They say the best things often come in small packages. Engagement rings, for example, are often presented in small boxes, and the dogs with the biggest personalities are often the most petite. When it comes to yummy food, it is absolutely true that some of the smallest restaurants serve up the biggest flavor and the best ambiance. Cleveland is full of teeny tiny eateries that are worth checking out, and you may even find your favorite new haunt in one of the city’s smallest restaurants.
1. Etna (11919 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland)
Little Italy is a lovely neighborhood that's overflowing with culture and great food. There are countless Italian options in this area of Cleveland, but one of its yummiest spots is also the neighborhood's most intimate. Etna has infused this petite space with old world atmosphere, wowing visitors with that alongside Italian classics and inspired servings of seafood.
2. Close Quarters Pub (31953 Lake Rd., Avon Lake)
This pub warns visitors of its size before they even enter through its doors. With less than 600 square feet of space, this pub is doubtlessly one of the smallest in the nation. The location started out as a local sandwich shop in the 1930s, and though it has changed ownership over the years, that same essence of friendliness has remained. Their menu, you might imagine, is short and sweet, but it manages to serve up classic tavern eats like burgers and wings.
3. Charlie's Dog House Diner (2102 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland)
If you've ever driven through Cleveland, you've probably seen this out-of-place building. It looks almost like a food stand at a local fair, but it's actually a restaurant that the whole family will love. With hot dogs, soups, and breakfast items, even the pickiest of eaters will find something to tickle their taste buds at this super friendly family diner.
4. Barroco (12906 Madison Ave., Lakewood)
Birdtown has become a hipster hangout in recent years, and Lakewood has truly never looked lovelier. Though fairly petite, Barroco is overflowing with abundant Latin flavors. Their arepas are to die for, and the charm of their tiny space could keep you entertained for hours at a time.
5. Borderline Cafe (18508 Detroit Ave., Cleveland)
At this cozy cafe, the warmth of the Southwest is infused into a super friendly Cleveland diner. This cash-only restaurant is super small, but it is jam-packed with pleasant conversation and awesome eats. Their menu is impressive in size, including familiar and cozy options like pancakes and French toast but eclectic enough to include a variety of house specials.
6. Little Polish Diner (5772 Ridge Rd., Parma)
There's a special sort of magic in family-owned restaurants, particularly when those eateries are serving up comfort foods that are essentially one big hug for your taste buds. Little Polish Diner, ass you've probably guessed, specializes in traditional Polish dishes. Pierogis, pasta, schnitzel, and all sorts of European comforts are prepared to perfection in this tiny diner, and the small space is hardly enough to contain the massive flavors their staff serves up.
7. Red Chimney (6501 Fleet Ave., Cleveland)
Slavic Village is the place to go for comfort foods, and Red Chimney is a local favorite. This old-fashioned diner has served Clevelanders for decades, cooking up an infusion of traditional American favorites and classic Polish cuisine. Not only is this restaurant small, but it's incredibly affordable, enticing Clevelanders with massive portions for a very small price tag. In just one visit, you'll see why this petite eatery is a local institution.
8. Sainato's at Rivergate (1852 Columbus Rd., Cleveland)
Affordable Italian cuisine? Count me in! This charming brick-lined destination opened in 1972 with the intention of serving up affordable Italian cuisine, and they've been doing just that ever since. This family-owned business has a striking atmosphere and special attention is afforded to each and every dish. With dine-in and carry-out options, this adorable restaurant will fit your budget and your taste perfectly.
9. Bruno's Ristorante & Catering (2644 W 41st St., Cleveland)
This small space is informal, but the Italian flavors they serve up are truly to die for. Bruno's features everything from soups and salads to fine steaks, all in an intimate setting that's overflowing with friendliness. Whether you're out on a special date night or just looking for a quick bite to eat, Bruno's always satisfies.
10. Jack Flaps (3900 Lorain Ave., Cleveland)
There's never a bad time for brunch, and this snug and stylish little diner offers an incredible atmosphere in which you can dine. Their menu is creative, featuring a variety that feels larger than the space you're dining within. Traditional foods like pancakes and bacon adorn the menu, but it expands beyond traditional eats by offering a creative flair. With friendly staff and a colorful environment, you can't go wrong with a visit to Jack Flaps.
11. Taco Tontos (13321 Madison Ave., Lakewood)
Lakewood's Madison Avenue is eclectic and colorful, just like this lovely little Mexican restaurant. With fresh ingredients and a dedication to deliciousness, it's no wonder visitors to Lakewood and Kent order an assortment of burritos to take back home with them. Though small, this eatery serves up flavors your taste buds will never forget.
The best things come in small packages, and this is particularly true when it comes to Cleveland-area dining. What tiny restaurants would you add to this list?