When you consider the many world-class museums of Greater Cleveland, you often think of those in University Circle. After all, University Circle is Cleveland’s “cultural hub” and includes the most concentrated area of museums and cultural attractions in the nation. However, there is also much culture to be found outside of this well-known neighborhood.
Wanting to explore more of Greater Cleveland’s cultural treasures, I visited two of the East Side’s lesser known museums: The Dunham Tavern Museum and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. Although very different in size and theme, both museums tell unique stories about the Greater Cleveland experience.
The Dunham Tavern Museum, located at 6709 Euclid Avenue, is the oldest surviving structure in the City of Cleveland. Rufus and Jane Pratt Dunham, who had moved to the Western Reserve in 1819, constructed the tavern in 1824. It stands, to this day, on its original site in what is now known as the city’s Midtown Corridor.
When I arrived to the tavern, Sandy, who would be my guide, warmly greeted me. Sandy took great pride in the tavern, and she was very knowledgeable of its history and that of the Western Reserve, in general. The rooms of the tavern have been restored, in great detail, to how they would have been during the tavern’s early days. Following the tour, which took about a half hour, I walked the paths on the grounds to learn more about life in the Western Reserve. In the warmer months, guests can also enjoy the tavern’s beautiful gardens.
Although not a big institution, there is a wealth of history to be found at the Dunham Tavern Museum. And at only $3 for adults and $2 for children, it is an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon and learn something new about the history of the area that would one day become Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is located at 2929 Richmond Road in Beachwood, Ohio. The Maltz Museum is a museum of the finest quality, and you need not be Jewish to enjoy the museum or the story of the Jewish experience in Greater Cleveland and across the globe. In fact, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage presents not only “the Jewish experience” but also “the American experience.”
The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is almost like three museums in one. The exhibits in the permanent collection focus on various aspects of Jewish life: From the Jews’ arriving at Ellis Island to their establishing communities in Greater Cleveland; from the horrors of the Holocaust to the triumph of the modern State of Israel. The exhibits are presented throughout seven distinct galleries, each with a different theme. These galleries include artifacts, testimonials, photographs, and video presentations.
In addition to the galleries of the permanent collection, the Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery showcases Jewish art and artifacts from around the world. Finally, the Special Exhibition Gallery currently features “The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936.” This exhibit is fascinating and would be of interest to any aficionado of the Olympic Games, let alone those interested in Jewish history, world history, and/or the pre-World War II era. To enjoy all that the Maltz Museum has to offer, allow 3-4 hours. And those who purchase the Cleveland Plus Pass can enjoy the Maltz Museum along with nine other Greater Cleveland attractions.
I highly recommend both museums as a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Please note that the Dunham Tavern Museum is only open from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Wednesday and Sunday afternoons. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is open everyday but Monday. Both museums offer free on-site parking.
For more information about the Dunham Tavern Museum, refer to its website at www.dunhamtavern.org. For more information about the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage visit www.maltzmuseum.org. – Submitted by Christopher S. Musselman, guest blogger
Frank and Charles Menches from Akron, Ohio are credited with inventing the hamburger when they ran out of pork for sausage patties they were selling at the 1885 Erie County Fair and decided to spice up some beef (with coffee, brown sugar and other ingredients) and hawk them as “hamburgers,” so named for Hamburg, NY, where the fair was held. Later, they went on to open Menches Bros. Restaurant, which is still family owned and operated in Akron, where their legendary burgers are served.
So, as the birthplace of the hamburger, it should come as no surprise that Cleveland Plus offers up an inspired array of burgers.
In addition to the location in Avon, another Chef Symon location opened in Woodmere on the east side of town. The restaurant features Symon’s famous burgers, brats, bologna, craft beers and the renowned “Fat Doug” burger (beef patty topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese and coleslaw on a brioche bun) winner of the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival’s Burger Bash.
Wood booths and an old-fashioned neighborhood appeal await you at Brennan’s Colony. Once you’ve quit playing the Ms. Pacman arcade game, refuel with one of the bar-inspired burgers Brennan’s offers. Try the juicy “All World Burger” for one of the best burgers in town.
Buckeye Beer Engine
This place really celebrates beer by specializing in hard-to-find quality drafts with nearly 30 exceptional local and microbrews on tap. And, the burger list is off the charts. Try the West Side burger, equipped with caramelized onions, sour cream, and a cheddar potato pierogi or take a stab at the Fatty Melt, with a patty placed between two grilled cheese sandwiches, topped with bacon and tomato. If beef isn’t your preference, you can also substitute a multitude of different patty options, including a Portobello mushroom cap or chicken breast.
Cleveland ChopHouse & Brewery
Casual elegance of the ‘40s-inspired specializing in delicious steaks, chops, BURGERS, white cheddar mashed potatoes and handcrafted beers.
Fire Food & Drink
This eatery, tucked away in historic Shaker Square, offers a sophisticated menu with an interesting burger surprise. The Miller Farm grass fed beef cheeseburger uses naturally raised beef to create a more organic burger experience. This burger is supplied by the nearby Miller Farm and is garnished with cheddar, tomato relish, mustard aioli and garlic fries.
Johnny’s Little Bar
Considered a true hidden gem, Johnny’s Little Bar offers what many rate as the best burgers in the city and a plentiful beer list. Located behind the ultra-upscale Johnny’s Downtown, Little Bar offers up a cool, casual atmosphere in a (you guessed it) very little bar.
Metro Bar + Kitchen
The recently opened Metro Bar + Kitchen is a dynamic, hip, energetic restaurant featuring a mouthwatering menu chocked full of American classics and a bar serving more than 15 craft and microbrews. Entering the emerging “burger bar” scene, Metro brings its own version of this American pastime to the forefront.
Owned by legendary NFL coach Don Shula, Shula’s 2 is part sports bar and part casual dining. The menu features steaks and burgers with a focus on “The Shula Cut” and premium black angus beef. A great place to enjoy televised sports.
Wesley T. “Pop” Swenson opened the first original Swenson’s restaurant in 1934. This quintessential American drive-in restaurant features burgers with a secret sauce that’s been in the family since its inception. (Veg-heads, there’s a veggie burger on the menu too!)
Grab an interesting veggie burger or a juicy Curtburger at a Cleveland landmark, Tommy’s. This veggie-focused eatery offers a wide variety of healthy dishes as well as ones catered to the carnivorous. The winner of numerous “best casual meal” awards, Tommy’s is a restaurant worth trying.
Check out these other great burger restaurant suggestions submitted by Twitter users following @PositivelyCleve:
Academy Tavern: 216.229.1171
The Greenhouse Tavern: 216.443.0511, www.thegreenhousetavern.com
Cedar Lee Pub and Grill: 216.371.1713
56 West: 216.226.0056, www.fiftysixwest.com
Heck’s Café: 216.861.5464, www.heckscafe.com
Parkview Nite Club: 216.961.1341, www.parkviewniteclub.com
Rocky River Brewing Co: 440.895.2739, www.rockyriverbrewco.com
–Submitted by ML, CA and SF.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a favorite Northeast Ohio burger not listed here, please comment below so we can add it to the list.
With more than 21,000 acres, the Cleveland Metroparks’ 16 reservations provide a gorgeous backdrop for the many recreational activities enjoyed here throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to hit the golf course, hike or ride the trails, swim, fish or just experience an oasis of beautiful wildlife minutes from downtown Cleveland, the Cleveland Metroparks are the perfect place for year-round recreation.
It all began in 1917 when a young, self-taught engineer put into motion his plan for an outer chain of parks with connecting boulevards, that would soon be known as the “Emerald Necklace.” William Stinchcomb’s genius was to anticipate the future need for open space at a time when Cuyahoga County outside of Cleveland was still largely rural. From a few scattered donations of land in the Rocky River Valley, the Park District grew to embrace some of the most scenic areas of Greater Cleveland.
Today the network of reservations nearly form a circle around Cleveland and include hundreds of miles of walking, bike and horse trails, parks, picnic areas, five nature centers, seven golf courses and plenty of fishing spots. The Cleveland Metroparks also manages the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest, a favorite amongst locals and tourists.
Visit www.clevelandmetroparks.com for more information about special events and programming, picnic areas, recreational activities and more.
– Submitted by C.A.
Kids are always looking for their next kingdom and Northeast Ohio is a treasure map of interesting activities that will excite and entertain.
Take for instance the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and its newest program this spring — The Scoop on Poop! Fish do it, frogs do it, pythons, eagles and elephants do it, yet poop is one of those subjects we find difficult to talk about with a straight face. “Kids however are positively fascinated by it,” says Sue Allen, manager of marketing and public relations at the Metroparks Zoo. “Poop is interesting stuff — really.”
Zoo visitors can improve their No. 2 IQ in Stool School by listening in on an animal’s digestive system, learn the language of poop in countries around the world, compete in dung beetle races, track wild animals by clues left in scat and much more. This is, of course, on top of everything else awesomely interesting about the Metroparks’ zoo including its animal shows, dinosaur exhibit and more than 3,000 creatures roaming 168 rolling, wooded acres.
Most things about planet earth are pretty interesting, but everything about space is totally engrossing. At the Great Lakes Science Center (one of the nation’s leading science and technology hubs and home to the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX Theater), the Return to the Moon exhibit will be sweeping young minds off their feet and placing them squarely on the lunar map.
Our food scene here isn’t exactly a secret. With top-notch microbreweries, award-winning local wineries, chic eateries, homestyle ethnic cooking and, oh yeah, a genuine Food Network Iron Chef who got his start here and still runs a few choice Cleveland Plus restaurants, it’s pretty well-known that you don’t have to look far for a fantastic meal.
But it’s a good bet you didn’t know that Northeast Ohio has is building reputation for the award-winning gourmet cheeses crafted at the region’s goat milk dairies, or that these artisan cheeses are helping bolster the “farm-to-table” dining that brings unequaled freshness and variety to so many area restaurants.
Cleveland’s Lake Erie Creamery, for instance, offers five handmade goat’s milk cheeses, including their soft-ripened Blomma, which took the Grand Prize for Dairy at the 2008 Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal Awards. And the goat milk for this urban creamery comes from neighboring Portage County’s family-run Cherry Lane Farm. You can savor Lake Erie Creamery’s handiwork with a visit to landmark and world-class restaurants like The Baricelli Inn in Little Italy, the Bistro on Lincoln Park and fire food and drink—all who have had it on their menus.
Mackenzie Creamery in Hiram offers ten intriguing and tempting varieties of its goat milk cheeses. In addition to the likes of Black Truffle and Garlic Chive, Mackenzie offers more adventurous creations like its “Sweet Fire” (which includes blackberry and hot pepper flavors) and “You Say Tomato.” This rural Portage County cheese-maker has also raked in big awards, receiving Best of Show, Reserved Best of Show, one second place and two first place awards in 2007 at the American Dairy Goat Association National Cheese Competition.
Want to take some cheese home with you? The 25,000-square-foot gourmet food West Point Market in Akron carries Mackenzie Creamery cheeses. And you can find both of these marvelous artisan products at Cleveland’s historic West Side Market and other foodie friendly retail outlets. –Submitted by John Booth
Easter is right around the corner and for those of you who gave up sweets for Lent and can’t wait to bust into your bunny-delivered basket overflowing with fake grass and sugary temptations, Cleveland Plus has just the stuff you need. Here are some of the best places to stock up on Easter basket fillings:
11606 Pearl Road, Strongsville
Ice cream, gift baskets, premium chocolates and nostalgia novelty penny candy . . . Olympia has plenty to choose from to stuff your Easter baskets. Check out the “All Easter” section of their website.
16131 Holmes Avenue, Cleveland
Baker Candies has specialized in making only the finest chocolates and candies since 1921. Shop online for their largest selection of Easter candies and try their famous whipped eggs . . . fluffy marshmallow handrolled in chocolate.
7480 Brookpark Road, Cleveland
Sweeties Candy Company offers the largest variety of candy anywhere. From old-time favorites (like licorice pipes, candy necklaces and wax lips) to the new kid’s crazes, they have it all. You’ll find more than 300,000 pounds stacked to the ceiling in a 14,000 square foot location.
Jelly beans, jelly rabbits, pre-stuffed baskets, chocolate rabbits, chocolate ducks, chocolate rabbits filled with peanut butter, malt eggs, Easter tins, caramel filled milk chocolate chicks. Enough said.
West Side Market
1979 West 25th Street, Cleveland
The West Side Market is a Cleveland landmark where you can find all of the freshest ingredients for an Easter meal as well as the goodies to go inside the Easter baskets. Visit Campbell’s Popcorn Shop (Stand C-13), Grandma Freda’s (Stand A-9) and Michelle’s Bakery (Stand B & C-12) for fresh baked goods, as well as chocolates and flavored popcorn.
There are gourmet truffles from Sweet Designs Chocolatier (www.sweetdesigns.com), artful “monster eggs” made with the freshest ingredients from Lilly Handmade Chocolates (www.lillytremont.com), rich dark chocolate covered potato chips from Executive Sweets (www.executivesweets.com), Ohio “buckeyes” from Harry London Candies (www.harrylondon.com), marzipan from Mitchell’s Fine Candies in Cleveland Heights (www.mitchellscandies.com), the sweet delights created from recipes passed down for three generations at Brummer’s Chocolates in Vermilion (brummers.homestead.com) or choco-covered Peeps from Fantasy Candies (www.fantasycandies.net). For chocoholics with dietary restrictions, try the Chocolate Emporium for Kosher, gluten free or dairy free options (www.choclat.com) or order online from Vegan Light Chocolate No Whey (www.veganlightchocolatenowhey.com).
No Sugar Necessary
Cleveland Heights and Cleveland (almost Lakewood) locations
If you want to be sweet, but don’t want the sugar high that comes with it, try stuffing the basket with hand buzzers, talking key chains, whoopee cushions, miniature action figures, super balls and other cool stuff from Big Fun, a vintage toy store bursting with souvenirs, customizable tees, pop culture collectibles and more. Two Cleveland area locations. –Submitted by CA
EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a favorite chocolate-maker not on the list? Comment on this blog to add your suggestion. Or, if you’re looking for an Easter brunch option, click here.
As if the Great Lakes Science Center‘s already spectacular offerings weren’t enough, the six-story Omnimax dome theater is among the first in the nation showing the new IMAX movie Hubble – and it is nothing short of an absolutely jaw-dropping wonder.
I took my 12-year-old daughter and we both could easily run out of superlatives trying to convey just how amazing this movie is. In just 45 minutes, you’ll not only relive the story of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment and the NASA missions over the years that kept this wondrous eye on the cosmos working, but through the telescope’s galaxy-spanning images, you’ll also take a stunning journey across space and into the heart of the Orion Nebula.
And, because the movie unfolds on the enormous curved screen, you can look around and feel like you’re there . . . impossibly suspended in a vast “star nursery” where suns and planets are born, drifting in zero-gravity with the crew in the cabin of Atlantis or standing in an open space shuttle cargo bay, the Earth shining overhead.
You’ll also get a great sense of the astronauts themselves, including Cleveland-area native Michael Good, who’s featured prominently as a member of the crew sent up in 2009 to carry out the final – and one of the most challening – missions to Hubble.
Hubble‘s rated G and I can’t imagine anyone who’s ever run around with a toy rocket, imagined flying to the stars or even just looked up at the sky for a few quiet moments could help but fall in love with it. Even if you’re not a space nerd like I am, the engrossing story and vivid photography will draw you in and take you on an unforgettable journey.
There’s never been an eye on the universe quite like Hubble, so it’s only fitting that there’s never been a movie quite like this, either.
Hubble runs three to four times daily – check the GLAC site for details here. And, although you can buy a ticket just to catch an Omnimax show, there are bargains to be had in purchasing combined tickets which include admission to the Center or the neighboring Steamship William G. Mather Museum. –Submitted by John Booth (read more from Cleveland Plus writer and guest blogger, John, here on his site.)
If you haven’t noticed, Cleveland Plus experienced unusually warm spring-like weather and abundant sunshine right smack dab in the middle of March. I certainly can’t complain. But with the ever-so-present feelings of spring I suddenly had the urge to: (1) do anything outside – walk, read, run, stand, sit, stare . . . whatever; (2) drink a frothy, cold beer on an outdoor patio like the ones listed here and; (3) eat gobs of creamy, delicious ice cream.
Ahhh, yes . . . ice cream. Whether it’s chocolate, vanilla, sprinkled, mixed, topped, dipped, hard or soft-serve, this oh-so-perfect, frozen dairy delight is best consumed during a sunny, temperate afternoon. So it shouldn’t be any big surprise that the dessert’s biggest fan (that would be me) can’t seem to get the sweet stuff out of her mind when the warmer temps hit. To alleviate (or possibly elevate) my cravings, we’ve put together a list of some great spots to enjoy the better things in life. Join me in screaming for it:
Charlotte’s Ice Cream – Take a step back in time at Charlotte’s Ice Cream east of downtown Cleveland in Willoughby. This 50s-style ice cream stand serves up a delicious dose of soft-serve ice cream to the hopping sounds of oldies music. Open in the spring and summer, visitors love the classic cars displayed out front every Tuesday evening.
East Coast Custard – This Cleveland-based chain of six ice cream shops features old-fashioned custard, which disappeared in the late 1960s when custard makers started reducing the butterfat and increasing the air in their products. Now, taste the difference of real soft custard, in new flavors each day. (Yogurt fans, they also have yogurt and fat free yogurt flavors daily. Check their website for their flavor calendars which vary by locale.)
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt – For 65 years, Handel’s Ice Cream has been bringing unique and fresh flavors to Northeast Ohio. Known for some of their more interesting flavors (like eggnog and coconut pineapple), Handel’s creates each batch in specially designed freezers that create their distinctively smooth and creamy texture. Check out the dozens of Handel’s locations throughout Cleveland Plus.
Hartzler Family Dairy – For all-natural freshness, look no further than Hartzler’s in Wooster, Ohio. With interesting flavors like “Trip to the Dentist” and “Cow Pies and Cream,” it’s easy to see why this dairy with it’s own Ice Cream Shoppe has captured our hearts and stomaches. If you can’t make the trip to Woo, check out some of the restaurants and stores that carry the flavors.
Honey Hut Ice Cream Shoppes –Honey Hut Ice Cream will have your family screaming for more! This family-owned, local chain features only honey ice cream flavors and homemade ice cream cakes, hot fudge and frosted malts at its five local locations. Drumsticks and ice cream bars made daily, are a top seller.
Cleveland Plus is not a typical dive destination. The water is often fairly cold and can be murky. However, due to its shallowness, Lake Erie can have some great wreck diving on the days when the water loses some of its soupiness. To get underwater, quarries are a more reliable choice. The quarries that encourage diving generally are limestone quarries that have ceased mining operations decades ago and have filled with water. This water often comes from springs so it can be clear and still and wonderful for diving. Whitestar Quarry in Gibsonburg is a personal favorite and where many local dive shops do their open water training dives.
The local dive season for several of my robust friends and me is April through November. My first dives of the year are usually one of the first weekends in April. The water is still very cold. Last year it was 39 degrees. It gets as warm as the upper 70s in August. Taking a trip to a warm water location every winter to get some dives in is not always practical and not diving for five months is out of the question. My only option is to try ice diving. I admit I was not totally thrilled about the idea of ice diving.
Warm water diving is so nice; there’s less gear, controlling buoyancy is easier and the fish even seem friendlier. I spent a week diving off the coast of South America in September and imagined diving in only warm water for the rest of my life. But Ohio is my home and I love it here so I decided that maybe ice diving is a good idea after all.
I signed up to get my ice diving certification with Just Add Water in Willoughby. There were five other hardy students in my class along with the two instructors. Certification includes some self-study and several hours in the classroom where we discuss potential problems caused by the cold and procedures we need to follow to stay safe. Finally, we went to Whitestar Quarry to make three dives over two days. The ice was seven inches thick with about five inches of windblown snow on top. This would be plenty thick enough to support our weight but the layer of snow kept everything fairly dark below the ice. Large triangular hole were cut in the ice with modified chainsaws. Triangles are better than squares or circles because it makes it easier to get out of the hole in the narrow corners. Once the triangles are cut, we used large iron rods to push the cut-out under the ice. Two or three divers go in a hole together. One diver is tethered to a support tender that stays out of the water. The tender is monitoring progress of the dive with a series of tugs on the line to communicate with the divers. The other divers are tethered to the main diver and get no farther than ten feet apart. In an emergency, the tender can haul all the divers back to the hole in less than a minute.
The air temperature on the days of the dives was in the mid-20s. It was critical that the first breath from the regulator was underwater to keep the regulators from freezing in the cold air and malfunctioning in what’s called a “free-flow.” So, it’s important that all gear is in peak condition because there’s not a lot of opportunity to test it before the dive. In the relatively warmer water, the regulators work perfectly. Unfortunately in this case “relatively warmer water” meant 35 degrees. Everyone there was wearing dry suits to protect us from the cold water. We dive in special thermal insulation covered with a suit that has a rubber seal at our neck to keep us dry during the dive. After donning a thick hood, all that gets wet is a small area on the face right around the mask. Some divers even had full face masks and basically stayed completely dry.
Recently, we ordered Sushi 86 in the office and that got me thinking . . . where else can you go in Cleveland Plus for good sushi? I mean, knowing that you are going to get “good” sushi when you are ordering is important. You don’t want to leave raw fish to chance. So, I asked my followers of @flee2thecleve on Twitter for their suggestions. Here’s the list we created:
- Sushi 86 (downtown)
- Ginza Sushi House (downtown)
- Sapporo Sushi (downtown)
- Sunset Lounge (downtown)
- Sushi Rock (downtown and east, Beachwood)
- Parallax (near west, Tremont neighborhood)
- Asuka (west, Westlake)
- Ohashi (west, North Olmsted)
- Sakura Japanese (west, Lakewood and south, Brecksville)
- Shinto Japanese Steakhouse Sushi Bar & Lounge (west, Strongsville)
- Ariyoshi Japanese Restaurant (east, Cleveland Heights)
- Pacific East Japanese Restaurant (east, Cleveland Heights)
- Shuhei Restaurant (east, Beachwood)
- Tree Country Bistro (east, Cleveland Heights)
- SASA (east, Shaker Square)
- Akiri Hibachi & Sushi (southeast, Solon)
- Kasai (south, Wadsworth)
Do you have another suggestion? Add it to the growing list by posting a comment on this blog. I think we can always use an honest referral when it comes to sushi. –Submitted by SF