Cleveland is growing out of its industrial past and having a cultural resurgence that doesn’t show signs of slowing down. With Midwest character, great breweries and even better local foods, Cleveland has a lot to offer for brunch fans of every persuasion. Here are 10 great morning places to eat.
The Inn on Coventry describes itself as a ‘mom-and-mom’ restaurant, serving the community delicious breakfasts and brunches since 1981. With an extensive brunch menu, the Inn offers over a dozen different types of pancakes, including lemon ricotta pancakes. Other highlights include Swedish eggs scrambled with lox and cream cheese, and the eggs mando, with avocado replacing the bacon for vegetarians.
Lucky’s Café in Tremont offers diners an alternative to mass-produced diner fare. Featured on the Food Network for ‘Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in 2009, Lucky’s local commitment and delicious brunch options have only improved since then. Highlights include pecan bacon, baked mac and cheese and their house-made granola made with local honey and grains from a third generation grain farm.
Wavy lines of song lyrics that relate to breakfast decorate the walls in this locally owned café. Borderline Caféin Lakewood offers an extensive Southwest-style breakfast menu. Highlights include the breakfast burritos and stuffed French toast, and their pancakes were also voted in Cleveland Scene as one of the best pancakes in Cleveland.
Grumpy’s Café in Tremont is a relaxed, funky café serving favourite breakfast and brunch options. The walls are covered in a continually changing artwork, making each visit feel like a new location, but the real draw is the food. The brunch menu is heavy on the pancakes, like the pumpkin pancakes or the buckwheat and walnut pancakes and be sure to get the Cajun home fries.
Big Al’s Diner is a classic hole-in-the-wall diner serving simple food in oversized portions, but there’s something to be said about the classic diner, an American breakfast staple. Highlights include their traditional corned beef hash, judged as one of the best wake up calls on the Food Network’s ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’.
Bonbon Pastry & Café serves European-style pastries, desserts and a full brunch menu, all prepared by winner of the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, chef Courtney Bonning. With the goal to serve natural, artisanal desserts, Bonbon is a Cleveland favourite. Depending on the season, some must-trys are Bonbon’s vanilla bean french toast, or cinnamon sugar donuts made with homemade chocolate sauce, preserves and sweetened mascarpone.
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Located in and named after Cleveland’s historic West Side Market, Cleveland’s oldest continuously operating market since 1912, the West Side Market Café serves a variety of dishes representative of Cleveland’s diverse, cultural neighborhoods. Highlights include the sausage gravy with sage and fennel sausage over rosemary toast and the Spanish open-faced omlette with cilantro lime chicken and salsa verde.
TownHall in Ohio City seems like multiple restaurants in one, with a restaurant, café, juice bar, bean bar and a world class beer and cocktail bar. With an urban yet casual atmosphere, all the food is organic, whole and sustainable. TownHall’s philosophy is to promote a healthy lifestyle through great, local food. Try the Wakey Wakey breakfast of two organic eggs, homemade buttermilk biscuits and fresh Ohio preserves, or head to the crepe station to build your own crepe. TownHall has also been voted best vegan, best place to be seen on a Saturday night, best pancake spot in Cleveland and best new restaurant by Cleveland Scene magazine.
Heck’s Café, nestled in Ohio City and across from downtown Cleveland, is perhaps most known for its gourmet hamburgers, but the excellent coffee blend and cultural history make the café a great visit. Housed in a 120-year-old brick townhouse, the café celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Visitors can sit inside in the pub, a more open atrium with a New Orleans’ spiral staircase or outside when the weather permits. For brunch try the Ohio City omelette, with locally farmed mushrooms, baby spinach, micro-brewed beer & cheese fondue or a burger like The Hipster, a house-made veggie burger.
The delicious baked goods and breakfast foods at Luna Bakery Café are made fresh daily from locally sourced ingredients. The food and cosy atmosphere of the small café are perfect for brunch. Luna specialises in light fare such as croissants, macaroons and, of course, their signature crêpes. Made-to-order, the crêpes toast up quickly on Luna’s circular crêpes grill. Try the smoked turkey or go sweet with a dark chocolate crêpe with fresh berries.