cleveland rocks and so does its food (tell me why and win $50 to crop)

Since landing in Cleveland in 2005, chef Steve Schimoler has made quite the impression. After his term ended at Nestle in Solon, he could have packed up his knives and headed anywhere given his impressive background and talent. But no, he decided to stay in Cleveland and open Crop Bistro in the summer of 2007. And that would have been enough for most – but not this chef. He fell in love with our city and wanted to make a bigger impact. He went onto launch Local Crop, an online farmer’s market that connects Northeast Ohio farmers with local chefs, and most recently, Cleveland Food Rocks, a collaborative effort among local chefs to put our wonderful independent restaurants in the spotlight as the Rock Hall induction ceremony finally comes home.

Beginning March 28 through April 4 – Rock Hall induction week – 16 restaurants will feature a special food or drink item centered around the Rock ‘n’ Roll theme and will have live music one night during the week.

Just like the Renegade Lunch, this is another idea I just love — our local chefs working together to promote our city and each other. Chef Schimoler’s objective for this concept was to champion the dining scene to the estimated 40,000 visitors that are expected to take over Cleveland that week and boost business at local, independent restaurants.
According to Elaine Cicora, Crops’s chief storyteller, Steve came up with the idea a year ago. As a drummer and a chef, he is very tuned into the synergy of food and music, and immediately saw this as a natural way to leverage the excitement of the inductions into a showcase for the city’s great dining scene. In addition, he also was committed to developing the project as a truly collaborative, grass-roots endeavor and wanted to encourage the community to come together to spotlight our wonderful city — not merely as a money-making opportunity, but as a real celebration of Cleveland’s great clubs and restaurants.
The Music
The project’s grassroots focus is also seen in some of the music that restaurants are featuring : Sergio’s Sarava, for instance, will be featuring a samba trio made up of the restaurant’s bus boys; Metropolitan Cafe is featuring acoustic jazz provided by their multi-talented servers; and of course, Cream of the Crop (Steve’s band) will be playing at Crop on April 3 featuring Crop staffers and former staffers.

This is really a big deal for our city. The inductions are finally back and it’s great to see so many businesses, organizations and the community in general working together and joining in the excitement.

In addition to Crop, participating restaurants include: Bar Cento, Bistro on Lincoln Park, Brother’s Lounge, Fahrenheit, Grotto, Grovewood Tavern, Gusto, Johnny’s, Lago, Luxe, Metropolitan Cafe, Michaelangelo’s, Prosperity Social Club, Sarava and Wonder Bar.

Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find:

Luxe / B.B. King’s Cajun mac ‘n’ cheese
–Metropolitan / Strawberry Fields Forever (spicy shrimp tossed in greens with strawberry shallot vinaigrette)
Michaelangelo’s / Black Sabbath’s sweet leaf mint martini + Sinatra cover band
–Fahrenheit / April 1, 4-course tasting menu, only $32 + Material Girl martini

For a complete list of live music and special food and drink creations, click here. By the way, be sure to head to the Rock Hall on April 4 – admission is FREE all day.

Win $50 to Crop
So what’s better than all the new treats hitting diners’ plates next week? Eating for free. Playing off the popularity of the six-word phenomenon, sometimes referred to as American haiku, you can win a $50 gift certificate to Crop Bistro. Here’s how:

Legend has it Hemingway was once asked if he could write a story in six-words. His reply, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He was said to have called it his best work. In 2006, Smith Magazine partnered with Twitter for a six-word challenge (another brilliant idea). Soon, there will be a foodie six-word book from Smith Mag (more on that later).

Playing off this idea, tell me why Cleveland Rocks in exactly six words and the gift card could be yours. Share your words in the comment section and be sure to include your e-mail so I can notify the winner. Deadline is Friday, April 27, at 9 a.m. Good luck.

For inspiration, watch this video. Even if you’re not going to participate, still watch – it’s that good. And be sure to head out during Rock Hall week to help our chefs show off our city.


  1. MelKeil
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Diversity – Ethnic, Locally grown, Creative, Comfort

  2. seanhecking
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    unique daring flavor with traditional style

  3. Russ
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Innovative comfort food from America’s heartland.

  4. Russ
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh, it’s Russ at finite jest dot com for my email.

  5. alexa - cleveland's a plum
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Symon, Bruell, Small, Whalen, Sawyer, Schimoler.

  6. SarahharaS
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    mistake?! Great taste on the lake.

  7. Nancy Heller
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Comfort food, prepared by great chefs.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted March 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi M,

    Can you do me a favor and poll your audience on the 10 BEST HOT DOG PLACES in Cleveland. Restaurants, shops or carts can apply. Thanks!

  9. Wendy
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    yesterday: cabernet, pate, cassoulet, formager’s display.

  10. Mary
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    passionate hearts, bold flavors, deep heritage.

  11. Jamie
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Food unites what east west divides.

  12. Ken
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    She’s just my type, American classic.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Stinky Lakes on fire. Cleveland sucks.

  14. Bridget Callahan
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    One generation’s history is another’s inspiration.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted March 21, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Michael Symon, leaving with Lebron James?

  16. Cara
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Forget flaming river, try the food.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Cold? Stand by the flaming river.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Cleveland’s renewable energy source, burning river.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Who are these insane people (or person) that make these ignorant comments about Cleveland? They are either shut-ins or have never been here. The river was on fire DECADES ago. Before most of us were born. We all know the river burned…..but they put it out quite a while ago. Time to move on. Time to live in this century! If you dislike Cleveland so much then by all means, PLEASE STAY AWAY! We don’t need you.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Water quality has somewhat since the 1960’s fire but pollution remains, however, including urban runoff, nonpoint source problems, combined sewer overflows, and stagnation due to water impounded by dams. For this reason, the Environmental Protection Agency classified portions of the Cuyahoga River Watershed as one of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.

    So maybe a 6 word phrase about Cleveland should go like this:

    Breathe easier Clevelanders, Lakes only Concerned.

    [edit] Modifications

  21. Anonymous
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Great People, Great Food, Great Fun

  22. rockandroller
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic food, people and friends for life.

  23. michelle v
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Rockandroller – that’s 7 words, try again :)

  24. Anonymous
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I will try for him:

    Fantastic food, peeps n’friends for life.

    n’friends: a contraction of “and” and “friends”

    Used in a sentence: Me n’friends wents to teh movies. It was an epic blast.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Clevelanders Love Variety, Like Nobody Does

    C L V L N D

  26. mexichef
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    live local eat local love local

  27. Teej
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Making unsuspecting eaters into food addicts

  28. Kristina
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Inspiring food, satisfying variety. Never pretentious.

  29. SnowCrocuses
    Posted March 24, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Foodie complicity, gourmet simplicity, every ethnicity

  30. Allison
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Fiercely proud people never giving up.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    local, loyal, determined, passionate, inspired, hard-working

  32. Schaferj
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Sports fans craving wins, and food.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted March 25, 2009 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Baseball fans, disappointed again and again.

  34. offshore
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    FOUND: Cleveland food scene shattering expectations.

  35. michelle v
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 9:37 am | Permalink


    Thanks for playing! Who is SnowCrocuses? You didn’t include your info. Please email me at

    I’ll post more info on the contest and winner shortly.


  36. Dr. Lingonberry
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Mistake on lake takes its cake.

    leokadia.k (a)

  37. michelle v
    Posted March 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Ken –

    You are the winner! You didn’t include your e-mail. Please contact me for the gift card.


  38. solat
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Food, music, art, without the hassle.

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