Big Al’s Diner

Feeling a little blue?  A little defeated?  Did you give whatever it takes, and it still wasn’t enough (Figure 1)?

Figure 1. Whatever it takes, 2018. This is probably the last sign our neighbor will make for many years to come.

I know what you need:  a little comfort.  In the form of food.

Cleveland is not really known for its comfort food such as biscuits with gravy and mac&cheese.  Zanzibar Soul Fusion comes close, but the warm, ooye-gooey menu I think about is typically associated with the South.   So where do I go here in Northeast Ohio?

Cue colleague Jessica Cooke Bailey.  Jessica and her family are from North Carolina, so they know what I am talking about.  Jessica mentioned to me that she and her husband Matt take visiting family to Big Al’s Diner for breakfast to get their comfort food fix.

Figure 2. Musical chairs is NOT allowed at Big Al’s Diner (2018).

What?  That tiny hole-in-the-wall in Larchmere?  The one that’s under renovation yet miraculously still open for business?  That one?  Yep.

Steve and I waited until the dust settled from the renovation and rolled in one weekend morning to see what the big deal was with Al’s.  Word to the wise:  we went Sunday morning, and we were lucky to beat out the church crowd.  Once service is over, you’ll be lucky to find a seat in this tiny diner (Figure 2)!

This is a no nonsense diner with a no nonsense crowd.  The breakfast menu is as ooey-gooey as you would expect (Figure 3).  I opted for the basic two eggs and biscuits covered in sausage gravy with a side of homefries while Steve went all out with the country scramble (Figure 4).  The star for us on these plates is the biscuit, as we have high expectations based on years of biscuit-eating experience.  All in all, while these are not the biscuits we were looking for, they did address our cravings.  As did the gravy.

Figure 3. Be sure to clear out your arteries before a meal at the diner (2018).

Figure 4. Two eggs over medium and biscuits with sausage gravy in the foreground and the country scramble in the background at Big Al’s Diner (2018).










We left satisfied and full.  Importantly, we now know where to go when we are sad and in need for a little more comfort food.

So, where’s the mac&cheese around here?


Posted in Cleveland Calculus and tagged , , .

Dana Crawford

Professor of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences and Associate Director of the Cleveland Institute for Computational Biology, with interest in pharmacogenomics, electronic health records, and diverse populations. Also, an avid foodie!