Tag Archives: Lee

Sweetie Fry

5 Sep


I’d been living part-time on the east side of Cleveland for five years when I realized this week that I still hadn’t tried Sweetie Fry. After years of going to Lee Road in Cleveland Heights for nachos with the team after a league game or hitting up the ATM, I finally swung by the shop around Labor Day to see what it’s all about. I had high expectations for unique ice cream and a small appetite. Here’s what I found:

Sweetie Fry is not just an ice cream joint but rather as the name sounds: a fry place.  I’m not a junk food person so fries don’t really appeal to me (even though I’m lactose intollerant and ex-vegan, I still prefer ice cream!)  I simply had no interest in the over-loaded, bacon-covered options.  I had difficulty understanding the board when I ordered, but I decided to go with the Goat Cheese ice cream as soon as I saw it.  My favorite pie is a goat cheese basil blueberry almond pie from a restaurant in North Carolina, so my hopes were high.  This dish was served with honey and sweetened walnuts.  The serving was a reasonable (small) portion and the first bite was good and strong, but the toppings were a little too sweet for me and I also detested the fact that there were traces of mint, lime, and other overpowering flavors that had been on the scoop used to scoop my dish.


All in all, I was not very impressed with this shop.  It could do a lot better.  It simply pales in contrast to Jeni’s, which uses a similar concept of local ingredients and unusual combinations.  However, the flavors weren’t always so quirky.  The list given on Sweetie Fry’s website includes the following signature flavors: Cookies and Cream (which relies on Oreos to add flavor), Vanilla Bean (which advertises vanilla beans from Madagascar as what “give[s] it a classic American flavor”?), Deep Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip, Brown Butter Walnut, Strawberries & Sour Cream, Key Lime, French Toast (one of the first odd flavor attempts), Maple Bacon, Chocolate Raspberry Marmalade, Peanut Butter, Turkish Coffee, Goat Cheese, Mango Sorbet (using Indian mangoes?), and NYC Cheesecake.  So, yes, Sweet Fry advertises local ingredients but also brags about importing from around the world.






Phoenix Coffee Company

12 Mar

Local Coffee Tastes Better. Born in the 216. Phoenix Coffee Company direct trade coffees.

“Local coffee tastes better – roasted in the 216.”  This is the mantra’s to Cleveland’s small coffee chain, Phoenix Coffee.  With three locations (East 9th, Coventry, and Lee), Phoenix strives to support both its local work force as well as a “direct trade” for its coffee beans.  Coffee is a huge import to the States, due to its demand and lack of local growing ability.  (The only place to grow coffee in the US is Hawai’i – and that’s still a huge energy cost to import!)  Until it can become trendy and widely acceptable to drink something other than coffee (like roasted dandelion roots!), companies like Phoenix Coffee serve their communities and hard-working farmers well.   PhoenixOutside

Phoenix from the outside as you walk up Coventry Road.

The Phoenix Coffee Company has been in Cleveland for over 20 years.  The company’s roastery is downtown on St. Clair Avenue, but the beans are imported from various FairTrade and organic coffee farms and co-operatives around the world.  Recently featured was a “Direct Trade Burundi Bukeye Coffee” from the Buhorwa region of Burundi (south of Rwanda) and a “Direct Trade Uganda Gibuzaale”, boasting what Phoenix claims as “subtle notes of butterscotch, cashew, and tomato”.  Phoenix hires baristas, roastery workers, and coffee machine technicians.  Not only do they have their three coffee shops for lounging with a drink, snack, and free wi-fi, but they also cater and have wholesale for supplying coffee to offices, restaurants, cafes, and shops across northeast Ohio as well as the US.

PastriesEtcFront counter menu and food selections.

I periodically visit Coventry’s Phoenix Coffee shop, preferring it over Starbucks because of what it stands for more than just price (although they have good prices).  I have also visited the Lee shop.  I have yet to see the one on East 9th.  There is certainly something unique about the Coventry shop which draws just the right crowd.  The store is located towards the top of the hill, right beside the Mongolian Barbeque.  When you enter the shop, you in fact enter an open room above the customers and have to descend a few steps to reach the front counter.  The baristas are always very cheery and polite, and usually fit the stereotypical “hipster” look.  With the grungy music selection, simplistic photography, and well-worn furniture serving as chairs, “hipster” is clearly the intention of Phoenix Coffee.

Hardwood and stone-tile floors, old furniture,…and a guy with his dog!

At the counter, you can order from a variety of hot or iced beverages, including tea (bubble tea, too!), coffee, and espresso drinks.  Soy and syrups are additional options, just like in Starbucks.  There is also a “French Press & Pourover” option, where you can select your strength with any of the coffees available, as well as ice cream shakes.  Don’t forget the pastry and baked goods selection behind the glass.  There are also cold drink choices and gifts available, including shirts tied together with coffee sleeves!  I think one of my favorite things about Phoenix is the fact that their cups, sleeves, and plastic lids are completely biodegradable!  Shouldn’t every place be like that??

My salted caramel soy latte with its compostable to-go cup, sleeve, and lid.
Very strong, very fresh, and very good!  Not at all too sweet.

Phoenix accepts all major credit cards and is open every day of the week at varying hours from as early as 6am to as late as 11pm.  To learn more about Phoenix, check out their website at http://www.phoenixcoffee.com and see why they claim to be “Cleveland’s artisan coffee roaster; born in 216, saving the world by serving a damn fine cup of coffee.”

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