Iron Chef, co-host of ABC’s The Chew and a Food & Wine Best New Chef 1998, Michael Symon is the meat-loving chef behind four Cleveland restaurants, including the flagship Lola Bistro and B Spot Burgers. Here, he names the must-visit stops in his hometown.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015

Music Museum: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“You have to go to Rock Hall. It represents so much of Cleveland now. We fought hard for it, since everyone thought New York should get it. I’m a huge music buff, but even if you’re not one, there’s so much history, there’s something for everyone there, from classical music to hip-hop.”

Incredible Market: West Side Market

“It’s celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and there’s not an Eastern European market like it in the country. When I take New Yorkers there it takes their breath away. It shows you what Cleveland culture is all about. I love J&J, I think they have the best jerky in the world. Ohio City Pasta makes fresh pasta all day. If you want to get some cool, unique spices, Urban Herbs grinds them daily.”

Best Polish Food: Sokolowski’s

“It’s a cafeteria-style Polish restaurant where you can get pierogies and stuffed cabbage and kielbasa, all of those delicious things.”

House-Smoked Meats: The Sausage Shoppe

“I love this shop in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. They smoke their own meats, they make their headcheese. They have the best bratwurst and kielbasa you’ll ever find.”

Indie Shopping: Banyan Tree

“This little store next to Lola sells great unique clothing, art and jewelry. It’s gotten me out of trouble many times. I’ve gotten my wife, Liz, a lot of purses, scarves, hats, earrings; it’s where I do the majority of my Christmas shopping for Lizzie.”