a foodie’s guide to cleveland

Art by: Emily Loccisano

Whether you’re visiting Cleveland for a weekend or you now call the city home, there’s no question that The Land has an incredible restaurant scene. As a native Clevelander and self-declared food enthusiast, I wanted to share my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat. 

Jack Frost Donuts

I couldn’t talk about Cleveland without mentioning Jack Frost Donuts. Every batch of donuts at Jack’s is made from scratch daily. They have an extensive menu, so it may be hard to narrow down your selection. Just don’t wait too long to decide; they close when they sell out for the day! 

Phoenix Coffee

Although it has a minimalist menu, Phoenix Coffee’s drinks are beautifully handcrafted. Hello, latte art! With multiple locations around Cleveland, this coffee shop is a perfect spot to study or hang out with friends. It’s also a great alternative to Starbucks if you are passionate about supporting local businesses. 

Luna Cafe and Bakery

A spacious European-style cafe and pastry shop, Luna’s calls the east side its home. This cafe is the perfect place to relax after exploring trendy shops in the neighborhood. With high quality eats and drinks, Luna’s is a must-try place for breakfast or a light lunch. 

Townhall

Known for their trendy atmosphere, Townhall is one of the cornerstones of Ohio City’s restaurant scene. Everyone can find something they can eat, as their menu has a considerable selection of gluten free, vegan and dairy free options. They’re especially known for their special events like Vegan Night and for their amazing weekend brunch options.  

West Side Market

The oldest indoor/outdoor market in Cleveland, the West Side Market is the perfect place for indecisive foodies. With more than 50 vendors, the market has something for everyone. You can also do your grocery shopping for the week while you’re there grabbing a bite to eat. 

Irie Jamaican Kitchen

If you want to try something new, Irie Jamaican Kitchen is the place for you. Omar McKay, the chef and owner of Irie, is a Jamaican native who is passionate about sharing his culture with the Cleveland area. Full of flavor and spice, Jamaican food is something every foodie should try. 

The Chocolate Bar

A little bit on the pricier side, The Chocolate Bar is located at the heart of the city and right next to The Arcade. Here, you can order a chocolate martini or choose from a multitude of gourmet hot chocolates to accompany your meal. The staff is friendly and well-versed on the menu, making the dining experience very enjoyable. 

Tabletop Board Game Cafe

Tabletop is Cleveland’s first board game cafe. This restaurant is a great place to go if you want not only food, but a full dining experience. Along with the games that are regularly available, Tabletop hosts weekly Trivia Nights and other fun events throughout the year. 

Mason’s Creamery

During the spring and summer months, Mason’s is a good place for those who desire ice cream that doesn’t quite meet the status quo. With flavors like Cap’n Crunch and Matcha Oreo on their rotating menu, customers get a fun and flavorful experience every time they visit. Along with traditional kinds of ice cream, they also have several vegan flavors and incredible homemade egg waffle cones. Better yet, during the winter, Mason’s converts into a full-time ramen shop. 

Presti’s Bakery

Located in Cleveland’s Little Italy, Presti’s is a staple in any trip to the east side. In addition to deli sandwiches (and a delicious vegetarian stromboli), their fresh baked pastries, sweetbreads and cookies are like a taste of heaven. My favorite combination is a chocolate dipped cannoli with espresso. If you studied abroad and are missing the sweets from Florence, give Presti’s a try. 

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream

Last but certainly not least, Mitchell’s is the place to go for a late night treat. As a native Clevelander, I firmly believe that Mitchell’s is the Mecca of ice cream stores. The company is locally owned and operated and is committed to sustainability. There are a variety of flavors, so don’t be afraid to ask for samples and personal recommendations! Although the flagship store is in Ohio City, there are many locations in the Cleveland area and you can find Mitchell’s pints at several local grocery stores.

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