What food is Cleveland known for? Here are the top 5 you NEED to try!

September 23, 2021

Have you been wondering “what food is Cleveland known for?” – If so, keep reading!

“What food is Cleveland known for?” – It’s a question you might be asking yourself if you’re planning a trip to Cleveland sometime soon! One of the best bits about visiting a new state, a new city, or a new country, is checking out all the amazing food they have on offer. So if you’re wondering ‘what food is Cleveland known for?” – you’ll hopefully find the answers in this list!

Here, we’ll talk about the best foods in Cleveland, the foods that have gone viral, the food that define Cleveland and the famous Cleveland dishes that are iconic for locals and tourist alike!

So, if you’re feeling hungry – settle in. We’re about to rock your world.

Here are the foods that Cleveland is known for!


What food is Cleveland known for? Stay tuned!


When understanding the food culture in Cleveland, it’s important to understand the various influences. Cleveland is located in North America, right at the top, with neighboring big cities such as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. These cities have their own food identities, and a lot of the traditions and well-known foods from those cities have rubbed off on Cleveland – making Cleveland a mixing pot of some of the area’s most well-loved dishes.

Cleveland also has a big Polish community, and a large European community – so you’ll find lots of influences from these places in Cleveland too!

When asking “What food is Cleveland known for?” – there isn’t necessarily one answer – there are a few! And we listed them below!


The Polish Boy

The Polish Boy is perhaps the BIGGEST food hero in Cleveland. When asking ‘what food is Cleveland known for?’ it’d be impossible to leave the Polish Boy off our list! Every Cleveland resident has tried one at some point! This is perhaps the most well-known food in Cleveland and might be the food that Cleveland is most well-known for.

So what is a Polish Boy? OK, so a Polish boy is a delicious sandwich… it’s messy, jam-packed full of fillings, and so satisfying. You’ll find kielbasa in there, topped with French fries, BBQ sauce and coleslaw. Often drizzled with chilli sauce if feeling adventurous! You simply can’t visit Cleveland without checking it out – it’s crazy good. Click here for some recommendations on where to find the best Polish Boy sandwiches (and even more amazing photos of them too!).

This is a VERY neat representation of a Polish Boy! They’re usually much messier than this!

Pierogis

Next on our list of the most famous foods in Cleveland, it’s Pierogis. Now, you might not have heard of Pierogis before, so let us explain what they are! They are little delicious savory dumplings (potato-and-cheese stuffed usually!). They’re often either boiled or lightly sautéed – and they’re so so tasty!

Not sure where to try them out? Sokolowski’s University Inn is a spot popular with locals, as is Parma’s Perla Homemade Delight – where they have so many amazing flavors to try! Another one of the delicious foods that Cleveland is known for!


Corned Beef sandwiches

Corned Beef Sandwiches are our next answer for the question ‘What food is Cleveland known for?’. You can’t go to Cleveland without seeing the iconic Corned Beef Sandwiches being served up in diners, cafes and delis. But the corned beef sandwiches in Cleveland aren’t your average!

They’re HUGE portions, which fresh deli-quality corned beef jammed between fresh bakery bread. You’ll have never tried anything like it. The corned beef sandwiches from Slyman’s in Cleveland are perhaps the most well-known, so make sure you give them a try! This is definitely one of the top foods that Cleveland is known for!

Read more travel food inspiration: The best deli in NYC – 11 places you need to try!


Donuts

It’s probably Cleveland’s proximity to the east coast… But one of the foods Cleveland is known for is also delicious donuts! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re going to find some amazing donut bakeries in Cleveland. Jack Frost Donuts are some of the best in the city, and they’re so indulgent and tasty, you’ll need to go back for seconds!

Read more travel food inspiration: Top 50 best desserts in NYC


The Pizza Bagel

Another well-known food in Cleveland is the PIZZA BAGEL. Yes! Your two favorite carbs had a baby, and it’s delicious. The best place to try the pizza bagel in Cleveland is at the Pizza Bagel Lady stall in the West Side Market.

Why do we love pizza bagels? Because they’re a mash-up of two of our favorite meals, and honestly, the combination is 100% perfect. We know you’ll love it. This is definitely one of the foods that Cleveland is known for!

Image credit: https://www.facebook.com/pizzabagellady/

Special shoutout to Bertman’s Mustard!

A local brand, and a big favorite in the city… Bertman Mustard is a condiment you’ll find just about everywhere in Cleveland. From the sports venues, to local diners and cafes, it’s good on anything! It’s also an amazing little Cleveland souvenir you can take home with you too!

Image credit: https://www.instagram.com/bertmanballparkmustard/

Special shoutout to Cleveland cider

Although not technically a food, you can’t visit Cleveland without trying some of the delicious Cleveland cider. It’s locally grown, locally brewed and simply 10/10. In fact, it’s a perfect option for washing down some of the food items on this list of food that Cleveland is known for!

This might not be the answer to “What food is Cleveland known for?” but it’s definitely the answer to “What drink is Cleveland known for?”.


One last tip for foodies visiting Cleveland!

Now we’ve answered your question “What food is Cleveland known for?” – it’s time for one last travel tip for foodies!

We’ve got one last tip for foodies visiting Cleveland, and that’s to visit The West Side Market! This place is a food heaven in Cleveland. You’ll find local sellers and amazing local produce – and there are plenty of things to try out and take home!

You’ll find Christopher’s Bakery, The Cheese Shop, Foster’s Meats, Czuchraj Meats, Franks II, Pierogi Palace, Ohio City Pasta, Kim SE Cambodian Cuisine, The Pizza Bagel Lady, Wiencek Meats, and soooo many more! It’s genuinely a treasure trove of delicious food, and a great place to try out some of the Cleveland food on this list.

Hopefully we’ve answered your question… What food is Cleveland known for?

When it comes to what food is Cleveland known for, there are a few, as you now know! But they’re always delicious, and we think you’ll love them all!

Read more travel food inspiration: Where to find the best cheesecake in NYC – 15 places to try!

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