One Eleven Bistro's Chicken and Waffles ($13)
Syrup: You won't have to worry about sticky fingers since the sweet Ohio maple syrup arrives already drizzled over the dish.
Bread: Two house-made ricotta cheese waffles are stacked on one another.
Sweet factor: A discus of Tabasco butter should have been an upfront kick to the mouth, but it left a lingering mesquite aftertaste.
Creativity: We love the massive slab of boneless chicken breast that's brined for 12 hours and then buttermilk-fried, adding substance to a straightedge dish.
Chef's pitch: "We take the time to develop the flavors for it by not making a traditional waffle," says executive chef and owner Anthony Scolaro.
Our score: Sun. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 2736 Medina Road, Medina, 330-952-1122, 111bistro.com
Lucky's Cafe's Gingerbread Waffles ($13.50)
Syrup: Decadent house-made caramel sauce, house honey-infused whipped cream and maple syrup-roasted local apples replace standard syrup.
Bread: These fluffy squares are not overly spicy like gingerbread cookies, but earthy, smoky and slightly sweet thanks to local blackstrap molasses.
Sweet factor: The heaping scoop of whipped cream and buttery caramel make this a sugar high. But the acidic apples help balance the richness.
Creativity: An artful crescent apple garnish that's cut paper-thin and dehydrated overnight adds a surprisingly juicy flavor.
Chef's pitch: "When we take it to the table, people freak out," says chef and owner Heather Haviland.
Our score: Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., 777 Starkweather Ave., Cleveland, 216-622-7773, luckyscafe.com
Touch Supper Club's Fruity Pebbles pancakes ($12)
Syrup: Maple syrup comes on the side.
Bread: The two buttermilk pancakes — with Fruity Pebbles baked inside — were so light and fluffy that we didn't even need a knife.
Sweet factor: The dish toes a nice balance between sugary and comforting.
Creativity: The dollop of Fruity Pebbles-infused butter had us dreaming of Saturday mornings in front of the TV.
Chef's pitch: "It's like eating a bowl of cereal," says owner Robert Ivanov. "You've got the dairy from the butter, combined with the cereal that gives it a perfect blend."
Our score: Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2710 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, 216-631-5200, touchohiocity.com
Beachland Ballroom and Tavern's smoked salmon and latkes ($9)
Bread: These potato pancakes follow the traditional latke formula. Each was crispy on the outside and replete with potato goodness on the inside.
Sweet factor: This dish rejects sweetness outright thanks to dabs of lemon creme fraiche and a poached egg. An occasional slice of salmon added a rare but welcome snap of smoke.
Creativity: Latkes and smoked salmon are a traditional flavor pairing that makes even a Gentile heart swoon — but the helping of fish can be small.
Chef's pitch: "It's simple but takes a lot of technique to make a crispy, puffy latke," says chef Bryce Jordan.
Our score: Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland, 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com
Heck's Cafe's baklava French toast ($12)
Syrup: Fragrant honey-cinnamon syrup hits a floral high note thanks to orange blossom.
Bread: Four layers of Orlando Baking Co.'s country bread mingle with a mixture of crushed walnuts, cinnamon and clove.
Sweet factor: It teeters into the dessert category, but those with a sweet tooth won't mind.
Creativity: A house-made sea salt butter breaks up the sweetness.
Chef's pitch: "It's always nice to put a spin on a classic," says owner Fadi Daoud. "It's overwhelming the amount of people who ask for it."
Our score: Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 2927 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, 216-861-5464; 35514 Detroit Road, Avon, 440-937-3200, heckscafe.com
The South Side French Toast ($8.50)
Syrup: No need. A ring of bruleed marshmallows creates a tidy pool for the strawberry compote.
Bread: Two pieces of fluffy brioche sandwich a layer of bittersweet chocolate.
Sweet factor: It finds harmony in the Christmas-spiced brioche, bittersweet chocolate, toasty marshmallow and ooey-gooey fruit.
Creativity: The strawberries pay tribute to the produce found at the nearby Tremont Farmers' Market.
Chef's pitch: "It's everything that a hangover cure should be," says executive chef Robert Ledzianowski. "You had a rough night in Tremont, so get a bloody mary and French toast."
Our score: Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 2207 W. 11th St., Cleveland, 216-937-2288, southsidecleveland.com