Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Underdog

I think it's fair to say that this blog has basically been reduced to the hardest of hardcore readers. We're talking one...maybe two hits a day, and that's only because I check my own page's blog roll for updates every once in a while.

Am I exaggerating a little? Sure. (Okay, maybe a lot.) The truth is I have an affinity for the underdog. As such I have a much lower success rate than those who continually add notches to their dining belts as they scurry to the latest newly opened restaurant.

The hidden, top secret spot is probably the most prized food destination in cities like New York and San Francisco. As soon as word has made its way through the social media channels, and traditional media has administered last rites, locals pronounce it dead and move on to the next secret place that no one knows about. (You have to admit, the idea of ordering barbecue out the back of a barber shop in Oakland has a certain illegal excitement to it. It's almost like being a total maverick and drinking raw milk in front of the cops.)

Here in Cleveland things seem to work a little differently. More often than not, it's a fascination with the new (as in just opened 2 hours ago) than with unknown (ie, I've never heard of anyone associated with this establishment, let alone its very existence). If a well known chef is involved with the production, then word seems to make its way around in short order. But for whatever reason, if it isn't in one of the city's dining hot spots, these places struggle to get people in their doors. People tend to take a "you try it first and let me know how it is" kind of approach.

Between now and Sunday I'm going to outline some places I think warrant recognition as being the real deal. One has been gaining steam recently, and for the most part people will have heard of. Some of the other spots I'm going to talk about will most likely be relative unknowns to those live outside their respective communities or places people have meant to go, but never made it.

Admittedly, I don't read many of the Cleveland blogs anymore because much of it is the same stuff over and over. I'm quite certain they don't read mine because they're sick of reading about pizza. In any case, I think that Tom over at Exploring Food My Way and Doug Trattner at Scene Magazine do the best job of digging up hidden gems in Cleveland. I think its their desire to champion what the smaller places are up to that really adds to the city's culinary tapestry.

In the end I think the Cleveland food scene as a whole would be best served people if people did more to uncover these unsung heroes. After all, if Guy "Fee-eddy" has been there, does it really need to be written about anymore?


  1. Your blog was one of the first ones I found when I moved to UH and it helped me discover some hidden gems on this area so thank you for that. I read in a feed reader so you won't see my hits but I am a loyal follower.

    I just want to say that I love that you'll be featuring "underdogs" so to speak. I like hearing about what's new in town but I also want to know about what's great in town, old or new. Not to mention that a lot of the food bloggers happen to live on the west side and rarely venture to the east.

    While I'm more than happy to cross the river to find great eats I would love for them to explore my side of town.

  2. You'll be happy to know that my underdogs list is East Side heavy.

    As long as they have the money, any fool can buy a bottle of Opus One. They will spend $200 and they will get $200 worth of wine. The true pleasure is plucking the $15 bottle that tastes like it should cost 3 times that. It doesn't happen often, but when it does.....

  3. Aw, sorry about your low hit count. I do read you, but often just via Google reader. (And not as up-to-date as I would like to be) But I really enjoy reading what you write, and appreciate the effort you put into it. Thanks!

  4. "...Now until Sunday, I will be explotring some hidden gems..." Where are the other posts? fa Casual and ... that's it...???? For people to read this blog, you need to post. I check on my aggregator and if there's no new post, why should I log on?