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Where to Find the Best Comfort Food in Cleveland

By Kat Weiss

While nobody has figured out a way to hibernate through winter, Cleveland certainly has perfected eating warm and hearty comfort foods to get us through it.

Comfort food in Cleveland is perfect for those chilly wintry days or just when you need a pick-me-up (so basically all of 2020). There is creamy pasta in Little Italy, soul-warming pho in AsiaTown, and plenty of spots to get some crispy fried deliciousness all across the city.

Without further ado, let’s talk about our favorite places for comfort food in Cleveland.

We should note that, as with everything food-related, this post is entirely subjective! These are some of our favorite soul-warming foods in Cleveland, but we’re not suggesting that this is the be-all, end-all list; Cleveland has too much great food for that! We’d love to hear about your favorite comfort foods in the comments, too.

Our Favorite Comfort Foods in Cleveland

1. Ramen at Mason’s Creamery

4401 Bridge Ave., Cleveland (Ohio City)

Mason’s ramen to-go!

This place is well-known for serving up some of Cleveland’s best ice cream in the summertime, but when the leaves start to turn, Mason’s Creamery becomes a pop-up ramen shop. With three kinds of ramen including chicken, pork, and veggie, they serve up warm soup with spongy noodles that are perfect for slurping.

Also right now they have the option to buy the noodles uncooked so you can prepare it at home and eat it later!

Oh, and don’t worry, they’re still selling pints of ice cream to enjoy as a post-ramen treat, too.

2. The Dude Abides Sandwich at Melt Bar and Grilled

Multiple Locations

Grilled cheese is pretty much the ultimate comfort food, right? At Melt, they take that classic grilled cheese to the extreme with sandwiches so large and jam packed that you may seriously question how to take a bite.

So when it comes to comfort food in Cleveland, nothing will prepare you for a long winter’s nap quite like the Dude Abides. This “grilled cheese” is packed with meatballs, fried mozzarella, marinara, roasted garlic, provolone, and romano cheeses. I wouldn’t plan on doing much after enjoying one of these.

And for those looking for veggie options, they have vegan and vegetarian giant sandwiches too!

3. Gyro at Steve’s Gyros Stand

1979 W 25th St., E-13, Cleveland (Ohio City)

This stand at the West Side Market has been around since 1989 and has been featured on the Food Network, Man V. Food, and more!

After a bite of a giant gyro here, you’ll understand why. This cash-only joint has a line wrapped around the corner most days, and you can smell the juicy gyro meat rotating on the spit from a good distance.

Come early before they sell out and enjoy one of Cleveland’s classic comfort foods as you wander around the market for other treats!

4. Phở Tái Nạm at Superior Pho

3030 Superior Ave., #105, Cleveland (AsiaTown)

Warm soup with hearty meats, tasty rice noodles, and lots of aromatics make Superior Pho an obvious choice for comfort food in Cleveland. Located east of downtown in AsiaTown, this place can be hard to find but is well worth the journey.

Order up a bowl of their Phở tái nạm, or pho with round eye steak and well done flank, and enjoy the delicious flavors of this classic Vietnamese soup. It’ll warm you up even on the chilliest sub-zero night.

5. Stoner Queso at Barrio

Multiple Locations

Most Clevelanders are very well acquainted with Barrio. Incredible made-to-order tacos, a fantastic margarita menu, and phenomenal queso combined with locations all over the city make this casual taco place fun to visit year-round.

So in the cooler months, while of course you’ve still got to order up their tacos, be sure to also get their stoner queso. Sure, it seems super simple; gooey white queso with some rice thrown in, but that texture is everything! The soft rice combined with the warm cheese sauce and hot and crispy tortilla chips is kind of everything you need.

6. Arepas at Barocco

Multiple Locations

Cheese and meats stuffed into a homemade thick tortilla sounds heavenly, right? If so, then you’ll definitely want to order up this Cleveland comfort food at Barocco, an arepa bar with locations in Lakewood, Crocker Park, and Willoughby.

Try the perico arepa with eggs, chorizo, green pepper, grilled onions, and mozzarella, or for those looking for veggie options they have a sofrito potato or avocado plantain arepa. The best part of getting these tasty flavor pockets has to be the ample amounts of sauce they leave on the table. Put on as much of the many sauces as you like to enjoy every bite of this Colombian specialty.

Don’t forget to get some guacamole served with crispy plantains and tortilla strips too!

7. Biscuits and Gravy at Cleveland Vegan

17112 Detroit Ave., Lakewood

Biscuits and gravy is such a delicious breakfast comfort food. And at Cleveland Vegan, the dish is completely plant-based! Enjoy some pepper gravy, seitan crumble “sausage,” and homemade biscuits.

Be sure to also grab a tasty treat from their bakery to pair with your delicious gravy laden brunch!

8. Kuy Teav Chha Kreoung Tek Trey Phem at Phnom Penh

1929 W 25th St., Cleveland (Ohio City)

Imagine rice noodles topped with chopped up spring rolls, basil, lettuce, onions, peanuts, coconut whip, meat, and delicious sauce and you’ve got a comfort staple food you never knew you needed to try ASAP.

Tucked away between the PNC bank and Nate’s Deli on West 25th Street, this Cambodian restaurant has a hefty menu with all kinds of Southeast Asian delights. This one, though, is full of tasty flavors from the crunchy spring roll to the fresh ingredients and sauce.

9. Braumeister Schnitzel at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland

1550 Chester Ave., Cleveland (Downtown)

Anything fried makes for delicious comfort food! Here, you have the option of either pork or chicken fried up and topped with ham and bier cheese, and, if that wasn’t enough, it’s also served with a side of fried potatoes.

And you can’t go to Hofbrauhaus and not get a liter of beer, right? Fill up on all the German comfort food as you imagine yourself celebrating Oktoberfest in Cleveland! Prost!

10. Catfish at Goodfellas BBQ

2847 Noble Rd., Cleveland Heights

Specializing in BBQ, seafood, and soulfood, this place is serving up the most delicious catfish, BBQ, wings, and more.

Plus, Goodfellas has been giving back during the pandemic by donating meals to kids in the area. Delicious cuisine and gives back to the community? Yes, please!

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