Lolita and B-Spot Stole My Heart

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Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of visiting two of Iron Chef Michael Symon’s restaurants in his hometown of Cleveland: Lolita and B-Spot.  After such a great dining experience at his Detroit restaurant, Roast, I was eager for another taste.

Our first stop? It only made sense to start where it all began: Lolita, Chef Symon’s first restaurant, located in the hip and trendy Tremont district of downtown Cleveland. From the minute my colleagues and I walked through the doors, we felt the positive, laid back vibe that Chef Symon portrays every day as co-host of ABC’s The Chew. As fellow Midwestern gals from neighboring Michigan, we knew we were in store for an evening to remember.

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Although I’d like to think the “Thin Lizzy” cocktail was named after me, we can thank Michael’s beautiful (and hilarious) wife Lizzy for this one. Of course, I also had to try the “Beta” made with ginger infused vodka, lime juice and club soda.  They had me at ginger.

What happens when you put a perfectly designed menu in front of 8 hungry women? We order just about everything. And it was fantastic.

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Top Left: Charred Eggplant Dip with Homemade Flatbread; Top Right: Fava Bean Bruschetta;
Bottom Left: Chef Symon’s Cutlery; Bottom Right: Double Pork Chop with Zucchini Ribbons

Believe it or not, one of the most memorable experiences of Lolita, beyond the food and drink, was the hidden chef’s garden our lovely waitress Kathleen led us to explore. Situated in the back of the restaurant, this peaceful urban escape is everything you could imagine and more.  Chef Symon has mentioned his love of gardening in various articles and episodes of The Chew but seeing his passion in real life was entirely magical. I also happen to have a bad case of basil envy but that is another story.

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Our final stop before heading back to Michigan came highly recommended from locals: B-Spot Burgers, Chef Symon’s latest venture. B-Spot stands for bugers, brats, bologna, beer and bourbon. C’mon now.

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Top Left: Symon Says Rules; Top Right: Homemade Pickle Bar
Bottom Left: Wall of Beer Cans; Bottom Right: Hand Written Rules from Chef Symon
We visited the Strongsville location just outside of Cleveland and once again, our expectations were surpassed. Did you know Chef Symon has a sense of humor? The wall of the entrance is lined with his dining guidelines, also known as “Symon Says”. My favorite: “No whining.” Right past the wall of rules is my favorite part of the restaurant: a self-serve homemade pickle bar. Self-serve. Homemade. Pickles. Need I say more?

All in all, Cleveland was a foodie paradise and I can’t wait for my next visit. Take my advice: grab your car keys or hop on a plane and book it to C-Town.  Your fork is waiting.

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