Friday, September 23, 2011


Have you been to The Chocolate Bar yet? No? You need to go. My friend Nancy and I went up to Cleveland on Wednesday to have dinner there and to stroll along East 4th Street.  It was a drizzly night, and yes, it was a school night, but we've come to the conclusion that Cleveland really isn't that far to drive for a weeknight outing. Especially if there's chocolate to be found!

We were last to The Chocolate Bar about a year ago. The food was terrific, the drinks were wonderful and the atmosphere was upbeat and cozy. Nancy and I were seated at a window table looking out over the hustle and bustle that is East 4th. We were both pleasantly surprised at the amount of foot traffic for a Wednesday evening, especially in the intermittent rain.

The restaurant was busier than last year and I’m happy to see that. They’re located on the south end of the Hyatt at the Arcade which explains the prolific number of groups of men dressed in business attire we saw. The number of restaurants along Euclid Avenue has grown making this a busy section of town and there were many, many 20- and 30-something couples and groups wandering as well. We mused that it would likely be even busier when the Indians game was over as many of the bars we walked past weren’t quite ‘alive’ yet for the evening.

The dessert case at
The Chocolate Bar
We arrived about 7pm for dinner and still managed to sneak in during happy hour which allowed us half price martinis and $5 appetizers. We ordered Sweet Potato Fries to share plus two sandwiches to share. The Chocolate bar baguette, more dessert than dinner, was a toasted baguette, smooth dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt, served with an olive oil and chocolate dipping sauce. The menu says it’s incredible and they ain’t fibbing!

The non-sweet part of our meal was their Turkey Berry Panini (roasted turkey. assorted greens. Jack cheese. and raspberry mayo. served on a toasted baguette) and was terrific. To drink I had a Chocolate Banana Cream Pie martini that was totally awesome! For dessert, Nancy ordered a Belgian Chocolate Pyramid (Belgian chocolate mousse with a hint of hazelnut praline covered in a shell of chocolate) to go because we simply couldn’t eat any more. I haven’t heard from her whether it was good or not, I’m assuming it was as awesome as the rest of the meal.

Aside from dinner, Nancy initiated this trek to Cleveland to visit a clothing shop situated on East 4th called Dredgers Union. In June, The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote: “In a city built around the Cuyahoga River, the word "dredging" is synonymous with hauling up muck and opening the waterways to maritime traffic. But to Danielle DeBoe, dredging means clearing a path for retail in downtown Cleveland. Sean Bilovecky sees it as digging back to a tradition of designing, making and selling things close to home.”

When the pair opened Dredgers Union on East Fourth Street in June, it was downtown Cleveland's first new shopping destination in years. Dredgers Union occupies the ground floor of a former McCrory's department store at 2043 East Fourth St. The store carries a private label of men's and women's clothing, designed in Cleveland and sewn in America. Not every item sold at Dredgers Union will be designed in Cleveland or made in America, but they are committed to finding U.S. made clothing whenever possible.

They also carry made-to-measure suits and dress shirts; other apparel brands that are new to Cleveland or Northeast Ohio; bedding; kitchen gadgets; soaps and candles; and the occasional table or piece of furniture. They don't have a fully functional web site yet, but you can get the basics at

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