American Classic. Dinner service only offered Friday and Saturday nights, but its popular lunch service runs Monday-Friday. It's just around the corner from Fat Cats! You might get caught in a line out the door if you aren't first to descend, or might want to consider dining after the prime rush.
One of the longest running coffee shops in the city of Cleveland, this quaint spot is a popular meeting place. Sidewalk seating features views of picturesque Lincoln Park.
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Civilization
2366 West 11th Street
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One of the longest running coffee shops in the city of Cleveland, this quaint spot is a popular meeting place. Sidewalk seating features views of picturesque Lincoln Park.
Edison's pizza is legendary, and they pioneered the craft beer movement with its vast offerings. You can order a slice at the kitchen window! It has a casual artsy bicycle themed atmosphere, pool table, and an outdoor patio oasis featuring a koi pond. One of the best neighborhood bars in the city.
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Edison's Pizza Kitchen
2365 Professor Avenue
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Edison's pizza is legendary, and they pioneered the craft beer movement with its vast offerings. You can order a slice at the kitchen window! It has a casual artsy bicycle themed atmosphere, pool table, and an outdoor patio oasis featuring a koi pond. One of the best neighborhood bars in the city.
This park is the centerpiece of the neighborhood for picnics, dog walking, and neighborhood festivals. Tuesdays in the summer hosts popular farmer's market.
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Lincoln Park
1200 West 14th Street
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This park is the centerpiece of the neighborhood for picnics, dog walking, and neighborhood festivals. Tuesdays in the summer hosts popular farmer's market.
This American cafe restaurant in the neighborhood is actually a cheerful place! Opens early and a nice option for an early breakfast.
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Grumpy's Cafe
2621 West 14th Street
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This American cafe restaurant in the neighborhood is actually a cheerful place! Opens early and a nice option for an early breakfast.