If you want to experience some truly world-class players, you don’t have to wait until the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 9. These all stars don’t play on a diamond, but they could be as much fun to experience, especially if you enjoy world-class cuisine.
The 12th-annual Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week begins Feb. 28 with its fourth-annual kickoff event at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. This year, Cleveland Restaurant Week carries the theme “Bring on the All Stars.” It runs from March 1 to 10, with nearly 50 restaurants offering prix fixe menus and special pricing that makes it easy and affordable to sample the best of downtown Cleveland restaurants and the city's growing culinary legacy.
The kickoff event at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade, attracting hundreds of guests will offer samples of the best participating restaurants have to offer. It’s also a great place to see “local all stars” such as celebrities and media personalities. But if you can’t make it out that night, you still have plenty of time to pick the cuisine and restaurant of your choice. And you get to vote for which restaurant you like best.
Last year, Boney Fingers took home the coveted title of Restaurant of the Year. It was the second straight year for this barbecue-themed standout, and it is coming back for the three-peat.
“We’re proud of our past two awards, and we’re going for our third,” says Christian Huff, owner of the downtown restaurant. When it comes to barbecue, “we know how to do it. We don’t do anything special like some crazy, outlandish rub. We just cook it properly. A lot of people like to take shortcuts, which isn’t what we do.”
Cleveland Chop won the Restaurant of the Year award in 2016 and will be back again this year as well. With its prime steaks, dry-aged steaks, certified Angus beef and hand-cut fillets, the restaurant hot spot always places high. But it also offers a great selection of seafood, as well as “neighborhood favorites” like seafood fettuccine, shrimp gnocchi and tenderloin tips in a stout reduction.
“Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week is a great program,” says Alan Kneidel, a partner in Cleveland Chop. “It’s a great way to support restaurants and downtown, but it’s also a great way for guests to try a lot of different things at a lower cost. So it offers a great value.”
It also brings people downtown — “a lot of people from the suburbs who might not normally come downtown,” Kneidel adds. “And that helps us build our business. That’s why we participate every year.”
It all starts at the end of this month. So mark your calendars and bring your appetite.