to the West End for great tavern fare
By Cynthia Schuter-Eakin
Published Sept. 21, 2005
18514 Detroit Avenue
Reservations not necessary
Major credit cards accepted
Back in Cleveland’s early days,
taverns were places along the road where travelers could seek shelter
for the night, a bite of food and rest for the next day’s journey.
Nowadays, taverns are mostly
neighborhood establishments where regulars can find the companionship
of neighbors and friends, a little liquid libation and food, if
you like fried and not fancy.
The West End Tavern, 18514
Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, stands out from the rest because of
the conviviality of owner Parnell Egan and because of the quality
of its food. The kitchen turns out a product that is way beyond
what one expects as typical tavern fare. Take the black bean soup,
for example. The dark, flavorful broth is steeped in spices, with
onions and chunks of hot sausage, and served with a dollop of sour
cream for added richness $3.50 a bowl). Another signature dish is
the West End’s Cajun stew. The unique concoction ($4.50 a bowl)
is a “warm” blend of spicy sausage, chicken, tomatoes, rice, potatoes,
onions and fresh herbs and spices.
Appetizers include two dozen
Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in seasoned broth and served
with toasted garlic parmesan bread for dipping ($6.95). Sizzling
button mushrooms sprinkled with garlic and herbs and served crackling
in a cast iron skillet with fresh parmesan cheese ($5.95) are a
real treat. Try the blackened tuna fingers, made with bite-sized
pieces of yellow fin tuna seasoned with Cajun spices and skillet
blackened, then served with fresh lemon, rice and a creamy tarragon
sauce ($7.95).The tavern’s “bubble” bread is French bread that is
butter-toasted and sprinkled with a blend of cheeses, then finished
under the broiler until it is a bubbly golden brown ($5.95).
The California cobb salad
is one of the best in town. The creation of the original Brown Derby
restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1950s, the cobb salad is fresh
greens topped with chicken breast chunks, crisp bacon, sliced hard-boiled
egg, fresh tomatoes and shredded cheeses. Priced at $5.95, it is
a bargain. I finished half of the salad for my lunch, leaving the
other half for another meal. A friend enjoyed the day’s omelette
du jour. The light and airy creation was filled with chunks of fresh
vegetables and cheeses and served with toasted French bread and
homemade hash brown potatoes.
For my money, the West End
burger ($6.95) is certainly among the best. They start with a half
pound of Black Angus beef and hand shape it for perfect grilling.
It is broiled to your desired temperature and served on a bun baked
and delivered fresh daily from Mazzone’s Bakery. The bun is lightly
buttered and griddle toasted to crispness. Top that with fresh lettuce,
a slice of raw Vidalia onions and a slice of vine-ripened tomato
and you have one heck of a meal. Crumbled bleu cheese and grilled
mushrooms are optional. The menu also offers a smaller Wimpy burger
Another favorite at the
West End Tavern is the Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich, prepared
with a signature marinade and broiled, then served with your choice
of side dish ($6.95). The barbecued pork sandwich is made with slow-roasted
pork loin that is pulled and shredded and dredged in barbecue sauce
($6.95). The West End makes its grilled cheese sandwich with your
choice of three cheeses on thick, buttered toast ($4.95).
Luncheon diners can get
smaller portions of regularly offered comfort foods like tender
pot roast with buttermilk mashed potatoes and meatloaf topped with
onion rings and barbecue gravy.
Evening diners can enjoy
entrees like broiled Atlantic grouper served with sautéed
spinach and rice ($13.95), double-thick, center-cut pork chop ($13.95),
and filet of top sirloin served with your choice of potato and a
vegetable ($14.95). Lake Erie yellow perch sandwiches and dinners
are available daily. Patrons can expect some new items to be added
to the autumn menu, according to proprietor Egan. The tavern offers
a short list of wines to complement your meal, as well as full bar
The West End Tavern is open
for lunch and dinner. Saturday brunch, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., features
a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Sunday brunch, served from 9:30
a.m. to 2 p.m. offers new entrée specials and mega Mimosas.
Phone (216) 521-7684. Major credit cards are honored. The tavern
is wheelchair accessible.