Burton-Middlefield American Legion Pancake Breakfast

I like this pancake breakfast because they serve some delicious potatoes and they don’t limit the o.j. Most pancake breakfasts in Burton have closed up shop for the season, but this one is still going strong. They were serving from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Next week is the last week until next year. I rolled up at 11:30, and the parking lot was pretty empty. Needless to say there was no line, but they advertise there is no waiting. They have seating upstairs for large groups.

I walked in and paid my $10 to the man at the cash table. He gave me a ticket, which I turned into the kitchen window in exchange for my choice of blueberry or regular pancakes, sausage patties, potatoes and scrambled egg. They were serving them out of metal serving platters.

I deposited my stuff at a table and went to collect some plasticware, coffee and orange juice. They have the coolest drip collectors on the coffee urns that they made from two-liter bottles. They have hot water, regular coffee and decaf coffee equipped with those bad boys. I think that is pretty ingenious.

The tables had paper placemats set and squeeze bottles of maple syrup that they regularly replaced. There were also small bottle of ketchup for those who like ketchup on their eggs or potatoes. A large catch-all table had a bottle of sugar-free syrup and a couple other alternatives like agave as well as butter for the pancakes.

I doctored up my coffee with cream and sugar at the table and then dug into the meal. I had chosen one regular and one blueberry pancake and two sausage patties. I enjoyed both of them, but preferred the blueberry pancake enough to get one more when I went to get a little bit more later. It was a little moister from the addition of the fresh and plentiful blueberries. The eggs were well cooked like I prefer them (if you like runny eggs you might be disappointed). There were a couple dollops of egg that were dried out and dark yellow, but I just didn’t eat them. The potatoes have an onion flavor to them that makes them unique. Round two was a blueberry pancake, a sausage patty and a scoop of potatoes and a second cup of orange juice. I barely finished round two.

I rolled out of there shortly after noon and had definitely hit my satiation limit. I drove home with the windows down and enjoyed the warm weather. What a difference a week makes. Last week the trees were covered in snow and I slept with my window open all night last night.

Next week they will be serving biscuits and sausage gravy (probably to get rid of all the extra sausage).

Contact info:

Burton-Middlefield American Legion
14052 Goodwin Street
Burton, OH 44021
(440) 834-8621

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Gallucci’s Italian Foods

Gust Gallucci founded Gallucci’s Italian Foods in 1912 after he came to Cleveland in the early 1900’s and discovered a large Italian population who longed for products from their homeland. The store was originally run from a cart on the west side of Cleveland and changed locations several times until it found a home on Euclid Avenue and East 66th Street near downtown Cleveland in 1988. It celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012 with a big centenary event, which included a dedication to the black granite monument you see at the front door. It is still family-owned and operated, now by the third and fourth generation of Galluccis.

Gallucci’s is the place to go when you are looking for specialty Italian canned foods and treats. When you walk in you see the cash registers to your left and the deli and refrigerated and freezer cases to your right. The cases are filled with cheeses, salami and assorted charcuterie, butter, all the fixings for homemade pizza including dough, sauce, crumbled sausage, pepperoni slices and shredded and shredded cheese. The freezers hold all kinds of frozen Gallucci pastas and seafood that you won’t find anywhere else as well as frozen soup, frozen meatballs (for wedding soup and for pasta dinners), and homemade gelato. The grocery aisles are filled with boxed pasta, canned tomatoes, jars of sauce, olive oils, canned sardines, boxed cookies, Italian coffee, tons of bulk spices, espresso makers, and a good selection of wine. They also have fresh pasta and their canned sauce for an easy and quick home-cooked meal. The store carries multiples of the same product at different prices, to appeal to a range of customers.

Their deli counter has all the specialties, whether it be prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, soppressata, fresh mozzarella, burrata, guanciale, braciole, olives or anything else you may need for an authentic recipe. One recent Yelper warns about their practice of switching out cheaper brands for their brand though, so keep an eye out.

The bakery counter is next to the deli counter against the right wall on the way to the Hot Lunch Counter. The bakery counter has all kinds of Italian cookies and cakes as well as a cooler full of prepared submarine sandwiches (you need to get here early because they run out). I have been known to stock up on prepared subs if a snow storm is predicted.

The olive bar is between the bakery counter and the cooler of sandwiches. You can get stuffed olives for $7.99 a pound, a mix of olives for $6.99 a pound and various other nibbles like pepperocini, giardiniera, etc.

You can also have a sub sandwich made to order at the Hot Lunch Counter against the back wall of the store. The Hot Lunch Counter is open from 11 to 2 one weekdays and offers a lot of prepared carry-out foods for a quick lunch, like their daily lunch specials, a “sangweech”of the day, Italian sausage and meatballs for subs, salads, hot pizza slices, calzones, paninis, and several different pasta specials (lasagna and pasta and meatballs are usually two of them). The pasta comes with choice of salad (tossed, potato or macaroni salad) and garlic bread. I just wish the containers didn’t leak. I damaged a library book when I accidentally pricked the styrofoam container and Italian dressing seeped out, and my shopping bag had a small island of sauce on the bottom when I got home today with my bow tie chicken pasta (see below). It had kind of congealed, so I know butter was in the sauce and it was delicious.

You can also get Gallucci’s amazing Italian wedding soup by the bowl or the quart. It contains lots of meatballs and escarole – as well as lots of flavor. Gallucci’s also offers a daily lunch special (“Coke Special”) during the week. You can get a sub sandwich, a 12 ounce pop and a bag of chips for $6.99. Make sure the sandwich looks fresh though. The last one I got was pretty dried out.

They offer frequent deals like Two Dollar Dog days during lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in honor of the Indians Home Opener on April 1st (and it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke).

Did you also know that Gallucci’s offers hosted dinners with Chef Chuck Masterpaul? I didn’t know until I checked out their website. The next scheduled one is April 24th. The hosted dinners include exclusive access to the store, wine pairing and product suggestions, and consultations with Chef Masterpaul. The cost is $50 per person.

You can subscribe to their various email lists (including the daily lunch specials) here.

Contact info:

Gallucci’s Italian Foods
6610 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 881-0045

Burton Fire Station Pancake Breakfast

Another weekend in March, another pancake breakfast. I had originally scheduled Burton’s American Legion Pancake Breakfast for this weekend, but my friend who was going to join me is allergic to potatoes. I had also heard rave reviews of the fire station pancake breakfast from friends who went there last weekend instead of joining us at the omelet and pancake breakfast at the high school. So I decided to check out the fire station and do the American Legion one next weekend (the last one for the year).

We decided on a later meet time to avoid a long wait (my friends were in line for 40 minutes – just as we were). Between an arrival time of noon and a freak snow storm that dropped 3-5 inches Burton was decidedly emptier this weekend.

We found a parking space that was very close to the fire station – and most importantly there was absolutely no line whatsoever. We waited a few minutes on the ground floor for a third friend to join us and then headed up the stairs to the second floor. As we were waiting a woman came in asking if there was an elevator because her mother used a walker. The firemen replied there wasn’t, but they had a chair they could transport her in. They strapped her in and carried her up the stairs.

Since there was no line we were able to go straight to the cashier table and purchase our meal. The cost was $8 for all you can eat pancakes and sausage. Extra sausage and extra beverages (water or orange juice) were $1 each. I opted for extra sausage and an extra orange juice, so my meal cost me $10. Still a bargain. We grabbed our trays, a plate, and silverware and mosied up to the window of the kitchen for a stack of pancakes. When asked what kind I wanted I asked for one of each. Somehow that turned into four pancakes – too much for me. The sausage patties were also generous, so I really regretted buying an extra order. I took them home wrapped in a napkin. I was very happy I got a second orange juice though. What is up with the tiny containers of o.j.? They seem wasteful to me and only contain a bit of juice. I do like that they use real plates and real mugs for the meal – not styrofoam like most of the other fish fries or pancake breakfasts.

We easily found seats at a table next to the window, so we enjoyed watching the snowflakes fall outside while eating our pancakes and talking. Volunteers walked around with fresh pancakes and thermoses of coffee. The pancakes on the refill plates were fresher than the ones that had been sitting in the window. I have a feeling they had prepared for a crowd that didn’t materialize due to the weather. My favorite pancake out of the three was the blueberry pancake. The blueberries were plump and plentiful. The buckwheat pancakes were my second favorite. The regular ones were just too thick and dried out (most likely from sitting in the serving trays). We used lots of butter and maple syrup to soften them up.

We sat around talking for two hours. There wasn’t a rush for us to leave since there weren’t people clamoring for seats. My one friend bought a pint of maple syrup and some maple treats to take home with her. We headed back to Cleveland driving through the winter wonderland. It was a great way to start the day. As I said, we are planning on attending the American Legion breakfast next weekend, which is the very last one for the year in Burton.

Contact info:

Burton Volunteer Fire Station
13828 Spring Street
Burton, OH 44021

Fish Fry Friday #4: Benedictine High School

I have a new rule to live by: if a fish fry is run by boys stay far away.

Benedictine High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college preparatory high school for men, located in Cleveland off Martin Luther King Boulevard. The school serves grades 9–12 and has an enrollment of just under 400 young men.

I don’t even know where to start with this disaster. OK, driving in. Apart from a sign on the road there is no indication which outbuilding houses the fish fry. I had to ask a bunch of young men who explained it was in the cafeteria, but don’t ask me where that was. I drove toward a building that said Field House and asked someone else and he explained I could park and walk under the walkway and it would be on the right. Luckily the weather was nice and the door was propped open or I wouldn’t have had a clue which door to go in. Some signage with arrows would be very helpful. Or even just someone standing in the parking lot directing people where to go. But the fish fry wasn’t all that well-attended, so that might be overkill. I should have caught the clue then.

Once I walked into the cafeteria I had to figure out what was going on. The big sign on the wall was apparently from lunch. I missed the silverware, cafeteria trays and napkins, so if you go know that it’s against the wall to your right. There were four dinners to choose from. The signs taped to a table informed me that I could have a two pieces of fried fish, one piece of baked fish, nine pieces of shrimp or eight pierogi. The dinners come with baked potato or french fries, cole slaw or applesauce, bread (grab a piece from the open bags of wheat or white bread sitting there), and coffee, tea or milk. Side orders were available for $2.50 or $3.50 depending on what you wanted. Pop was $0.50 a can. Dessert was available at a bake sale off to the side of the cafeteria. I spent $14 for my meal, sides and two cans of pop.

I was there at around 5:30 and was informed they were out of fish and it would be about 2 minutes. As I stood there they plated up a side of pierogi and a bowl of chowder and stack of crackers for me. I grabbed some condiments and my slice of bread and a pat of butter and waited. When the fish came out they started serving the people who had just walked in until one of the older men supervising noticed and had them serve me. Some of the fish had broken apart and the young man tried to give me a couple pieces parts until I pointed out to the supervisor that there were supposed to be two pieces. Awkward.

Once I paid, bought my pop and sat down I opened up the to-go box (which I requested because I knew I wouldn’t finish) and was just overwhelmed by the food service of it all. I thought I’d have a couple pierogi and chowder with a few bites of fish and pack up the rest. The chowder was the blandest, worst chowder I’ve ever had, so I popped the lid back on and will be doctoring it up tomorrow for lunch. Nothing a little dill and seasoned salt can’t fix. The pierogi did not look appetizing at all, but they weren’t as dry as they look. That was the best part of the meal. The fish was okay. It could have been moister, but it was at least edible. The cole slaw was okay. I chose the baked potato since it is easier to warm up as leftovers, although this isn’t a meal I am looking forward to eating again.

When I left at six o’clock they had run out of individual sour cream packets and had a pint of sour cream and a spoon sitting on the table with the condiments.

If you ever find yourself at this fish fry (but I wouldn’t recommend it), do yourself and order the grilled cheese. It seemed like the most popular choice.

Contact info:

Benedictine High School
2900 Martin Luther King Jr Drive
Cleveland, OH 44104

Burton-Middlefield Rotary Pancake Breakfast

Burton is known as Pancake Town USA. Every March since 1951, Burton has been serving pancakes every spring to over 20,000 guests. It became so popular that the Burton-Middlefield Rotary Club decided to officially trademark the town as “Pancake Town USA.” Today the Rotary Club, the Century Village Museum and other groups continue to serve these annual March Sunday pancake breakfasts. Downtown Burton was packed with cars yesterday (and I would imagine every Sunday in March), as everyone parked on the square and on Main Street to enjoy the pancake breakfasts at the Century Village Museum, Red Maple Inn, the fire station and the high school and visit the Burton Log Cabin. The American Legion’s pancake breakfast is tucked away on a side street across from the entrance to the high school. I went to that one a few years ago and really enjoyed the fried potatoes.

This year the pancake breakfasts at the high school and fire station are on March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st. The American Legion and Century Village Museum will also be hosting theirs on April 7th as well.

This year I decided to try the Burton-Middlefield Rotary Pancake Breakfast because they serve omelets in addition to all you can eat pancakes and sausage. Two of my other friends opted to go to the Fire Station for their all you can eat breakfast featuring regular, blueberry and buckwheat pancakes. I’ll try it next year.

My friends and I decided to meet at 11 on the 24th because we had an event later in Orange that started at 2. I got there shortly before they did. They parked in the post office lot, while I parked down and across the street from the high school lot, which was jam-packed with cars. I drove through the entire lot and not a single spot was free. I had an inkling this would not be a quick breakfast like the last two pancake breakfasts were. We queued up once we walked in and wound our way up the stairs and through the hallways of the school. They had pins for the visitors to mark where they came from. There was a board for Geauga County residents as well as one of Ohio. One pin was from Toledo, while several others were from Pennsylvania.

About forty minutes later we found ourselves at the table to pay, where we specified what we wanted. They took credit cards, but I happily handed over my $12 for the pancakes and sausage with an upgrade of a Western omelet. My friends ordered veggie omelets. Since they are vegetarians I got their sausage patties after we sat down. We were given a print-out indicating our order and a colored cardboard piece with a number (#1 for Western, #2 for ham and cheese, and #3 for veggie – peppers, onion, mushrooms and cheese) and handed the print-out to the person at the door to the cafeteria serving area. We wound our way through that area, grabbing a tray and silverware and collecting our pancakes and sausage patties, choice of milk (regular or chocolate) and orange juice. They then assigned us a table and whisked away our trays before we even had a chance to sit down. The omelets were quickly brought to our tables, and we handed them the colored cardboard.

The omelets were huge and really delicious. They were served with little cups of salsa, but I preferred mine just as it was. The pancakes were fluffy and had a great taste to them. The sausage was well-cooked. The coffee was in big thermoses on the table as well as cream and sugar. Real maple syrup was in squeeze bottles on the table. The tables also came equipped with wooden sticks painted in yellow and red for more “cakes” and “sausage” and green and brown for more coffee. The yellow and red sticks got a lot of use. They gladly kept serving more pancakes and sausage until we couldn’t eat any more. The woman overseeing our table whisked my plate full of leftovers away (I had stacked my plates together) and brought it back in a to-go box. I had half an omelet and four sausage patties left. I hadn’t asked for any more pancakes or sausage, but did ask for more coffee and butter as we sat down since our table was running low. Once we were finished they cleaned our plates and detritus away. Once someone left the table they were immediately there wiping the spots down and putting a placemat down for the next group of diners. When we left at noon the line had died down considerably. However, as we learned from one of our fellow diners if you go a little later you may find they have run out of something – in their case a few years ago pancakes. They serve from 8:00 am – 1:30 pm.

We checked out the little craft fair in the gymnasium before leaving. I bought some kolachky, and my friends bought some jam. My leftovers made a great dinner that night.

Contact info:

Burton-Middlefield Rotary Pancakes & Omelets Breakfast
Berkshire High School
14510 N Cheshire Street
Burton, OH 44021

Goodell Farm Pancake Breakfast in Shalersville

Goodell Family Farm hosts pancake breakfasts on three Sundays in March in the Shalersville Town Hall in Ravenna. It is located at the intersection of OH-44 and Route 303. The pancake breakfast features all you can eat pancakes (regular and buckwheat), sausage and their own pure maple syrup. You also get a small glass of orange juice and all the coffee you can drink. And don’t forget to enjoy a soft serve maple ice cream cone when you are finished.

Adults pay $8.00, children (ages 4-12) are $4.00, and children 3 years of age and under are free. The pancake breakfasts this year were March 3rd, 10th, and 17th from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. I met a girlfriend, and we spent an hour and a half enjoying pancakes and sausage and catching up.

This place is a well-oiled machine. The room is not that large, but the line is not long (at least it wasn’t when we were there). You pay when you walk in and walk past a table full of Goodell Family Farm products. The gentleman at the end then finds a seat for you and your party. We were seated with another older married couple, which was a little awkward. I had already blown past them getting off the turnpike, so I wasn’t too thrilled to be seated with them. Then to add to the awkward they sat next to each other, so we then also had to sit next to each other. As their penance they had to hear my girlfriend and I talk about our lives and high five each other several times.

I opted for a combo stack of pancakes – a mix of two regular pancakes and one buckwheat pancake – and it came with three sausage links. The pancakes and sausage were delicious. I liked the regular pancakes a bit more, but the buckwheat ones were definitely great. There are people walking around the room refilling coffee cups and doling out more pancakes and sausage. I had one more of each. There are big pitchers of maple syrup and sticks of butter on the table to help yourself.

I purchased a quart of maple syrup for $17 as I left. It’s already opened and now in my fridge. Next year’s pancake breakfasts will be March 8th, 15th, and 22nd, so mark your calendars. It’s worth the drive.

Contact info:

Goodell Family Farm Pancake Breakfast
Shalersville Town Hall
9090 OH-44
Ravenna, OH 44266

Frostville Museum Pancake Breakfast

Yeah, don’t bother.

The Olmsted Historical Society holds its annual Pancake Breakfasts on three Sundays in March from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm in the Events Barn at the Frostville Museum, 24101 Cedar Point Rd (at the corner of Lewis and Cedar Point Rd. in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation). Adults $7.00, Children 10 & under $5.00. Menu 1 includes unlimited pancakes, juice, hot beverage and sausage. Menu 2 includes scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes (no refills), juice & hot beverage. Additional sausage is 3 for $1.00, additional orange juice is $.50. Maple syrup was also extra. Syrup was on the tables, but the maple syrup was doled out in little portion cups. I upgraded to add scrambled eggs to Menu 1 and bought an extra orange juice, so I spent $10.50. The coffee was at a table in the back of the room (see above photo).

Being from Olmsted Falls and since they host a farmer’s market here I had such high hopes for this, so I arranged for my dining friends to meet here for breakfast on March 3. There were eight of us. None of us liked it. The eggs were chalky, the hash browns were food service and not cooked very well, and the pancakes were just okay. They could have at least cooked the hash browns on the flat top grill.

The money raised helps maintain the historic buildings at the museum, so at least we donated to a good cause. We did a paczki crawl afterwards and shopped at Chuppa’s in Parma. Go for the farmer’s market. Save your money on the pancake breakfast.

Contact info:

Frostville Museum
24101 Cedar Point Road
North Olmsted, OH 44070
(440) 779-0280