When we asked people what they thought was the best part of CLE, Tamara Chapman, an I.T. Manager in town, knew exactly what hers was.
“The Cleveland Browns truly represent Cleveland,” she said. “They are hardworking even when things don’t go well.” And boy, it sure hasn’t been easy for our Brownies, but Tamara and the rest of the Cleveland faithful are out in force every Sunday to cheer on their team.
Whether it’s the offseason or a bye week, there are weekends when the Browns aren’t playing, and you need to find some way to have fun. Lucky for you, you’re in Cleveland.
Image of Crop Bistro © Nathan Migal
According to Tamara the place to start your Cleveland adventure is during brunch at Crop Bistro, which is located in an opulent, former bank in the heart of Ohio City.
“The food is top notch and there’s a piano player who takes requests,” Tamara said. “Ask the owner for a tour of the vault, his office and the beautiful rooms that he decorated himself.
After you’ve stuffed yourself, it’s time for a little retail therapy.
“Take a quick visit to Penzeys Spices right next door and explore a vast selection of spices, rubs and blends. You’ll never be the same,” she said.
“Head over to the West Side Market in Ohio City and browse the vast array of baked goods, fruits, vegetables, meats and prepared foods,” she recommends. “Enjoy your food from the perch at the top of the market and watch the activity swirl down below.”
Where to start is always the first question we get from visitors. According to Tamara: “Check out Ora Bells stand and grab some delicious soul food.”
Red, The Steakhouse on Prospect Avenue in Downtown Cleveland is Tamara’s choice for dinner.
“Try the ribeye, mashed potatoes with gravy and asparagus. You won’t regret it. Save a little (a lot) of room for the freshly made donuts. OMGGGGG! You will never be the same,” she said.
And, perhaps a little celeb-sighting might be in your future. She reminisces: “I’ll never forget the time I saw Phil Taylor former Brown take down three ribeye steaks in one sitting!”
“A short walk over to the East Fourth Entertainment District and grab a bike/cart ride through downtown to enjoy the sights. They’ve got a little of everything,” she said.
Whether you’re looking for great restaurants like The Greenhouse Tavern or Mabel’s BBQ, comedy at Hilarities, or throwing some strikes at The Corner Alley, East Fourth has the hookup.
If you’re still upright — and if you are, congratulations — Tamara says to make your way over to Porco Lounge and Tiki Room in Ohio City.
“Go for the amazing, hand-crafted cocktails in a fun tiki setting. Ask for the Zombie. You can thank me later,” she laughs.
Image courtesy Playhouse Square
Brunch is the place to be in Cleveland, according to Tamara. And, Astoria Cafe and Market in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood has got a good one.
“The Greek fried chicken and biscuits are practically from another planet. Grab an assortment of cheese and meat, or perhaps some of their delicious olive salad, at the market on your way out.”
After breaking the fast, it’s time to get those creative juices flowing.
“Head over to Ohio City Glass for a workshop in blowing some of the most amazing glassware you’ll ever see, from tiny figurines to more practical bowls and vases,” said Tamara. “Be sure to make something orange and brown.” (Duh)
Catch the latest movie at the historic Capitol Theatre, open since 1921 in Gordon Square.
Then, treat yourself to one of the sweet, sensational donuts at Brewnuts, where the secret ingredient is beer and the Maple Bacon donuts are perennial faves.
Sarita a Restaurant in Lakewood is all about serving good food among friends and family.
According to Tamara: “You need to get the Hot Chicken. It comes with cornbread, so good it’ll make you want to smack yo mama.”
Finish off this amazing weekend by seeing a performance at Playhouse Square. It’s one of Tamara’s faves — besides the Browns, of course. And, one that the whole family can enjoy.
The Best Part of Cleveland
We asked Clevelanders, “What’s #TheBestPart of Cleveland?” The answers showed the world that this city is one filled with passion and excitement. Watch to learn more at ThisisCleveland.com/thebestpart.