I'm glad I was finally able to give OkiHwn and his wonderful blog a long due mention last week. Another favorite of mine that I've been following for about a year now is the Food-related ramblings from an oft-traveled engineer - Offbeat Eats. This blog focuses around (but not restricted to) my favorite subject of hole in walls with a lot of character and comfort dishes with regional local twists from around the nation. In fact I find Offbeat Mr. Kaszeta's personal take on places much more entertaining than some of the narrated shows on the FoodNetwork. Always refreshingly concise and nicely written (as opposed to my long ramblings) with wonderful photographs to match. You should definitely check it out! :)
For me business related flight trips had been pretty much non-existent in the last two years but I had the opportunity to visit Cleveland again very recently. My work day as usual started bright and early and was nonstop with only a quick lunch on site. So this meant visiting West Side Market or Seti's Polish Boys (introduced to me by Iron Chef Michael Symon on The Best Thing I Ever Ate..) would have to wait for another time. Darn. The light research I then did in my hotel room the evening I managed to find Freddie's Southern Style Rib House near downtown.. Address in hand I ran out as quickly as possible into my rental knowing if I didn't I'd soon be crashing into a deep jet lag fortified coma for the rest of the evening.
Not sure if FSSRH is only open during lunch hours or because it was a Monday...
But I found them closed. Bwaa..! :_(
Freddie's Southern Style Rib House, 1431 Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114
Bummed and wet from the rain, I simply switched focus to fun photo opportunities around town. I semi-aimlessly drove around with the comfort of knowing my trusty portable GPS would find my way back to the hotel no fuss at a given notice. I somehow ended up on Lorain Ave not too far from West Side Market after crossing a pretty bridge. Pulled over here and there for a few snaps, and a couple more blocks down I ran into Steve's Lunch.
I absolutely loved the look of the place and had to stop in. It was quite busy when I entered but by the time I had ordered I was one of two customers left after the crowd.
I found out Steve's was a 24-hour joint loved by the local community with a lot of meals named after police officer regulars. You can pretty much get any diner fare breakfast or lunch but I went for the Polish Boy ($3.75).
The version here was on what looked like a larger rectangular dog bun (New England style?) that was toasted, with a split grilled polish sausage, piping hot fries, some tangy BBQ sauce and a generous amount of sweet Coleslaw (or with choice of Kraut instead if you prefer).
My first Polish Boy.. Wow! :) I'd say the experience is pretty much what it looks like here but the whole somehow greater than the sum of all the parts.. The slaw, fries, and BBQ sauce.... A fork is provided as to hint at how things will end. A wonderful tasty mess! :)
Truth be told I was in love with Steve's atmosphere so much that I didn't want to leave. So I convinced myself that I had a light lunch the day and had room left for a regular hot dog..
The 'Works' ($1.50) comes with Mustard, Onions and Chili.
Pretty basic but wonderful stuff the combination. The chili had a meaty consistency without any bean texture like some styles you'd find in So. Cal. - Pink's or Tommy's. I did end up dowsing it with some ketchup near the end. I enjoy the extra sweetness with the savory chili and hot mustard and next time I'd probably order it with some slaw as I did with my Polish Boy. Although at Pink's I felt the (first experience with the) coleslaw was strange, here at Steve's I'd say would be a perfect match.
I ♥ you Steve's. If I ever married a Clevelander I would love to have my wedding reception here.
And oh, I am so not kidding!
Steve's Lunch, 5004 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102