Mr. Hero, an Ohio Institution

Isla Chiu

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For the longest time, I thought Mr. Hero was a national chain. Then I went to college in Chicago and said to my friend, “Is there a Mr. Hero around here? I could sure use some of those waffle fries.”

My friend stared at me blankly. “What’s a Mr. Hero?”

I stared at her in disbelief. “You don’t know Mr. Hero? They sell subs and gyros?”

She shook her head. “If you’re in the mood for a sub, we can go to Subway.”

I wanted to shout, Subway?! That hallmark of mediocrity?! I would rather eat dirt!

But because I was hungry and I did kind of like the oven-roasted chicken sandwiches with honey mustard at that hallmark of mediocrity, I went to Subway with my friend.

Later that night, I did look up Mr. Hero, and I was shocked to discover that Mr. Hero was indeed an Ohio-only chain.

So for you all that don’t live in Ohio, Mr. Hero is a fast food place that serves subs, gyros, and the aforementioned waffle fries. Unlike Subway, it doesn’t pretend to be a health food place. And unlike Subway, it’s not a hallmark of mediocrity (#ShotsFired. Subway, if you’re reading this, I’m fully willing to retract my criticism if you offer me a sponsorship. Just Kidding. Actually, not really unfortunately because my struggling writer self could use some money…). 

Mr. Hero’s food is deliciously greasy, perfect for dealing with hangovers. If I had a Mr. Hero around me during college, I definitely would’ve devoured their subs and fries after a night of drinking (note: your daily reminder to #DrinkResponsibly).

The other day, I was hanging out in Berea, Ohio, and got hungry after a few hours of writing/attempting to write. For lunch, I decided to get some grub at the nearby Mr. Hero. 

Berea is the home of Baldwin Wallace University, and if I attended Baldwin Wallace, I most certainly would’ve often indulged in Mr. Hero after debauchery-filled nights of drinking (another reminder to #DrinkResponsibly). 

But even while I was sober, Mr. Hero’s Romanburger hit the spot. For those of you not from Ohio, a Romanburger might be one of the best fast food burgers ever created. In between 2 slices of 7-inch bread lay two beef burger patties, slices of grilled salami, Swiss American cheese, veggies, and mayo. The beef was juicy, the tomatoes and lettuce were fresh, and the sandwich overall was a delectably greasy treat that was made for drunk college students and/or struggling writers prone to procrastination. Within minutes, I devoured the burger. 

Of course, I also got the waffle fries, which were hot and crispy. They were tasty by themselves but even better when I dipped them into Mr. Hero’s cheese sauce. 

I washed it all down with a cup of Mountain Dew (#NotASponsor. But I am open to a sponsorship. Call Me, Mountain Dew! You know you want to dew it). 

Some fast food places in Northeast Ohio seem to be struggling. Earlier this year, Burger King closed down a location in Parma, and just last month, a BK location in Middleburg Heights shuttered its doors (the McDonald’s next to the closed location has a slightly shady — or at least what I interpret as slightly shady — sign that says “BK EMPLOYEES WELCOME”).

But Mr. Hero seems to be doing well. There are locations all around the state, and I see a lot of people walking with their grease-stained paper bags. If you’re in Ohio, why go to a national fast food chain when you can get tasty sandwiches at an Ohio institution like Mr. Hero? 

If you’re ever in Ohio and in the need for good fast food, here is Mr. Hero’s website. 

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I write about local eats in the Cleveland area and my struggles of trying to make it as a full-time writer.

Cleveland, OH
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