You can't get much more authentically Cleveland than Shay's, which is why the producers of American Splendor — the movie based on the late Harvey Pekar's common-man comic series — filmed scenes in this delightfully ungentrified greasy-spoon diner. The waitresses are downhome friendly, the patrons an endearing mix of families coming from church, blue-collar workers, downtowners, and neighborhood denizens. There's even a round breakfast counter in the center of the dining area. The friendly proprietor, coffee pot in hand, reliably emerges to offer you a steamy refill. Nobody leaves Shay's hungry: Three-egg omelets, piping-hot with toast and home fries or grits, overflow the plate. A menu specialty is the aptly named He-Man Breakfast: two eggs any style, three pancakes, waffles, or five slices of French toast, and choice of meat (bacon or sausage links or patties). Shay's was good enough for a he-man like Harv, and it's more than good enough for us.
4007 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland, 216-431-6339