Al "Bubba" Baker is no stranger to awards. The former NFL lineman went to three pro bowls during his career and was named 1978's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Upon his retirement from the field, Bubba yearned for a return to his southern roots, and so he and his wife Sabrina decided to open a barbecue restaurant using secret family recipes stemming all the way back to the 1950s. Those time-honored techniques include marinating dry-rubbed pork, brisket, and ribs overnight, and then slow-smoking them for hours over smoldering piles of Ohio-grown applewood. It's a painstaking process, but it pays?today, Bubba's trophy case is filled with myriad awards for his succulent cuisine, including four Silver Spoon recognitions from Cleveland Magazine for Best Ribs and Best Barbecue Restaurant?and has even made an appearance on the local ABC affiliate to talk about his appearance on Shark Tank.
While many barbecue joints taut ribs that are boneless, Bubba's takes things a step further by de-boning baby back ribs through an patented process that leaves them easily mastered with a knife and fork or spare fencing sword. Bourbon adds an extra flair to boneless beef short ribs, which are saut?ed in Bubba's signature barbecue sauce, splashed with bourbon, and set aflame before serving, and southern fried chicken owes its own crispy exterior to a secret batter invented by Bubba's momma, Ernestine. The kitchen also ladles its famous pulled meats onto baskets of fries and on sandwiches to create easy handheld eats, which may be enjoyed in the sports-themed dining room or out on the covered patio, where an inset fireplace keeps things warm and cozy in true down-homestyle.
**How did Vintage House Café begin?**
_As a family venture. We started as a restaurant, then added a patio, tearoom, and gift shop. Not only do we offer a large selection of loose-leaf tea, but my son is a glass artist and we sell his blown glass art work._ **Aside from owner, what role do you play in the restaurant?**
_I always enjoyed baking, so I create all the desserts._ **Tell us a little about the head chef.**
_Chef Grant Urmston is a native Clevelander, whose passion for culinary arts began at a young age. His passion grew over the years, and he further developed his skills at the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. With career stops that included New York, Boston, and Las Vegas, Grant has brought a more traditional Italian and Mediterranean flair to the menu, all while trying to focus more on fresh and local products._ **What inspires you to take such a hands-on role in the restaurant?**
_I love being here and our customers make me smile._
Carriage House has built its reputation over the past nearly five years by offering the best bakery in the region. We bake daily and in small batches so that our items are as fresh as can be.
You just can't get the full effect until you walk into Carriage House so stop by today!
A peckish motorhead's mecca, Quaker Steak & Lube joins the joys of hunger and horsepower under one auto memorabilia-laden roof. The menu, which isn't for the faint of appetite or weak of jaw, dares diners to delve into the Lubeburger, served with sautéed mushrooms, crispy bacon, house hot sauce, and american cheese (8.99). Wings are doused in a dizzying array of sumptuous house-specialty sauces, such as the Buckeye BBQ, ranch, honey mustard, and eternity. Cool décor—pale green walls, bright-green-upholstered seats, and framed memorabilia—complement Quaker Steak & Lube's hot flavors as nicely as bald eagles complement William Howard Taft's toupee.
At Dervish Grill, chefs recreate dishes that have been a part of Mediterranean and Turkish culture for centuries. However, just because the recipes are old doesn't mean that the ingredients aren't fresh. On the contrary, each day, chefs turn fresh vegetables and spices into beloved treats including stuffed grape leaves, tabouli, and their signature Dervish salad--a conglomeration of arugula, grapes, walnuts, and feta tossed with pomegranate vinaigrette.
Chefs also observe another important Middle Eastern tradition—all meat dishes, from the succulent filet mignon kebab to eggplant stuffed with ground beef and lamb—are made with Halal meats. They're also happy to make dishes more or less spicy, and maintain a selection of vegetarian options for those that prefer to dine meat-free.
No matter what entrees they choose, diners often pair their meals with a Turkish tipple from the restaurant's selection of more than two dozen wines. The drink menu is home to traditional staples, such as Turkish tea and coffee, but also spotlights imported Turkish malts and locally brewed craft beer.