Every city has its own iconic foods, but there’s no other place in the country that has essential eats covered in the way that Cleveland does. From Cleveland-style barbecue to custard cake from Murray Hill and deli sandwiches that will fill your belly for days, Cleveland’s signature dishes are definitely bucket-list worthy. So loosen up that belt and get crackin’ on this list of 12 dishes you have to eat in the Land before you die.
1. Pierogies from Sokolowski's University Inn
Sokolowski's is legendary in Cleveland and not just because they've been around since 1923. Nope. It's the pierogies. One serving of these bad boys and you'll be checking your calendar to see when you can come back to have them again.
Address: 1201 University Rd, Cleveland, OH 44113
2. Corned Beef Sandwich from Slyman's
Nothing represents an iconic Cleveland food quite like the infamous Corned Beef Sandwich from Slyman's. Seriously. Served up on deli rye and with a pickle spear, you'll leave this Cleveland staple smiling and with a fully belly!
Address: 3106 St Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114
3. Polish Boy from Seti's Polish Boys
Oh my. You haven't lived until you've sunken your teeth into a Polish Boy from Seti's. A recent Yelp reviewer said, "It's just the right amount of coleslaw to save your mouth from the gush of juice that comes with that first bite into the hot dog!" Yeeoowww! Sign. Me. Up.
Address: W. 42 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH 44113 - in a food truck in the parking lot of the Thomas F. McCafferty Health Center
4. Sugardale Hot Dog from Progressive Field
True story: In 2015, The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council named the Sugardale hotdog dished up at Progressive Field as "Baseball's Best Hot Dog." Make sure yours is slathered in a pile of Cleveland's own Bertman Ballpark Mustard if you want the full monty. Everyone knows where Progressive Field is, but just in case your Sugardale cravings get in the way of your normal brain functions...
Address: 2401 Ontario St, Cleveland, OH 44115
5. Crispy Chicken Wings from Greenhouse Tavern
Head downtown and over to East 4th Street to this quirky but hip eatery headed up by local chef Jonathon Sawyer to experience the magic of their Crispy Chicken Wings. They're crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside. Perfection!
Address: 2038 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115
6. Sunnyside Pizza from Bar Cento
Some of the best pizza in Cleveland can be found at Bar Cento in Ohio City and it was even recognized on the Food Network a few years back. So what's on it? Provolone, sunnyside-up eggs, housemade pancetta and black pepper. Yum.
Address: West Side Market, 1948 W 25th St, Cleveland, OH 44113
7. Pork Belly from Mabel's
Cleveland officially has its own style of BBQ now thanks to celebrity chef and native Clevelander Michael Symon. The tender smoked Pork Belly at Mabel's is like no other! Have it with a side of hot greens and white toast. This iconic dish should be on every Clevelander's food "bucket list."
Address: 2050 E 4th St, Cleveland, OH 44115
8. Cassata Cake from Corbo's Bakery
The Cassata Cake from Corbo's in Cleveland's Little Italy is legendary in the Forest City. This light Italian sponge cake is filled with layers of homemade custard and fresh strawberries - and then topped with whipped cream. Oh my!
Address: 12210 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106
9. Chocolate Milkshake from Tommy's
Does Tommy's REALLY have the best shakes in the whole country? You bet they do! In case you missed them in the spotlight during the recent RNC, here they are. If you're not sure where to start...the classic Chocolate Shake is the way to go.
Address: 1824 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
10. Cheeseburger from Johnny's Little Bar
Johnny's is the epitome of an unassuming restaurant that delivers big taste. Voted "Best Burger" time and time again, Johnny's dishes up a burger that's second to none in Cleveland!
614 Frankfort Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
11. Chicken Paprikash from Sterle's Country House
Sterle's is the place to start for a taste of authentic Slovenian and Eastern European food in Cleveland. Their trademark dish is the Chicken Paprikash, shown here in a brunch plate that includes an egg.
Address: 1401 E 55th St, Cleveland, OH 44103
12. The "Shipwreck" from Lucky's Cafe
Don't let the name fool you. There's absolutely nothing "accidental or unfortunate" about the massive "Shipwreck" omelet. Lucky's dishes this pile of goodness up for breakfast and brunch. Can you order it for lunch? Yes! Breakfast and lunch are served from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Address: 777 Starkweather Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
Cleveland is a melting pot (no pun intended) of eclectic and iconic foods. This list of food you have to try is a fabulous start for eating your way through the city’s trademark dishes. If you’d like to add to this list, feel free to share your favorite trademark Cleveland dish in our comments!