It's that glorious time of year when flowers bloom and the line at the break-room microwave recedes until next snowfall. Downtown office workers have returned to the sidewalks in search of their next meal, and several accommodating food courts -- the Galleria and Old Arcade among them -- provide worthy options. But a lesser-known outpost is Dine on Nine (216-472-3000), the handsome public food court on the third floor of BP Tower, at 200 Public Square.
The spot is named for its nine different stations offering fresh goodies ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to a pristine array of preservative-free fruits and veggies. GM Debbie Major and her staff make much of the food from scratch in the large on-site kitchen and bakery. Homemade tarragon-chicken salad ($4.99), for instance, steals the show at the cold-sandwich station, homemade salsa perks up beef burritos ($5.99) at the Mexican station, and even the chicken fingers are freshly made.
In a nod to the times, Major recently added a low-carb wrap station. And the newly installed Comfort Zone offers homey entrées like stuffed cabbage, stuffed peppers, and chicken paprikash, with two sides and a dinner roll -- all for only $5.99.
Everything can be packaged for carryout, but it's worth grabbing a seat in the good-looking dining space. Tables to the west overlook the tower's striking eight-story atrium, while to the north are views of Browns Stadium and Lake Erie.
Dine on Nine (216-472-3000) is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and accepts cash only. For information on corporate catering and off-site events, call 216-575-1000. For banquet info, call 216-579-9999.
Showbiz brews . . . Perhaps you've noticed the new Flannigan's Pub on the northeast corner of East Fourth and Euclid? Well, don't start dreaming about those pints o' Guinness just yet. Despite its authentic facade, Flannigan's is just an illusion -- part of the set for Spider-Man 3, which began filming last week. We walked by the faux frontage shortly before filming started, and -- after performing an Oscar-worthy double take -- we asked the set builders if other passersby had been similarly spoofed. "Hundreds," they chuckled. "We've had people stopping by all day, asking us when they can get a beer."