CLEVELAND — Planning a night out on the town? Looking to impress a hot date or loved one? Tired of hitting the same-old restaurants? In this feature, 3News food expert Doug Trattner lends a hand as he highlights great places to visit in Northeast Ohio. From temples of fine dining to hole-in-the-wall dives, these places all have a few things in common: excellent food, good service, great vibes, and local ownership. So pull up a chair, order a beverage, and stay for the fun!
This week, Trattner invited Mike Polk Jr. to East 4th Street to check out one of the hottest new restaurants in town. Open since summer, Cordelia tastefully fills the gap left by Lola Bistro’s closure thanks to playful but delicious food and warm-hearted service.
ADDRESS: 2058 E 4th St, Cleveland
Owner Andrew Watts and executive chef Vinnie Cimino have jump-started the sleepy East 4th dining scene with one of the splashiest openings of the year. Named for Watts’ great-grandmother, Cordelia aims to be a celebration of Cleveland and the Midwest, with a heightened focus on hospitality – an approach management describes as “Midwest Nice.”
MENU STYLE: To complement that “Midwest Nice” hospitality, Cimino has devised a style of cuisine that he calls “Modern Grandma,” which reimagines familiar Midwest classics that many of us grew up enjoying around the family dinner table. The menu, which highlights numerous local farms and producers, offers a delicious mix of small plates, shareable platters and compelling entrees, all prepared in one of Cleveland’s most impressive open kitchens.
PRICE RANGE: $$$ (out of 5 $s)
TOP THREE REASONS TO VISIT:
1. The vibe: After more than 15 years as Lola, the property was due for a major renovation – and boy did it get one. Step under the shimmering 1940s-inspired signage with animated lights and into a lighter, brighter and more casual lounge area with an expanded bar and communal seating. The dining room, best described as granny chic, melds mix-and-match furniture, vintage tableware and stunning floral-print wallpaper.
2. The drinks: Bar Manager Sebastian Albornoz has crafted a cocktail program that leans into his South American roots, with creative elixirs featuring exotic fruits, coffee, oat milk, matcha, turmeric and carrot. The cocktails join a great selection of unique, boutique, and often low-intervention wines, with a reasonable number of by-the-glass options. The craft beer list has some fun goses, sours, lambics and ciders.
3. The food: Chef Cimino says, "We like it to be very communal, we want it to be fun and inviting, we want you to share. It's a good experience. It's like what Grandma does. You sit at the table, she brings you a whole bunch of food, you eat until you're full, and then she sends you home with a whole bunch of food." The pair devoured the Burger Box smash burgers, popcorn fried chicken livers and squojos, jojos made from squash.
CHECK THEM OUT: Cordelia