Lucky’s Cafe in Tremont

IMAG0250When people ask me what my favorite brunch place in Cleveland is I don’t even have to think about it. My answer is always Lucky’s. The quirky little cafe is tucked away on the one-way portion of Starkweather just before it meets Professor (look for the brick building on the right with some weird metal sculpture on it because if you don’t I guarantee you will drive right past it). The restaurant prides itself on the quality of its ingredients, which are locally sourced or straight from the garden outside (you can actually see them go out and pick the IMAG0247fresh veggies and herbs). Everything here – from the bread to the condiments – is made from scratch.

Owner Heather Haviland is particularly proud of their Reuben, which is made entirely in-house, from the corned beef and sauerkraut to the bread to the Thousand Island Dressing. It was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Michael Symon is a fan of her biscuits and gravy.

The place is usually packed with a long line on the 600_10770444weekends, so I try to go here on off-hours. I showed up at 1 p.m. today and was told this was the slowest they had been since 9 a.m. During the summer you can eat in their garden right outside of the restaurant, which helps the lines somewhat but not entirely. This photo of the garden is older. Guests now sit under a wooden enclosure instead of a tent.

600_9760415Since the restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients, Lucky’s has a tendency to run out of certain dishes. When I decided to order a cup of their corn and bacon chowder today I was informed that they had just run out. Drat!

My favorite item on the menu is the Shipwreck. As one Yelp reviewer states, “The shipwreck is a gigantic pile of awesome on a plate.” It is a scramble of home fries, eggs, seasonal veggies, bacon and cheese together and serves it with four diagonal slices of buttered como toast and a little side of fresh fruit. I always feel healthy eating it, but if you want to be evenIMG_20110704_131723 healthier choose the Canoewreck, which features curried tofu, home fries, seasonal veggies and brewer’s yeast. I was craving the como toast today, so I made the trek. The server was able to get me some jam, but once I tasted the buttered como toast on its own I stopped using the jam.

One of my best friends, who is a mac n cheese addict, loves their baked mac-n-cheese. It is rich and creamy with several different kinds of cheeses, plus extra cream. Definitely worth a splurge! 600_9760413I also highly recommend the waffle (the gingerbread waffle with fresh whipped cream is divine)

I love Lucky’s because it offers 20 oz. mugs of coffee served in cafe au lait mugs (one of my friends refers to them as “bowls of coffee”). The Papa Mocha (chocolate, cream, milk and espresso) is one of my favorites. I splurged today and ordered a 16 oz. Caramel Créme Breve and Sunshine Cocktail (orange Pellegrino mixed with fresh squeezed oj over 600_9760414ice). The coffee was as smooth and delicious as always, and the sunshine cocktail was refreshing. I was full and happy for the rest of the day.

Ordering and paying is a little different here. Your server will give you a little table topper with a letter on it when you order. After the meal, you then go to the register with the table topper, and a person behind the counter will ring everything up based off of the waitress ticket. I calculated the cost in my head when I ordered, IMAG0251so there were no surprises and I already had an idea of the tip I was going to leave.

Just a word of warning: they don’t do substitutions or special orders here, and the food can be a bit pricey. If you want an omelette “your way”, go to IHOP or Bob Evans. Plus, you should be prepared to pay a little extra for the quality and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Expect to pay $12-15 per person for your entree and extra for drinks. My bill today was around $21.50. I couldn’t afford to eat here every day, but it is great for the occasional splurge or birthday brunch.

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Contact info:

Lucky’s Cafe
777 Starkweather Avenue
Tremont, OH 44113
(216) 622-7773

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