Dine, Recline and Do Business
It's often the after-the-meeting event that make the meeting a "success."
Cleveland chefs can't stop opening great new restaurants. There are now nearly 90 eateries open in downtown Cleveland alone - most of which are locally owned and operated. Additions near the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland include Barrio, Flap Jacks, and Santori Greek Taverna. The resurgence of The Flats brought us Punch Bowl Social, Alley Cat, and the Music Box Supper Club. Michael Symon's hotly anticipated Mabel's BBQ leads a pack of new openings, including Ruth's Chris Steak House and Rising Star Coffee.
One year after opening his first restaurant in 1997, Michael Symon was named one of the Ten Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine. He'd go on to open 10 more Cleveland restaurants before notching the coveted James Beard Award in 2009. Symon paved the way for a number of award-winning Cleveland successors, including: Dante Boccuzzi, Michelin Star winner; Chris Hodgson, Food & Wine's Best New Chef; and Jonathon Sawyer, 2015 James Beard winner for Best Chef Great Lakes.
Great food always pairs well with great beer. Luckily, new Cleveland breweries are spreading like hop vines throughout the city. Anchored by the famed Great Lakes Brewing Co., there are more than a handful of local breweries in Ohio City alone, including Sam McNulty's ever-expanding beer empire. New additions to the scene include Portside Distillery in the Warehouse District, Butcher and the Brewer on East 4th Street, and on the near horizon is McNulty's enormous, tour-friendly Palace of Fermentation.
For those on a tighter schedule, street food in Cleveland has taken on a whole new meaning. Food trucks serving gourmet fare from smoked barbecue to organic tacos can be found in various locations. From May through September, look for lunch at Walnut Wednesday, where more than 20 trucks gather in Perk Plaza. For a late night bite, the Asian-inspired Night Market Cleveland serves up food and fine wares after dark on the last Friday of every month.