100 Lakeside Ave. E, Cleveland, 216-413-5120, theburnhamrestaurant.com
Cleveland Connection: Named after Daniel Burnham, the designer of the 1903 Group Plan that created Cleveland’s civic center, this restaurant’s modern American menu was crafted by another visionary: Cleveland restaurateur Zack Bruell, who consulted on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
The Vibe: Housed inside the 32-story, glassy new Hilton Cleveland Downtown, this restaurant is a hub of activity with an open kitchen, sleek white subway tile and Cleveland-centric artwork. It also has a 60-seat patio that offers views of Lake Erie and Mall B.
Know Before You Go: If you’re looking for a quick lunch, check for any larger groups or conferences staying at the Hilton. While the expansive dining room can accommodate many, the small wait staff and kitchen crew cannot.
Try This: The knife-and-fork po’boy ($16) is a decadent lunch treat with fried oysters, fried gulf shrimp and coleslaw on a flaky house-made buttermilk biscuit.
2000 E. Ninth St., Cleveland, 216-357-3250, parkersdowntown.com
Cleveland Connection: While West Siders may be familiar with its sister restaurant Parker’s Grille & Tavern in Avon Lake, the downtown outpost gives the menu an upgrade thanks to its executive chef Andrew Gorski. With previous stints at Tremont Tap House and Butcher and the Brewer, his progressive American menu focuses on using local ingredients in inventive ways.
The Vibe: With exposed ductwork, steel chairs and gray booths, the 100-seat spot’s industrial decor feels disconnected from the Kimpton Schofield Hotel lobby’s hipster, artisan vibe that boasts ottomans made from recycled saris and American Splendor comics on the walls.
Know Before You Go: While the extensive dinner menu features smoked pheasant and bucatini pasta with a 45-minute egg, don’t get your heart set on any particular item. At least two entrees were unavailable during our visit.
Try This: The chicken potpie ($22) forgoes the carrots, peas and onions for creamed leeks, foraged mushrooms and a delicate puff pastry.