Another Banner Year
2017 had more than its share of Cleveland wins
By Annie Zaleski
If 2016 was the "Year of Cleveland," then 2017 was the year that proved the designation was no fluke.
Sure, LeBron James and the Cavs didn't defend their NBA Championship, but a second Finals appearance in a row is nothing to sneeze at. And the Indians bounced back from their heartbreaking World Series appearance and proved themselves to be a team that should be competitive for years to come.
Beyond sports, however, Cleveland had a busy year full of milestone anniversaries, long-awaited development progress, and preparations for future growth. It all added up to a 2017 that kept the city's momentum snowballing forward.
National Press Love
The glowing national press accolades given to Cleveland in 2016 continued throughout 2017. In November, the New York Times travel section shone a spotlight on the Gordon Square Arts District, while the Los Angeles Times travel section dubbed the city "on the cusp of cool." New York, meanwhile, chimed in with a music-geared to-do list for those looking to Cleveland as a weekend escape. And the respected food outpost Eater named the sure-to-be Hingetown hotspot Larder: A Curated Delicatessen & Bakery—which now looks like it's more on track for a 2018 opening—one of its "16 Most Anticipated Restaurants Opening in Fall 2017."
Although the Indians sadly made an early exit from the playoffs, the team's regular season was one for the ages—and record books. Not only did the Tribe win 102 games and take home the Central Division crown, but the team captivated the country with a mind-boggling 22-game winning streak, the longest continuous winning streak in MLB history.
Individual players also had banner years: Third baseman José Ramírez and shortstop Francisco Lindor took home Silver Slugger Awards, while Carlos Santana won the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at first base. Ace pitcher Corey Kluber also nabbed his second Cy Young Award, thanks to 18 wins, 265 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.25.
Rock Hall Renovations
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's long-planned renovations and upgrades did not disappoint. The multi-sensory Power of Rock Experience in the new Connor Theater features a film with induction ceremony highlights that was produced, curated and edited by the late Jonathan Demme. Outside the theater, fans can now record their own musical memories and messages in special kiosks/broadcast booths.
The lobby also received a facelift in the form of the All Access Café, which spotlights delicious dishes crafted by some of Cleveland's celebrity chefs. And, outside on the plaza—where the bright-red Long Live Rock sign has quickly become an Instagrammable fave—the seasonal stage was bustling all summer long with local music, select national acts (Drive-By Truckers) and even a few surprises. Over Labor Day weekend, John Mellencamp and his band hopped on stage and did a surprise set.
The Cleveland Metroparks celebrated its centennial in 2017 with a year-long celebration highlighted by live music—including a July concert at Edgewater Park featuring Michael Stanley—and new amenities.
The two-story, $3.3 million Edgewater Beach House at the near west side park immediately became a packed warm-weather destination, no doubt because of its clubhouse-like feel and gorgeous views of the lake. Closer to Downtown, another section of the Cleveland Foundation Centennial Lake Link Trail, a bike trail and walking path running between Detroit Ave. and River Rd., also opened in time for summer. The trail aims to connect Lake Erie to the city and the rest of the popular Towpath Trail.
The Western Reserve Historical Society celebrated its sesquicentennial—that's 150th anniversary—and its role in preserving and championing Northeast Ohio's rich and influential history. Naturally, the milestone year came complete with a giant birthday bash, as well as special programs and activities. Look no further than the Cleveland History Center, which opened a permanent multimedia exhibit called “Cleveland Starts Here.”
This year also saw a year-long celebration marking both the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes becoming mayor of Cleveland and the achievements of his Congressman brother, civil rights pioneer Louis Stokes.
The ongoing Flats East Bank renaissance kept rolling along in 2017. Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cleveland opened in a standalone space, while Backyard Bocce, a Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. taproom and brewpub, and the pizza-and-beer joint Dante's Inferno opened on the ground floor of an apartment building right along the riverfront.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton opened its new stadium, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, as part of an ongoing $700 million renovation. Up next: a four-star, football-themed hotel coming in 2019 that's part of an $800 million, mixed-use Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village on the hall of fame's campus.
Construction kicked off at Quicken Loans Arena, which is receiving upgrades and sprucing up for a more modern and spacious gathering place of Cavs fans and concertgoers.
Cleveland's brewery boom shows no signs of abating. This year saw the opening of Collision Bend Brewing Co. in the riverfront space once occupied by the Watermark; Saucy Brew Works in Hingetown; Downtown’s Masthead Brewing Co. and Noble Beast Brewing Co.; Terrestrial Brewing Co. in Battery Park; Cleveland Heights-based Boss Dog Brewing Co.; and Cincinnati-based Bad Tom Smith Brewing in Ohio City.
The region's existing breweries are also benefiting from this boom. Westlake-based Sibling Revelry plans to add 10,000 square feet to its existing space and double in size, while Fat Head's Brewery is opening new brewpubs in Canton and Middleburgh Heights. Platform Beer Co., meanwhile, recently announced plans to start distributing its tasty brews in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Downtown Cleveland continued to shine with the opening of new restaurants (including the upscale Marble Room Steaks & Raw Bar and the fast-casual Otani Noodle Bar), and local shops (Campbell's Sweets Factory). The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland unveiled a series of stunning renovations that includes a new restaurant, remodeled guest rooms and meeting spaces, and an upgraded fitness center.
Playhouse Square made a splash by announcing plans to build a 34-story apartment tower a hop, skip and a jump away from the theater district, at East 17th Street and Euclid Ave. The $135 million project will include 319 apartments and a 550-space parking garage.
Cleveland rocks, of course—and did so in grand fashion this summer. Irish rockers U2 sold out FirstEnergy Stadium, while a mere two weeks later, piano man Billy Joel and country star Luke Bryan sold out back-to-back nights at Progressive Field.
Delightful Donuts & Coffee
Clevelanders sure do love their donuts. Thankfully, bakers also love Cleveland: In 2017 alone, Rocky River-based City Girl Donuts, a Brewnuts outpost in Gordon Square, and Hingetown's Bigmouth Donut Co. joined the local donut scene.
On the coffee side, things were just as busy. Lakewood welcomed La Maison Palette Café and Rising Star Coffee Roasters; Tremont upstart Beviamo Café is planning to move into a bigger space; and Six Shooter Coffee at the Tenk West Bank entered the Flats fray.
And for those people who love combining caffeine and sweets: The beloved Canadian chain Tim Hortons announced plans for Northeast Ohio stores.