food & wine recognizes cleveland

In this month’s Food & Wine there is a whole page dedicated to Cleveland as part of a series called: Food & Wine Across America.

The reporter, Kristin Donnelly, features Momocho, both Lola and Lolita, Flying Fig, Fire, Light Bistro and Lucky’s Cafe (so much for Lucky’s remaining a sectret). A wiki has also been created for people to add other local favorites, reviews, etc.

Food & Wine is the latest in a long line of well-respected national publications to recognize Cleveland for all its wonderful culinary offerings (Gourmet, USA Today, O, the Oprah Magazine, Good Morning America and Bon Appetit to name a few). While it’s nothing short of wonderful that our city continues to be hailed for its gastronomic goodness, what will it take for the locals to recognize what is in their own backyard and stop supporting the hundreds of chains?


  1. Michael Walsh
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    It’s pure economics really. Cleveland is one of the poorest big cities in the nation. Every few months it hits the headlines, then fades away.

    Thankfully some of our local spots are worthy of national attention, and we get just enough travel to keep going. It is just as likely that a regular customer is a guy from Atlanta on business travel as it is a guy from Parma downtown.

  2. michelle v
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I hear what you’re saying – and we are one of the poorest cities, no way around that. But I don’t think people realize that they could go to an independent for probably the same amount as a chain. Granted, not always – but you can do it. I thought the food was very reasonably priced at your place (Wonder Bar for those that don’t know). In fact, our bill was the same price as a work lunch we had at Brio earlier in the week. And nothing on the menu at Lolita is over $17. Not to mention all the HH specials. You can eat at a great place and leave very full and satisfied for less than $25 per couple. I know I’m not being very realistic in that people will suddenly stop eating at chains. And I know it sometimes can be easier when you have kids to just go to a Red Robbin. I can appreciate that. But it frustrates me as a consumer and Clevelander that more people don’t support independents – it’s really got to frustrate the hell out of you as a chef and someone who has a stake in a new place.

  3. Fiber
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree – I avoid chain restaurants at all costs, preferring to frequent idependently-owned places, especially those that buy local as much as possible. Cleveland is a great example of that – I was blown away by the number of gourmet restaurants out there, especially the ones who buy fresh and local. We come out at least once yearly from Lancaster, PA, and recommend the city as much as possible!

  4. Alexa
    Posted October 18, 2007 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Just Curious..

    What are your thoughts on The Cleveland Originals?

  5. michelle v
    Posted October 19, 2007 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Fiber: A lot of the local chefs seek out local ingredients. I’m actually reading a book right now focuing on all the farms right here in Ohio. Our starte is a great resource for farm to fork, it’s just that not a lot of peole realize that.

    Alexa: Honestly, I don’t really have an opinion. I know they exists and I have been on the site here and there, but not much more than that. I do however think it’s great that they all work together to promote themselves, etc. Anything on them you can share?

  6. Michael Walsh
    Posted October 21, 2007 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I made this observation the other night pre-game for the indians to my sous chef, “why does every man out there have a bud light or a miller lite, they both taste like crap” and my buddy says as straight faced as you can get, “commercials let them feel manly with a girly beer”

    now i’m not introducing a gender conversation, but alot of what people do is based on what they see on TV and i’ve yet to see a commercial for an independant. by no means do indy’s have the bankroll to place some prime time ads rather they advertise where they know they can get a return, the upper class, borderline upper-middle which holds the smallest numbers in cleveland. An indy can advertise to the middle/ lower middle and argue that their prices compare to the corperate, but then you adultrate your elitist upper-middle who want complete seperation.

    I guess the jist of what i’m saying is that overall the indy’s have addapted to please a certain clientele which just so happens to be low in quantity in cleveland.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted December 12, 2007 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    You are all missing the most obvious issue: Location. Most of the independents–as tends to be the case with gourmet/trendy/upscale restaurants–are located downtown. The people who tend to patronize these gourmet/upscale restaurants live very far away in the suburbs.

    I know its ridiculous, but suburbanites don’t enjoy travelling far to eat–especially during the 6 months of winter we have here in Cleveland. Its difficult for independents to compete with chains because of location, location, location.

    If you are a suburbanite yuppie with kids, its much easier to take them to a place 5-10 minutes from home in bad weather where there is a children’s menu with offerings that they enjoy and that are not pricey.

    Finally, independents do tend to be more pricey than chains. Not to mention the added cost of an independent restaurant for the suburbanite parents who have to hire a babysitter.