7 Classic Local Eateries That Are Overflowing With History
Once upon a time, a man named Anthony Bourdain visited Cleveland to film an episode of “No Reservations” for
The Travel Channel. A well-traveled and intelligent individual, Bourdain took on the city with an eager (and hungry) attitude. He called Cleveland one of his favorite U.S. cities, and his adventurous spirit left many locals inspired. Bourdain, who passed away in early June 2018, discovered what locals already know – that the city is overflowing with history, culture, and, of course, flavor. Those elements flawlessly combine at many local eateries, some of which date back generations.
1. Guarino's Restaurant (12309 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland)
Guarino's is said to be the oldest restaurant in Cleveland, and it's no secret why it is has lasted so long. Not only is the food delicious, but here, you're part of the
famiglia. However, it wasn't always family-friendly. In fact, it started as a speakeasy just two years before Prohibition was in full swing. Ever since it was opened in 1918, Guarino's has been owned and operated by the same family, allowing them to celebrate and preserve family recipes on their irresistible menu. Though it has hardly changed in the last century or so, it has come a long way from the days in which liquor was served to patrons in inconspicuous coffee cups.
2. Tommy's On Coventry (1824 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights)
Tommy's is truly a Cleveland fixture, and it certainly should be. Aside from the
staff's genuine compassion and generosity
, this long-standing little restaurant has been delighting hungry diners for decades. Tommy's began as a humble soda fountain in 1972 that seated a mere seven customers. However, it soon expanded to seat 27. The neighborhood sweet shop gained such popularity that
Rolling Stone Magazine
declared one of their staples the "Best Milkshake East of the Mississippi." Just six years after opening, they moved to 1820 Coventry Road. The original signage from that location is pictured above; however, the charming restaurant that could then seat 77 hungry diners was lost shortly after when a fire destroyed half a block of Coventry in 1988. Their dining room was moved to 1824 Coventry Road, where it opened to patrons in 1993. It now can seat 125 people, allowing multitudes of guests to appreciate and enjoy the flavors of this iconic eatery.
3. 100th Bomb Group Restaurant (20920 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland)
Just a stone's throw from the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is a charming restaurant that doubles as a trip back in time. The restaurant's founder, David Tallichet, served as a B17 co-pilot for the 100th Bomb Group in World War II. Along with his crew, he flew 23 combat missions in B-17 bombers. Though he would go on to establish more than 100 restaurants across the country, his true passion was restoring and preserving WWII memorabilia, which can be found adorning the walls of this one-of-a-kind restaurant that serves up comfort food in a dining room that offers a view of planes taking off and landing from the nearby airport. For more on this awesome eatery, click
4. George's Kitchen (13101 Triskett Rd., Cleveland)
George's has been an icon for nearly four decades, as it opened in 1980 and has been entertaining families since. Its friendly atmosphere and affordable menu pair perfectly with comfort food, and locals can't get enough of it.
5. Sokolowski’s University Inn (1201 University Rd., Cleveland)
It was the Roaring Twenties when Victoria and Michael Sokolowski decided to open a tavern. In 1923, the Tremont neighborhood was known as South Side and was populated by immigrants of Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian descent. For years, the tavern flourished, but by the late 1950s something changed... it had become a full-fledged restaurant, specializing in cafeteria-style Polish comfort foods. This change came about thanks to the construction of the Inner Belt Bridge. As the construction workers took lunch breaks, they had ventured through the community to find grub. The Sokolowski family saw their opportunity and seized it, and they've been known as one of the most iconic eateries in Cleveland ever since.
6. Slyman's Deli (3106 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland)
Not many restaurants can boast the praise of the band Bare Naked Ladies, but Slyman's certainly can. They're not the restaurant's only famous fans, as it has also hosted notable folks like President George W. Bush. Since the restaurant opened in 1963, it has been proving to locals that quality and quantity can go hand-in-hand. After all, they're known for the biggest and best roast beef in The Land!
7. Pier W (12700 Lake Ave., Lakewood)
This iconic Cleveland eatery opened its doors in 1965, and it has been serving up irresistible seafood along with panoramic views of Lake Erie ever since. This delightful destination is perched on the bluffs of Lake Erie, and it is truly a restaurant unlike any other. You can learn more in our previous article
Here in Cleveland, culture, and flavor blend effortlessly at these historic eateries. Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
For more flavorful fun, check out these
incredible unassuming restaurants in The Land.
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