With about 50,000 attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland starting today—and that’s not counting the media and the protestors—and less than a thousand eating establishments in all of Greater Cleveland, two things are for sure—reservations will be as tough to get as a Veep slot and, between the famous Polish Boy hot dog/French fry combo and the pizza bagel, waistbands will be straining.
So how do you eat healthfully and yet still deliciously in the city that LeBron James just rebuilt, one free throw at a time? Clean Plates asked Douglas Trattner, a Cleveland dining editor and a New York Times’ best-selling cookbook author, for his favorite insider picks:
The Insider’s Farmer’s Market: Shaker Market
For more than 20 years, the North Union Farmer’s Market network has been the best provider of local, seasonal and farm fresh foods in Northeast Ohio, but the Shaker Market edges out all the rest. If you’re staying past the convention, plan to head over on Saturday to this bustling marketplace where you’ll bump into some of Cleveland’s finest chefs and home cooks, all in a race to score the best fruits, veggies, dairy and meat. (13209 Shaker Square)
Close to the Convention Center When You Only Have an Hour: Taza Lebanese Grill
When you’re in the mood for healthy Middle Eastern food, but feel like doing so in a more upscale environment, Taza is your spot. Opened by an operator who runs dozens of fast-casual falafel shops, Taza steps it up in terms of food, setting and service. (1400 West 6th St.)
Where to Go When You’re Sick of the Conventioneers: The Flying Fig
Tucked away on a charming brick lane in Ohio City, the Flying Fig avoids a lot of attention from downtown visitors. That’s great news for diners who love seasonal bistro cooking without the crowds; chef Karen Small is the godmother of farm-to-table cooking in Ohio. (2523 Market Ave.)
A Better-For-You Breakfast Spot: TownHall
Just steps from the 100-year-old West Side Market, Townhall is a popular spot for brunch, when health-focused diners are looking for a pre-shopping bite. The restaurant boasts a non-GMO, organic lineup of Paleo, vegan, and gluten-free options, all served up in an open-air dining hall. (1909 West 25th St.)
When Only Farm-to-Table Will Do: Fire Food and Drink
For more than a decade, chef Doug Katz has been serving the city’s freshest farm-to-table fare from this hip, elegant, timeless bistro. It helps that his restaurant is located on Shaker Square, home to Shaker Market. (13220 Shaker Square)
Where to Go If You Just Want Veggies: Helio Terra Vegan Cafe
Cleveland is a meat-and-potatoes town, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a raw lunch spot in the heart of downtown. Cold-pressed juices, salads and sandwiches—all of which are vegan—are served at this small, quick-casual spot by the Old Arcade. (619 Prospect Ave. East)
When You Just Want to Cleanse Yourself of Everything and Everyone: Beet Jar
This all-vegan, all-organic juice bar in the Ohio City neighborhood specializes in cold-pressed juices, raw foods and desserts. Start with a refreshing glass of beet, apple and orange juice or dig in for a 10-day cleanse.