Best of Downtown
1. Best Place to Mix Lunch and Literature
Eastman Reading Garden, next to the Cleveland Public Library. Whether you take Proust with your PB&J or BrontÃ« with your BLT, the Eastman is a comfortable place for a midday break. Slide a chair over to the fountain and relax.
2. Best Brownies
Cakes Plus, Colonial Marketplace
They are named after the tastiest things on Earth: Raspberry Chambord, German chocolate, toasted walnuts and more. We ate a sampler for lunch.
3. Best Tailor
Meyer's Custom Tailors and Shirtmakers, 1706 Euclid Ave.
Trust him with your finest threads. Some of the biggest movers and shakers in town do.
4. Best Breakfast
Juniper Grille, 1332 Carnegie Ave.
Serving the breakfast of champions — chorizo sausage — on the same menu with a wild mushroom and goat cheese omelet, smoked salmon bagel and plenty of classic fare. Plus, free parking!
5. Best Place to Do Business
The Business Center, opening this fall at 1220 Huron Road
Proof that alcohol and work do mix. After videoconferencing on a split-screen plasma TV, going wireless or making copies, celebrate by having a drink at the Vinea wine bar.
6. Best Place for Pause
The Old Stone Church, 91 Public Square
Open weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. for prayer among Tiffany windows and mahogany beams. It's both awe-inspiring and soothing. Organ recitals on Tuesdays.
7. Best Art Fix
The ARTcade in the Colonial Marketplace between Euclid and Prospect
A stroll through the bright atrium past vacant storefronts turned gallery spaces could lead to paintings, sculpture or screenings of very independent films.
8. Best Pizza
Captain Tony's Pizza, 1405 E. Ninth St.
These huge slices are supercheesy, with a crispy crust and doughy center.
9. Best View
Behold the beauty of our skyline, our lake and our cloud formations from the 20th floor of the Carl B. Stokes United States Court House at 801 W. Superior, accessible via underground walkway from Tower City.
10. Best Boutique
Bella Donna, Old Arcade
They have Michael Stars tops. They sell adorable purses. And they do trunk shows.
11. Best (and Only) Churrascaria
Brasa Grill Brazilian Steakhouse, 1300 W. Ninth St.
There's no menu. It's a parade of meat, from beef to pork to lamb, for a $35 prix fixe. Turn the light off when you're done, please.
12. Best Place to Open Your Mind
The City Club of Cleveland, a longtime bastion of free speech at 850 Euclid Ave.
Listen to ambassadors and CEOs, then question them from the audience.
13. Best Hotdog
Elias Konstantinou, in front of the Federal Building on East Ninth Street
No bland cabbage here. The secret to his mouthwatering sauerkraut dog is tasty kraut.
14. Best Hotdog-buying Experience
John's Hot Dogs, corner of Ontario and Superior in Public Square
It's the place for a classic American dog, served up with a side of friendly banter.
15. Best City Within a Building
The Huntington Building arcade
Hidden below the bank is a secret spot to get things done: a post office, barber, shoe-shiner, custom tailor, restaurant, jeweler and card shop.
16. Best Rare Books
Old Erie Street Bookstore, 2128 E. Ninth St.
Where else can you find a leatherbound "Romance of Insect Life"? If they don't have what you're looking for, they'll tell you where to find it. By appointment, (216) 575-0743
17. Best Nail Perk
The Image Edge, 1809 E. 12th St.
No need to book two weeks in advance. Pop in for a quick coat of polish for $8, or a full manicure with hand massage, $16.
18. Best Chinese Buffet
Great Taste Chinese Restaurant, 1803 E. 12th St.
Everything's fresh and tempting. The three pieces of broccoli you pluck out will assuage your guilt over the rest of your packed plate. $5.75
19. Best Place for Inconspicuous Daytime Ogling
Octane CafÃ© Colonial Marketplace
What did we notice on our first visit? Men with bodies that say they don't sit behind a desk all day and suits that say they do. Then we got it: This is a health-food joint.
20. Best Cafe
CafÃ© Ah-Roma, 2230 Euclid Ave.
How many churches have a cafe? Fabulous for coffee, lunch or soul-searching, with a view of Trinity Cathedral's courtyard.
21. Best People-watching Spot
The Tower City fountain, lower level
Watch the watchers: shoppers at rest, enraptured by water dancing to classical music.
22. Best Place to Pretend You're Somewhere Else
A.J. Rocco's, 816 Huron Road East
Indulge in coffee and a Prussian at this funky coffeehouse where they sell the art on the walls. If you snag a table out front, you can pretend you're in Paris. Or at least Chicago.
23. Best Food Court
Dine on 9, the BP Tower's third floor
There's something for every palate and nothing from a restaurant chain: burgers, deli sandwiches, Chinese, Mexican and salads, plus a beautiful view of Public Square.
Ask a CEO
Where's do you take clients to impress them?
Eaton Corp. CEO and Cleveland Tomorrow president Sandy Cutler says he usually visits with clients at their locations, which are often outside Cleveland. "But," he adds, "I know people like to go to places like the Blue Point Grille, Johnny's Downtown and fire for outstanding food and a great evening."
Best Cheap Downtown Parking
A lot of our readers look for parking bargains downtown. Though a few people who answered our survey use valet parking or are more concerned about convenience than cost — and 21 percent don't want to spend any money to park downtown (which makes us suspect that group doesn't come downtown at all) — 48 percent were willing to pay "a buck or two" or "a reasonable amount." So here are some tips on cheap spots to leave your car.
Try the $2 lot under the Shoreway on West Third Street; "The Pit," very close to Lakeside; or the fenced $1 lot on West Third next to the stadium, a little safer for your car.
For a Warehouse District night out, check the metered spots north of Lakeside on West Ninth and West Third and the "secret" meters on West Fourth (an alley south of Lakeside). If they're full, try the lot on West Ninth north of West Superior or the nearby lot on Frankfort (off West Sixth). Both charge $3 for evenings.
You can park for free in Tower City's lot for five hours if you spend $20 at the mall and get your ticket validated at Guest Services. Or park in the $4 Riverview lot on Canal Road before noon and take its shuttle to Tower City.
Near Playhouse Square, head south on East 14th Street to the middle of the three lots south of Prospect (USA Parking); it charges $1.50 a day.
As you probably know already, parking prices go up when there are special events downtown.
best of cleveland
12:00 AM EST
September 22, 2004