In the past 10 years, Cleveland has become a tourist destination for visitors and foodies alike. In 2015, it was named as a must travel destination in many travel magazines including the New York Times and Travel and Leisure.
Cleveland was chosen as host to the Republican National Convention in July because of the growth in the convention areas of downtown and the wonderful places to visit in the city from the Gordon Arts District in the near west side of Cleveland to Uptown and the worldwide know museums and universities in University Circle. In the last 4 years, the city opened on huge new Convention Center, are in the middle of renovating public square and are building many new hotels just in time for the convention.
Cleveland: The Culinary Destination
Another reason that Cleveland has made a name for itself is its culinary scene. Over the last decade, Cleveland has developed into a foodie destination. There have always been great restaurants in the city and its suburbs, but in the last 20 years, well-known local chefs, such as Michael Symon, Jonathon Sawyer, Rocco Whalen, and Zach Bruell just to name a few have made Cleveland a culinary destination These chefs have come back to Cleveland after culinary training or have made Cleveland their homes and created amazing dining destinations in the process. Many food and travel channel shows have made entire episodes around visiting Cleveland including Anthony Bourdain in 2007 for No Reservations, Guy Fieri brought Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to Cleveland to check out Melt, Parkview Tavern and others and Man vs. Food came to Cleveland to check out the West Side Market and Melt. East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland and the Ohio City and Tremont neighborhoods became the focus for many of these destination restaurants. Today, certain suburbs like Lakewood and Beachwood are known for their many restaurants. During the summer, you can see patrons enjoying the outside patios of these and many of the restaurants across the city.
The Cleveland area offers an incredible variety of food selections from ethnic foods to America bistro or seafood. There are many restaurants that focus on the farm to table concept including The Greenhouse Tavern and Crop. There are microbreweries popping up all over the city, including Platform Brewery in Ohio City and Portside Distillery in the newly developed Flats. If you have a taste for some type of food, you can find it in the Cleveland area.
There is a steady list of the best restaurants in the city. Scene just released their 2016 Best of Cleveland list with the best of everything from hot dogs to seafood to steaks. The best new restaurant as voted by readers in Scene was Banter in the Gordon Square District. Banter has poutine, house made sausages, artisans beverages including beer and wine in an austere, yet welcoming atmosphere. Eater and Thrillist both selected their list of the best Cleveland restaurants in December 2015. One of the restaurants that will most likely top the list of favorite new restaurant could be Michael Symon’s newest place, Mabel’s BBQ, which just opened in April 2016. I was able to visit the restaurant for lunch just a week after the grand opening.
One of the city’s newest food destinations is Mabel’s BBQ, owned by Cleveland’s own, Michael Symon. The restaurant recently opened on East 4th Street in Downtown Cleveland to rave reviews from food critics and diners alike. On May 1st, Symon announced on his Facebook Page information about the replacement for his flagship restaurant, Lolita, which caught fire in late 2015. He will come up with an entirely new concept restaurant in the same spot focusing on oysters, chicken and vegetables. While that is in the future, Mabel’s BBQ is today.
Mabel’s BBQ’s menu is focused around meat. In fact, there is a huge neon sign that says “Eat More Meat” in the front of the restaurant. The menu consists of meat dishes cooked in the Texas BBQ style. There is brisket, pulled pork, turkey and kielbasa meals, pork, lamb and beef ribs and a variety of sandwiches. The meats are prepared with a meat rub, created by Symon, and then smoked for 18-20 hours at a smoker in the restaurant. Each meal is served with a slice of white bread, spicy coleslaw and pickles. There are also side dishes including a broccoli salad, cucumber salad, baked beans, potatoes and more. To end the meal, the restaurant offers three types of pudding: banana, chocolate or key lime. The restaurant also has a full bar with bourbons, cocktails and micro-brewery beers.
Depending on the time of day, there could be a line to get in to the new restaurant, but it is well worth the wait. There have been patrons that have waited for hours to get in, especially during special event days such as Cavs or Indians games. The restaurant is open Monday to Thursday at 11:30am to 11pm and Friday and Saturday 11:30am to midnight. The restaurant is currently closed on Sundays. The busiest time is obviously when they open until 3pm and then 5pm through close. There is large table, communal dining in the center of the restaurants with smaller two to four seat tables surrounding it on the first floor and then on the balcony. The décor is modern industrial with a twist of country.
Share Your Favorites
Don’t take my word for it, go and check out this great new restaurant added to the already hopping Cleveland culinary scene. There are so many styles of restaurants to try, you could eat out every day for quite a long time! If you find a particular favorite place to dine, let your Men’s Cuts’ stylists know, so they can pass along the recommendation to other customers.