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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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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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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West Side Brewing

Newly opened on Cincinnati’s Harrison Avenue, West Side Brewing had a high profile run-up as it raised money and prepared to open, bringing a counter-balance to the beer scene in the other sections of the city. A wide interior with games, long tables and plenty of room to play with, this is a destination stop where you’ll want to hang out for awhile.

To understand Cincinnati, you have to get it has two very distinct sides in the East and the West. The former gets a lot of attention and, in this Cincy native’s perspective, the latter is less understood, especially by outsiders. Something that brings more people this way is always a good thing.

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Amar India

Now with two locations in Dayton, Amar India is an Indian food restaurant with a focus on a more upscale Indian food experience. Owned by Surjit Singh Mattu, the two restaurants complement the group’s Beavercreek restaurant and buffet Jeet India, which is more of a casual kind of location. Here, you’re served by a waiter and choose from a smaller but robust menu of dishes that have a deeper character and flavor profiles. While at first intimidating to sit down and choose from so many kinds of food that might not be familiar, the end result is still a great dining experience.

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Cinebistro

There are a dozen Cinebistro locations all over the country, most to be found in new high-end developments. Bringing a new and creative take to the traditional movie night, Cinebistro offers something all-too-handy: the chance to eat right in your seat as you watch the movie — a very convenient choice! With a general menu of a lot of different kinds of foods, this place offers the seafood, sandwiches and other dishes you would expect at many an Americana-style grill around town anyway. While you might pay a bit more for the experience, I would also said you might find it an attractive novelty.

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Melt Bakery

While a husband-and-wife team founded Melt Bakery in a storefront on Orchard Street in Manhattan, you probably recognize the name of this place by its ice cream sandwiches which are sold in little carts located around New York City, as the little shop has grown “one sandwich at a time.” This spot has a ton of charm — it’s hard not to like a shop that has been perfecting ice cream sandwiches since 2010. You also have to credit them for the smart real estate t00 — just when you’re feeling a bit hot or tired, suddenly you come upon one of these trucks in the nick of time.

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Taqueria St. Marks Place

St. Mark’s in Manhattan is home to probably some of the best concentrations of ethnic food in the city and so a lot of people like to come here to try something new. When you step into the Taqueria, there are a few expectations: this is not a Tex-Mex place that uses Americanized ingredients. It goes for something more genuine, and the front of the menu makes it clear. There are no nachos, no seven layer dips, no fajitas, and they say it three times so you’re clear. There are no “cute clay or adobe plates.” There are no “adorable red, white and green uniforms.”

This place is about representing a genuine culture. And it’s delicious.

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