When most people think of Cleveland, they think of rock-and-roll. Cleveland DJ Alan Freed is widely credited with coining the term “rock-and-roll” in the early 1950s. His friend Leo Mintz actually began referring to the rhythm-and-blues records spun in his Record Rendezvous store as “rock-and-roll” to downplay the racial element.
The music Freed played on his WJW program, “The Moondog Rock & Roll House Party,” developed into the first rock-and-roll radio format. The Moondog Coronation Ball he co-promoted at the Cleveland Arena on March 21, 1952, is generally regarded as the first rock-and-roll concert.
Freed’s exploits ignited a passion for the music among Northeast Ohioans and laid a foundation for a national breakout market. Stations such as WERE, WHK, WIXY and WMMS played the latest records by emerging artists. A range of venues from the legendary Agora Ballroom to Cleveland Municipal Stadium, where the World Series of Rock (all-day concerts headlined by such acts as the Rolling Stones) were staged between 1974 and 1980, provided bands with places to develop their stage chops.
The city has since developed a reputation as a dine and drink destination. During the late 1980s, the microbrewery trend arrived with the opening of Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Ohio City. Today, there are over two dozen brewpubs within the city limits.
In 1997, Food Network Iron Chef and Cleveland native Michael Symon opened Lola Bistro. The restaurant is a cornerstone of a dining scene that includes everything from longtime favorites, such as braciole at Guarino’s (billed as Cleveland’s oldest restaurant), and corned-beef sandwiches at Slyman’s, to newer contenders, such as steaks at the opulent Marble Room. Over the last decade, it has expanded to include a fleet of food trucks selling everything from the popular Seti’s Polish Boys to Hatfield’s Goode Grub’s Southern comfort food.