Maxi’s Bistro

Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood is a charming place, while it’s relatively compact with just a few main stretches of businesses, those streets are full of art galleries, bakeries, and restaurants with great pizzas and pastas right on the street. All of that charm really shows through in these neighborhoods; little eateries with friendly and loquacious staff always ready with a joke or a drink but definitely focused on making sure your experience in their business is tops. Maxi’s Bistro is just as wonderful.

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West Side Market Cafe

1979 W 25th St. Cleveland, OH 44113 216.579.6800 websiteWest Side Market Cafe could be considered a cornerstone of Ohio City’s West Side Market in a literal and figurative sense. The little sit in old-fashioned lunch counter sits at the corner of the main market and offers a full service dining experience as a counterpart to … Continue reading

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Crepes de Luxe

This little crepe shop has been a mainstay of the West Side Market in Cleveland for a number of years. It offers a customizable menu of a take and go crepes in both savory and dessert varieties. You watch them expertly prepare the crepe and top it to your liking, then you can enjoy the dish while walking among the other vendors in the market. Which is a nice little perk as you sample the many local meats and baked goods that Cleveland has to offer.

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Cafe Civilization

While the simple storefront at W. 11th St. & Kenilworth Ave. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood might look simplistic — and while a curious foray onto the website of said business might take you back to the early age of the internet — Civilization Coffee is, in practice, and exceptional experience. The fresh smell of coffee grounds that greet you when you enter this restaurant. Yes, Tremont is a trendy area, but the artful simplicity of a neighborhood coffee shop is an art that has become lost in the era of uber-connectivity. And this shop seems to shy away from the gimmicks in favor of that one simple, comfortable experience. 

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Burntwood Tavern

In a remarkable sign of growth, the Burntwood Tavern opened its doors just in 2010 and has since expanded to about 10 locations throughout suburban Cleveland. “Chef driven, guest focused,” each location has a self-described “rustic” interior made principally of reclaimed wood with a menu focused heavily on wood-smoked and wood-fired dishes. Grilled meats of many types, sandwiches and more, all served up on friendly portions. There’s something to be said for this kind of modern kitchen and finding a great niche. It’s nice to see this spot grow so fast.

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Crave Cantina

While on the outset many will describe this place as a prototypical taco bar, Crave Cantina has a wider mission statement, to be “Globally Inspired.” Yes, that extensive list of tacos on the menu features many kinds that are dressed very uniquely for cuisines that come from around the world. This is anything but a run-of-the-mill shop, and to see it set up in Cuyahoga Falls between Cleveland and Akron, where so few other restaurants of these varieties tend to tread, offers a chance to try some very different things.

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Smoky Bones Bar & Fire Grill

Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.

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Grandpa’s Cheese Barn

If you have spend any amount of time driving Interstate 71 between Columbus and Cleveland, you undoubtedly have seen the big white barn near Ashland emblazoned “Cheesebarn.” Sure, there are a few different kinds of cheese places in northern Ohio, where many local cheeses are made. But this one is likable because it has a series of businesses all tied into one. Sample some of the many cheeses, pickles, sauces and dips that are made at this place, and you’ll find an engaging experience and a great place to try.

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Der Bake Oven

Berlin, Ohio is often thought of as the capital of Amish country, far from the beaten path in the northern part of the state and full of little shops. Bakeries. Furniture stores. Little local antique shops. Kitch decorations. It’s a place to get away from the complications of modern life and enjoy some of the old-world simplicity and hospitality. Small town America produces places like Der Bake Oven appear in towns like this and make them extra charming. Along Berlin’s main stretch and open bright and early in the morning, it’s the kind of charm you don’t want to miss.

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Mansfield Family Restaurant

Mansfield, in north-central Ohio, is home to a lot of local restaurant chains, most of them pretty low-key places where the locals like to congregate. Mansfield Family Restaurants, a local chain, is one of those operations. Just big enough that it’s always pretty packed often, including on weekends and Sundays. What does this little local diner serve up? Comfort food. And inexpensive, at that. Breakfasts and sandwiches and fried goodies and so forth. You’ll find that really to be a comfortable thing.

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