Monday, April 11, 2016

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio is my hometown. My emotions on the city and the 20 years I spent there are mixed, depending on the day. My history and childhood are there but it wasn't somewhere I wanted to stay. No way. My goal from the beginning was to get out as FAST as I could. Growing up, I saw Cleveland and Ohio in general, as being behind the times, too slow paced, a forgotten place with no real significance in the world at large. Some of these things I still think are true. 

Over the last few years and as I've gotten older (now officially in my 30's), I've come to look at Cleveland with more of a fondness than outright disdain. Dare I say, apprehensive pride? Would I have felt so negatively about the city and the suburbs I grew up in if I had grown up somewhere else? I guess I'll never know.

The city and it's surrounding areas are now in an upturn as tons of money is being put into making the city a place where people want to live, and even visit of their own free will. Gasp!

One of the things that really made me see Cleveland as a city that could be part of the future instead of just the past, was all the vegan restaurants/options that I was able to enjoy on a long weekend trip I took there recently.

Is Cleveland somewhere I would like to live again? No. But it does pull at my heart strings from time to time. But I guess it's true what they say,

You can take the girl out of Cleveland, but you can't take ALL of the Cleveland out of the girl.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioCleveland Vegan
17112 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 832-7440

Of all the new vegan/vegan options popping up in Cleveland, I was most excited to try Cleveland Vegan. So much so, we stopped there as soon as we left the airport. An ALL VEGAN restaurant in CLEVELAND. I never thought I would see the day but I'm oh so glad I did. Cleveland Vegan, along with all the other places I visited are located in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood. Lakewood is the place to go for vegan food and a great place to spend time at. Cleveland Vegan is a bright an airy place with lots of seating and good staff.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioWhenever I cross over the state line into Ohio, my 24 hour a day craving for pierogis returns with a vengeance. I was giddy to see that Cleveland Vegan had them on their menu! But before I got to that, I had to try their kale mac and cheese, which was amazing. We'll see if it makes it on my top 5 vegan mac and cheese post. The pierogis were out of this world, topped with sour cream, green peppers and onions. My husband got the chicken and waffles, which were some of the best he's had anywhere. They were the perfect lunch to have on that absolutely freezing Cleveland afternoon.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioOn my second trip to Cleveland Vegan, I indulged in some breakfast favorites. I had the great pumpkin pie smoothie which was good but paled in comparison to the rest of the meal. I opted for the three course meal and selected the Mini S’mores French Toast, Pumpkin French Toast Bake, and Biscuits & Gravy. They were all totally amazing but the S'mores french toast and the biscuits and gravy were the highlights. The best meal I have had there yet! I can't wait to get back to Cleveland Vegan the next time I'm in town. You definitely need to check it out as well.

Kale Mac and Cheez
Cashew cheez, whole wheat pasta, tomato, onion, hemp parmasean

Classic Potato Pierogis
Sautéed peppers, onion and sour cream

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioSeitan and Waffles
Homemade breaded seitan, pepper gravy, cashew cream, cornmeal waffle with scallion and coconut bacon

The Great Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
banana, house mylk, spices, yogurt,
coconut whip

Mini S’mores French Toast
homemade challah, graham cracker
crumble, marshmallow, chocolate chips,
coconut whip

Pumpkin French Toast Bake
cream cheez frosting, streusel topping, coconut whip
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
Biscuits & Gravy
homemade biscuits,
house seitan, pepper gravyTraveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
 The Root Cafe
15118 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 226-4401

I think that The Root Cafe is Cleveland's version of Oakland's Timeless. The Root Cafe is an all vegetarian cafe with many vegan options. The place was packed when I arrived for brunch on a Saturday morning, which tells me this is a really popular place for locals to hang out in the Cleveland area. It's very eclectic and quirky, which was right up my alley. Plus, cute latte art!

My husband tried the homemade hummus wrap with roasted potatoes, which he liked but wouldn't order again.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioI ordered the Quadratic calzone. I wasn't blown away with the calzone as a whole but the bread they used was delicious.

The Root Cafe is the perfect place to hang out, enjoy a coffee or work on your computer. I would like to come back here to find a dish that I really love, but for now, I'll settle for the great atmosphere and lattes.

Homemade Hummus Wrap
Hummus, spinach & fresh sliced veggies

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioThe Quadratic
Marinara sauce, mushroom trifecta, kale & broccoli.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
Melt Bar and Grilled
14718 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood OH 44107
(216) 226-3699

If you have spend any amount of time in the Cleveland area or Ohio for that matter, you've probably heard of the the great and powerful Melt Bar and Grilled. It has been on every notable food show and it deserves to be. Melt's concept is making outrageous grilled cheese sandwich's.
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
I always frequent the original location in Lakewood, and it is ALWAYS busy. Be prepared to wait a while, especially if you have a large party but believe me it's worth the wait. Melt is very proud to be started in Cleveland and you can pass the time by guesses all the notable Cleveland residents from the huge mural near the door.

The best part? 10 of their grilled cheese sandwiches can be ordered vegan. Melt was really ahead of the game on this one because they have been offering vegan options for years in Cleveland, which was rare at the time.

My pierogi addiction struck again! I ordered the Parmageddon, which is my favorite sandwich they have and it is simply AMAZING. I have to have it every time I visit the Clev. My husband went for the Mushroom Melt, which he absolutely loved. Remember, we had to request that these melts be made vegan. If you didn't think that these huge sandwich were enough food, you also get fries and a pickle as well. I always go home with half of my food but that just means double Melt goodness! If you are visiting Ohio, take my word for it. You don't want to miss the vegan amazing-ness that is Melt Bar and Grilled.

Potato & onion pierogi, fresh Napa vodka kraut, sautéed onions, sharp cheddar

Mushroom Melt
Garlic mushrooms, caramel port onions, wilted baby spinach, provolone

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioTraveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioAladdin’s Eatery
14530 Detroit Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 521-4005

Aladdin's is a great place for a vegan to eat in Ohio when you are in a pinch. They have locations all over north east Ohio. And that's not to say that their food isn't delicious. It is. It's amazing. Aladdin's is another restaurant that has had clearly labeled vegan options from the beginning.

The highlight of Aladdin's menu, in my opinion, are their appetizers.

We always order the hummus (with hot sauce), tabouli and dawali (ordered plain). These three items together are worth the trip to Aladdin's all on their own. They are so tasty.

For my main course, I usually get the hummus falafel rolled pita. It's warm, yummy and fulling. Just what you need when you're out for dinner on a cold Ohio day.

While some of the other places I've reviewed here are new to me, I ate at Aladdin's often when I was living in Ohio. It's one of the few mid-west restaurants that I wish we had in the Bay Area! So, I always stop at Aladdin's when I'm in the area.

A creamy blend of chickpeas puréed with tahini and lemon juice, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil

A delicate mixture of chopped parsley, sweet onions, diced tomatoes, bulgur, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and fine herbs

Dawali (order plain)
Rolled grape leaves stuffed with rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, and parsley, topped with Aladdin’s dressing, feta, and chopped parsley

Hummus Falafel Rolled Pita
Falafel and Hummus with greens, tomatoes, turnips, pickles, and chopped parsley

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioSweet Moses
6800 Detroit Ave.
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioCleveland, OH 44102
(216) 651-2202

On my most recent trip to Cleveland, I was finally able to visit Sweet Moses! This super cute 50s style soda shop, has a vegan menu that you can choose treats from. I was so excited to be here, I decided to go all out. I ordered the vegan banana split (with pineapple!) with vanilla and chocolate ice cream and my husband got the vegan tin roof which was basically a sundae topped with Spanish nuts. So delicious! Cleveland is lucky to have such a cute dessert place that has a vegan menu. I can't wait to go back!

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioTown Hall
1909 W 25th St. 
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 344-9400

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioTown hall is not a vegan restaurant but has many vegan options and looks like a really hip place to eat or hang out. Usually when in this situation you can pick from a few dishes but Town Hall really has a good amount of vegan options. So much so that I couldn't decide which one to try! Eventually I decided on the Classico Flatbread (with Dayia) and my husband had the Town Hall Veggie Burger. I was shocked at how much I liked it since this isn't a solely vegan restaurant. My husband also really liked the veggie burger. We also shared the Smashed Avocado with chips as an appetizer, which is a simple idea, but it was really good.

I would definitely look to go back and try some of their other vegan options the next time I am in Cleveland.
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio
 Earth Bistro Cafe
11122 Clifton Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44102
(216) 201-9338

Earth Bistro has been on my list for a few of my trips home and I never got the chance to stop by. On my last trip home, I was able to stop in for lunch. This omni restaurant has the option to make anything on the menu vegan. Awesome right? We started with buffalo wings which were better than I was expecting but my main course was my favorite. I ordered Brookes’ Sandwich which has sauteed pierogies, grounded mustard, sauteed onions, sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese, on a ciabatta roll. This sandwich was banging. I would love to try and make it at home. People just don't eat enough
Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohiopierogies in California. Matt got the Grilled Chicken Fresco Panini with marinated grilled chicken, basil leafs, roasted red pepper, melted fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, red onion, spring mix, and garlic-sriracha spread on a ciabatta. He loved his dish as well. Just remember to request your order vegan and you're all set! I would love to go back and have that sandwich again!

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, Ohio

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioBarrio
15527 Madison Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107

My cousin had sung Barrio's praises for awhile now. On my last trip home to Cleveland, I was finally able to try it with her. This taco joint has several locations in the area and they have clearly marked vegan options. I chose to build my own tacos and man were they good. The stand out ingredient was the vegan Thai Chili Tofu. That was amazing on the tacos. I will definitely be going back to Barrio the next time I'm home.

Traveling Vegan: Cleveland, OhioBeviamo Cafe 
2275 Professor Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 202-2300

Ok. I was really excited to try this vegan cafe that recently opened in Cleveland. So I was really surprised when I was asked if I wanted whole milk in my latte. Huh? Apparently, the cafe is all vegan BUT they offer cow's milk for their coffee. Confused? I was too. And honestly, more than a little disappointed. I'm not sure what the thought process behind that option is. We got some everything bagels with cream cheese and they were fine. To be honest, they had a larger food menu but I didn't try anything beyond that. I'll probably keep an eye on this place and see what it's like the next time I visit. I'm really glad to have more vegan options in the area but offering that one non-vegan thing threw me.

Notable Mentions:

Tremont Scoops
2362 Professor Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 781-0352

All photos by Ashley of

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