Restaurant Reviews

Players On Madison Returns With A Pop Up Menu

If you are from Lakewood, you no doubt recall the iconic neon Players sign at the corner of Belle and Madison. For years, Players on Madison was a staple west-side eatery, offering an eclectic mix of traditional Italian and New American fare. Even though the specials changed daily, and a new menu was penned every few months, “Create Your Own Pizza and Pasta” was always offered.

When Anthony Romano took ownership of Players in 2015, it brought an end to the Players era--but not entirely. After 16 years as Executive Chef at Players, Anthony updated the location, but the spirit of Players lives on at Sarita. As the longest tenured chef in Lakewood, he has seen food trends change and has always kept an ear to his customers. So now he’s bringing back “Create Your Own Pizza and Pasta.” This Players “Pop Up” menu has all the familiar pizza and single serving pasta options, and a great value Family Pack as well. Available for dine-in, pickup, and delivery, Tuesday-Sunday, for a limited time. For more information, visit their website,

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Agostino’s/Sushi Rock, A Unique Dining Experience

Agostino’s/Sushi Rock, located at 15607 Madison in Lakewood, is a unique dining experience offering classic Italian and Sushi under one roof. Restauranteur Joe Gallo, longtime owner of Agostino’s in Brooklyn, Ohio and a group of partners opened the new Agostino’s in November of 2017. 

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 4:45 PM, 02.06.2018

Introducing: The Gorilla (Take- Out) On Madison Ave.

On the strength of another review, I made it a point to try some barbeque from The Gorilla (12102 Madison Ave.), two days in a row, yesterday and today, and there’s still some sauce on my face, as I write. Birdtown, near The Flying Rib and Shamrock Tavern.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.12.2015

Lakewood Gets a Bit Trendy

The end may be near for the dimly lit taverns of old. A place to have a few cocktails and down an array of bar food, consisting of re-cooked wings, heated pretzels and the like, until closing time. BAR 2, recently opened in the former Niko's space at the corner of Lakeland and Detroit, operates on an entirely different concept - an upscale and trendy bar scene complimented by a complete entrée menu served from the time the doors open at 5 p.m.
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Volume 3, Issue 13, Posted 11:57 AM, 06.19.2007

Beer Engine Revs on Madison

The southeast corner of Madison and Arthur Avenues has seen the coming and going of Lenards, Martinis and Titanic. Now it is home to Buckeye Brewing Beer Engine. Offering 30 beers on tap, a full bar and moderately priced menu, this newcomer to Lakewood is destined to succeed.
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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 7:39 PM, 03.18.2007

Dining In The Wood: Thai Hut

In October 2005, Lakewood dining institution Chinese Village became Thai Hut, with new owners Bunphen and Bunphor Sornlai transforming the Chinese/Vietnamese standby into an authentic Thai oasis seemingly overnight. Similar to Chinese Village, most of their business is lunch and dinner takeout, but the dining room can comfortably seat about 30.
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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 10:20 PM, 03.12.2007

Dining on Lakewood's North Coast: a Restaurant without Piers

I must admit that when I first heard of the massive redecoration of Pier W, I was skeptical. I was a long-term fan of the wood-paneled dining room because it reminded me of the captain’s quarters of a clipper ship. Indeed, when viewed from the lake, Pier W looks as if someone ran a frigate straight into the cliff. The restaurant’s new modern decor changes the setting from that of a tall ship to that of a cruise ship. No longer do you imagine yourself as Captain Peter Blood aboard the Barracuda, but, more likely, Captain Stubing making the rounds on “The Love Boat.” It is, without question, modern, but, even with my initial reservations, it is a re-designed space which adds to the experience and, frankly, works.
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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 10:10 PM, 02.09.07

India Food Emporium Brings Exotic Flavors to Town

Whether you’re already a fan of Indian cuisine or just looking for some new ideas for dinner time, you should check out the India Food Emporium. The store, which opened about four months ago at 17796 Detroit Avenue, specializes in Indian foods that you won’t find at your average grocery store. Proprietor Mona Lisa says, “We have a lot of ready-to-eat items and frozen foods, and also a lot of the ingredients to make your own dishes. We have fresh rotis, which is Indian pita bread. We also have home-made meal and Indian Cheese that no one else carries. We also have more common things; fresh produce like ginger, tomatoes, and all that. I have ice cream, including mango ice cream. We have a wide variety of spices and a wide variety of jasmine and basmati rice. And we have a lot of vegan and vegetarian items.”
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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 12:12 AM, 01.27.07

Truly - The Place to Be

Allow me to throw out a couple of names to see if you have a reaction. Sarah. George. Whom did you think of? A friend? A relative? Let me add some more names and group them together. Jimmy, Sarah, George, Gus and Helen. Did you have an “aha” moment? If you have ever frequented The Place to Be, you probably did.
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Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 9:09 PM, 01.15.07

Greek Sensations

Nikko Moulagianis opened Nikko's restaurant 4 years ago to bring authentic Greek cuisine to Lakewood residents in the ever-expanding world of food available in our fair city. Nikko moved his business to Lakewood after operating two successful taverns in Parma and Brunswick The restaurant has a loyal following
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Volume 1, Issue 10, Posted 11.30 AM / 15th November 2005.

Szechwan Gardens: East meets West for a Pleasant Food Experience

Most reviews in other publications show off newer places with weird food stacked in odd arrangements on non-conforming plates to be different and exciting. We have taken a softer approach and decided for this issue to dedicate our time and tastes to a local eatery that has been satisfying Asian food lovers for 22 years. Mr. Hoa Lam took ownership of Szechwan Gardens restaurant in 1987 and re-vamped the menu in 1993. The establishment serves up authentic Chinese and Mandarin cuisine in a simple and comfortable setting. A quiet out of the way place that has a loyal following.
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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 12.13 PM / 15th November 2005.

West End Legend Turns Twenty

Lakewood is a city full of wonderful taverns, bars, and restaurants. The array of food types affords you opportunity to sample cuisine from many parts of the globe and diversified cultures. One of the more popular and steadfast establishments is The West End Tavern. For nearly 20 years the West End has honed its food and spirits offerings keenly to provide something for everyone and performs this feat stylishly.
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Volume 1, Issue 7, Posted 10.29 AM / 16th November 2005.


Pepper's Italian Restaurant is a quaint, casual dining destination for anyone craving a few complex carbohydrates. Their menu is comprised of simple, tasty Italian dishes priced right. Meals are served up quickly in a "no fuss" fashion and the relaxed atmosphere will have any newcomer returning for more. Each table is accented with a melted candle perched in an empty Chianti bottle while picturesque images of Italy cover the walls. You may hear owner, Louise La Valle, calling out to her regulars as they arrive in anticipation of their next meal. Their cozy dining room seats approximately thirty. Small parties are suggested here, although it is possible to arrange the tables to accommodate parties of six or more.
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Volume 1, Issue 3, Posted 08.49 AM / 15th November 2005.


El Tango Taqueria is a delightful eatery located at 14224 Madison Avenue. Take a seat in the festive cantina and munch on fresh chips and salsa while you sip homemade vanilla-lemonade. Your taste buds will thank you.
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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 08.10 AM / 15th November 2005.