Best Bites & Brews of the Year

Where we wandered and what we loved


Brickoven Brewpub

“While oxygen and water are critical to sustaining human life, pizza and beer might be considered to be more compliant, easily dancing to the beat of their own respective drummers, choosing to merge at will or go home alone. …My beer-snob tentacles are tingling, though. Yes, whatever is lodged inside that wood-fire oven does smell heavenly, but I’m really here for the beer.” – Matthew Sedmock (Jan. 2016)


Urban Eats

“There’s an ultimate satisfaction when someone really appreciates and wants more of what you’ve created, it’s reaffirming to say the least. We have such awesome customers, many of them are friends now.” – Elizabeth Tyran, co-owner, in Front of the House/Back of the House (Aug. 2016) [Elizabeth Tyran and Jason Scala are playful partners in and out of the business at Urban Eats in downtown Akron. Photo by Ilenia Pezzaniti]


The Front Porch Cafe

“When I moved to Akron, alone, almost two years ago, the time when I was the most lonely was when I cooked dinner. For me, food is connective tissue, it brings together families, cultures, countries, and in the case of the Front Porch: Akron, comprised of so many amazing people, the place I have been seamlessly welcomed into, the community I have grown to love and call my own. From the moment I walked into The Front Porch, I felt welcome.” — Holly Brown, The Wanderer (May 2016)


Rubber City Brew Fest

“A lot of drinkers here seemed to be on a mission, and I soon found out why. Not only was all the free merchandise disappearing quickly, some beers were too. …My favorite thing about the RCBF is that all the breweries in attendance are located in Ohio. I’m a big advocate of supporting local businesses, especially when it involves catching a buzz.” – Emily Anderson, Lady Beer Drinker (April 2016)


Angel Falls

“The original recipe came from my aunt Kathy. I loved her nut bread as a kid, so I got her recipe. I can be incredibly nontraditional, especially when making food. [I’m] not sure how long it took to get from my aunt’s recipe to me blowing it up to what it is now with the chocolate chips and spices — maybe a 10-year-plus experiment recipe-forming process — a lot of trial and error.” — Brian Meeker to Lia Pietrolungo (Aug. 2016)


The Tasting Room at Hoppin’ Frog

“The stuffed peppers literally tasted like pizza without the crust. With spicy peppers stuffed to almost the point of explosion with sausage, beef and bacon, it was all the makings of a great meat lovers. When topped with the spicy marinara and parmesan sauce, it stuck the landing.” Holly Brown, The Wanderer (March 2016)


D.B.A. & Speakeasy

“I actually still remember the first food related job I had in the kitchen. …I was asked to portion sour cream. 2-oz portioning spoon, plastic ramekin and a lid. Seems simple right? I think I got more sour cream on the prep table than in the cups, but over the course of two 5-pound containers, I had effectively found a method that worked better, and by the last 30 or so cups I was running very efficiently. …Now here I am, 15 years later, still learning every day. One sour cream cup at a time.” — Ernest Cornelius, chef de cuisine for D.B.A. & Speakeasy [DBA Chef Ernest Cornelius holds a plate of butter poached shrimp, heirloom carrots, sweet curry and ginger. Featured photo by Ilenia Pezzaniti]


Your Pizza Shop (Highland Square)

“The cheese pizza was browned and shimmering. After opening the box we were ready to demolish this pizza. The cheese itself had an amount of grease that was to be expected. The sauce was simple and didn’t overpower the flavor of the cheese. The crust was golden brown, crisp on the outside, but a little dry on the inside. If this cheese pizza were to fight The Meatless Gourmet, it would be over in minutes.” – The Akron Pizza Task Force (April 2016)


Odes to Chip-Chop Ham

“Skyway has a chip chop ham sandwich. They fry it up in BBQ sauce and serve it on a bun that has been toasted and buttered. Pretty frakin’ good when I was a kid.” – Becca Leidy

“I thought it was disgusting but my parents loved it. When they moved to Texas in the 80’s, my mom tried to get some from the butcher at their local grocery and was shocked to discover it was a real regional thing. The term “chip-chop” is the food equivalent of Devil Strip.” – Kriss Pip Kovach

“My husband just said ‘chip what??’, LMAO. We’ve been married 11 years and I have never spoken of that dark part of my childhood.” – Amanda Fretz Sterling

“It’s an Akron delicacy. Prepared correctly, the fat in the ham melts, and it becomes more tender than the best pulled pork. We serve it in two different styles at the Snakron Cottage at Lock 3, along with many other nostalgic Akron Foods.” – Charly Murphy, owner of Stray Dog