Cleveland Kitchen recently opened its doors, offering a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Midwest food menu, bringing a whole new flavor to Lakewood Ranch.
Two years in the planning until completion, the enthusiasm of owner-operators Cindy and Steve Novak is contagious as they talk about their menu.
Maybe a good place to start is their Taste of Cleveland, a sample platter including stuffed cabbage roll, chicken paprikas, rice sausage, and cucumbers and sour cream salad.
Other favorites include Main Avenue Prime Rib, Chicken Paprikas, Ohio City Chicken, Potato Cheese Pierogies, and pork and kraut.
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Rounding out the menu are sandwiches, ranging from the Beardenburger, a Cleveland tradition since 1948, Fried Bologna Knockwurst, Downtown Corned Beef and more. A variety of appetizers, sliders, soups and salads are also offered.
Entrees range in price from $12-$20, and sandwiches are available for between $9-$14.
“We have a little something for everyone,” Cindy Novak said.
The arrival of Cleveland Kitchen, at 2539 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., adds a new dimension and pull to the growing dining scene on the north side of Lakewood Ranch.
“All of our soups are handmade, and we serve all of our entrees – with the exception of the prime rib – all day,” Cindy Novak said.
The Novaks personally planned every aspect of the restaurant and were not afraid to get their hands dirty during the construction phase.
“It was exciting to see everything come to life,” Steve Novak said. “This is food we grew up with in Cleveland, but it is Midwest food.”
The Novaks say they are hitting a nostalgic note for others who grew up with the food and haven’t had it for a while.
“Very, very good,” one customer said of her meal as she left the restaurant. “It was just the way I remember it.”
The comfort food served by Cleveland Kitchen will appeal to others as well, even though it may be new to them, the Novaks said.
Cindy and I go and talk to every table. We want to make sure our customers are well taken care of, that they are enjoying their food, and we want to learn where they are from.
Steve Novak, the owner-operator of Cleveland Kitchen
Already, customers are returning and are working their way through the menu, they say.
“Cindy and I go and talk to every table. We want to make sure our customers are well taken care of, that they are enjoying their food, and we want to learn where they are from,” Steve Novak said.
In fact, Cleveland Kitchen has a wall at the back of the restaurant that customers are invited to sign with their hometown.
Talk to the Novaks for a bit, and there is no mistaking their foodie sensibility and of making dining out a fun experience.
In part they achieve that through time-tested family recipes and invoking the cooler elements of Cleveland life, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the large Cleveland theater district.
“We want to be the best mom and pop on the block,” Cindy Novak is fond of saying.
Cleveland Kitchen is open 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.