Berea, OH

Looking for Soul Food in the Suburbs of Cleveland? You Should Check Out This Restaurant in Berea, Ohio

Isla Chiu
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The other day, I was craving comfort food. I wish I could have gone to Soul Fo’ Real BBQ, but alas, that restaurant closed down last year and was yet another casualty of the pandemic.

Fortunately, there is still a place on the west side that offers delicious soul food—Berea Smokehouse Barbecue and Grill.

Though the restaurant might be small and have a humble exterior, Berea Smokehouse serves huge portions of food that will satisfy the biggest of appetites.

Because I was hungry, I ordered a lot of food: a catfish dinner, collard greens, and mac and cheese.

And all of it was superb. It was just as delicious as the food I used to get from Soul Fo' Real BBQ.

My collard greens were cooked perfectly; they were tender and full of rich pork flavor (see all of those pieces of meat!).
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My mac and cheese was also great. It was full of well-seasoned cheesy goodness, and the pasta wasn't overcooked and mushy. My only complaint was that my lactose-intolerant body suffered later in the evening, but I knew what I was getting myself into when I ordered mac and cheese.

Was the mac and cheese worth the suffering? Yes.
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But of course, the real star of my meal was the catfish. Oh my God, the catfish! The mere memory of eating it is making my mouth water.

The catfish was fresh, hot, and cooked to absolute perfection. The breading was crispy and full of flavor, and the catfish itself was so tender, so flaky. I got some tartar sauce with the catfish, but honestly, with how delicious the catfish was by itself, I hardly reached for the tartar sauce (however, the catfish was also delicious with a little tartar sauce).

The catfish dinner came with fries and coleslaw. The fries were well-seasoned and crispy, and the coleslaw was good as well.

I miss Soul Fo’ Real BBQ and so many other small businesses that were forced to close their doors due to challenges brought about by the ongoing pandemic and the economy.

Luckily, I can still find delicious soul food at Berea Smokehouse. And I hope its doors stay open for a long, long time because I'm definitely going to need many more servings of that catfish.

Berea Smokehouse Barbecue and Grill is located at 819 N Rocky River Dr, Berea, OH 44017.

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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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