I was in Cleveland, for a conference, recently, and you know what happens at a conference. You may have the continental breakfast offerings in the morning, and they might even cover your lunch. However, more than likely, you’re on your own for dinner.
I admit…I had all these grand ambitions about what I was going to eat, but there’s something about listening to people talk for nearly eight hours that can take the wind out of you. I just wanted to grab my din-din and go. Sometimes simplicity is golden.
I walked down a few blocks from my hotel on Euclid Avenue and saw a few people dining outside. Figuring that I had walked long enough, I wandered into Pizza 216.
So now I’m about to see how Cleveland gets down with their pizza.
Pizza 216 is a brick oven pizza joint, and the hostess let me know it is on a list for “Best Pizza in Cleveland.” Now, I’m feeling pretty good about my choice.
The place has a pretty chill vibe, surprisingly, since there’s a lot of neon red with black going on. I’m not bothered, black and red works for me. I even see one of the people from the conference as I get ready to order my carryout. He’s is waiting for his order, and excited because I’m wearing a t-shirt that says, “Podcaster.” It was his company’s shirt. How about that ROI?
Glad to make your day Sir!
So what’s on the menu? Pizza, of course…but what kind? The menu boasts of pies like Pierogi pie, which is topped with whipped mashed potatoes, ricotta, cheddar, caramelized onions, green onions, and sour cream. The menu also includes The Bianca with olive oil, classic blend, ricotta, garlic, and fresh mozzarella and provolone cheese.
They also have more pies on the menu like The Margherita, The Spicy pie, and The Carnivore.
Whoa! Back up…that’s it! We’re going full carnivore tonight.
So I ordered a small brick oven Carnivore Pizza, and let me tell you, “No lies detected folks.” It was loaded. It was hearty! And it was packed and stacked with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ham, and meatballs. The fresh homemade pie crust was awesome as well.
In retrospect, what was also impressive was the story of the owner Johnny Lis, who attended pizza school in New York City. As a native New Yorker, I understand the full flex of that statement. So after pizza school, he headed to downtown Cleveland where he opened up a shop in 2015. That small New York-style pizza joint, serving handmade pies, Buffalo wings, and drinks, has become a place where tourists and homers come to enjoy a slice of comfort food and maybe a Cleveland Guardians, Browns or Cavs game.
The Pizza 216 menu also offers the 216 Smash Mouth— a handheld short rib and brisket blend with lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, and burger sauce. There’s also garlic knots, Buffalo Chicken Nachos, Toasted Ravioli, and a variety of wings (Buffalo, Garlic Parmesan, Honey Mustard, BBQ, and Sweet chili).
Never let it be said that I can’t get back to the point!
If you’re visiting downtown Cleveland for business, pleasure, or even a conference, I have a quick rescue plan for what to eat in Cleveland. Pizza 216 is a solid choice for something simply sumptuous and satisfying.