February 20, 2024

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16 Cleveland-area restaurants, dishes, drinks tied to NFL cities

CLEVELAND, Ohio – With the NFL Draft being held this week in Cleveland, we thought we would have a little fun and pair local restaurants, dishes or drinks associated with NFL cities. For fans in from out of town, this week’s dining guide serves up some tasty connections. Bon appetit!

nfl draft dining guide


Antonio’s Pizza

Dish: Deep-dish pizza

NFL team: Chicago Bears

The Windy City’s flagship ‘za is deep dish – one of six styles offered at Antonio’s.

Multiple locations


dining guide nfl draft

Bourbon Street Barrel Room Marc Bona, cleveland.com

Bourbon Street Barrel Room

Dish: Everything.

NFL team: New Orleans Saints

If the menu doesn’t get you (SW Louisiana Cajun jumbalaya, Who Dat cheese bites) the Mardi Gras ambiance will.

2393 Professor St., Cleveland


nfl draft dining guide

The Brew KettleMarc Bona, cleveland.com

The Brew Kettle

Dish: Wisconsin Bratburger

NFL team: Green Bay Packers

Brats and Green Bay are synonymous, and The Brew Kettle at Progressive Field has the heavy-as-a-baseball butterflied brat on a hearty bun. If you want a more traditional German Bratwurst, the BK’s entrée is infused with Big Woody lager and a beef Hot Link, smoked to perfection.

Locations in Strongsville, Amherst, Hudson and Mentor.


dining guide nfl draft

Saucy Brew WorksMarc Bona, cleveland.com


Drink: Coffee!

NFL team: Seattle Seahawks

So many locally based places offer great coffee – Rising Star, Duck Rabbit, Phoenix and others. Saucy Brew Works’ Pinecrest taproom and coffeehouse in Orange Village offers fresh-made java in the morning.

Multiple locations

dining guide nfl draft

Dave’s Cosmic Subs

Dave’s Cosmic Subs

Dish: Sub sandwiches

NFL team: Philadelphia Eagles

They say ‘hoagie’ in Philly, we say ‘subs’ here. The locally based restaurant serves up several two-hands-required options, including the Big Dave – pepperoni, salami, prosciutto, capicola, ham, Dave’s Cosmic Sauce, romaine lettuce, extra tomatoes and onion, provolone cheese, banana and hot peppers, all topped with a pickle. Eat one of these and you’ll be napping through a few rounds of the Draft.

Multiple locations


dining guide nfl draft

Diamond Grille

Diamond Grille

Dish: Boston Strip.

NFL team: New England Patriots

The classic steakhouse offers the well-marbled Boston Strips – as well as an extra-cut version. Boston Strip is “a cross-cut from the bottom sirloin flap,” South Shore Meats says. And we bet you thought we’d go with traditional New England clam chowder. …

77 W. Market St., Akron


Dina’s Pizza & Pub

Dish: Buffalo wings.

NFL team: Buffalo Bills

Dina’s ranked favorably in a previous cleveland.com best-of wings contest winner. Several sauces are offered, including Buffalo-style.

5701 Memphis Ave., Cleveland


16 Cleveland-area restaurants, dishes, drinks tied to NFL cities

Don’s Lighthouse Grille David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Don’s Lighthouse Grille

Dish: Maryland crab cake

NFL team: Baltimore Ravens.

Don’s Lighthouse Grille serves Maryland crab cake – Jumbo lump, roasted corn relish, remoulade and chipotle honey.

8905 Lake Ave., Cleveland


nfl draft dining guide

Mabel’s BBQMarc Bona, cleveland.com

Mabel’s BBQ

Drink: Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City

NFL team: Kansas City Chiefs

Michael Symon’s restaurant on E. 4th Street has Boulevard Brewing’s Bourbon Barrel Quad, an American Wild Ale weighing in at 11.8% alcohol, and Boulevard’s Restless Nights, a collaboration with Modern Times. The Bourbon-barrel-aged Coffee Porter is 7.5% alcohol. And while Kansas City-style barbecue is tasty, this place is all about Cleveland’s own spin.

2050 E. 4th St., Cleveland


dining guide nfl draft

Melt Bar and GrilledMarc Bona, cleveland.com

Melt Bar and Grilled

Dish: Any sandwich on the menu.

NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Hey Steeler fans, you like sandwiches from Primanti’s? You probably should try Melt and its massive gourmet grilled-cheese (and other) offerings. We are as sure you will love it as we are confident about the Cleveland Browns edge rushers being able to sack Big Ben this year.

Multiple locations


nfl draft dining guide

Oak & Embers Marc Bona, cleveland.com

Oak and Embers Tavern

Dish: Carolina sauce for barbecue.

NFL team: Carolina Panthers

The place is all about barbecue, Bourbon and beer (and a few other tasty bites). You have to like a place that offers four sauces – including the tangy, vinegar-based Carolina sauce.

Locations in Chesterland, Hudson, Pinecrest in Orange Village


dining guide nfl draft

Sauce the City Cleveland

Sauce the City Cleveland

Dish: Cleveland Hot Chicken

NFL team: Tennessee Titans

Move over Nashville Hot Chicken, Vic Searcy offers his own spin with hot sauce, slaw and herbs from all over.

1400 W. 25th St., Cleveland


Shula’s 2 Steak and Sports

Dish: The restaurant.

NFL team: Miami Dolphins

How appropriate: Longtime Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula hailed from Grand River, attended school in Painesville and went to John Carroll University. And – as head coach of the Baltimore Colts – lost in the 1964 championship in Cleveland.

6200 Quarry Lane, Independence


Skyline Chili

Dish: Cincinnati Chili

NFL team: Cincinnati Bengals

What’s not to love about a platter full of pasta covered by chili covered by shredded cheese?

Lyndhurst, Stow, Mansfield


dining guide nfl draft

The Stone Oven Bakery and CafeThe Plain Dealer

The Stone Oven Bakery & Café

Dish: Sourdough bread.

NFL team: San Francisco 49ers

The folks at Stone Oven have their own starter they pride themselves in for this delicious bread.

2267 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights; 28601 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere.


nfl draft dining guide

Velvet Tango RoomThe Plain Dealer

Velvet Tango Room

Drink: Manhattans

NFL team: New York Giants / New York Jets

The high-end cocktail bar, which takes pride in its meticulous crafting of drinks, offers a trio of Manhattans – Perfect, Tango and Classic (barrel-aged).

2095 Columbus Road, Cleveland


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I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. And tune in at 8:05 a.m. Fridays for “Beer with Bona and Much, Much More” with Munch Bishop on 1350-AM The Gambler.

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