This holiday season, a lot of folks will be getting things from Right Down Euclid‘s holiday shopping guide as well as tickets to see the best team in town: the Cleveland Cavaliers. If it’s your first time to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse or you just haven’t been in a while, you’re probably wondering – what’s the best food to eat at the arena?
Well, thankfully for you, today’s your lucky day. Due to the luxury of being a credentialed media member and seeing the Cavaliers in person nearly 40 times a year, I’ve gotten the chance to sample nearly anything and everything the in-arena concessions have to offer. Sure, it might’ve changed things for my Stitch Fix stylist. But, at the end of the day, not all heroes wear capes and these are the sacrifices I’m willing to make in order to make your experience the best it can be.
Mind you, the Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse are somewhat different from typical stadium food. They took a page out of the book of their neighbors, the Cleveland Guardians, and offer numerous locally sourced selections on the concourse. Personally, that’s what makes writing this guide even more fun. With that said, sit back, relax and I hope you aren’t too hungry since we’re rollin’ out, looking for Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse’s greatest snacks, meals and everything in between.
East Neighborhood Food Options
Starting off on the eastern portion of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, you have three serious options near the team shop: Symon’s Burger Joint, FanFuel and Tenders Love and Chicken. All three are great options for more typical American fare but let’s break down some of the options for every venue. But, considering that FanFuel is a more generic concession product, we’ll instead focus on the best the local stands have to offer.
Symon’s Burger Joint – The Big Cleve Burger with Kielbasa (Best Burger)
This burger isn’t for the faint of heart and you should come with an empty stomach. The Big Cleve Burger with Kielbasa is a Cleveland love letter from star chef Michael Symon that features kielbasa and fries as well as nacho cheese sauce on top of all of that. It’s an entire meal all at once but the quality of what Michael Symon produces makes this the best burger by far that you can get at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Just grab a few extra napkins!
Tenders Love and Chicken – Chicken Tenders and Ranch Fries (Best Chicken Tenders)
So it’s a bit of a well known secret amongst credentialed media members that the chicken tenders from Tenders Love and Chicken is a hidden gem. Sure, their menu is super simple since all they offer is chicken tenders and fries along with Pepsi products to drink. But, considering how reasonably priced everything is, along with the fact that you get a ton of food and sauces with it, it makes waiting in line for your meal sometimes well worth it. Get the boom boom sauce trust me.
South Neighborhood Food Options
Moving along, you’ll hit the southside portion of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse where you’ll find several gems to scratch your culinary itch. The two biggest standouts in this pocket of the arena are Karen Small’s P St Market Café as well as Pearl’s Kitchen, which are both right next to one another. More often than not, you’ll see yours truly rolling and trolling through this area since, in all honesty, both concession areas feature some of the best food the arena overall has to offer. Narrowing down the list is hard so there will be multiple winners.
Karen Small’s P St Market Café – Tofu Banh Mi Bowl (Best Vegan Option)
I know for a lot of people tofu is a bit of a non-starter in most situations. But, when it comes to the Tofu Banh Mi Bowl offered at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, it’s a game changer. The tofu is glazed in a delicious sauce, which adds a bit of a kick to the dish overall. It’s nicely paired with a generous portion of coconut jasmine rice and is also complemented by julienned carrots and cucumber, pickled red onion, pickled fresno and a dash of peanuts. It’s a nice, fresh change of pace from what you typically find at an arena’s concession stand and worth trying once or twice.
Other noteworthy optionss: Turkey Club with Smoked Bacon Mayo (Best Sandwich) Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies (Best Cookie)
Pearl’s Kitchen – Pearl’s Mac and Cheese (Best Comfort Food)
If you are a big fan of mac and cheese, be sure to stop by and grab what Pearl’s Kitchen has to offer. It’s thick, creamy and oh-so cheesy. Better yet, it’s topped with bacon! This dish screams homemade and feels like something that could put a family member’s holiday mac and and cheese to shame! Just don’t tell your friends, family or loved ones I said it.
Other noteworthy options: Blackened Chicken Wrap (Best Newcomer), Chef T’s Flower Bombs (Best Surprise Snack)
West Neighborhood Food Options
Opposite of the best chicken tenders and burgers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, things continue to open up quite a bit with plenty more high-quality food options. The three main options are Flour Pizza Co., Fabio Salerno’s Banditos Cantina as well as Elmore’s Smokehouse, named after Cavaliers legend Elmore Smith.
There’s also Quaker Steak and Lube, which has been part of the fabric of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for the longest time. Everyone should know how good they are but, let me ask you this: is a boneless wing a chicken nugget or a chicken wing? Talk about it in the comments below!
Flour Pizza Co. – Cheese/Pepperoni/Sausage Pizza (Best Pizza)
Those who know me personally that I tend to wear my Italian heritage in a lot of different ways: through my stomach and on my arm. I love to eat food that comes from the boot, so much so that I have pasta twirled around a fork tattooed on my right forearm. When it comes to Flour, who makes some of the best pasta overall in Cleveland, their pizza scratches my itch and satisfies my inner pizza-snob. The crust, along with every pie, is freshly made in a woodfired oven. Their pizza never hurt nobody.
Fabio Salerno’s Banditos Cantina – Everything (Best Mexican)
Sure, it feels like a bit of a cop-out to say that everything at Banditos is good. But, you seriously cannot go wrong with any of their options. They have anything you can want, no matter what your dietary preferences are. If you’re unsure what to get, I always personally go with the vegetarian quesadill with a side of chips and guacamole.
Elmore’s Smokehouse – Pulled Pork Sandwich (Best BBQ)
When it comes to good barbecue, the simpler it is the better it tastes. Elmore’s Smokehouse is no exception to this and every option on the menu is delicious since what you order is what you get. As someone who prefers pulled pork over all options, Elmore’s sandwich, along with the signature sauce, makes a super strong case for some of the best barbecue in Cleveland period. Watch out, Michael Symon!
Northwest Atrium and Loudville Neighborhood Food Options
For the final leg of this story, we’re going to merge the remaining options together since it isn’t nearly as dense as the Southern and Western Neighborhoods in Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. In the Northwest Atrium, there’s Rocco’s, which was made in collaboration with award-winning chef Rocco Whalen.
It’s the concession stand connected to Fahrenheit by Chef Rocco Whalen, which is a 75-person capacity restaurant featuring Fahrenheit signature dishes such as Kobe Beef Short Ribs, Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Macaroni and Cheese and Ahi Poke Nachos. All of those options are delicious but, it’s not part of the main concession thoroughfare. With that said, we’ll just focus on Rocco’s.
We’ll also focus on Loudville, which is the upper area of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Loudville has a second Tenders Love and Chicken in case you need a backup to grab the best tenders in the arena. But, there’s also another chicken-focused restaurant up in Loudville that’s for sure worth mentioning: Sauce the City.
Rocco’s – Tremonster Cheesesteak (Best Hoagie)
Rocco’s has a handful of options to pick from and all of them are great. That makes it hard to pick a definitive option but, in the end, Roccos’ Tremonster Cheesesteak is the closest thing you can find to the Philadelphia staple. The sandwich features sliced sirloin, mushrooms, melted bechamel and a nice sprinkling of green onions. All in all, a solid cheesesteak and definitely worth grabbing to fill yourself up. Rocco’s also gets bonus point since you’re able to order ahead mobilely as well!
Honorable mention: Seasoned Waffle Fries (Best French Fries)
Sauce the City – D’E’TE’ Signature Chicken Sandwich (Best Chicken Sandwich)
For those who already know, Sauce the City owns the crown for Cleveland’s best chicken sandwich. They don’t like to really toot their own horn and would rather let their chicken do the clucking for them. That’s why it’s worth the hike through Loudville to grab the D’E’TE’ Signature Chicken Sandwich, Sauce the City’s bread and butter. The sandwich is fairly simple with a bun, fried chicken, lettuce and tomato. That’s it. But, what really seals the deal is Sweet Dete Sauce, which packs just the right amount of heat without going overboard.
If you happen to be at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this holiday season, hopefully, this guide helps you find the right bite. Clearly, there are plenty of great spots to eat at before, during or after watching the Cavaliers take the hardwood this NBA season. If you happen to see yours truly while you’re at a game, let me know what you get – I’m always looking to expand the guide!
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can also email him at [email protected] He can also be found three to five times a week on Locked On Cavs, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network.
Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is your email address!