Like something out of a wholesome 1940s movie, Bearden’s was saved by a teenage girl. “My daughter came home from school [in 2011] and said, ‘Dad, they’re going to close Bearden’s. We have to buy it!’ ” recalls Jim Griffiths. And buy it he did, saving the 1948 restaurant from fading into the past. “We’re the caretakers of a process that’s been around for decades,” he says of himself and Michael McBride, Bearden’s culinary director and general manager. The chrome interior and white-and-gray checked linoleum floors of this Rocky River diner are the ideal setting for one of Bearden’s most-famous offerings: its milkshakes. “It’s similar to what you get out of a soft-serve [machine], but higher in butterfat,” says McBride. Another original favorite is the Peanutburger, a classic 4-ounce steakburger. While the actual recipe is a secret, here’s a version you can make at home.
Peanut Butter Burger
1 pound freshly ground beef or steak
4 hamburger buns
4 tablespoon creamy peanut butter, melted
16 to 20 sweet pickle slices
Salt and pepper
Shape meat into 4 patties. Season each with salt and pepper and place into heated pan over medium heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Meanwhile, lightly toast the buns. Spread butter on top half of each. Place cooked burgers on bottom buns and top each with 1 tablespoon melted creamy peanut butter and 4 to 5 sweet pickles. Place butter-topped bun on top and serve.
When You Go: Bearden’s, 19985 Lake Road, Rocky River, 440-331-7850, beardens.com
Read More: Click here to read the full list of 18 Classic Cleveland Restaurants.