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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3 Palms Pizzeria

60 Village Way Hudson, OH 44236 330.342.4545 website A little pizza shop serving the quaint little Cleveland-area town of Hudson, 3 Palms Pizzeria has a very simple feel, but this Italian eatery focuses on its pizza. Named for the older custom of measuring (by the palm of your hand) the restaurant features a wood-fired oven, and each … Continue reading

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Taco Tontos

A Cleveland-area group of restaurants that are primarily small taco shop bars, Taco Tontos is a popular place with the natives here, specifically because it has huge portions and some great dips to top them. This spot has a very likable concept for how approachable it is and how easy it is to bring a group of friends and have an enjoyable meal. The place isn’t half bad, but make sure you know what the dishes are that you don’t want to miss here.

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Bar 145

An Ohio-centered concept with half a dozen locations, Bar 145 tends to find its way into larger new developments, where its entertaining take on the traditional pub makes it a place that supports a few different activities. The location in Kent, for example, has space for a dance floor and hosts regular DJ nights to support that. The location in Dayton, on the other hand, has taken the form mainly as a ‘barcade,’ where classic arcade games can be played for free. But don’t forget the food. Where the bar has focused its energy on building a good menu in recent years, it has brought some great ideas to the table.

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Barrio

The skeleton-themed Barrio is a really cool idea that has sprung up in Cleveland and its suburbs. This Tex Mex joint specializes in over-the-top huge tacos and big margaritas. Definitely popular with the younger crowd craving Cleveland’s nightlife, the concept spread from Lakewood to downtown, Progressive Field and elsewhere with its loved build-your-own taco menu as well as brunch and casual atmosphere that emphasizes good tequila and beer. Owner Sean Fairbairn and Executive Chef Pete Joyce have a good thing going with this idea.

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