Famous Foods from Cleveland, Ohio

February 10th, 2022 by
Polish Pierogies Sour Cream

Image by Ezume Images via stock.adobe.com

Cleveland, Ohio, is an excellent destination for foodies. The city offers a plethora of outstanding restaurants delivering nearly any cuisine. However, when it comes to authentic local flavors, there are a few things the area is known for. Read on to learn more about some of the most iconic foods in Cleveland.


Pierogies are arguably one of the most popular foods in Cleveland. Though they originated in Eastern Europe, they’ve become an undeniable part of Cleveland’s foodie scene. For those who aren’t familiar, a pierogi is a dumpling that’s typically stuffed with whipped potatoes and cheese. Cooks can fry, bake, grill, or boil the dumplings.

Cleveland has spawned numerous variations on the dish in its lavish love of pierogies. Jukebox serves six different pierogies with flavors that include mushroom kraut, Buffalo chickpea, spicy chicken, sweet potato black bean, potato bacon, and traditional potato cheese. At the Rowley Inn, you can order a full kielbasa and pierogi dinner, complete with sauteed onions, peppers, kraut, and a side of sour cream.

Malley’s Chocolate

Malley’s Chocolates has been owned and operated in Cleveland since 1935. The company maintains 19 candy stores in Cleveland, Ohio, and produces its sweet treats in a 60,000-square-foot facility in Brookpark. The company’s iconic pink silos, labeled “cocoa,” “milk,” and “sugar,” are visible from Interstate 480, offering a mouthwatering photo op.

Any Malley’s chocolate bar will deliver a signature taste of Cleveland, but the pretzel crunch bar is a particularly popular option. Available in either milk or dark chocolate, this candy provides the perfect blend of salty and sweet.

Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard

Bertman Original Ballpark Mustard is served at every stadium in the city. Polish immigrant Joseph “Joe” Bertman created the mustard right in Cleveland. With the tireless ethic of an old-fashioned businessman, Joe put in the work to build his business from a small startup to a thriving company serving customers from Toledo to Pittsburgh. Bertman’s mustard was born from a simple request by League Park, which would later become the home of the Cleveland Rams.

League Park sold lots of hot dogs and pretzels and needed signature mustard to accompany them. Bertman was happy to comply and developed his recipe for the task. Bertman’s mustard is now considered the official mustard of the Cleveland Guardians and is found in establishments and homes throughout the city. The spicy brown mustard has been delighting customers for more than 90 years and was even praised as “the best mustard on the planet” by Rachel Ray.


Native Ohioans are known as Buckeyes, but there’s another meaning for this term that’s a delicious pick when you need a sweet treat. Buckeye candies feature a peanut butter fudge center and a rich chocolate coating that resembles the distinctive brown nut from the buckeye tree. Naturally, Malley’s Chocolates serves boxes of the iconic treat, as do many other candy shops throughout the city. Exploring Cleveland and surrounding areas, you might also find tasty variations on the treat, such as Mama Jo’s buckeye pies or the namesake buckeye donut sold by the Buckeye Donuts shop

The Polish Boy

The origins of the Polish boy are vague. Still, it’s been suggested that Virgil Whitmore of Whitmore’s Bar-B-Q first invented this iconic Cleveland dish as a creative way to combine several of the ingredients he already had on hand. A traditional Polish boy comprises a kielbasa topped with coleslaw, french fries, and barbecue sauce on a hot dog. 

Competition is stiff for the best Polish boy in the city, so the Seti’s Polish Boys food truck simplified matters by naming theirs “Best Polish Boy” right on the menu. Critics seem to agree, as Iron Chef Michael Symon and culinary expert Andrew Zimmerman have both declared the Seti’s Polish boy the best.

Corned Beef Sandwiches

Corned beef sandwiches may not sound like anything special, but Cleveland makes this one of their iconic foods by serving the sandwiches up in monumental proportions. Slyman’s is widely recognized for serving the best corned beef sandwiches in the city. Their famous corned beef is served traditionally on rye bread, with a massive layer of meat in the middle. You can also order it with Swiss cheese or the smaller lite corned beef version. Try the corned beef melt, grilled on rye, with Swiss if you prefer a hot sandwich. 

Jack’s Deli boasts an outstanding corned beef sandwich that’s garnered plenty of attention as well. Here, you can order your sandwich regular for a towering creation or “NSH” (not so hungry) if you want something more manageable that might fit in your mouth.

Pizza Bagel

The pizza bagel is just what it sounds like. This delight purportedly originated in Cleveland more than 30 years ago. It’s long been a famous find at the West Side Market. This pizza bagel isn’t confused with Bagel Bites or other products that feature a sliced bagel with toppings. The Cleveland pizza bagel is so distinctive that Terry Frick of Frickaccio’s Pizza Market has taken out a patent on it, calling it the “pizagel.” 

Whatever you want to call it, there’s been a lot of buzz around this soft, doughy concoction topped with sauce and cheese. The Sandwich King of Food Network, Jeff Mauro, has come seeking to sample the bagel. President Obama took home a dozen pizza bagels from the West Side Market. In Cleveland, you can even celebrate Pizza Bagel Day on October 14 to truly get into the festivity around this food item.

Cleveland is known for so many iconic foods that it was difficult to pick just a few. Did we miss any outstanding dishes that the city is known for? If you have a suggestion for the list, contact our team at Kia of Streetsboro and let us know! We want to have the best recommendations for all of our customers.

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