Oldest Restaurants in Cleveland

9 Oldest Restaurants in Cleveland

If you’re a foodie or a history buff, you’ll love exploring the oldest restaurants in Cleveland. These establishments have stood the test of time, weathering economic booms and busts, changes in culture and cuisine, and even the occasional natural disaster. They are the keepers of secrets, the purveyors of tradition, and the guardians of Cleveland’s culinary heritage.

From classic diners to upscale steakhouses, these nine restaurants offer more than just a meal. They are a living testament to the city’s past, present, and future. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the stories and flavors behind Cleveland’s oldest and most beloved eateries. Whether you’re a lifelong Clevelander or a visitor looking for a taste of the city’s history, these restaurants are sure to satisfy your appetite for both food and culture.

9. Close Quarters Pub

Year Founded: 1985
Founder: Mark Horwedel
Cuisine: American food
Address: 31953 E Lake Rd, Avon Lake, OH 44012, United States

photo source: Patch

Founded in 1985 by Mark Horwedel, Close Quarters Pub is a beloved local spot for classic American pub fare and drinks. The pub is located on E Lake Road in Avon Lake, a suburban city on the shore of Lake Erie. Close Quarters Pub offers a wide selection of beers, both on draft and in bottles and cans. The pub has a rotating selection of craft beers from local and national breweries, as well as classic domestic beers like Budweiser and Miller Lite.

The menu at Close Quarters Pub features all the favorites of American pub cuisine, including burgers, wings, sandwiches, and fries. The pub is especially known for its juicy burgers, which can be customized with a variety of toppings, from classic cheese and bacon to more adventurous options like guacamole and jalapeños. The wings are also a popular choice, with a range of sauces to choose from, including classic buffalo, honey mustard, and BBQ.

Did You Know?

Close Quarters Pub is a popular spot for watching sports games, with multiple TVs throughout the pub showing all the major games and events.


8. Pier W

Year Founded: 1965
Founder: Unspecified
Cuisine: Seafood dishes
Address: 12700 Lake Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107, United States

Pier Wphoto source: Only In Your State

Pier W is a critically acclaimed seafood restaurant located in Lakewood, Ohio, just west of Cleveland. The restaurant sits atop a cliff overlooking Lake Erie and boasts stunning panoramic views of the water and the Cleveland skyline. The interior of Pier W is designed to evoke the feeling of being on a ship, with curved walls, porthole windows, and nautical decor. The restaurant also features a spacious outdoor patio that allows diners to take in the stunning views of Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline while enjoying their meal.

The menu at Pier W features a range of fresh seafood options, including raw bar selections, sushi, and classic fish dishes prepared with contemporary twists. Some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes include the lobster bisque, the pan-seared scallops, and the miso-glazed sea bass. In addition to seafood, the restaurant also offers a variety of meat and poultry options.

Did You Know?

Pier W has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades over the years, including being named one of the Top 100 Scenic View Restaurants in America by OpenTable and earning a four-star rating from The Plain Dealer.


7.  Slyman’s Restaurant & Deli

Year Founded: 1964
Founder: Joseph Slyman
Cuisine: American dishes
Address: 3106 St Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114, United States

Slyman's Restaurant & Deliphoto source: Breakfast with Nick

Slyman’s Restaurant & Deli is a beloved Cleveland institution that has been serving up delicious deli sandwiches since 1964. The restaurant is known for its huge portions and fresh, high-quality ingredients, which have earned it a reputation as one of the best delis in the city. One of the most popular items on the menu at Slyman’s is the corned beef sandwich, which is piled high with tender, juicy meat and served on thick slices of freshly baked bread. The restaurant also offers a variety of other classic deli sandwiches, including pastrami, roast beef, and turkey.

In addition to its delicious sandwiches, Slyman’s also serves up a variety of homemade soups, salads, and sides, as well as a range of breakfast items, such as omelets and pancakes. The restaurant’s friendly staff and cozy atmosphere make it a popular spot for locals and visitors.

Did You Know?

It has been featured on numerous TV shows and in newspapers and magazines over the years.


6. Mama Santa’s

Year Founded: 1961
Founder: Guido Scaffidi, Nancy Scaffidi
Cuisine: Italian food
Address: 12301 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States

Mama Santa'sphoto source: TripAdvisor

Mama Santa’s is a beloved Italian restaurant located in Cleveland, Ohio that has been serving up authentic Italian cuisine since 1961. The restaurant was founded by Guido Scaffidi and his wife Nancy, who wanted to share their passion for Italian food with the local community.

Mama Santa’s menu features a wide variety of classic Italian dishes, including homemade kinds of pasta, pizzas, and antipasti. One of the standout dishes at Mama Santa’s is the eggplant parmesan, which is made with thick slices of tender eggplant, tangy tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese. Another popular dish is pizza, which is cooked in a wood-fired oven and topped with fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Did You Know?

The restaurant is known for its generous portions and affordable prices, making it a popular spot for families and college students.


5. Sterle’s Country House

Year Founded: 1954
Founder: Frank Sterle
Cuisine: Traditional Slovenian dishes
Address: 1401 E 55th St, Cleveland, OH 44103, United States

Sterle's Country Housephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Sterle’s Country House is a family-owned restaurant in Cleveland that has been serving traditional Slovenian dishes since 1954. The restaurant is housed in a historic building that dates back to the early 1900s. The interior of the restaurant is warm and welcoming, with a cozy fireplace and rustic decor.

One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the Slovenian sausage, which is made with a blend of pork and beef and seasoned with paprika and other spices. Other popular menu items include chicken paprikash, goulash, and schnitzel. All of the dishes are made from scratch using high-quality ingredients and traditional recipes passed down through the generations.

Did You Know?

In addition to its delicious food, Sterle’s is also known for its lively atmosphere and live music. The restaurant hosts polka nights every Friday and Saturday, and visitors can enjoy dancing and live performances while they dine.


4. Tommy’s Restaurant

Year Founded: 1946
Founder: Tom Koulax
Cuisine: Italian Creole
Address: 1824 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118, USA

Tommy’s Restaurantphoto source: Tommy’s Restaurant

Since 1946, Tommy’s Restaurant has been a beloved fixture in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The founder, Tom Koulax, aimed to bring the distinctive flavors of New Orleans to the Midwest, creating a unique blend of Italian and Creole cuisine that has become a local favorite. The menu features classics such as pizza and pasta, as well as spicy Creole dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and po’boys.

The restaurant’s interior is decorated with vibrant murals and artwork that add to its cozy and inviting atmosphere. The ambiance is laid-back and bohemian, attracting a diverse crowd of visitors and locals alike. Tommy’s has been a gathering place for the Cleveland Heights community for generations, with a rich and storied history.

Did You Know?

Tommy’s is also renowned for its milkshakes, which are made using high-quality ingredients and come in a variety of flavors.


3. Gunselman’s Tavern

Year Founded: 1936
Founder: Henry Gunselman
Cuisine: American dishes
Address: 21490 Lorain Rd, Fairview Park, OH 44126, USA

Gunselman's Tavernphoto source: Only In Your State

Gunselman’s Tavern is a historic American tavern located in Fairview Park, Ohio. It was founded in 1936 by Henry Gunselman and had been serving up classic American dishes and drinks ever since. The interior of the tavern has a rustic and cozy feel, with exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and a fireplace.

The bar is the centerpiece of the tavern, and it is a popular spot for locals to gather and enjoy a drink. The menu at Gunselman’s features a range of classic American dishes, including burgers, sandwiches, and wings, as well as daily specials that showcase fresh and seasonal ingredients.

Did You Know?

The tavern also has a large outdoor patio, which is a popular spot during the warmer months.


2. Johnny’s Bar

Year Founded: 1924
Founder: Unspecified
Cuisine: Northern Italian food
Address: 3164 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, OH 44109, United States

Johnny's Barphoto source: Dining With Frankie

Johnny’s Bar is a Cleveland institution that has been serving up delicious Northern Italian cuisine since 1924. The restaurant is located in the historic Ohio City neighborhood and has a cozy, old-world feel that transports diners back in time. The menu at Johnny’s Bar features classic Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and chicken parmesan, as well as a selection of seafood, steak, and veal entrees. The restaurant is also known for its homemade pasta and sauces, which are made fresh daily.

Aside from its delicious food, Johnny’s Bar is famous for its extensive wine list, featuring a wide variety of Italian and international wines. The restaurant’s knowledgeable staff can help diners select the perfect wine to complement their meal. The interior of Johnny’s Bar is warm and inviting, with rich wood paneling, stained glass windows, and a cozy fireplace.

Did You Know?

The restaurant is popular with locals and tourists alike and has been visited by many famous figures over the years, including actors, politicians, and athletes.


1. Guarino’s Restaurant

Year Founded: 1918
Founder: Vincenzo Guarino
Cuisine: American-Italian dishes
Address: 12309 Mayfield Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106, United States

Guarino's Restaurantphoto source: University Circle

Guarino’s Restaurant is a historic American-Italian eatery located in the heart of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. The restaurant has been serving up delicious Italian cuisine since 1918 and is considered the oldest restaurant in Cleveland. Founded by Pietro Guarino, the restaurant has remained in the family for four generations and is now run by Pietro’s great-grandson, Joe Guarino.

The interior of Guarino’s is warm and welcoming, with dark wood paneling, stained glass windows, and a cozy fireplace. The restaurant has a classic; old-world feel that transports diners to another time and place. The walls are adorned with photographs and memorabilia from the restaurant’s long history, providing a glimpse into Cleveland’s Italian-American heritage.

Did You Know?

In addition to its delicious food, Guarino’s is also known for its live music performances. The restaurant hosts a variety of musicians and performers throughout the year, ranging from jazz and blues to classical music.


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