In some Silver Spoons categories this year, you may note that we have separated chain and independent restaurants into subcategories. It's a practice Cleveland Magazine has followed in some previous years, and we return to it now in response to those readers who expressed surprise (among other, stronger reactions) at the number of chain restaurants that appeared in last year's poll results.
|Pick up The May 2001 issues of Cleveland Magazine at your local newsstand and find out which restaurants you our readers picked as the best in Northeast Ohio.|
poll. Cleveland Magazine cannot and will not try to police the tastes of our readers. On a personal level, we can agree with the letter writer who lamented that a family-style national chain swept into the Best Italian category last year (and again this year), finishing higher than the far more authentic ristorantes of Little Italy. But the Silver Spoons awards are indicative of the preferences of the readers who chose to make their favorites known by filling out a ballot.
As a second point, before you turn up your nose at the idea of dining at a chain, take a moment to be certain you aren't already doing just that.
There are so many chains on the map today that some people may not realize their favorite restaurants and watering holes are chained. For instance, Charley's Crab and Big Fish are both concepts owned by the Muer Corp. and duplicated elsewhere. The acquisitive Outback Steakhouse Inc. owns not only its Aussie-themed steakhouses, but also the concepts for Carrabba's Italian Grill, Fleming's Prime Steak House and Wine Bar, and Roy's Pacific Rim.
Eateries with multiple locations, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill or Tony Roma's, are obviously part of larger families, but just because a restaurant is unique within Northeast Ohio doesn't mean there aren't more exactly like it scattered around the country. Cleveland-area dining spots you might not realize are chained include BD's Mongolian Barbeque, fadó Irish Pub, Napa Valley Grille and P.F. Chang's China Bistro. And don't forget locally owned chains such as Amazon Trail and the Hyde Park steakhouses.
For those who disagree with your fellow readers' choices, the 2002 ballots will appear in next January's issue. Take a few minutes to fill one out and return it to us. Even more importantly, spread the word to friends, relatives and co-workers about the many wonderful independent restaurants that call Northeast Ohio home not to mention those fine eateries that aren't unique but still rise above the "chain" appellation.