It’s a feud that’s been around perhaps just as long as the Browns versus Steelers rivalry: East Side versus West Side. Clevelanders have debated for years which side of Cleveland is the best place to live, work, play and, maybe most importantly, dine out.
Michelle Venorsky, author of the popular food blog Cleveland Foodie, says although she grew up on the East Side, she doesn’t have a preference and can’t choose a side of town she prefers.
“I always thought it was funny how people were characterized by sides,” she explains. “When it comes to food, whether it’s going out to eat, trying a new bakery or shopping for a hard-to-find good, I’ll travel wherever.” The distance between the East and West sides is not far, she adds, and she says Clevelanders are lucky to have the ability to travel to either side.
East-Sider Mark Ely says that he doesn’t think there is a big difference between the two sides of town when it comes to dining out.
“I eat out on both sides, but as an East-Sider, I find myself eating out more often on the East Side,” he says. “But both have a good mix of cuisines and quality.”
There is not a type of food someone is craving that can’t be found in Cleveland, whether it’s on the East or West side, adds Venorsky. “We have it all,” she says. “From Turkish to Indian to Mexican to Italian. Mom-and-pop places to chef-driven.”
Ely, a popular blogger at Eating Cleveland says that he prefers the East Side because of the proximity to his home, and the variety of restaurants. “You can get just about any kind of food on the East Side,” he says. He also thinks the East Side has more mom-and-pop and local “joints,” while the West Side offers more chains and restaurants with higher quality and prices.
Although Venorsky will travel to both sides for a delicious meal, she says she tends to migrate toward West Side neighborhoods like Ohio City and Tremont, and even East Fourth right in the heart of downtown. “A lot of great chefs can be found in these parts, as well as fantastic ethnic eats,” she says.
Venorsky feels both sides of town are flooded with too many chain restaurants, but adds that in recent years, she has seen many people, both East- and West-siders, embrace food. “People want to know where their food comes from and support local more than ever,” she says.
Local eateries are where Venorsky and her family prefer to dine, and when asked to name her favorite restaurant, she names at least 10, every one of which, from the East to the West sides, is local. “There really are too many amazing places to eat to name a favorite, from small dives to higher-end eateries,” she says. “Cleveland truly is a dining destination, and our food and chefs could go up against any major city and hold its own – and then some.”