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Cleveland's Michael Symon Writes Love Letter to Hometown

Read the letter and tell us what you love about Cleveland

Chef Michael Symon, owner of  and other area restaurants, showed a little emotion and a lot of Cleveland pride in a touching love letter to Cleveland for The Huffington Post today.

Raised in North Olmsted and a graduate of Lakewood's he reminisces about places all over the area:

I remember when I was young and I would spend my entire weekends with you and my grandfather: heading to the Eastside and staying with my grandparents; taking the rapid Downtown; shopping at the Westside Market with all its fabulous aromas of smoked meats and baked breads. It is here I found my true love for food, for going to the historic Terminal Tower to pick up my Grandma at Higbees and heading back east to cook split pea soup with smoked ham hocks and ribs.

What do you love about Cleveland and its suburbs? Tell us in the comments!

Sandy May 17, 2012 at 05:19 AM
The Cleveland area is a place of great ethnicity. We have the lake and beaches -- we don't need to fly somewhere else for it. We have a theatre district that offers a rich culture experience. We showcase the 'Rock Hall of Fame' and many wonderful and exciting museums. Cleveland has a LOT to offer! I grew here.
Jason Lea May 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
A note emailed to me by J. Schaefer: Cleveland will always be a part of my heart. It has etched itself into sacred and irreplaceable childhood memories that are now held dear. Our neighborhood off Lee Road was like a small hometown within the larger city. There was a value system that extended past our tiny, post-war house (where I knew every nook, cranny and squeak in the stairs) to every neighbor on the street. It was like your Mom and Dad had MANY eyes in the back of their heads and you knew to get in trouble would not only shame you, but also embarrass them in our small, extended community. You just knew not to do this, though, once in a while you did screw up. Life with it's value system and rules was a bit clearer back then.
Jason Lea May 17, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Schaefer's message continued: My neighborhood seemed huge, too. It extended from Scottsdale Avenue all the way to Harvard Avenue. I could be gone all day within that parameter and my Mom had little worry. Life seemed safer back then. The sights I remember--downtown at Christmas--how exciting to the imagination of a small child! Nela Park--we always went there as part of our Christmas tradition. And, down at the end of our street were the stringed lights of the corner Christmas tree lot where my Dad and I would find that "perfect tree" every year! Dads appeared kind of larger-than-life back then. I recall taking the Rapid Transit to downtown Cleveland once a month so my Mom could get her hair done at Higbee's. While she did that, I "owned" the store--every floor of it!--and felt the freedom to explore each one with no fear! Life was a bit simpler back then.
Jason Lea May 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM
We would go to Mills Restaurant for lunch after her "do" was done and walk past that nut shop on the square. Geez, that part of Cleveland smelled sooo good back then, too! My best friend, Barb, and I would play with our Barbie and Revlon dolls and good old "Mr. Rabbit" for hours in her front yard and no one thought us odd for still enjoying dolls at our pre-pubescent ages. Childhood, in the march of time, lasted much longer back then. My Dad would take Mom and me to Friendly's Ice Cream in Cleveland Heights on the weekend for a cone after going to Mawby's for the best hamburgers in the world! Being a kid, I loved twirling round and round on their stools! We would attend plays at Cain Park in the summer. On Easter Sunday, we would stroll around the lake at the Cleveland Museum of Art and view everyone dressed in their Easter finery--as we were, too. In the fall, we would take rides for apples out into the countryside of Chesterland and never see a freeway during the whole excursion. Common scenery seemed more visually beautiful and interesting back then. I've left many memories out because this was developing into a novelette, but my glasses are VERY rose-colored regarding Cleveland. I wish nothing but the best of everything for it's future because it was and still remains "the BEST location in the nation!"
SharEd May 17, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Cleveland and the surrounding area has it all! Moved here in '96 from FL and have never looked back. You never run out of things to do, places to see, and it's beautiful too. Some areas look like Europe or New England -- charming towns with gazebos and commons. There's so much to do and the summers are glorious! Fall too! I love the sun shining on crystal snow and huge snowflakes falling! I've never understood the bad rap that Cleveland gets from comedians/media. There is the "ocean" lake without the sharks! This is the longest I've lived anywhere and no need to leave because it has everything from sports to symphony to Cleveland Clinic plus a reasonable cost of living.

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