Cleveland's Eastern European roots on display at Sokolowski’s
photo by Cody York
Scattered picture frames of family and friends, cafeteria style winding-line and the scent of absolute comfort – a butter aroma. We’re talking about Sokolowski’s University Inn, Cleveland’s oldest family owned restaurant. It’s just like going to Grandma’s house for a giant family get together; except the reason for eating so much delicious comfort food is “just because.”
Salisbury steak, chicken paprikash, stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese and mouthwatering pierogi bathing in a butter pool. Waiting in line for food isn’t ideal, but luckily you’ll find yourself surrounded by a collection of photos taken over the past 92 years to help pass the time. Who are these people in the photos? And why are they on display? Well, it’s a Cleveland thing. Sokolowski’s chooses to display more photos of relatives and family friends than any other photos. Newspaper clippings along with appearances from celebrities and former presidents are mixed into the picture frame collage, but it’s the photos of Clevelanders that make the Cleveland-Sokolowski’s experience so memorable.
So you’ve finally made it to the serving station.
Imagine the cafeteria lady from Billy Madison who says, “I made it extra shloppy for ya,” but imagine her as an angel. And instead of “shlop,” you’re being served the most delicious and heavenly looking comfort food you’ll ever eat. Good luck choosing between the different options – you can always go back until you’ve tried it all!
You’re almost there – the last step of the line is paying for your food, which is nice because then all you literally have to do is enjoy yourself. Shove your face and leave without waiting on somebody to process your bill.
There are plenty of uniquely sized and shaped tables for all party sizes, also, more framed photos to surround yourself with. Imagine that you’ve finally filled your plate in Grandma’s kitchen and you’re going to go down to the basement to find a comfy spot amongst all of your family members.
Expect a food coma. The good kind of “satisfied” food coma though, the type that will have you dreaming about Sokolowski’s for weeks.