Yonder Brunch & Vibes

Yonder Brunch & Vibes opened this year in Midtown in La Bodega’s old location. This is not fast food so a wait was to be expected, but the wait during my initial visit was ridiculous. I brought a small group in for breakfast, and we must have completely overwhelmed them. We were probably the first people through the door, but more people arrived after us. The first person who ordered from our group ended up getting his food last – an hour after he ordered it. That said, the food was really good.

I ordered a coffee and an apple juice as well as a breakfast that featured soft-scrambled eggs, bacon, buttered and grilled Texas toast, and smashed potatoes. It was a lot of food! I ended up packing some potatoes, toast and bacon to go because it was a lot. When I say buttered and grilled, I mean buttered and grilled. This was the most buttered toast I have ever had – I swear they SOAK it in butter before grilling it. It also leaves your hands greasy, so keep the breakfast sandwiches in the paper wrappers when you eat them.

The coffee is good and you can go up to the counter for a refill. They have milk, half and half and liquid creamers available. They have the sugar, creamer packs, stirrers, etc. with the silverware, syrup and butter on the side counter.

Most of my friends ordered the Yonder breakfast sandwich or some variation thereon. It features the buttered and grilled Texas toast packed with bacon or sausage (or avocado), egg and cheese. The Yonder features Applewood bacon, caramelized onions, soft-scrambled eggs, cheese, chives and Chipotle Mayo. Everyone loved their sandwich.

Two of my friends ordered the Pancakes Classic, which features two pancakes, two eggs and your choice of meat. The soft-scrambled eggs had some cheese in them, and the over easy eggs came out perfect.

They also serve cocktails and special iced teas, but it was too early for a cocktail. They are only open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., so I can’t imagine they do a rocking alcohol trade (particularly during the week). The iced tea was very refreshing, if a little boring – it only had a couple citrus wedges when some of the other photos I’ve seen are more decadent.

Despite the wait, everyone left happy. I’m not sure if anyone went back on their own, but now that they have opened a second location in South Euclid I think it is pretty likely they are doing good business.

I went back again to try the Cereal Killa French Toast. They use the Texas toast and coat it in breakfast cereals. The Cereal Killa features 4 slices of French toast (you can choose from Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes), while the French toast breakfasts have 2 slices and egg and meat. I tried the Fruity Pebbles French toast with two eggs (I chose well-scrambled with no cheese) and a meat (pork bacon for me). I can’t decide if I liked the Fruity Pebbles French toast. They had a weird scent and flavor. I think the heat might change the molecular structure a bit. The flavor lingered with me throughout the day. I’ll try Frosted Flakes next time. They even have an Oreo French toast now. The menu is a little longer than it is online.

Contact info:

Yonder Brunch & Vibes
Midtown location
3859 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 465-3046

Cedar Center North location
13957 Cedar Road
South Euclid, OH 44118
(216) 400-6201

Swensons

Opening Day in University Heights

Swensons Drive-In is an Ohio drive-in restaurant chain with locations in the Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati areas. Swensons’ signature hamburger is the Galley Boy, a double cheeseburger prepared using two sauces (a tartar-sauce-like and a BBQ sauce), and the restaurant also sells 18 different milkshakes. Wesley T. “Pop” Swenson started selling hamburgers at Buchtel High School out of a station wagon in 1933. In 1934, he opened a restaurant on South Hawkins Avenue in Akron, near West Market Street. Swenson sold the restaurant in 1949 to Robert Phillips, who began expansion in 1952 with a second location in North Akron on East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue.

I have been eating at Swensons since I was in grad school at Kent in the mid-1990s. My father introduced me to the Stow location, but I also enjoyed the Swensons near Howe Avenue. You pull into a parking spot and turn your headlights on for service. You turn your lights on again if you need anything or are ready to pay. I was so impressed with the guys in shorts running as fast as they can back and forth between the restaurant and the cars in the parking lot.

People either love or hate Swensons. The burgers have a little sweetness to them. No one knows the secret recipe.  It seems to be something of an Akron urban legend that Swensons mixes a little brown sugar into the ground beef. I can’t say if it is true or not, but whatever they do it yields a patty that is extra tasty and delicious. But no, they are not dumping sugar on top of the hamburger, and it is definitely not sweet. And you can’t hate the prices. A Galley Boy is between $3-4, asloppy joe is $2.65, the sides are all around $2, and a classic milkshake costs $2.70 for a medium and $3.10 for a large and the special milkshakes are $0.10 more.

My father is a HUGE milkshake fan. He’s easy to buy for on holidays, because I can get him a Swensons gift certificate or a Swensons glass to make a milkshake at home. It was an exciting day when Swensons opened in Cleveland, first in the Seven Hills area and then near me in University Heights. I was at University Heights on Day One despite the terrible weather (see first picture). I got the last available spot in the parking lot. Here’s an amusing story: I ordered a milkshake and was driving home and tried to drink it. Oddly enough, nothing came out but a couple ice pebbles. I drove back and complained that I didn’t get the right drink. I tried my best to explain it to the server. It turns out someone had filled the cup up halfway with ice and then poured the milkshake on top of the ice.

Galley Boy with lettuce, tomato and onion added.

Swensons features one milkshake a month or so. It used to drive me crazy because I never knew what the milkshake flavor was without having to drive by. I reached out to them through the Internet, and they actually took my suggestion and are posting the milkshake flavor on the website and on their social media channels. You’re welcome. You can order the flavor as a standalone or mix it with one of their standard milkshakes. Think strawberry and chocolate or nutella and banana.

I have tried most of the things on the menu. My go-to order is usually the Galley Boy. I switch things up and usually “with everything” (mustard, dill pickles and onions) and add lettuce and tomato. I feel like I am making it a little healthier that way. It comes out dressed with an olive on a toothpick.

Beef veg, large California and a crispy chicken sandwich

Another favorite is the beef vegetable soup. It was probably launched to use up older beef, but now it has chunks of beef instead of ground beef and features eight different veggies. It is a definite order when it turns colder. I also really like that there are no lima beans.

Another must for me is the California. Swensons has three specialty sodas that mix a fruit flavored soda with ginger ale. The Florida uses orange juice, the Ohio uses cherry soda, and the California features grape soda. The California also has a slice of lemon floating on top. I always order “the largest California possible.” I wish they wouldn’t use styrofoam cups. If they would sell reusable cups I would love that.

The sides are all quite tasty, and everyone has a favorite. When fried well, the fries are crisp yet creamy, the onion rings are shatteringly crisp. The potato teezers are the hands-down favorite (potato with cheese and jalapeno). I like the fried mushrooms and fried zucchini sticks. Be sure to order a side of Ranch to dip them. The potato puffs are basically tater tots.

The sloppy joe (above left) is pretty decent. It’s not the most spectacular sloppy joe, but it will curb the craving. If you like fried bologna (above right) they can satisfy that urge too.

I very rarely order the shrimp or chicken dinners. The dinners come with a toasted roll, fries and coleslaw or applesauce. The toasted roll could be improved, because all it is is a toasted hamburger bun. This is similar to the “in a basket” back in the day before COVID. Any sandwich was available “in a basket” and get fries and coleslaw or applesauce. I miss that.

This is a controversial choice, but I enjoy the grilled cheese and tomato soup special or the egg salad sandwich and tomato soup special in the winter. I’ve also been known to just order an egg salad sandwich when I want something light and not fried/grilled. Swensons serves a decent egg salad sandwich.

Contact info:

Swensons Drive-in
(click on link for locations)

Dave’s Cosmic Subs

Established in 1997, Cosmic Dave’s™ has become a legend here in Northeast Ohio.  A legend that is spreading at “Cosmic” speed across the state and beyond.  What started out as a humble sub shop in Chagrin Falls is now revolutionizing the sub world with a franchise with stores currently in four states and looking to expand into more.

Cosmic Dave’s™ is known for its crispy bread and tasty and generous toppings – and Dave’s Cosmic Sub Sauce™ (I have a bottle of it in my fridge right now). Dave’s Cosmic Sub Sauce™ is kind of like a creamy Italian, but better. The Original Dave’s Cosmic Sauce TM is all-natural, vegan, and sold in all of the Dave’s Cosmic Sub shops as well as select local stores. After leaving the family business in Cleveland (Seaway Wholesale Cash n Carry on Woodland Avenue) and moving to California for ten years, where he gigged as an actor, musician with his own band (they opened for Huey Lewis and the News and Steppenwolf), and playwright, he moved back to Cleveland and decided to mix the memory of sharing great sandwiches late at night with his dad and the music of the decade that shaped him. Dave knew what to look for in the right kind of bread, sauces, and combinations of the highest quality ingredients to create the “ultimate sub that rocked.”

Their first and most popular sub is #1 – The Original Dave’s Cosmic Sub™ (also referred to as the OG), which is made with pepperoni, Genoa salami, prosciutto, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced banana peppers, onions, fresh garlic, herbs, Provolone cheese – smothered with Dave’s Cosmic Sauce™.

The Crazy Dave – photo from the Dave’s Cosmic Subs website (bottle of Dave’s Cosmic Sauce in the background)

#8 – The Crazy Dave™ (prosciutto, capicola, hot peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, fresh garlic, Provolone cheese, sprinkled with crushed red peppers, herbs, and Dave’s Cosmic Sauce) was voted best sandwich in Cleveland. I’m not a fan of hot peppers or red pepper flakes, so I’ve never tried it. I probably should some day.

I like Dave’s subs because they are tasty. All of their subs are served on vegan, kosher Italian or whole wheat bread baked fresh in their ovens throughout the day. Gluten-free bread is now available.

The Incredible Dave before I picked off the banana peppers

My favorites are the #9 – The Incredible Dave™ or # 5 – Dave’s All American™. The Incredible Dave is made with “two generous layers of juicy chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sliced banana peppers, lots of Swiss and Cheddar cheeses, herbs, smothered with Dave’s Cosmic Sauce.” I always leave off the banana peppers. The combination of the chicken, cheese and herbs with the sauce just satisfies something in me deep down inside. As for the Dave’s All American, it is his roast beef sandwich with “delicious tender roast beef, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, American and Swiss cheeses, herbs, and Dave’s 1000 Island Dressing.” It’s like a Reuben but with roast beef and cold. I prefer my roast beef cold, so I love this. Roast beef changes flavor and texture when you heat it.

Slap some cole slaw on the All American and heat it up, and you have the #19 – Hey Dave™. The Hey Dave features “delicious tender roast beef, Dave’s Famous Horseradish Sauce, Swiss cheese, with Dave’s homemade cole slaw piled a mile high, topped with sliced banana peppers and herbs.” It is only available as a Regular Size sub.

#2 – Dave’s World Famous™ combines chicken and roast beef and features their horseradish. I love horseradish, and it is a good accompaniment to roast beef as well as chicken and roast beef. The World Famous is made with “delicious tender roast beef, succulent chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced banana peppers, Swiss cheese, herbs, and a generous portion of Dave’s Famous Horseradish Sauce.

The Grateful Dave

Two other favorites of mine are #25 – Dave’s Famous Bleu™ (turkey, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, Cheddar cheese, hot peppers, topped with Dave’s Bleu Cheese Dressing) and #27 – The Grateful Dave™ (turkey, tomatoes, red onions, mayo, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, and hot pepper juice). I’m a sucker for avocado and alfalfa sprouts. Not enough sandwich shops serve them.

#29 – Dave’s Peace Steak™ is another hot sub that I enjoy, which is surprising because I prefer cold subs. It is made with premium steak, mayo, green peppers, tomatoes, crisp onions, mushrooms, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, and topped with Provolone cheese. Some of my other favorite hot subs are @25 – Dave’s Famous Bleu™ (turkey, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, Cheddar cheese, hot peppers, topped with Dave’s Bleu Cheese Dressing) and #20 – Dave’s Cordon Bleu™ (juicy chicken, ham, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, Dave’s Bleu Cheese Dressing, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce and a slice of Swiss cheese and herbs). Obviously you have to like bleu cheese to appreciate them.

I would be remiss to leave out Dave’s meatball sub (#17). Called “Dave’s Best Meatball Ever™ (And We’re Not Kidding!),” it features three large meatballs, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, fresh garlic, tasty tomato sauce, topped with Provolone and Romano cheese, sprinkled with herbs and crushed red peppers and is served Hot. I went through a phase where I tried meatball subs everywhere, and this was my favorite next to Crust’s meatball sub. And #18 – Dave’s Famous Italian Sausage™ sandwich is also awesome. It’s topped with pretty much the same things and is a little easier to get your mouth around than the meatballs.

I live within walking distance of the Dave’s on Coventry, so I treat myself occasionally. I’ve also been to the original shop in Chagrin Falls as well as in Hudson and University Heights. I haven’t made it to the Dave’s in the old Barking Spider location on Juniper yet, but I want to check it out. I usually grab a soda and a bag of chips when I am there. I loved that they served Arizona Mandarin Orange Green Tea. It was the only place I could find it, but now they don’t sell it anymore. The chips they serve now are made locally and cooked in peanut oil. The flavors include Maui Onion Chips, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt, Funk Fusion, Mesquite BBQ, Sea Salted, Sour Cream and Onion, Jalapeño, and Sriracha Honey. The Maui Onion is fantastic. If you’ve had the Hawaii Five-Oh at Gourmand’s that is the chip they use to top it. They also offer soup, but they microwave it. I can do that at home.

Contact info:

Dave’s Cosmic Subs

Click to find a location near you

Landmark Restaurant on St. Clair

The Landmark Restaurant is a laid-back eatery off of St. Clair Avenue that locals can’t get enough of. You should not confuse it with the Landmark in Lakewood – that is a flashy BBQ place. The Landmark on St. Clair is an old-fashioned ‘mom and pop’ diner-style breakfast and lunch place, which is growing ever rarer on the American landscape. We all love this homestyle cookin’, but these types of businesses are often overshadowed by new destinations with flashy surroundings. I’ve been focusing on diners for the last few months because they give me comfort.

I parked to the left of the building in their small parking lot, but I could have parked along the street as well. The Landmark is open five days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Yes, the website and Google says 5 a.m., but there is a sign in the window when you walk in warning you otherwise. Covid seems to have changed quite a few practices here. I tried to come at around noon or one p.m., but I’ve been told I need to get there earlier if I want the clam chowder. When you walk in you immediately see a counter in front of you and a cash register to your left. They seem to do a lot of carry-out business. The dining room is to the left and you can sit wherever you would like.

Obviously, the first thing I do when I enter a new place is to ask the waitress what are the most popular items. Her response was “the Hungry Man, the Crazy Omelette, and the Fisherman’s Platter.” Since I wasn’t hungry enough for the Hungry Man (three eggs any style, three hotcakes or three slices of french toast, three slices of bacon, and three sausage links), I decided to order “Two eggs any style,” which comes with a short stack of pancakes or two slices of French toast and two slices of bacon, ham or sausage. I decided to go for scrambled eggs, bacon and upgraded the pancakes to blueberry pancakes. It certainly hit the spot. The blueberry pancakes contained a good amount of blueberries, and the scrambled eggs came out topped with cheese, which was a nice surprise. That was a lot of food for only $6. I splurged on a cappuccino and orange juice. The cappuccino was definitely from a packet, but they both hit the spot.

Landmark has the coolest syrup dispensers. I’ve never seen anything quite like them. While some places serve their syrup in syrup bottles with the lid hanging almost off (Diner on 55th) or in metal jugs (Original Pancake House, Mama D’s), the Landmark has this cool plastic dispenser with a hole at the top. There is very little chance of dripping or overflow. And the squeeze bottle fits perfectly in my hand and allowed me to dispense exactly the amount I wanted.

The Crazy Omelette was actually a bit much. I arrived there starving, having looked forward to ordering a Shipwreck at Lucky’s but not wanting/being able to stand and wait 30 minutes, and I got full after eating half of it. The Crazy Omelette contains onions, green peppers, mushrooms, ham, bacon, sausage & cheese. I ordered the home fries and an English muffin. When they say there is an “upcharge” they mean they will charge you for the entire cost of the English muffin or cinnamon swirl toast, so order a normal toast (white, wheat or rye) and then order the English muffin or whatever as a side.

I usually order lunch on my second visit. When I heard they served hot open-faced sandwiches I knew I would be back to order one of them soon (see below), but I wanted to try their clam chowder so I visited on a Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, they only serve clam chowder every other week, so the soup of the day was supposed to be cream of broccoli, which I also enjoy. But they had run out so I was served a chicken and rice soup that was quite tasty instead. I still haven’t been able to try it, but the broccoli soup is also nice.

I asked what came on the Fisherman’s Platter and was told it came with perch, white fish, and fried shrimp. The Fisherman’s Platter is usually $8.50 on the regular menu and comes with soup, choice of potato and choice of vegetable and a roll and butter, but it’s only $8.00 on Friday. The Friday special comes with a cup of soup, mac n cheese, and choice of vegetable. I chose the mac n cheese and corn. I definitely didn’t miss the roll and butter.

It was a TON of food for $8.00 – two planks of perch, a square of whitefish, and a bunch of fried shrimp. It was served with a side of tartar sauce and a side of cocktail sauce. I could tell it was food service fish, but most church fish fries also serve food service fish and I’m okay with that. With the special and an iced tea, my bill came to $9.99. I walked out of there absolutely stuffed and didn’t forget my leftovers!

On my third visit, I wasn’t sure if I wanted breakfast or lunch, but decided the siren call of a hot open-faced roast beef sandwich was too tempting to ignore. It isn’t as good as Jack’s Deli’s open-faced brisket, but it is a good roast beef sandwich. I’m not sure what I think of the mashed potatoes. I don’t think they were real mashers. But the sandwich and mashed potatoes hit the Comfort spot.

They don’t serve soda from a fountain, they sell it by the can. I ordered two cans of ginger ale because that’s how I roll, and I sipped the second one on my drive home. The cabbage soup that was the soup of the day that Monday also hit the spot. I love navy bean, cabbage soup, and stuffed pepper soup, so I would have been happy with any of them. But I have recently been on a cabbage kick, so the soup was really tasty.

Contact info:

Landmark Restaurant
5380 St Clair Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 881-5372 and 216-971-1318

Fish Fry Friday 2022 #5 – Regovich Catering in Eastlake

Enter to the left of the building – also there is plenty of parking in the back and closer to the entrance

I hate All You Can Eat dinners, because I can never eat my money’s worth. My sister and I tried the AYCE crab leg special at Pickle Bill’s, and the server felt bad for us and just charged us for a 1 lb. dinner. My constitution is not made for eating until I get overly full/sick. So Regovich is going to be a no go for me in the future. The individual components were fantastic, but when I asked for a to go box for the things on my first plate/only trip to the buffet I was told they don’t offer to go boxes and you had to eat everything there. I ended up smuggling my pierogi, some mac n cheese, and second piece of fish out in my chowder bowl by popping it in my purse. I was amazed watching the people around me going up to the buffet two or three times and coming back with plates laden with fish, pierogi, and the like. When I walked in I was told it was $20 and then another $2 if I wanted soda. I handed them my $22 and grabbed a spot at a table. I definitely got my $2 worth of soda, but the amount I ate was less than the $17 dinner at St. Francis last week, which fed me for two meals. But if you can power through AYCE buffets, this is definitely the place for you.

Onto the food itself, it is quite delicious. I was told not to miss the soup, so I got there at 4:30 to make sure I got some. It was a very good New England clam chowder. It had a tasty, creamy base and was chock full of well-cooked potatoes. I even managed to get a nice big piece of clam in one of my bites. I also got the bay leaf.

The buffet was set up so that the soup and salad were off to the side and the buffet was in the middle with serving spoons on either side. The dessert and coffee and the bar were along the inside wall on the same wall as the soup and salad station. I grabbed a couple mixed color beans, skipped the tater tots (which were a huge hit with the kids at my table later), took some cabbage and noodles, mac n cheese, and pierogi, and then grabbed some fried fish. The baked fish also looked quite nice, but I try to stick to fried fish at fish fries.

The pierogi were plump and filled with potato and cheese. They were rock stars among the fish fry offerings. If you like pierogi, you should check them out. The fried fish was not super crispy but well-fried. The fish inside was moist. I could also tell that the tartar sauce was homemade. The mac n cheese was great. Not too cheesy, and the pasta held its shape nicely. Somehow I missed the apple sauce.

I grabbed a couple chocolate chip cookies and a piece of chocolate turtle cake for dessert. The cake was deliciously chocolatey, and the cookies were soft and tasty. They also had snickerdoodles. The second time I walked past they had brought out some white cake and lemon meringue pie. I was happy with my choices, but if I had still been hungry I might have grabbed a slice of pie.

When they cleared my plate after my valiant effort to eat more of it, they ended up clearing away a dinner roll, cole slaw, some remnants of salad, and some green beans and cabbage and noodle. It’s my fault, really. I shouldn’t have skipped breakfast and had that sandwich at 2. The foyer was packed when I left at 5:30, and they were waiting to be seated.

I definitely give Regovich Catering a thumbs up, but be forewarned that you need to be very hungry and be able to eat All You Can Eat.

Contact info:

Regovich’s Catering @ Tha Patrician

33150 Lakeland Boulevard
Eastlake, OH 44095
(440) 946-9091

Mr. Chicken

Mr. Chicken is a local fried chicken chain and family-owned business with eight locations that has been operating in Cleveland since 1968. It was started by the Simens family in Euclid in 1968. I was first introduced to Mr. Chicken by my dad, who loves treating himself by eating there every once in a while. I would stop at the Mr. Chicken in Parma (Pearl and Ridge), Northfield (on Northfield Road) or Twinsburg (just south of the Square on 91/SOM Center Road) when the mood struck me, but the chain recently opened its eighth location in South Euclid (on Green just north of Mayfield), and I have become a regular.

The Kids Meal features a chicken tender, mac n cheese, a cookie. and a small fountain drink (not a Capri Sun in the photo on the ordering board)

The original owners’ son is now heading the Mr. Chicken chain. He explained their business focus to cleveland.com by saying, “We are about family meals and dinners. The majority of our business is serving families. Our average customer is 35 and up who are buying for two or more people. We aren’t interested in high traffic, small transactions or a late-night crowd. We’re a family business.” When it opened, the South Euclid location opened without indoor seating. Orders are taken via a double drive-thru or by ordering in the lobby. Mr. Simens explained, “We feel that, after COVID, drive-thru will be the predominant way most people do transactions with us,” he said, noting that many customers prefer to eat with their families at home rather than in the restaurant.”

I usually order the three-piece, all-white-meat chicken dinner (there’s an upcharge but I’m willing to pay it). I’ve tried and I just prefer white meat, especially when it is fried. They serve this crazy side piece that is almost boneless that I really enjoy (see photo to the left). They claim to use farm fresh chickens and to make everything in-house. I definitely prefer it over KFC. It may not be V’s or gas station chicken (Krunchy Krunchy), but I really enjoy a good piece of fried chicken and this definitely meets my expectations.

I ordered the Chicken Bowl once, which is their version of the KFC Bowl, but I have to say I prefer the KFC Bowl. First of all, the Chicken Bowl is massive – almost too much. They start with a huge portion of mashed potatoes and top it with three chicken tenders, corn, gravy and cheese. I love a good chicken tender, but the bowl format lends itself to popcorn chicken, which KFC offers and Mr. Chicken does not. It’s awkward to eat, and there was something about the taste that I just didn’t love.

The Farm Fresh Chicken Sandwich is a great chicken sandwich. It uses a thick chicken breast that is lightly breaded and fried. Instead of mayo, it uses a delicious honey mustard sauce that is drizzled over a generous helping of lettuce and tomato. If you’d prefer you can also get the chicken sandwich with bacon and barbecue sauce. You can order the sandwich alone or as a meal with french fries and a medium drink. Unfortunately, they don’t serve jojos in South Euclid.

The BBQ Bacon Chicken Sandwich features a thick chicken breast, romaine lettuce, crispy onions, cheddar cheese, 2 pieces of bacon, and hickory smoke BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. I found it to be incredibly salty. I’m not even sure what was causing the salt overload, but it could have been the BBQ sauce, bacon or cheese. I loved the crispy onions on it. It gave it a nice crunch.

As for the various sides, I can highly recommend the Corn Nuggets (listed under Southern Favorites, they are worth the higher price). They take corn and add it into a batter of flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, milk, eggs and melted butter, then scoop them out into little balls and deep fry them.

The corn and green beans are good sides, and the mac n cheese is a basic mac n cheese that is bland enough for kids to enjoy. The cole slaw is chopped and prepared daily and has a nice moistness to it. I usually get the mashed potatoes and gravy and cole slaw with my chicken dinner. The biscuits have a hint of butter to them but are lacking a hint of honey like Popeyes has. But they are good slathered with butter and jelly or honey at home.

Last but not least, I would be remiss not to mention one of my favorite things on their menu – the Funnel Fries. They’re a delicious funnel cake that is shaped like fries and liberally doused in powdered sugar. The fries are best served fresh and warm. I usually eat them in the car while driving home, because the scent is irresistible. Who says you can’t start with dessert first? They also sell chocolate chip cookies (see Kids Meal photo above) and an Apple Churro.

Mr. Chicken’s typical store hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. weekdays (hours below taken from Mr. Chicken’s Locations page on 2/21/2022).

Contact info:

Mr. Chicken


South Euclid – Mr. Chicken
1415 Green Road
South Euclid, Ohio, 44121
(216) 848-0001
10:30 AM – 10:00 PM, Mon thru Sun


Maple Heights – Mr. Chicken
5515 Warrensville Center Road
Maple Heights, Ohio, 44137
(216) 662-2100
10:30 AM – 11:00 PM, Mon thru Sun


Northfield Village – Mr. Chicken
10710 Northfield Road
Northfield, Ohio 44067
(330) 468-2250
10:30 AM – 10:00 PM, Mon thru Sun


Parma Pearl – Mr. Chicken
5451 Pearl Road
Parma, Ohio 44129
(440) 886-2880
10:30 AM – 10:00 PM, Mon thru Sun


Twinsburg – Mr. Chicken
9010 Darrow Road
Twinsburg, Ohio 44087
(330) 425-4455
10:30 AM – 09:00 PM, Mon thru Sun


Willoughby – Mr. Chicken
35901 Euclid Avenue
Willoughby, Ohio 44094
(440) 951-1020
10:30 AM – 09:00 PM, Mon thru Sun

Fish Fry Friday 2022 #4b – St. Francis de Sales Church

I remember going to the St. Francis de Sales Fish Fry before COVID. I remember standing in a rather long line in the basement and hoping I would be able to be sat together with my group. I also remember the food being delicious. This year St. Francis de Sales chose to host a Drive-Thru Fish Fry. I decided to stop there after visiting St. Sava’s fish fry. Since I have a good air fryer, I figured I could reheat it for a nice dinner on Saturday (spoiler alert: it did!)

From Snow Road I turned left onto W. 29th Street and followed the yellow Fish Fry signs. I turned right onto George Avenue as suggested in the graphic. A police van pulled into the lot in front of me from the opposite direction. I chose to go in the suggested direction because a) I’m not a cop and b) with my luck there would be a line down George Avenue. Luckily there wasn’t. I was able to drive right, was greeted by a man with a flyer with my choices listed. He directed me to pull up behind the police van to give my order to one of the women manning two lanes in the middle of the parking lot. I gave the woman my order (fish with 3 potato pierogi) and she talked me into buying some chocolate chip cookies. She wrote the number of my meal down on a Post-it note and slapped it onto my side-view mirror.

My dinner cost $15 for the fish dinner and $1 for the cookies. I could have also ordered the pierogi dinner for $15 that features six pierogi (with your choice of 2 out of 3 available varieties). A runner ran inside and got me my change and then directed me to pull up to wait for my meal. I waited maybe 20 seconds before I was greeted by a young student carrying a laundry basket with my order in it. It was shortly after 5 when I was there.

I reheated everything up on Saturday. Everything was so damn delicious it almost made me cry. You get a lot of food for $15! The cabbage and noodles were amazingly seasoned and perfectly cooked. The mac and cheese was a dream of cheesy, gooey goodness. The potato pierogi came with onions fried in butter and sour cream and were pillows of deliciousness. The fish were a generous two portions (I saved one to make a sandwich on Sunday) and had a nice panko crust. The fries were decent, but they are fries. The apple sauce was prepackaged so obviously decent (low sugar which was nice), and the cole slaw was nice and moist. The dinner roll and butter were bagged together, but I was just happy to have a pat of butter. And wouldn’t you know it, those cookies were worth the extra dollar. Buttery and soft, they melted in my mouth.

This fish fry is definitely one not to miss!

Contact info:

St. Francis de Sales Church
3434 George Avenue
Parma, OH 44134
(440) 884-2319

Fish Fry Friday 2022 #4 – St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church

St.Sava was an interesting fish fry. There were some good parts and some bad parts – like any fish fry. I somehow had it mixed up in my mind with St. Francis DeSales when it came to the location. I drove down Broadview and did a u-turn once I hit the Seven Hills border. I had been concentrating on finding it on my left side when it was on the right. Luckily I hadn’t gone far at all, and I was able to almost immediately pull onto W. Ridgewood and then into the parking lot. I followed another diner to the Hall entrance on the left side of the building and then followed the signs down the hall to the fish fry.

I got there at about 4:15 or so to beat the crowd. I got in line, where I was greeted by a friendly lady in Serbian and then in English. There were two dinner choices – fish and some Serbian dish called Bakalar. She explained to me that Bakalar is a dried cod served with potatoes and lots of garlic. I wasn’t feeling that adventurous, so I paid for a fish dinner, took my receipt, and sat down at a table. There were plenty of seats to choose from. I sat with a very nice couple from Parma. Apparently, there is also a fish fry at St. Sava Hall on Wallings Road that offers a bit more selection (fried shrimp, pierogi, more sides than just fries and cole slaw). The food runner greeted me at the table and grabbed my receipt to get my food. I bevvied up to the bar, thinking I could get a soda. Nope! I had to buy a ticket at the cash table. That was not clear at all. Everything runs through the cash table. I spent $12 on the dinner, $1 on the apple strudel, and $1 on a can of soda.

Once I sorted out my beverage situation, I came back to my table to find a vegetable soup and a bread roll waiting. Here is where the first hiccups started. The soup was awful. There was NO seasoning in it – not even salt and pepper. I asked one of the runners for some butter, and he informed me they had no butter because it was Lent. What? Not even margarine. So bring your own butter to slather that delicious roll with.

Onto the main dinner. The fish was a thing of beauty – definitely the best piece of fish I’ve had this season. It is a 6 oz piece of cod that is battered and baked, and the fish inside was flaky and moist. I enjoyed a nice sizeable forkful each bite. The fries were quite good as well – nicely fried with a crisp outside and a soft inside. The only con from the dinner was the cole slaw. It was a vinegar-based cole slaw, but it didn’t even taste like vinegar. I added salt and pepper to it from the table, and it didn’t help. I ate two bites and left the rest.

The pièce de résistance of the meal, however, was the apple strudel. I ordered it on a whim for an extra $1.00. That strudel was divine. It is wrapped up like a burrito and seems like it was flash-fried. The strudel pastry shattered with each bite, and the filling was delicious. It tasted like a cross between strudel and baklava. I swear it had honey in it. I would come back again just for the strudel. If they improve the soup and the cole slaw by adding seasoning they would have a solid fish fry. Don’t be shy. A little seasoning goes a long way.

Contact info:

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church
6306 Broadview Road
Cleveland, OH 44134
(216) 749-0064

Fish Fry Friday 2022 #3 – St. John Bosco

Most fish fries are quite similar, serving the same things – fried or baked or broiled fish, the occasional fried shrimp, fries, cole slaw and (if you are lucky) pierogi. If you are really lucky, they serve mac n cheese or cabbage and noodles or some kind of chowder or soup. St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Parma Heights stands apart because it is ‘catered’ by Bruno’s Ristorante. This means you can choose eggplant lasagna for your main and have side choices like manicotti and pizza.

I’ll give you one guess as to what I ordered at the fish fry. If you guessed a combo of fried battered fish and eggplant lasagna with manicotti as my one side and a second extra side of pizza you would be correct. I could have gone for just fish or just lasagna, a 3-side dinner or a pierogi dinner as well. The broiled fish looked really good too. Overall, the food was quite simple, but it was very well made. I was extremely happy with my choices. The dinners include one side, coleslaw, roll, dessert, and beverage. Wine and beer were also available at a cash bar.

The fried fish was perfectly fried and nice and crispy. The eggplant lasagna was delicious and full of layers of cheesy goodness. They offered extra sauce on top of the eggplant and manicotti, so they were nice and moist. The manicotti was a simple cheese manicotti, but it was so good. I was also allowed to choose my square of cheese pizza. I went with a juicy looking middle piece. In contrast, I chose an edge piece of white cake for my dessert. It was a good white cake and not too sweet, which I really enjoyed – especially since it had a nice amount of frosting on it. I also want to give a tip of my hat to the coleslaw. It was some of the best I’ve had in a while. Not too sweet, not too sour, with just the right amount of moisture to it.

St. John Bosco serves their fish fries from 4 to 7:30. I was lucky I came when I did, because they aren’t serving for the next two weeks and start again in April. They offer an early bird discount between 4 and 5, but I chose to get there closer to 4 (4:20 to be exact) just to avoid the crowds. Since some friends who were there last week allegedly waited two hours, it was a good move on my part. The early bird crowd was all seated and eating by then. I walked in and was immediately greeted and shown to a table.

Order and pay at the first station, grab the food against the back wall

The staff set down silverware to indicate my seat was reserved since I didn’t have a coat to leave. The hostess then pointed me in the direction of the line to pay and get my food. The line was almost non-existent. I had a group of two and a group of four ahead of me. I quickly gave the order taker my order and paid the cashier (they only accept cash or check) before heading a few steps to the food line. I grabbed a plate since I was eating in. The take-outs and in-person diners all go through the same food line, they just grab a take-out box instead and had it to the server. They definitely were a well-oiled machine. I hobbled down the line, making my choices to add to my plate, and then hobbled to the beverage station where I grabbed a couple ginger ales. After dropping my plate and beverages off at my table I made my way back to the desserts and grabbed a piece of cake. I have learned not to wait until the end of the meal to grab a dessert or they may run out.

Beverage station on the back wall and desserts/coffee were against the wall on the right

I enjoyed my meal while looking out the window at the parking lot. The woman at a table next to me (the aforementioned group of four, which was actually a group of five) regaled everyone with her plight with workman’s comp and how Door Dash worked. It was interesting, but I don’t think she managed to take a bite during her diatribe. Everyone else at her table seemed to be almost done when I left. The kids who patrolled the hall with bus stations probably only waited five seconds before they cleared my table for the next guests. St. John Bosco claims they serve up to 1000 meals on Fridays during Lent. I was in my car and heading home by 5 o’clock.

This was a stellar fish fry. I definitely rank it in the top five in the area. I would definitely go again. Well done, St. John Bosco. You’ve done your namesake proud!

Contact info:

St. John Bosco Catholic Church
6480 Pearl Road
Parma Heights, OH 44130
(440) 886-3500

The Original Pancake House

The Original Pancake House was founded in Portland, Oregon in 1953 by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke. It may be a chain of pancake houses across the United States, but it isn’t a large one that is so homogenized that the quality lacks. I don’t really even consider this a chain, because the food is so outstanding. We only have two locations in the Cleveland area – in Woodmere and Fairview Park. The OPH batters are all made from scratch, every day, and are carefully prepared and blended by hand using only the very freshest and finest quality ingredients available. Their original (and extensive!) menu of authentic national and ethnic pancake recipes has gained national acclaim and remains unchanged to this day. In 1999, the Original Pancake House received the James Beard Award in the category of “America’s Regional Classic Award”.

There is always a wait, so plan ahead. Bring snacks and diversions for the kids. Expect at least a half hour wait during breakfast hours – even during the week. The wait may be longer if it is a weekend. If you are a group you better make sure everyone shows up on time, because they will not seat you until everyone has arrived. I try to get there after the rush hours during the week. I don’t have the patience to deal with the weekend crowds.

The food is excellent, and the portions are huge. The focus is pancakes and crepes. The Original Pancake House’s specialties include the Dutch Baby (a fluffy German pancake topped with melted butter and powdered sugar) and the Apple Pancake. They use only the highest quality ingredients such as 93 score butter, pure whipping cream, fresh Grade AA eggs, hardwheat unbleached flour and their own sourdough yeast. The ham and Canadian Bacon are naturally hickory smoked, and the smoked bacon is sliced extra thick. Seriously, it is some of the best bacon I have ever eaten.

Their coffee blend is specially roasted just for the restaurants and served in their own specially designed mugs. I don’t know what it is about the mugs, but they definitely appeal to me. The swooped handle and the cup shape with its larger bottom and tapered top just make me want to keep drinking coffee. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had done psychological studies and knew that. I like that I can also order cranberry juice here.

I also love their seasonal fruit salad. The fruit varies with the season, but when I ordered it in late January the fruits were cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, bananas and grapes. The fruit salad is served with a little metal pitcher of Tropical Syrup. I can’t quite place what fruits are in it, but it is citrusy with a hint of bitterness to the sweet, which I enjoyed since it wasn’t so cloyingly sweet. A discussion on Reddit revealed that it is made with day old orange juice and some pineapple juice and corn starch (1 8 oz can pineapple chunks, 2 6 oz cans pine-banana-orange juice and 1 Tbsp corn starch – boil together and then pour over the pineapple chunks, slices of 1 orange, 1 c seedless grapes and 1 banana).

The first time I ate here was with my Meetup Brunch Group. We managed to get a table together – or rather a couple tables close together. This was pre-COVID. Now they don’t allow groups of 7 or more. I remember taking forever to decide what I wanted, because everything sounded so good. I knew I wanted some kind of pancake and was in the mood for sausage, so I ended up ordering the Pigs in a Blanket. The Pigs in a Blanket are three regular-sized sausages wrapped up in their own individual pancake. The pancakes are a little too sweet for my taste. I would have preferred a more savory pancake to match the savory sausages. Then again, I do tend to prefer savory breakfasts over sweet.

I need to rave about the Dutch Baby for a second. I always shied away from ordering it because it looked so plain. It tastes anything but plain! More like custardy goodness! A Dutch baby pancake is like a hybrid (or a love child, if you will) of a pancake, a crepe, and a popover — all in a 9 or 10 inch skillet. I’ve started making them at home because they are not hard. Mix the ingredients (flour, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and salt) together in a blender or food processor and let it rest for 20-25 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid. The skillet should be screaming hot and preheated in a 425 degree oven. Melt butter in the skillet, swirl to evenly distribute the butter, add the batter and pop back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Top with melted butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, jam, Nutella, peanut butter, fresh fruit, etc. One Dutch Baby can feed two people – or one person who wants to bring home leftovers for the next day. The OPH Dutch Baby is served topped with butter and powdered sugar with more on the side along with a lemon wedge.

Their omelettes are not omelette-shaped. They are round – as if finished off in the pan and not flipped or folded. This photo of the Irish omelette is from my friend Jane. This fluffy omelette is filled with OPH’s own corned beef hash, onions, and provolone cheese. She definitely enjoyed it. I try to avoid omelettes due to my egg allergy, which is why I am using her photo.

I was in the mood for a waffle one morning, and their Cherry Kijafa Waffle did not disappoint. It is a Belgium waffle topped with Montmorency cherries that are simmered in homemade Danish Cherry Kijafa sauce then dusted with powdered sugar. I loved the Kijafa sauce. According to the OPH in Denver, Cherry Kijafa is a type of fortified 16% ABV cherry fruit wine that is produced in Denmark from cherries with added natural flavors. Because Montmorency cherries are naturally tart, the sweet wine sauce balances the flavors so you have a lovely cherry flavor that is not too sweet and not too tart. The sauce also paired well with the sausage links.

During my most recent visit I ordered everything ala carte. From a small fruit salad to two scrambled eggs, 4 slices of delicious, thick-cut bacon and one perfect Continental crepe. I didn’t want a full order of crepes, so this was a good solution. The Continental crepes are stuffed with sour cream tempered with Triple Sec and served with hot tropical syrup (I still had mine left from the fruit salad). I wanted to take some bacon home, but it was just too good. I sat there drinking my coffee and nibbling on the bacon

The omelettes and egg specialties (not the sausage though) are gluten-free. Gluten-free pancakes and crepes are also available.

Contact info:

The Original Pancake House
Woodmere location

28700 Chagrin Boulevard
Woodmere, OH 44122
216-292-7777

Fairview Park location

3000 Westgate
Fairview Park, OH 44126
440-333-5515