Food & Drink

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Best Coffee Shop


There have been countless coffee shops to come – and largely go – in the Cleveland marketplace. But for more than 20 years, home-grown Phoenix has been keeping the commuting and telecommuting crowd productive and sharp-minded. In Cleveland Heights, the humble little shop almost singlehandedly put a Starbucks out of business thanks to a product and level of service that no mega-chain can match. By buying, roasting and brewing the best beans in the best ways, caffeinator-in-chief Sarah Wilson-Jones and company have built a reputation that extends well beyond their three cafés. Outreach, classes, and promotions teach the gospel of good brewing to coffee lovers citywide, making Phoenix one of our favorite places to roost. Multiple locations,

Best Food Truck

Umami Moto

It's been just three years since the food truck craze rolled into Cleveland for reals, and in that time the number of rigs has skyrocketed. That's great news for diners but not so much for operators, who must vie for an ever-shrinking slice of the pie in a city with just two seasons. One of the earliest operators also happens to be one of the best: Jae Stulock, whose Umami Moto dishes up pan-Asian mash-ups from his beefy rolling rig. His menu might feature pad Thai with tofu, massaman curry on rice, pork potstickers, and a Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich made with pulled pork. Best of all, he's good, fast and reasonably priced – qualities we wish every mobile kitchen could claim. 440-503-4146,

Best Breakfast


Chef-owner Heather Haviland launched her eggy emporium rather inauspiciously – by giving away a few breakfast items to her loyal coffeehouse customers. Before long she had a full-on brunch bonanza on her hands, parlaying her pastry chops into one of the most beloved weekend feasts in Cleveland. The motto here is local above all else, with local butter, eggs, cheese, flour... you name it, rolled into deeply satisfying plates that go well beyond typical greasy spoon fare. The Shipwreck is a delicious disaster of scrambled eggs, bacon, white cheddar, and golden brown potatoes, while the chef's sausage gravy and scones will plant a smile on even the grumpiest of old men. Whatever you order, make sure you slather it with the house-made hot sauce, a smoky revelation.  777 Starkweather Ave., 216-622-7773,

Best Patio Drinking

Market Garden


Ohio City has a pulse. That beat resonates through the streets, gaining intensity as it approaches West 25th Street, then ricocheting down the alley next to the West Side Market, finally reaching a crescendo on the patio of Market Garden Brewery. Almost immediately after opening in 2011, Cleveland's first true beer garden was embraced as the neighborhood's best place to drink outside. The communal tables bridge the gap between European beer hall and contemporary urban gathering space. Summer evenings are spent under the stars sipping Trouble IPA and eating spicy chorizo tacos.  Cold nights are spent cozying up to a roaring fire in the gigantic fireplace, snacking on Scotch eggs and sipping a snifter of Danny Greene the Enforcer Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout. Whatever the weather, this is the best place to get your drink on outdoors in Cleveland. 1947 W. 25th St, 


Best Brunch

Beachland Ballroom

Most of us know the Beachland Ballroom only for its nighttime delights – concerts from some of the best touring acts in the nation and beyond. But some folks hit the Beachland during daylight hours, believe it or not, lured from their slumber by the promise of a delicious brunch. Top-notch talent in the kitchen whips up a full menu of killer and creatively engineered meals, much of which is built from the plate up with local foodstuffs. Biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles, buckwheat pancakes, Ohio farm-fresh eggs... Meals here are so good, you'll consider staying until the night's show begins. 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Best Buffet

The Spread,

Horseshoe Casino

A grand casino is deserving of a grand buffet, and that is exactly what you get at the aptly (and perhaps unfortunately) Spread Buffet at the Horseshoe Casino. Executing a good buffet is tough enough, but try doing that when you're serving 400 guests in 12,000 square feet at all hours of the day and night. At $25.99 for dinner, the Spread certainly isn't cheap. But with seven differently themed stations stretching for what seems like a country mile, this all-you-can-eat smorgasbord is no Old Country Buffet. Diners move through stations titled Salad, American, Italian, Dessert, Shuffle (a wild card that changes), Carvery and Asian. What it lacks in luxe touches like shrimp, crab legs and lobster tails, it makes up for with a dizzying variety of food – much of it expertly prepared and served. One thing is certain: Spread Buffet is the safest bet in the house. 100 Public Square, 216-297-4777,