Helpful ReplyTwo great Cleveland burger spots

Junior Burger
2011/01/04 05:23:08
sorry but I don't have any photos, and admin does not allow URL posting (a bit heavy handed, IMHO.)
Sergios of University Circle is hardly a typical road food type location (sadly it is adorned with fabric table linens), but it is worth mentioning as serving one of the best hamburgers in Cleveland. The chef comes from Brazil, and has won a number of awards for his innovative cuisine.
They have a lot of Latin dishes, and put an innovative twist on traditional favorites, like a home made, four-cheese macaroni & cheese made with orechetti pasta and fried onions. But for me, the best thing on the menu is the Jules burger.
Rather than one giant burger that is unevenly cooked, the Jules burger is two plancha-grilled thinner patties. Plancha is a Spanish griddle, and allows the natural juices and sugars from the beef to caramelize slightly during cooking, producing a delicious flavor. The burger is covered with Tillamook cheddar and Fontina cheeses, and served on a delicious bun. The burgers are very tasty and juicy, I went through two napkins eating mine!
It comes with a tasty but not incendiary habanero aioli and good fries. Sergio’s is well worth a stop if you are a burger fan.
In Woodmere village off I-271 by Chagrin there is a great place called B-spot opened by celebrity Iron Chef Michael Symon. The meat is custom ground for the restaurant, and served in a number of interesting options such as the Breuben (burger with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss, Russian dressing), Philly Witt (burger with flipsteak, cheezewhiz, onions) or the Yo (burger with fried salami, coppa, hot peppers, provolone, shasha hot sauce). I had the beanless chili burger and loved it.
As expected, the fries are also awesome. Most burgers are around $9, and include a delicious pepper bar to dress them up.
They have a number of innovative bourbon drinks too; unfortunately I was there at lunch so I could only have a milkshake. I ordered the Vanilla Bean Apple Pie and Bacon (yes, bacon) shake, it was incredible. The combo sounds odd, but was delicious.
The place gets very crowded and does not take reservations, so I recommend coming early or late if you can. Also a word of caution, it’s on a street with a 25 mph speed limit that is fanatically enforced, do not speed on Chagrin Blvd. or you will get a ticket!
post edited by lewin - 2011/01/04 05:25:19
☄ Helpful
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/04 15:13:33
Welcome to Roadfood, lewin!
As a frequent visitor to Cleveland I'm most appreciative of these recommendations.  My current Cleveland faves include Sokolowski's, Mt. Pleasant BBQ, and Phnom Penh.  I'm always looking for a new spot to add to our list, so I will be sure to check out at least one of these two places next time we're in town.
For future reference, let me politely suggest that if you really want to get Roadfooders into these restaurants, you should include all the contact information in your post (as you will see at the bottom of this one).  Giving as much info as possible takes the mystery out of the recommendation and encourages people to actually make the effort to stop in.
Again,  thanks for the recs.  The one thing we haven't been able to find in Cleveland is a really good burger ala Tessaro's in Pittsburgh or Fred's in Burlington, Wisconsin.  Thanks to you, this problem may now be solved.
Sokolowski's University Inn
1201 University Road
Cleveland, OH 44113-3642
(216) 771-9236
Mt. Pleasant BBQ
12725 Kinsman Rd
Cleveland, OH 44120
(216) 561-8722
Phnom Penh
13124 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111
(216) 251-0210
Second location:
1929 West 25th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113-3418
(216) 357-2951
4601 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
(412) 682-6809
Fred's Bar
596 North Pine Street
Burlington, WI 53105-1419
(262) 763-8370
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/04 16:18:17
Greenhouse Tavern also has a good burger. 
Junior Burger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/11 06:06:49
Thanks and I agree with you on all those suggestions. Having grown up in Cleveland I have to say it’s overall a pretty mediocre food town, but it has some bright spots that can compete with any other city.
The new pedestrian area on East 4th street has some great restaurants, as does the neighborhood of Tremont.
A few more ‘uniquely Cleveland’ spots that are worth a look are below. I’ve added the addresses, thanks for the suggestion – although it would be much easier if the webmaster would simply allow us to post URLs (jah jah I know people will also post spam but this policy caters to people who abuse the site at the expense of those wishing to post useful content and the users).
Slymans, 3106 St.Clair Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 216. 621.3760
Famous for monster corned beef sandwiches, only open for lunch and breakfast and there is a huge line that starts well before noon most days. Best to order in the local lingo, a ‘smurf’ is a corned beef on kosher rye with swiss cheese and a swipe of mustard. Plan on leftovers no matter how big your appetite is!
Also in Tremont, a few minutes from Solkolowski’s is South Side - 2207 West 11th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113, United States, (216) 937-2288
They have my favorite sandwich in Cleveland, an open faced Chorizo meatloaf on sourdough. They also have killer onion rings and a really good chili with bison and black beans.
Tommys 1824 Coventry Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44118. 216-321-7757
Always winning awards for best cheap eats, a place where you can meet real hippies and have a large variety of foods from grilled cheese and meat pies to vegan and Mediterranean. Tommy’s is famous for its milkshakes including my favorite, the homemade peanut butter shake.
If you go, don’t miss Big Fun right next door – it’s a trip back to all the toys you loved when you were a kid whenever you grew up. Also a word of warning – Cleveland Heights is filled with dastardly speed traps (many right where roads change from 35 to 25mph) and parking tickets are issued 10 seconds after the meters expire. Have lots of quarters and don’t speed or you will meet their police.  
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/11 17:41:56
Thank you for the thank you.  I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of Cleveland being a mediocre food town.  Granted, there are some ethnic wastelands (is there anything that approaches a real Mexican restaurant anywhere near your town?), but there are plenty of gems as well.  Certainly the ones you and I have so far mentioned, but I think there are plenty more just waiting to be discovered.
My biggest regret is that when I come to Cleveland, it is for business purposes, thus not allowing me to explore to the extent I would like.  Also, once we find a really good spot, we like to go back there whenever possible, further hampering our Roadfood safari.
It appears you are not a native of (or at least not currently living in) Cleveland.  So what brings you to that town all the way from Zurich (I assume Switzerland), and how often do you get to visit?
Junior Burger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/12 14:28:38
Thanks Buddy! I grew up in Cleveland and left when I was about 40, so I know it quite well. The gems are there, but not so easy to find. In my old job I was fortunate to travel all around the US, and have really experienced the difference between great restaurant cities with variety and regional specialties and Cleveland's blight of chain and theme restaurants. By mediocre I mean the ratio of big box chains to unique , authentic local places.
I moved to Connecticut for work, and then Zurich but I have a lot of friends and family there and try to come back at least twice a year, so I understand your restaurant dilemma - stay with old favorites, or try something new?!?
There are a few Mexican places I can recommend, actually as a fan myself  - 
Momocho is not a road food type place, but had very innovative and authentic Mexican. Its more hip, upscale Mexican but well worth a visit. 7 different types of guacamole and unique margaritas like cucumber or pear and cactus.
Momocho, 1835 Fulton Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113, telephone 216.694.2122
In Lakewood their is a small family place called El Tango Taqueria that is definetely Road Food material and muy authentico - the chef makes a few trips to Mexico each year for new recipes and spices. Because its small the service is often slow, but if you go expecting this and plan a nice meal its great.
El Tango Taqueria 14224 Madison Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44107-4510 (216) 226-9999
On the east side in Richmond Heights, right in front of Richmond mall, is another gem - La Fiesta. Don't be horrified by the outside, which has all the ambiance of a Ramada lounge. The same family has owned it since the 1950s, and it started as a really small dive until a fire destroyed the strip mall where it used to be located. You used to have to cut through the kitchen to get to the bathroom! The menu is full of real and unusual Mexican dishes
La Fiesta, 440-565-4422, located at 5115 Wilson Mills Road, Richmond Heights, OH
Good travels and good eating!

Double Cheeseburger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/12 15:05:46
My biggest regret is that when I come to Cleveland, it is for business purposes, thus not allowing me to explore to the extent I would like.

I've had  two problems with Cleveland.   The first is the same as your's, I'm almost always going there for work travel (NASA Glenn), and hence only usually have one free evening at a time to explore before I'm leaving town again (and there are all sorts of good breakfast and lunch places that I've never had a chance to try).
The second is that several places I've been (Greenhouse Tavern, AMP 150, Lolita, and Bar Cento) are places where the owners[1] have been pleasant and have personally invited me to come back, so I always feel bad for not going back to their places.
With the hospitality and good food I've had in Cleveland, I'm still overdue on taking a trip there for just food.
[1] Jonathon Sawyer, Ellis Cooley, Michael Symon, and Mike Nowak.  All very friendly, especially to me, "That weird guy with the big-ass camera"
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/13 01:33:34
Thanks for the Mexican restaurant tips.  Not sure if we'll be visiting Cleveland this year, but if we do, and we're looking to add to our list of faves, I will have your recs in my back pocket.
Thanks again, and let me know if you're ever coming towards Chicago.  I'll show you around like a native.
Junior Burger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/26 17:03:23
Thanks for the kind offer! Ditto if you find yourself in Zurich, the bratwurst here are amazing!
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/01/27 18:01:14
I definately second El Tango Taqueria in Lakewood. Great place, but as mentioned above, dont go if you are in a hurry. 
Also in Lakewood, right up the street from El Tango, is Buckeye Beer Engine. Great,unique burgers, and plenty of taps of rare craft/import beers.
Junior Burger
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/02/15 17:51:32
Good call on the Buckeye beer engine - its road food heaven. The kobe beef hotdog is my favorite, and the wings are great.
Re:Two great Cleveland burger spots 2011/02/16 17:30:51
The only biz trips I make are to NASA Glenn. Any suggestions of a nearby place for steaks? I have to go again in a few weeks. Usually stay at the Radisson in N Olmstead. Mountain Jacks was nearby and marginally acceptable, but is gone now.