Welcome to the City of Rock and Roll! It’s so fitting that the first travel post for Real Food Rocker would be for Cleveland, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the radio station that was first to coin the term Rock n’ Roll as a genre of music. The last time I visited this city was to attend the… Van’s Warped Tour my sophomore year in high school. Let’s not discuss exactly how long ago that was, but you’re safe to assume that its been a minute.
The city of Cleveland is massive, covering about 82 square miles. So needless to say, my husband and I only got to explore a portion of it. When we travel we like to get around as much like locals as we can by walking everywhere. Also because parking in major cities is a bitch
and this small towner gets stressed with all the honking. Unfortunately, there are only so many places you can eat and drink in a day and half. And since this winter is being insanely selfish, it was still in the 30’s – 50’s with incredible windchill during our visit. So, I have also listed some “honorable mentions” aka, places I wish we had a chance to visit. But definitely hit up these spots on your next trip to C-Town.
Phuel is a small cafe focusing on nutrition, plant centered eating and locally sourced foods. We dined at the one on the corner of Euclid Ave right next to Playhouse Square and the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. Yes, that’s a thing and its gorgeous. Anyhow, they offer dine in or carry out services with online ordering. They will also soon be offering nutritional and cooking demonstrations for local patrons to educate themselves better on the importance of wholesome eating which I think is fantastic! Our server was exceptionally friendly and accommodating.
We both ordered breakfast but they also had local grass fed burgers, vegan burgers, smoothies and other lunch options. They also have grab and go snacks at the front including fresh fruit, salads, homemade baked goods, fresh brewed teas and kombucha. There was even a box of fresh squash sitting in the front as if it was just delivered from a local farmer. The prices and portions are on point and I would see myself frequenting here or ordering out often as a local.
Restore is a hip and modern cold pressed juice and smoothie joint that also serves bowls, avocado toasts, ginger + tumeric shots, coffee, matcha and bone broth. All the healthy things. They only use organic fruits and vegetables and all juices are fresh pressed each morning and smoothies are made to order. They also offer whole juice cleanses if your into that.
I loved that they had plant only juice options that included zero fruit so I didn’t have to worry about the insane insulin spike that comes with a lot of juices. They come in 16oz glass bottles that are reusable or recyclable. They are about $10.00 a pop which isn’t bad because if you’re drinking juices right, each bottle is at least 2 servings. They also had some vegan treats from a local baker at the counter. The cashier was friendly and I loved that when she was packing my bag to go, she used napkins to grab the paper straws to keep from touching what I would soon be putting in my mouth. It’s the little things…
Butcher and the Brewer is a local restaurant and brewery located on a popular brick paved street. My favorite thing about this place is that they work diligently with local farmers to source the highest quality pasture raised meats available. They also serve local, seasonal vegetables and brew their own craft beers (no ciders) on site. Aside from the restaurant, they have a butcher shop and market that serves lunch specials and sells fresh cut meats, local eggs, kombucha and other pantry items.
We browsed the market during the afternoon as we were passing by and then returned later that night for dinner. They have public house style seating and encourage shared plates among parties. Plates are served as they are ready so you end up eating in courses. They also have open concept style restrooms with men on one side, women on the other and a trough style washing station in the center. Pretty neat.
Masthead is a local brewery and tap room located in a renovated historic building built in 1921 that used to be an automotive dealership. They serve brunch, lunch, dinner and of course house made brews as well as guest taps. (Again, no house ciders. Come on Cleveland!)
They have public house style seating or bar seating inside. The have glass garage door bays that offer tons of natural light and open during the warmer months to extend the indoor seating outside making it pet friendly. I love the industrial details and being able to see the brick oven in action from your seat. Their menu specializes in their wood fired, hand crafted pizzas, sandwiches, salads and even roasted veggies (because balance). They also utilize local produce on several of their menu items. Personally, this is a good blend of healthy and happy foods in my opinion.
Heinen’s is a local chain of family owned grocery stores stretching from Ohio to Illinois and honestly, this was my favorite stop of the trip. I think when your a foodie in a small town with very limited access to high end grocery stores and products, you just geek out when you get to experience something new. Or maybe that’s just me, idk. But this place is super unique.
As I said, this is a small chain of stores, but this location is special. This location sits in the historic Cleveland Trust Company building that dates back to 1908. It has stunning architectural details featuring a rotunda with a stained glass dome. I never would have had the concept of restoring this building and using it for this purpose but it was genius. On the first floor under the rotunda is casual dining for their cafe’ that features salad bars, a deli, grill, sushi, and a bakery. The grocery department is also on the lower level that carries local, organic foods and wellness products. The upper level has local craft beer, cider and wine as well as charcuterie and other snack foods. They offer wine and beer tastings here as well. I think local food and drink makes for a much better souvenir than a t- shirt or post card so we stocked up here. We also ate a small lunch at the cafe. Even if you have no need for groceries or dining, this place is a must see.
The historical Arcade in Cleveland is not what you typically think of when you hear the word. It is not a gaming establishment for preteens to waste their allowance (speaking as if its still 1980). It is actually a gorgeous indoor retail center. It was in fact the first indoor shopping center in America dating back to 1890. It consisted of local shops, fine dinning and small service stations such as a shoe shine or a quick shave a hair cut (2 bits). It has since been remodeled but still holds all of the grandeur I imagine existed when it was first built. There was a wedding being held in the lower level when we visited. There are still several store fronts, a barber shop and some restaurants inside was well as lodging on the upper levels.
There are a few more of these historical arcades in the area. We also walked through the 5th Street Arcades which are right across the street.
SIGHTS & ENTERTAINMENT:
A world famous theater currently located in a building that was established in 1913. It is a very small and intimate setting holding about 1800 patrons. I had read several reviews about this place being rather run down which is kind of to be expected given its age. But it is actively being renovated. You could still smell the fresh coat of epoxy resin lingering from the freshly finished floors in the theater section. There were also new hard wood floors in the lobby areas and a sign stating that a new, remodeled Agora was coming soon. The lighting in all sections was very dull so its hard to really see and appreciate the ornate features from the original construction. The outside of the building was pretty grimy including litter on the sidewalks. You would almost assume the place is out of business if you didn’t know better. I hope they will be applying the same efforts exhibited from the inside to the exterior as well. I would also suggest a pep talk in the customer service department. There was a slightly rude encounter with one employee when discussing will call tickets, but it all worked out in the end so I won’t get too into it here. Now, on to the show…
We saw Dan Auerbach and the Easy Eye Sound Revue with special guests Robert Finley, Shannon Shaw and her band Shannon and The Clams as the opening act. Shannon and the Clams opened with “The Boy” and you could almost here them. The vocals just needed to be louder. A result of the venue or their own audio engineer, I don’t know, but they still had a solid eccentric and glittery performance. Thankfully you could hear Dan much better. He and his band opened with “Waiting on a Song” and the show stayed just as fulfilling the whole way through. He featured two songs from his first solo album Keep It Hid. “Trouble Weighs A Ton” and an acoustic rendition of “Going Home” for his encore song. It was simply beautiful. He brought Shannon Shaw back out to do a few songs from her upcoming solo album he produced that I am looking forward to. You could here her vocals much better this time around. He also brought out Mr. Robert Finley. I don’t think anyone had more fun that night than he did. So energetic, soulful and the man has some moves. Dan has done everyone a favor by giving him the chance to share his art with us. In short, I would see this show a hundred times over. The end.
Public park located right behind the Rock and Roll Hall of fame with a great view of Lake Erie.
THE CORNER ALLEY (Reservations Only)
For more extensive reviews on each place including what we ordered, etc. follow my yelp account