440-seat Bier Hall or choose a private event
space and create a customized Oktoberfest
experience,” she says.
The newest craft brewery in downtown
Toledo is Black Cloister Brewing Company,
where Destination Toledo CVB’s Hudson
says the decor is reminiscent of a monastery and Gregorian chants are often playing
in the background.
Tours are also available at Zanes-ville-based Weasel Boy Brewing Company,
which has a private room overlooking the
Muskingum River for group events.
And at Port Clinton-based Catawba Island Brewing Company, tours are available
and attendees are encouraged to sample
the recently released Lake Erie Love Light
Beer, as proceeds from every keg of this
beer go to the Lake Erie Improvement
Among the amazing array of group-friendly
dining options throughout the Buckeye
State is Orchids at Palm Court, Ohio’s only
AAA Five Diamond restaurant.
Located at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, which was voted Hilton’s No. 1
F&B hotel in the U.S. for six of the last seven
years, Orchids specializes in French-in-spired American cuisine, including blue
cheese beignets and smoked duck breast.
Chef Todd Kelly’s philosophy of “living
off the land” has produced some exciting
projects, including making artisan cheese
in-house, farming locally produced caviar
and harvesting honey from a rooftop
For a more casual experience there is
the Lodge Wood Fired Grill at the Great
Wolf Lodge Cincinnati/Mason, which specializes in wood-fired steaks.
Also casual, the recently opened Marble-head-based Erie Social Shuffleboard Club
& Bar, Ohio’s first indoor shuffleboard club,
is a fun place to grab a meal.
According to Amanda Smith Rasnick,
group sales manager for Lake Erie Shores
and Islands, it features six regulation-size
shuffleboard courts and a deli/bar offering
signature cocktails, including the rum-based Lake Erie Splash, and sandwiches
starring everything from pastrami to
One of Greater Akron’s newest dining
experiences is the Twisted Olive Italian
“Three-stories of smartly appointed
dining rooms and unexpected spaces offer
What makes Cleveland a great destination food-wise?
Honesty and diversity make Cleveland a great food destination.
Clevelanders are gritty, tough and honest. We take the same
approach with our food and our restaurants. The roots of Cleveland
chefs run deep into the neighborhoods and their ethnic backgrounds. You get a true taste of the Cleveland spirit when dining
at a great food destination. The food is created from scratch using
regional ingredients by a homegrown chef and crew.
What culinary trends are you noticing around Cleveland
Cleveland has become a tremendous food destination over the past
10 years. I like to think Cleveland creates trends based off Old
World authentic ethnic family cuisine from our region. Comfort food
is still king in Cleveland but it has a twist. Chefs are taking pages
from grandma’s old beat-up cookbooks and making these recipes
and dishes their own. Great food and great recipes using fresh
ingredients with new interesting techniques are what I am seeing
mostly—and that will never go out of style.
Tell a little about your group-friendly Melt Bar and Grilled
location nearby Cleveland in Independence.
Melt Bar and Grilled is a restaurant based in nostalgic comfort food.
Our main vehicle for sharing this food experience is the humble
grilled cheese sandwich. We have elevated this amazing comfort
food to great heights. We feel we have assembled a great group
package menu to fit all tastes and budgets.
I suggest starting the dining experience with a selection from our
Starters & Snacks list, presented family-style. This gives the group the
opportunity to order multiple items to pass and share.
A nice Melt Signature Salad served family-style would be a great
next choice. I would suggest the Melt House Salad with our fresh herb
croutons and honey balsamic dressing, both made in-house.
The entrees will be chosen from our Gourmet Grilled Cheese list of
signature sandwiches. There are no wrong choices here and plenty for
all tastes. Melt also focuses on guest’s diverse dietary choices by offering many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. These options are
not standard afterthoughts but culinary-driven options identical to the
rest of our award-winning menu.
What are some of your favorite Ohio craft beers?
I love craft beer, especially from Ohio, so it is definitely hard to
Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood has
Q&A with Matt Fish, Owner/Founder // www.meltbarandgrilled.com
been an incredible asset to the Cleveland culinary and beer commu-
nity. They continue to brew great beer and are very group-friendly. I
suggest taking a brewery tour then staying for lunch and a few pints!
The Butcher and the Brewer in Cleveland is a new brewpub that
has incorporated a brewery, butcher shop and full-service restaurant
under one roof. Tremendous people and tremendous products all-
around. The space is large and can accommodate many group sizes.
Market Garden, Bier Market, Bar Centro and Nano Brewery in Ohio
City are all owned by one local Cleveland group. They have created
a tremendous beer destination on W. 25th Street and have helped to
revitalize that area. All locations specialize in a different style of beer
and food offerings, plus they are all within a one-minute walk of each
other so try them all! Market Garden is the largest space and offers the
most diverse food offerings for groups.
Melt Bar and Grilled
Cleveland area (and Columbus)