December 22, 2014

Elyria
Intermittent clouds
24°F
test

Taste of Elyria focuses on locally owned, independent eateries

ELYRIA — The city’s landscape may by dotted heavily with well-known chain restaurants, but finding good local eats is not as hard as some may think.

A lot of local chefs, restaurateurs and good old-fashion foodies are making a living feeding Elyrians every day, and for one week Invest Elyria wants residents to try something local. Taste of Elyria is a tour of local restaurants taking place Monday through Saturday at 10 local eateries.

From specialty hot dogs to pizza to locally famous hamburgers to barbecue ribs, Taste of Elyria will have something for everyone. Participating restaurants are Angelina’s Pizza, Carlisle Cafe, Cascade Cafe, Cozzeria Pizza, Downtown Dogs, Midway Oh Boy, Nick’s Family Restaurant, Rotuno’s BBQ, Sambino’s, Smitty’s Place and weather-permitting, Twist-n-Shake.

“These are mom and pop restaurants — some are longtime favorites and others are new to the area,” said Brandon Rutherford, founders of the volunteer group established to improve Elyria both visually and economically. “I want people to take the week and try a place they haven’t been to before or go back to an old favorite they used to go to.”

It’s not easy competing against well-known chains. Downtown Dogs on Middle Avenue is a stone’s throw from Mr. Hero.
But hometown eateries are able to cater to a specific market better.

Owner Ned Pakosz said that he likes to make his own sauces and take request from customers when he can.

“We do something that is totally different,” the owner of Downtown Dogs said back in July. We took a theme, we took cities that are famous for their style hot dogs and we made them,” Pakosz said. “We use all-beef hot dogs, and we make our own sauces.”

Rutherford said most restaurants plan to have Taste of Elyria specials all week.

During the week, Sambino’s will offer a large two-topping pizza for $7.95 and 10 wings for just $4 more. While Sambino’s normally charge a $2 delivery fee, according to the Invest Elyria Facebook page the delivery fee will be waived during Taste of Elyria.

Rutherford said he knows Elyrians won’t be disappointed if they try one of the featured restaurants.

“I’ve tried every place in town, but Lowell Street Cafe,” he said. “It’s on my list of places to hit, even thought it’s not a part of this event. I try to eat local as much as possible.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.