Top Five: Cleveland

Welcome to our Top Five series, where bomb women show us their city's food scene through their eyes. From speakeasies in Cleveland to roadside spam in Hawaii to whole hog barbecue in Charleston, they're showcasing their local haunts and the places you wouldn't find on your own. 

 

Curated by Lauren Schneider

Lauren Schneider is a baker extraordinaire who makes scratch-made pies and pastries for Clevelanders of all ages at Lauren's Bakery. Lauren absolutely loves food and the power it has to communicate culture and create happiness. When she's not in the kitchen, you can also find her jamming out to Fleetwood Mac, practicing yoga, traveling the world and playing with dogs.

* * *

(1) Coffee

Rising Star

1455 W 29th Cleveland, OH 44113

If you like real, authentic coffee and re-purposed fire houses, you will love Rising Star. This place is all about quality, so you know you're always getting a top-notch blend. It may be a bit intimidating at first, choosing your brew option (pour over, drip, etc.) as well as your roast, but the staff is always helpful and welcoming. If you're looking for a sugar-laden caramel macchiato with whipped cream, you're better off at Starbucks, but if you want a flavorful dark roast, this is your spot. Plus, it's a cool place to hang out, given that it's located in an old firehouse in the somewhat hipster-y Hingetown neighborhood of Ohio City.

(2) Breakfast

Blackbird Baking Co. 

1391 Sloane Ave Lakewood, OH 44107

Blackbird is by far the best place to go to grab your morning pastry. Located just outside of the Rocky River Metroparks reservation in the west end of Lakewood, Blackbird is a popular stop for runners and cyclists finishing up their morning workouts in the park. They don't offer a full bacon-and-eggs breakfast, but their ham and cheese croissants are to die for, and they partner with Rising Star to provide the coffee, so it's an all around good time if you're looking for a lighter early morning bite.

 

 Credit:  Superior Pho

Credit: Superior Pho

(3) Lunch

Superior Pho

3030 Superior Avenue East Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Superior Pho is located in the Asiatown neighborhood just east of Downtown on Superior Ave. What they serve is truly the best in the city. If you like spring rolls and soup, you absolutely cannot go wrong. Service is quick, portions are large, and all at Cleveland prices. The only downside is that you may want to take a nap after lunch before you go back to work.

 

Credit: El Carnicero

(4) Dinner 

El Carnicero

16918 Detroit Ave Lakewood Ohio 44107

El Carnicero is the best spot for margs and tacos, for sure. People will try to tell you that Barrio is better, but that's only because they like to wait in line and put weird toppings on their tacos. For a more authentic Mexican food experience, El Carnicero is the place to be. I highly recommend the mahi mahi tacos, as well as the pollo tamales. ALSO, if you sit at the chairs near the entrance known as the Cheap Seats, you get 15% off your bill, which is pretty great.

 

(5) Drinks

Society Lounge

2063 E 4th St Cleveland, OH 44115

If you're looking for unique cocktails, go to Society. It's a bit tucked away on East 4th Street Downtown, but once you find it and walk into the basement, you're instantly transported back to the 1920s. Decorated as a speakeasy, Society Lounge features classic cocktails dating back to the late 1800s as well as new modern mixes. They feature live music on the weekends, which really adds to the ambiance, but watch out for those cocktails. They'll creep up on you pretty fast!