Saturday, June 1, 2019

This Week's Counter: Chagrin River Diner

We needed to make a trip out to Willowick on a Saturday, and had limited East side counters remaining on our list -- hoping to go somewhere in the vicinity.  In a random desperate search on Google maps, we turned up the Chagrin River Diner, in old downtown Willoughby.  Apparently it's a fairly new place, since we've been to other counters nearby in prior years and hadn't noticed it.

Located on Erie St dead in the center of the downtown, the diner is maybe one of the most modern we've visited. It looks like it took over the space of an existing restaurant -- lots of modern booths and a big open kitchen on one side. They installed bench-like seating fronting the very long counter all across the open kitchen area -- really nice to see and interact with the staff as they were working.

The menu is also pretty modern -- a bit more upscale than your typical diner, including items like chorizo, carnitas, steelhead, breakfast tacos and avocado toast.  But you can also build your own more standard breakfast, putting together eggs, various meats and several types of potatoes.

Cam got scrambled eggs, bacon and breakfast potatoes -- good, but too many veggies in the potatoes for his liking.  Ted went with the chorizo hash and over-medium eggs -- an unusual choice, but really good -- spicy and a very large potion.  

While it's billed as a "diner", this place is definitely much more. In a great location and with a pretty cool, modern layout and style, it makes a good contrast to the more traditional counters we usually see.

Cam says: "Food for the most part wasn't a hit.  Service was nothing more than decent.  But, the atmosphere of the restaurant and staff made it better. I'll give it 6 frying pans."

Ted says: "Pretty cool place -- loved the layout of the counter all along the kitchen -- unusual and excellent choices for breakfast. A strong 8 pans."


Saturday, May 25, 2019

This Week's Counter: Goody's

Making our way out to the West side on a Sunday morning, we dropped in at Goody's in Brook Park, on Snow Rd not far from the airport.  This place is really popular, and the large parking lot was pretty full -- probably near peak time for the post-church crowd on a Sunday.
The good news is, they have a very large counter -- and with most people being there in larger groups, waiting for tables, we had no trouble getting seats.  

Goody's seems very efficient -- clean, pretty quick and well-organized.  Even the staff all wear matching shirts, and seem to work together really well.  I think we had 3 different servers paying attention to us at the counter, whether it was taking our order, bringing more drinks or delivering the food -- all seamless.

They have an extensive menu (beyond just breakfast -- they seem to do a great lunch business too). We both had potatoes and eggs, and Cam added bacon. All around, the found was great -- fresh, hot and another one of the few places that can get the potatoes right. Crispy on the outside, light on the inside, and not greasy at all.  Coffee was solid too.

This one is a keeper -- we would definitely go back when in the area -- quality and overall experience make it well worth a visit to Goody's.

Cam says: "Good food quality with comfortable counter and decent atmosphere. Service was solid.  I'm giving it 8 frying pans."

Ted says: "Really liked this place a lot -- spacious counter, attentive staff, busy but not chaotic, and the food quality was excellent. 9 pans!"


Sunday, May 19, 2019

This Week's Counter: Gus's

We're always struggling find additional East side or central counters, so we don't have to make a long trek to a new location each time. Gus's, in Old Brooklyn, was one of the remaining ones on our list that wasn't too far.  We dropped in on a Saturday late morning to check it out.

This is blue-collar, urban neighborhood, no frills dining for sure!  On the bottom floor of an old brick building on the gritty northern-most part of State Rd, Gus's seems to attract a lot of regulars from the area -- a very diverse crowd.  It was busy, but we didn't have a problem getting seats at the somewhat small counter.

Service was pretty quick and very business-like -- no frills there too. We ordered and the food arrived fast (Gus's prides itself on no more than 10 minutes wait between ordering and eating). Breakfast sandwich with egg and bacon for Cam, cheese omelet and potatoes for Ted.  All cooked well and hot -- better effort on the well-done potatoes than most places deliver. The coffee was just fair -- kind of weak, although they score points for the heavy, old ceramic mug.

If you want to experience a bit of the "real" Cleveland, maybe before a visit to the Zoo (nearby), check out Gus's -- not fancy, but good and easily worth the price.

Cam says: "Service was just fair, food was good.. I'll give it 6 frying pans."

Ted says: "Very good quality food, but lacking a lot on atmosphere. I'll give it 6 pans."