the spot: Slyman’s Restaurant 3106 St. Clair ave Cleveland OH 44114
the eats: Corned Beef Sandwich
the bucks: $15
the full nelson: As big as it looks. As delicious as it looks. A Corned Beef legend.
Lebron James. President George W. Bush. Ali Khan. What do all three of us have in common? We all came to The Temple of Corned Beef in Cleveland: Slyman’s restaurant. Slyman’s restaurant is that kind of place: special, genuine and 100% blue collar. Don’t let the $15 price tag full you, this sandwich isn’t some johnny come lately artisanal interpretation, but rather quality served at absurdly enormous proportions. Slyman’s Corned Beef sandwich is easily enough for three to four people. But the Slyman’s Corned Beef sandwich isn’t the only draw to this Cleveland deli institution . . .
Anyone who has dined on the Slyman’s Corned Beef Sandwich will tell you the experience is an instantly addictive combo of sheer size plus impeccable quality, a one-two punch that will make you a die hard loyal on the spot. Well, that combination of generosity and craftsmanship is because of a work ethic and the fellas at Slyman’s could not work any harder. Famously founded in 1964 by Lebanese immigrants, Slyman’s gained a reputation for serving huge sandwiches that only whetted people’s appetites for more. Why are the portions so big? Numerous interviews cite the “big freedoms” the newly minted Americans experienced as the impetus for serving “big sandwiches”. I don’t think patriotism could get any more generous or beefy.
It should not surprise that Slyman’s goes through a lot of Corned Beef. But take a peak up there and swallow this fact: each sandwich gets 12-14 ounces of Corned Beef. That’s more than 3/4lb of beef per sandwich. I told you not to sweat the $15 price tag. If you think a place like this does it with Boar’s Head, well guess again. Slyman’s Corned Beef is made in house. And when a place makes their own Corned Beef, then they also are gonna make a mean Corned Beef hash.
Corned Beef Hash is a go to breakfast move of mine. I’m not too snooty to scarf up the stuff from the can or a fancy version where the hash is less of a mince and closer to the toothsome morsels one finds in the New England version called Red Flannel Hash. Slyman’s version strikes a balance where house made Corned Beef is minced and crisped up like carnitas but without the unctuousness from the canned version. The pro tip at Slyman’s is to get the Corned Beef Hash but be warned that you can’t finish the plate and have room for the sandwich. And what can really complicate things is when the boys from Slyman’s drop this on the counter:
A complimentary plate of pastrami, just so I could try it. Now I am a fan of hand craved pastrami versus the stuff from a deli slicer like you see above. And frankly, good Corned Beef is a find in and of itself. Still, if they are making the Corned Beef, you know the pastrami is gonna be on point and worth a try.
Now comes the part that gets tricky. Slyman’s comped my whole meal. Yes, being the host of a food show has its perks and privileges but don’t think these guys aren’t generous on the daily. Slyman’s is the truth Cheap Eaters, and for me it embodies a town like Cleveland to a T. This place is generous, friendly, fairly priced and, oh yeah they serve up some of the best Corned Beef I have ever had. Places like Slyman’s make me proud of my Midwestern roots. Get yourself here soon, you won’t regret it.