CLEVELAND — During the holidays, many people visit the house from A Christmas Story in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. But if you walk right across the street, you'll find a local spot that has been serving locals for more than 100 years.
Born in 1906, The Rowley Inn has been a staple at the corner of Rowley and West 11th. Back then, it started as a "third shift" spot for those who worked in nearby steel mills and factories.
"Steel mills are right down the street. People would get shots and beers before and after work," said owner and operator Jon Oberman.
Today, the third shift tradition still lives on, but now customers are eating a lot better food. It's a new tradition that started when Oberman took over back in 2016, upping the establishment from dive bar to a Cleveland culinary destination.
"A lot of pierogies, kielbasa, chicken paprikash," Oberman said.
Speaking of Cleveland classics, Rowley Inn even played a role in the making of A Christmas Story.
During filming, the upstairs was used as a location for makeup and wardrobe. Legend has it, customers were even pulled from the bar at random to be extras in the movie.
"Legend also has it that the 'Old Man' used to partake in here quite a bit," Oberman said.
A fun history reflected in their menu like the 'Drink Your Ovaltine' cocktail.
The real star of the show, though, is the food.
Classic dishes with a Cleveland twist like shrimp and grits with Hungarian kielbasa.
Also, lokomoski, a take on a Hawaiian classic, lokomoko, just Clevelified. (Yes we just made that word up). It's a burger patty, eggs, gravy, fried onions all served over pierogies.
Finally, the Cleveland Taco is a taco with kielbasa, sauerkraut and grilled peppers all topped with sour cream and stadium mustard.
Classic foods all Cleveland. All the time.
The Rowley Inn is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.