It was winter in Cleveland when we rolled into Whitey’s Booze and Burgers for the first time.
Fresh off the slopes and proudly brandishing what might have been a cracked rib, the warm sign called to us. Our empty bellies were protesting so we heeded the call.
Whitey’s Restaurant has been famous since the olden days, around 40 years now, when restaurateur Harry “Whitey” Bigadaza started churning out his own chili recipe at his uncle’s bar. It was something special. Word spread and before long Whitey had his own roadside tavern called Whitey’s Booze and Burgers.
That was where we waited, inside the historic food hall, while a table was cleared for us.
The bar, separate from the small dining room, was a raucous place with sports fans cheering and jeering sloshing half-full pints. Things hung from the ceiling. Fun things that had no place being on the ceiling but at Whitey’s they just looked right being up there.
Yes we ate chili. But you know me... if a burger of any repute is to be had I will find it and I will destroy it. So I did and settled on the explosively flavored Firecracker Burger because not ordering a slab of meat slathered with unapologetic spices is against my moral code.
We also ordered a burger topped with mac-n-cheese. A couple at the table next to us ordered pizzas, giving us only a slight pause tinged with regret at not ordering our own saucy pie. It looked legit.
Lastly we couldn't forget the namesake and ordered a chili flight Small portions of their chili lineup in the event indecision paralyzes your food-ordering part of the brain.
Literally every day of every month offers food and drink specials worth exploring. Good specials. Specials that make you feel okay about eating as much as you just did.
And after our meal we did feel okay. The pain from my skiing "accident" was fading. Bursting at the seams from the burgers and warmed by the booze, Whitey’s did not disappoint.
Come for the chili and order everything else too.
Whitey's is open for late for dinner into the wee hours. Check their website for details and specials. Whitey's does not accept credit cards so bring some cash. They also don't do takeout. Eat there, enjoy the meal, box the rest and love your life. Unless you ate too much. Then you might hate yourself a little.