Apparently my luck for finding good food around Cleveland is pretty good, 2018 was no different. Be sure to visit the Feistaurants link for previous Cleveland based entries, but for this year we have two to add covering dinner and breakfast.
Click on any pic to see a bigger view and cycle through all of them. Oh, and please read the entire PJs review to find out why I might sound a little mean to start ;)
PJ McIntyre’s Irish Pub
When you walk into PJ’s at 17119 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland, you are greeted with pictures of the owner, but they are thankfully overshadowed by an outstanding pub ambiance.
A large friendly bar dominates the center of the place, and tables fill either end, with a huge stone fireplace at one end. Great pub imagery and a few more pics of the owner adorn the walls, giving the whole place an ‘authentic’ feel. But we are really not here to talk about that, I mean I have eaten in some less pretty places. Lets chat food…
We met local dance friends here, so I did not get any foodie pics, sorry, but it doesn’t matter, everything was excellent. Lots of Irish Pub standards on the menu, and I heard all of them are excellent. Our friends got fish and chips with perch, a reuben and a few other items. Serving sizes were plentiful and it all looked great. I have been to lots of Irish pubs, and most have a hard time doing Irish entrees right, not the issue here.
I had an excellent corned beef sandwich with some nice thick-cut fries. I also decided to try the curry sauce on the side for the fries and I was not disappointed. If you like curry, definitely hit up the sauce. Mrs. WTF had buffalo chicken mac & cheese which she couldn’t finish, so I helped. Excellent, but with a hot sauce kick a little hotter then expected, so be aware. TGC had a chicken wrap, and ate nearly the whole thing. She can be kind of picky, so I was surprised she ate so much.
Mix all that with a long beer list which the dads hit up, and wines which the moms enjoyed, and this is a great place for a night out, for some power food before a feis, or a celebratory (or consolatory) meal after one.
I also hear the fried pickles were excellent, but they were out, so I am going to have to take their word for it. I talked to the owner about it at the feis :) If you can’t tell from the first pic, the owner is no other than Pat Campbell of Brady Campbell Irish Dance School which has a location adjacent to the pub. Lucky dance parents at that school.
WTF was not asked to do this review, or compensated for it, in fact I did not know Pat owned the place till after I got there and he was not around to take care of the bill. :( I just really enjoyed the place and think you guys might too.
TGC was scheduled to dance after lunch for North Coast, so we went on a breakfast hunt. Yelp listed Scratch at 6595 Brecksville Road, in Independence, which was only about 2 miles from us. It wast rated at 4.5 stars and had over 150 pics so I thought this place must have something going for it. Plus the main pic was a burrito the size of a child’s head, and who can pass that up?
Easy to miss if you are not looking for it, Scratch is a small place in a strip mall. Guessing, I would say it had about a dozen tables seating 2 – 6 people, so it is not a big place. You are greeted by a cool wood wall when you walk in with the restaurant name, with all the other walls white and covered with ‘grafitti.’
Open for breakfast and lunch only, and closed Sunday and Monday, you would think with a small menu, it would be easy to pick what you like, you would be wrong. My decision was made when I asked a patron what they were having, and they said it was the special, the Superbowl, and North Coast Saturday was the last day for it.
Our family likes breakfast potatoes, especially crispy potatoes, and Scratch does all their potatoes crispy. The best breakfast potatoes I believe I have ever had, were the base of the Superbowl, then crumbled sausage, 2 scrambled eggs, and crumbled biscuits, covered in sausage gravy. OMG, it was outrageous, and almost too much for me to eat, and those of you that know me know that is surprising.
Mrs. WTF went with a sweeter breakfast, Tiramisu pancakes. They were bigger then her face, and each about a 1/2 inch thick. I had a bite, and they were good, but like TGC, I like savory for breakfast. And speaking of TGC, she had a ‘basic’ breakfast (no pic) with scrambled eggs, bacon, those awesome potatoes and whole grain toast. For a beverage, we all enjoyed some good coffee, but a patron, the one that was eating the Superbowl, said the French Press coffee was well worth the price.
If we had any complaint, our family likes their bacon like they like their potatoes, crispy. Scratch serves pork belly bacon which if fattier, and was not crisp. Caveat, we did not ask for crisp, so that might be on us.
Might seem a bit pricey for breakfast, but the portions are huge and are well worth the pricing. If/when we get back up that way, definitely worth another visit, and you local Cleveland peeps should try it out as soon as you can if you like a hearty breakfast.