Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doing Cleveland Right

Long after the cards and flowers of Valentine’s Day were gone and forgotten, Cleveland Chef Michael Symon wrote a love letter of his own – expressing his undying love and commitment to the city that many of us know and love – Cleveland.

Chef Symon fondly recalls his childhood around Cleveland with his Grandparents, and even about his teenage years where he spent hiding from Cleveland in the suburbs – in the “wide world of vanilla” and the regret he inevitably felt upon leaving. It was then that he truly began to appreciate the many flavors of Cleveland.

If you haven’t headed over to Huffington Post to read Symon’s letter in its entirety, it’s worth the read whether you live here, or are simply a curious bystander.

I mentioned the letter to a friend of mine living in Columbus who, when quoting Symon’s last paragraph said “Cleveland is like a woman you’d date for who she is, not what she looks like.”. While I can see how someone who has never been to Cleveland could make that sort of jibe about a place they’ve never been, I had to disagree. While the city does have a lot to offer in music, food, culture and small businesses, and yes…Sports – Cleveland IS beautiful.

When Chef Symon’s letter first appeared on Huffington Post, there were only a few comments. One commenter stated that he was very annoyed with Symon’s restaurant, Melt.

“But anyone that goes to Melt, waits an hour to eat, and then realizes the best thing about that place is the beer selection, will agree with me.”

Many readers were quick to defend Symon and sing the praises of his actual restaurants (for those not in the know, Melt Bar and Grilled is headed by Matt Fish, and is WAY more than grilled cheese).

Another commenter said, “cleveland sucks! Can't wait to get out!” to which I quipped,

You’re doing it wrong.

I have a hard time believing that anyone living in, or visiting Cleveland could be so repulsed that they felt compelled to leave post haste if they could only have the chance to take in some of the many things that are completely amazing here. I wonder, has that guy ever had the duck fat fries at Bar Cento? Has he ever been to an Alley Cat Friday or Record Store Day at Music Saves? Did he ever consider going on a ride with Cleveland Critical Mass? Probably not. I simply cannot believe for a second that the commenters above are even trying to enjoy any of these things - or anything else Cleveland has to offer.

How do you “do Cleveland right”?


Valerie A. Heck Esmont said...

I can understand growing up somewhere and not liking it, I grew up in a tiny town of 3,000 people and I'm sure there was more to do than I knew but it was rough.
People need to change their perspective. This year I decided I would enjoy the weather every day of the week/month/year. With the exception of maybe 2 days I have done that. Rain, snow, cold or hot I find joy in it. It's a choice to be happy where you are. I try my best to love it and I love Cleveland! : )