Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quick Bites in the Heights

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Lately I've been more inclined to try places that I've driven past a hundred times, but never actually stopped at. I've heard about the patio at Lopez Bar and Grill as being an exceptional place to enjoy a margarita on a balmy summer evening. A Touch of Italy sits across Chagrin Blvd from the Heinen's I go to every week - yet I've never stopped. Mama Joyce's Soul Food serves daily lunch specials during the week with prices that give you serious pause for thought. Clyde's Bistro & Barroom has - to the dismay of some and the glee of others - received a face lift. All worthy candidates, yet repeatedly jilted.

There are no more excuses. Step aside Menu 6 (some big time deals here). You'll have to wait Dante. Chinato? Back of the line.

It's time to roll up my sleeves, crawl into the mine, and dig up some diamonds.

Clyde's Bistro & Barroom is an old dining car that has been recently updated and perhaps gussied up a bit from its past incarnations. Judging by what I had read there were some mixed opinions on what they had done to the old lady. Admittedly I had never seen the building dressed in the clothes of her former self, but I will say that the food here does match the decor. Clearly the whole diner thing was not working at the location. In the end it is about making money.

Clyde's serves a similar menu to what you might find at Champp's (yeah, they're special - they get two p's). The menu is a full on mixture of american and comfort foods. Portions are large enough to where a normal person is able to finish their entree and not feel like they just gained ten pounds. Not that there are to0 many patio kind of days left, but Clyde's does offer a patio that is pleasantly guarded from the traffic noise on Lee Rd.

On the night we went, the median age appeared to be somewhere in the range of 60-65. This isn't an dig on the establishment - just an observation. I'm hoping the place isn't empty in the winter when they all go to FLA.

I recommend the Cubana Panini. Should you feel so inclined to go there is a good deal on gift certificates for Clyde's here.

Clyde's Bistro & Barroom
1975 Lee Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 321-7100

Clyde's Bistro & Barroom on Urbanspoon

I'm not sure why I've never felt the need to go to Lopez Bar and Grill at Cedar Lee, but the beautiful summer night presented the prime patio weather. Feeling the need to try something new, Regina suggested going to Lopez. She had never been - and neither had I - so Lopez it was.

The first thing I noticed as we walked through the front door was the decor. A southwest color scheme is put forth, but without all of the kitschy touches one would typically expect at a Mexican restaurant. The patio is integrated into the physical restaurant via opened doors and windows. Typically in Cleveland, the dining room and the patio are two very separate areas due to the cold weather we have here, but Lopez does a nice job of combining the two.

I don't remember her name but our server was very attentive. (You'd know her if you saw her because her arms were incredible for a woman her age. Just sayin'.) If I had any gripe it was that the margarita was a little skimpy for the price (half off from 5-9 on Tues. + Thurs). What wasn't skimpy was the unbelievable size of the guacamole sampler. This behemoth of an appetizer consists of traditional, bacon + pineapple, and blue cheese + sage - my favorite being the bacon + pineapple. This could easily be shared by four people.

Arriving with eyes bigger than my stomach and ordering my entree before I saw the size of the appetizer, I went with the pulled pork "wet burritos". This combination of spicy pork, black beans, and jack cheese was presented in such a way that there was a good ratio of meat to tortilla. Nothing makes a carnivore angrier than an out of whack M:T ratio that is heavily skewed toward T. Combined with the appetizer and a skimpy margarita, the burritos tested my stomach's bounds and made for a beautiful summer night.

Lopez Bar and Grill
2196 Lee Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
(216) 932-9000

Lopez Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. How much longer is this Dante wait going to be... I want to hear your thoughts! Hope you had a great summer, sounds like you've been busy but hopefully you got a few rounds of golf in!

  2. It's been one hell of a summer. Our latest project has me going all the way out to Boston which does a pretty good job of chewing up my time. We'll have to get a group together and go someplace.