While I want to use Authentically CLE to showcase more in-depth profiles of business owners, I also want to be able to timely respond to things happening around us.
So, in that spirit, I plumbed some posts from the Why CLE? archives to share with you three of my favorite black-owned businesses in Cleveland, as well as three I’m dying to try soon (which means I’ll be coming back here to share them with you once I do.)
I’ll also be working on more feature-style profiles of black-owned businesses (including the three on my must-visit list) in the weeks to come.
Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant
Since my first visit, Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant has become a favorite spot, particularly for take-out, with spicy, flavorful dishes that transport well. Here’s an excerpt from my blog post about Zoma:
When I moved to DC in 2003, I was amazed at the wide variety of ethnicities represented in the city’s cuisine. One that always intrigued me, but I somehow never tried, was Ethiopian food. So, naturally, 14 years later, back in Cleveland, I would finally try Ethiopian cuisine (and wonder what the hell took me so long.)
For my entree, I chose the lamb tibs, which is cubed lamb prepared with onion, garlic, rosemary, and jalapeno peppers and served on a sizzling skillet (think: fajita-syle.) For my side, I chose the flavorful split yellow peas, with onions, garlic, and turmeric.
The food is served atop injera, a spongy Ethiopian bread used to dunk and eat the food. The texture of the bread is really different, almost pancake-like, but stretchier. And while it’s a great compliment to the food, it definitely takes up a lot of space in your stomach, so even our server warned us to not overdo the bread!
Melissa is a vegetarian and Zoma offers a ton of flavorful options for non-meat eaters. Melissa got a combo platter with chickpea stew, cabbage with ginger and curry, and red lentils in hot garlic and onion sauce.
Black Box Fix
If you’re looking for a great sandwich, look no further than Black Box Fix. From the original blog post:
The menu of unique, gourmet sandwiches was developed by Chef Eric Rogers, who you might recognize from “Guy’s Grocery Games” on the Food Network. The sandwiches range from a variety of Philly sandwiches to burgers to chicken, many of which have a Creole inspiration.
All of the sandwiches are served with fresh cut fries available in 4 different varieties: garlic Parmesan, Cajun, Creole butter, and plain.
Jeffrey and I stopped in earlier this week for lunch. He enjoyed a classic cheeseburger and fries. I had the Mr. Martin, a gigantic sandwich with buttermilk fried chicken breast with house made agave BBQ and sweet onion vinaigrette slaw. Juicy, tender, and a perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
Sauce the City
When I visited Sauce the City while Ohio City Galley was still open, I was immediately impressed by the flavorful food (I could eat that street corn all day) and friendly service.
Even though Ohio City Galley is no longer open, Sauce the City is still operating for take-out and delivery in a pop-up location at 1400 West 25th Street. Not only can you get some of the tastiest chicken in town, you can also support a business that is active in the community with their #FeedTheNurses initiative, as well as hosting a socially-distanced BBQ last weekend to facilitate conversation and community.