Broke Girl’s Guide to Eating Out: Food, Drink and Tip for $15

As a frugal, unemployed urbanite who is also planning a wedding, I am on a serious budget. Unfortunately, I love to eat out. I especially love a good happy hour. In addition to all of these things, I can be a bit of a food snob given how many fantastic eateries we have here in Cleveland.

The good news is that we have a surprisingly high number of happy hour specials around town that will allow me to continue to dine out and sample some of the fine foods Cleveland has to offer, while sticking to my budget (I hope!).

The broke girl’s guide to eating out highlights one food item, an alcoholic beverage and 20% tip that will allow you to dine out for a whopping $15 or less. Yes, you are reading that correctly. You can dine out at a NICE restaurant for only $15 a meal. Keep in mind that I am referencing happy hour specials only.


Order: Mac and cheese with chicken, goat cheese and rosemary ($6), Beta cocktail with ginger infused vodka, fresh lime juice and soda ($5). Total with tip: $13.20

Other tasty bites include mussels ($6), pork rillettes toast ($5) or charred eggplant dip ($6). Signature cocktails are $5, wine options $5, and beer $3.

Happy hour is served in the bar area Tuesday – Thursday 5 – 6:30 p.m. or 9 – close, Friday – Saturday 5 – 6:30 p.m. or 10 – 11 p.m. and Sunday 4 – 6 p.m.


Order: Penne alla vodka ($6) and two Great Lakes Dortmunders ($3 each). Current beers on happy hour include Great Lakes Dortmunder and Peroni. Total with tip: $14.40

Other delicious choices include cavatelli alla bolonese ($6), formaggio ravioli ($6) and carpacio di salmone ($6). Happy hour wine options are $6 and cocktails are $7.

Happy hour is served Monday – Friday from open – 7 p.m. and Sunday open to close.

Pier W

Order: Tempura Blue Cod Sandwich ($7) and The Pier W Blue Cocktail ($6) for dinner. Total with tip: $15.60 

There are almost too many options to choose from at Pier W during their happy hour! Angus reserve sliders ($6), lobster bisque ($5.50), margharita pizza ($5.50), gulf shrimp tempura ($6.50), verlasso salmon burger ($7) or beef short rib pierogies ($5.50) are all available. Wine specials are $5.50 – $6 and cocktail specials are $6.

Happy hour is served at the bar area from 4:30 – 7 p.m. on Sunday, 4 – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday and 4 -6 p.m. on Saturday.


Order: Rocco’s shrimp tacos ($7) and pair with either a happy hour wine or beer selection ($4). Total with tip: $13.20

Other filling options include the happy hour pizza ($7) or the Cleveland Cheesesteak ($6). Or try the signature cocktail ($5).

Happy hour is served at the bar from 5 – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday.

L’ Albatros: Happy Hour Cleveland

It’s been awhile since I’ve featured one of Cleveland’s fabulous happy hours. There have been so many summer festivals and events, I’ve been neglecting the restaurant scene. So after years of wanting to check out L’Albatros in University Circle, I finally made plans to check it out with a good friend.

Despite the fact that it was almost ninety degrees, we decided to sit on the beautiful and spacious L’Albatros patio. The patio gives off a cozy backyard vibe, with a seriously swanky touch. For a weekday evening there were plenty of seats to go around, possibly due to the heat. We ordered our drinks, a Kronenbourg beer ($4.50) for me and a Gemini ($8) cocktail for my friend. Both were delicious and refreshing in the heat. I had several.

I made a meal out of two of the happy hour food options – pommes frites ($5) with spicy aioli and the goat cheese tart ($5). If you even remotely like goat cheese, this tart is for you. It was amazing and actually pretty filling. The pommes frites were also fantastic, although the aioli made them even better. I didn’t try them for myself, but according to my friend the mussels ($16) are some of the best in town.

Other happy hour deals include a bianco pizza ($10), L’Albatros burger ($10) and fried cauliflower ($5). If you are looking to give L’Albatros a try or simply want a great happy hour deal on fabulous food, this is the place to go!

L’Albatros: 11401 Bellflower Road, Cleveland Ohio, 44106, 216.791.7880. Open Monday – Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m., Thursday – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m., Sunday 3 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Foodie Thursday – 3 places to eat

On this incredibly dreary day, it seems appropriate to provide some recommendations for great places to grab some grub while we wait for the glorious summer weather to return. Get ready to call some friends, because there are some yummy places to check out!

Luca, Downtown Cleveland

If you are looking for some delicious Italian food at an amazing price, then you need to add Luca to your next happy hour list. Located on the Superior Viaduct Bridge (diagonal from where I was proposed to!), Luca has beautiful views of the Cleveland skyline as well. Happy hour runs from 5-7 p.m., Monday – Friday and 5-9 p.m. on Saturday. I grabbed a Peroni ($3), while wine and martini specials are $6-7. Most impressive were the portions and quality of the food we ordered. The calamari was super tasty ($6) and more than enough for two people to share. Don’t leave this place without ordering the Formagio Ravioli ($6). I wanted to lick the plate it was so good. You may want to order a couple though, as you only get three giant raviolis. My friend ordered the Penne alla Vodka ($6) and loved that too! Get a group of friends and order one of everything!

The Willeyville, The Flats

I’ve mentioned Willeyville before, but my sister, mom and I all went there this week for lunch to celebrate Mother’s Day. I’m still in love with the light fixtures and decor! I had never been to Willeyville for lunch, and their menu was definitely a little shorter. We ordered the veggie burger with fries ($11) and the salmon burger with fries ($14). Both were tasty and filling, although neither knocked my socks off. While the veggie burger was tasty, it also wasn’t as crisp as I would’ve liked. I give them credit though, as it can be hard to create a solid veggie burger from scratch. What I did love was the s’mores dessert we shared ($8). A combination of ice cream, graham crackers and syrups it definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. I would’ve preferred a tad more ice cream, but I’ll take what I get!

Humble Wine Bar, Lakewood

I did a post a few weeks ago about the great patios  in Cleveland and someone mentioned that I really needed to check out Humble Wine Bar’s patio. Unfortunately for us when we arrived, all of the tables were taken so we headed inside to the bar. I immediately loved the inside of Humble Wine Bar. Great decor; classy but simple. We also had made it in time for their happy hour which includes $2 off all pizzas. Being adventurous, I ordered the Shrimp Pizza ($15). It turned out to be delicious, if not a tad spicier than I had though it would be. Happy hour cocktails include $5 specialty drinks and $5 wine pours. I will definitely be back to indulge in one of their delicious pizzas and to enjoy the outdoor patio as well! Happy hour runs Tuesday – Friday, from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.


April Showers Bring Fabulous Happy Hours

As we inch further and further into April, my hopes for continuous warm weather continue to rise. I can’t help but to picture myself on a patio, sipping a cold, fruity drink. Oh right, I was doing exactly that this past weekend and then the snow decided to descend upon the city! So in honor of the fabulous weather I know is coming back, I wanted to feature some of my favorite patio hangouts throughout Cleveland that also serve up a nice, little happy hour. Cheers!

Greenhouse TavernGreenhouse Tavern, Downtown Cleveland

Who doesn’t love a rooftop bar? I can’t think of one person who doesn’t love having a drink on a patio that also happens to be on a rooftop. Head on over to the Greenhouse Tavern on East 4th street for some delicious food and great ambiance. Sit close to the edge and people watch from above. While their happy hour includes discounts on various drinks and appetizers, the real draw is the atmosphere for me! Definitely try the pomme frites while you bask in the sunlight and enjoy one of the few rooftop bars in the area.

ReddstoneReddstone, Battery Park

If you have never checked out Reddstone, add it to your list this spring and summer. Located in the residential area of Battery Park, this patio is surrounded by trees and pretty lights, giving you a cozy and secluded feel. And did I mention that their food and drink deals are amazing? From 4pm-7pm, Tuesday – Friday enjoy all draft beer for $3 a glass. Tuesday is 35 cent wing night and $3 160 oz. cans, Wednesday is $5 burger and Miller Lite or Kentucky Light, and Thursday is $2 tacos, $3 margaritas, and $3 Coronas. Please let the snow melt soon –  I’ve talked myself into this one!

Rocky River WIne BarRocky River Wine Bar, Rocky River

This past summer was the first time I visited the Rocky River Wine Bar. Nestled behind a few historic buildings, this large patio area rocks. It is super spacious and shaded by several trees to help keep you cool. Happy hour is served Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and features discounted appetizers, $5 select martinis and $4 select wines. Seems like a good time to take a half day and soak up the sun on their patio while drinking some wine. Summer bliss is right around the corner!

WilleyvilleThe Willeyville, The Flats

One of three restaurants that now graces The Flats, Willeyville is a hip and fun bar that reminds me of the equally trendy Ohio City and Tremont areas. The lighting in this restaurant is fabulous and they have a spacious outdoor patio that I can’t wait to start frequenting this summer. Sample their cocktail of the week ($5) and hand cut fries ($3). Happy hour served Monday-Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 7p.m.


Top Happy Hour Picks for March

As I sit here on this gloomy (yet warm) Monday morning, I can’t help but to start looking forward to the week before me and the many happy hour options available to help get me through these last few weeks of winter. Nothing like a nice, cheap cocktail to help numb the pain of the last few days of freezing weather. As always it was hard to narrow my list down, but here are five places to check out for their great happy hour deals! Happy Monday!

Press Wine BarPress Wine Bar, Tremont

There is nothing I don’t love about Press Wine Bar in Tremont. I enjoy the simple, yet modern style of the restaurant and the food is delish! The combination of brick walls and dark wood make you feel right at home. Happy hour is served Monday – Friday from 4pm to 7pm. Appetizers and wine are $5 for happy hour, while local draft beer is $3. I think that I am most looking forward to their fabulous outdoor patio as soon as the weather breaks for good!

WestEndSignWest End Tavern, Lakewood

It is with great sadness that I report I only now have discovered this fabulous hang out spot in Lakewood. How is it that I could have not known this bar existed? The vibe is chill and casual, with different specials depending on the day of the week. My personal favorite is Wednesday, where all bottled beer and call drinks are $2, all night. Other specials include $2 drafts and ½ off burgers on Mondays, $1 Taco Tuesdays with beer specials and Thursday $2 Junction Punch and Long Islands. This one might require a cab ride home due to their fabulous drink specials.

LuxeLuxe, Cleveland

When I think of Luxe Kitchen & Lounge, I immediately think trendy and fun. We’ve celebrated many special occasions at this hip restaurant and bar due to the chic interior and scrumptious food. Happy hour is served in the lounge from 5pm – 7pm, Monday through Friday. Martinis, draft beer and wine are all 2 for 1, and pizzas are half off. I’ve tried their Mushroom Pizza with carmelized onions, arugula, goat cheese and balsamic syrup as well as their Margherita Pizza and both are superb. They even offer a Vegan pizza!

ZocaloZocalo, Downtown Cleveland

Dreaming of a sandy beach with a nice cold margarita in your hand? I can’t deliver on the sandy beach, unless you want to hop on down to Edgewater, but Zocalo can deliver on the margarita. Margaritas are only $5 for happy hour, as well as several specialty drinks, 25 oz beers, and house wines. As you slurp your way to the beach (at least in your mind), enjoy one of their $5 appetizers as well! Happy hour is from 2pm – 7pm, Monday through Friday! Sounds like we might need to leave work a little early for this one!

Nauti_MermaidNauti Mermaid, Downtown Cleveland

The Nauti Mermaid almost makes me forget about the dreary weather outside and is a great way to kick off the evening. This charming restaurant and bar on West 6th serves up a tasty happy hour with small plates costing only $5, domestic bottles at $2, and signature cocktails for $5. I would highly recommend the crab cakes, as well as their signature Nauti Mermaid cocktails. Cheers Mate!

Cleveland Chop Serves Up Happy Hour Heaven

Cleveland Chop Happy Hour MenuCleveland Chop, located on St. Clair in the Warehouse District, is quickly becoming a staple in my happy hour hang out spots. Located in the same building where the Cleveland ChopHouse once resided, this restaurant focuses on much more than just good steaks. Within the last few months, I’ve been there three times and have been blown away each time by their fantastic happy hour selection.

My boyfriend and I first ventured over to Cleveland Chop on New Year’s Eve. It wasn’t the most happening spot, but we were cold from standing outside at the New Year’s Eve Bash in Public Square and were ready for a cozy bar and a cold drink. We sat down at the bar and ordered a couple Stellas, quickly made friends with the other patrons sitting at the bar, and then proceeded to consume mass amounts of Fireball Whiskey. The service was impeccable and the drinks more than generous.

My second and third trips back were for their extensive and delicious happy hour. When you walk into Cleveland Chop you immediately feel warm and cozy. The dark wood and brick make perfect sense for this venue and there is ample seating both at the bar and tables around the bar. Their happy hour menu has so many delicious options, I didn’t know where to start. All of their pizzas are half price (between $5.50-6.50) and could easily serve as a meal. I wasn’t that adventurous and stuck with the Margherita, but it sure was tasty! We also ordered the Spinach Cheese Dip ($5), which comes with the possibly the best dipping bread I’ve ever had. Yum! I’d also recommend the Lump Crab Cake ($6.50) and the Ahi Poke Tacos, but beware that the tuna is raw ($6.50).

Cleveland Chop also provides ample drink options, with $3 draft beer, $4 select wines and $5 for a handful of specialty cocktails. I personally love the Rogue Dead Guy Ale, brewed in Newport, Oregon. As the Cleveland weather shows no sign of getting any warmer, it seems like a good idea to go drown your seasonal blues at Cleveland Chop. Happy hour is served from 4-7pm, Sunday – Friday. Maybe I’ll see you there!