Happy 20th anniversary to the Coventry PEACE Playground this year!!! Tommy’s has been proud to provide refreshments to the selfless volunteers who help rejuvenate the playground twice a year. These volunteers give their time in order to provide a safe, clean environment for our neighborhood families.
400 volunteers built this playground 20 years ago. Were you one of them? Tell us about your experience!!
Tommy’s on Coventry gets nature award and may expand to West Side
by Debbi Snook, Cleveland.com/Cleveland Plain Dealer
October 18, 2013
Things are hopping at Tommy’s on Coventry in Cleveland Heights — and not just for the crowd wanting hummus and pita.
The 41-year-old restaurant, established in the back-to-the-earth era, has won Nature Conservancy’s sustainable restaurant contest in the Cleveland area.
In an unrelated move, the owner is considering an additional store on the West Side.
Tommy Fello, who learned to cook on his own and built the business, said he was flabbergasted that his restaurant won the popular vote over three other contenders: Spice Kitchen & Bar, The Greenhouse Tavern and Lucky’s Cafe.
“It’s cool. The old grunt sandwich-maker ended up on top,” Fello said by phone.
He wasn’t too flabbergasted, though. Once the nominations came out, Fello’s daughter Stephanie marched out a Twitter and Facebook campaign to the restaurant’s loyalists.
The award, called Nature’s Plate, is partly based on popular vote, but also on statements restaurants make to the conservancy about the ways they operate in harmony with nature.
The conservancy is working with farmers and commercial fertilizer retailers in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan on projects to reduce the amount of nutrients that flow into the tributaries of Lake Erie and inland lakes. Too much of these nutrients, including phosphorus, is contributing to algae blooms that poison fish and can harm people and their pets.”
Tommy’s has long-served vegan and vegetarian food alongside diner-style items, such as hot dogs, and Mediterranean foods.
Fello said the eggs he uses are true free-range products from his South Russell neighbor and the oil he uses for frying is recycled for biodiesel engine fuel. He keeps a container in the back of his Coventry Road site and makes it available to all takers.
“We use high-grade frying oil, without hydrogenated oils [trans fats],” he said. “We pay top dollar for it, and we’ve been doing it since the 1990s.
“The neighborhood people come by; they know when we dump it. And there must be some kind of blog for people on the road, that tells them where to find recycled oil, because we get them, too. If you’re there, you’re welcome to it.”
Fello said his buyer, Marc Siegal, makes a special effort to find local produce.
The possibility of a West Side Tommy’s is real, said Fello, but not imminent. He said he was approached this summer by officials at Ohio City Inc., who are looking for a family restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol – a profile that fits him. They toured several properties along West 25th Street, and he is also considering Lakewood.
“I’ve been in business 41 years with a great bunch of people who are really loyal to me,” he said. “I thought, if the situation is right, I could do it to help them out, give them more responsibility. Also, I have five daughters and seven grandchildren. My family could expand into doing more.
“I’ve talked to the kids and they’re excited, but it’s a big step and we have to make sure everybody is on board. We’ve got feelers out there and if the right thing comes up, we may jump on it.”
Tommy’s Restaurant is happy to announce that we won the People’s Choice 2013 Nature’s Plate Award from The Nature Conservancy! Thanks to to all of you for your votes and support, we are honored to have been chosen as your favorite green restaurant in Cleveland!
Tommy’s Restaurant is happy to be sponsoring the Heights Holistic Fair on October 12-13! Come join us to learn about options for healthy, sustainable living, helpful products, services and information. And don’t forget to enjoy the yummy food donated by Tommy’s! This event will be fun for the whole family!
The next Heights Holistic Fair will be held on October 12 and 13 at the Open Office Community Space, located in the former Coventry School building at 2843 Washington Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. both days.
The fair will feature renowned speaker and author Dr. Warren Grossman who will give a talk entitled “Healing Is Natural”, discussing tools for healthier, happier living. He will also lead an interactive workshop, “Strong, Pain-Free Feet”, sharing methods for relieving foot pain and building a strong foundation to support the body. A gentle yoga class will follow the workshop, helping yogis at all levels of ability achieve proper alignment in their poses. The fair will also feature additional speakers both days, presenting several related topics of interest.
The holistic fair, co-organized by Cleveland Heights native Judith Eugene and Pat Uhr of Lakewood, will present products, services and information on healthy living options for people of all ages. Vendors will offer products for sale and will provide sample healing treatments. Psychic mediums will be on hand to give personal readings. Performances by various musicians will also be featured. Activities for the kids will include all-ages drum circles, yoga classes, and a tambourine-making project.
Each fair also includes an all-ages play area, complete with toys from Coventry mainstay Big Fun. Says Eugene, “We want to reach out to the community to provide information on healthy living for all ages – kids, parents and grandparents; and have a lot of fun in the process.”
The fair is being sponsored by FutureHeights, a local organization that promotes a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights. Tommy’s Restaurant donates the food for each fair, and in turn, Eugene and Uhr donate all proceeds from the food sales to the Heights Libraries.
Admission is $5 per day and includes admission to all of the activities and speakers (psychic readings are a small additional fee). Children under 12 get in free.
The Heights Holistic Fair is presented jointly by Eugene’s Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki and Uhr’s Harmonic Journeys. For a schedule of activities and speakers please visit www.HolisticFairsOhio.com or call Judith Eugene at 216-408-5578. For information about FutureHeights please visit www.FutureHeights.org or call 216-320-1423.
Thank you to all of our loyal customers. You are the reason we have loved having Tommy’s in the heights for the past 41 years!
Congratulations to all of the other winners and finalists. We would like to give a special shout out to our neighbors at Big Fun for being voted “Best Storefront Signage!”
Thank you for nominating Tommy’s Restaurant for the Nature Conservancy’s People’s Choice Nature’s Plate Award for 2013! We’re honored to have been nominated and are dedicated to spreading the word about the importance of sustainable food. We’re proud to source local food and offer many organic vegetarian and vegan dishes. We’ll let you know when the voting begins!
Nature’s Plate Award is a people’s choice online contest in which the public nominates their favorite “GREEN” restaurants. The contest is presented by The Nature Conservancy, a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically imporant lands and waters for nature and people.
It’s BACK! Stop in today for our popular and delicious Pumpkin Ice Cream!
We’re celebrating our 40th anniversary and we want to celebrate with you! While supplies last, you’ll get a FREE Tommy’s anniversary T-shirt with every purchase of a $20 Tommy’s Gift Card! Stop in today!
Vegetarian-friendly fare has taken root at Tommy’s in Cleveland Heights
Review by Barbara Collier
One of the oldest vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the area is Tommy’s Restaurant in Cleveland Heights. It is also without question one of the most popular places to eat since it opened in 1972.
As a teen, owner Tommy Fello worked at a soda fountain around the corner, whose Lebanese owner decided to return to Lebanon. But before leaving, he taught Fello how to make some Lebanese specialties served today at Tommy’s, such as falafel, hummus and baba ganoush.
The ’60s and ’70s were hippie days, and Coventry Road was a mecca. Fello said many young customers asked for meatless choices then, and that became the focus of his menu.
The menu is like a who’s who list, with almost every item named after a person or pet.
Tommy’s had kale and escarole way before they were cool. Fello grew up eating escarole and potatoes his mother, Inezz, prepared during Lent. Today he offers the “Jane” pie ($7.95), a large house-made whole wheat dough filled with sauteed chopped escarole, broccoli, potato and cheese. It is served with an excellent salsa side. It is super-tasting and large enough to share.
If you are into the kale kick, there’s a marvelous dish of brown rice and veggies ($7.80), labeled macrobiotic and vegan. Brown rice is mixed with steamed kale, scallions, mushrooms and broccoli and served with a side of tamari and toasted sunflower seeds.
Falafel is one of my favorite Middle Eastern specialties, and Tommy’s offers more than a dozen variations. The most popular, “Ceebee” ($8.95), is a huge, warm pita filled with a mixture of falafel, veggies, hummus, sunflower seeds and cheese.
Both tofu and tempeh are available.
The “Delaney” ($9.50) is named after Tommy’s daughter. It is fried tempeh, spinach, mustard, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and pickles on grilled rye bread.
The “Dave” ($9.80) is a tossed salad of greens with baba, pickles, hard-cooked eggs, olives and cheese. The “Lauren” ($11.15) is a spinach salad with hummus, bacon, onion, hard-cooked egg, cheese and tomatoes.
There is meat, too, in sandwiches and meat pies. The meat pie ($7.30) is a lamb-beef mix with onion baked in dough. The “Aunt Gay” ($8.40) is the meat pie with sesame sauce, veggies and cheese.
French fries ($3.79) are hand-cut daily, fried in canola oil and served in huge portions.
Tommy’s servers are trained to assist those with dietary restrictions. If there is a restriction, it is noted on the order to the kitchen. The server checks out the order before it is delivered to the table, too. There are special grilles for gluten-free, and no vegan food touches the meat grille.
Since opening, Tommy’s has been known for its milkshakes ($4.99 for 20 ounces). The vegan Tofutti shake ($6.99 for 20 ounces) contains soy, chocolate and vanilla flavors.
The breakfast menu is also large. Two eggs, toast and hash browns or bacon are $5.40. Add coffee for $2.29. There are omelets, waffles and pancakes, steel-cut oatmeal, house-made granola, breakfast meats and kashi served hot with bananas.
Tommy’s is at 1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights. Call 216-321-7757
Breakfast hours are 9-11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Lunch and dinner are served all day, every day. The restaurant closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
From the Owner … Tommy’s serves Breakfast, Lunch and Brunch. Come enjoy our Burgers, Desserts, and a variety of Vegetarian Entrees. We are a Non-Smoking establishment. Take-Out menu available.
Voters Love … “I’ve been going to Tommy’s for over 20 years and it is hands-down, one of my favorite all-time restaurants in Cleveland…” – Christina P.
What made Christmas extra-special to a Cleveland kid? Come relive some of your fondest moments . . . Seeing Mr. Jingeling (the keeper of Santa’s keys) on TV or in person at Halle’s. Gazing at the giant Sterling-Lindner tree. Stopping at Higbee’s downstairs Frosty Bar for sweet relief after the long line to see Santa. Ice skating on Public Square. A dazzling and elegant Cleveland Orchestra concert at Severance Hall. Mouthwatering treats from Hough Bakery and traditional ethnic flavors from the local market. The brilliant holiday lighting display at GE’s Nela Park . . . Join in as dozens of Northeast Ohioans share their personal stories of Christmas past; includes recollections of people who made Christmas happen, too: former Santas, retail window dressers, entertainers, and of course parents.
The Elsie Combo
The menu at Tommy’s Restaurant is just as much about community as it is the food. Since 1972, chef and owner Tommy Fello has been cooking whatever customers can throw at him — then naming the dish after the creator. The Elsie Combo ($5.99) is no exception. Homesick John Carroll University students Mark and Mike McCue asked Fello to whip up their mother Elsie’s triple-decker breakfast sandwich. Three slices of toasted white bread are loaded with tomato, lettuce, two eggs, American cheese, bacon, mayonnaise and fresh-ground peanut butter. “It seemed kind of strange,” says Fello. “But I just made it.” It’s been on the menufor around 32 years now. “When people try it, they absolutely love it,” he says. Mon-Fri 9:30-11:30 a.m., Sat 7:30-11:30 a.m., Sun 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 1824 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-321-7757
Watch Tommy On WKYC’s Live on Lakeside Program
Tommy’s cooking up some delicious Black Bean Chili with the hosts of WKYC’s morning show called Live on Lakeside.
Readers Choice: Tommy’s Wins Best Kid-Friendly Dining Spot in Cleveland Heights
The Coventry favorite snagged the most votes in this weeks’ Readers’ Choice with 50 percent of the vote. Thanks Patch readers!
Tommy’s has also been named the Patch Readers’ Choice winner for Best Sandwich in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Beachwood.