One of the best ways to get a taste of a city when you travel is to hit the local dining spots. That ranges from the trailer hotdog stand that the locals covet, to the finest wine and tapas bar that requires reservations.
Most likely you won’t hit every dig that is recommended to you – or the ones you saw on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. But may we make a recommendation? If you’re in Cleveland, Ohio, and you’re salivating for Italian, grab a menu at Bucci’s Italian Steakhouse.
Crowne Plaza Cleveland Airport Hotel’s latest innovation has been its partnership with one of Cleveland’s best-known Italian restaurants. Since January of 2008 Bucci’s has been the main dining provider for the hotel, which is located in Middleburg Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. This past January, Bucci’s at Crowne Plaza transitioned into a steakhouse, putting its focus on steaks and chops but still serving the classics that have made Bucci’s a hometown celebrity.
Bucci’s Italian Steakhouse at Crowne Plaza isn’t the usual soup and salad, chicken club and fries, cereal and muffin standard you have at hotels. Of course, the usual bagel-with-cream-cheese is always available. But how about a New York strip with eggs, hash browns and toast? For lunch, maybe a cedar plank salmon roasted over fennel and onions with Dijon mustard? And for dinner, you can do no wrong with one of Bucci’s parmesan dishes. Your choice of chicken, veal or eggplant is breaded, topped with provolone cheese and one of Bucci’s sauces, baked and served with a generous side of pasta.
Partnering with Bucci’s is one way Crowne Plaza has strived to bring local charm and quality service to its guests. Though the hotel cannot take the credit for Bucci’s success, it can applaud itself for embracing a local favorite to share with travelers.
Bucci’s Italian restaurant made its debut in 1972 as a 50-seater, home-style Italian restaurant in the Rocky River suburb of Cleveland. Its signature dishes were pizza and pastas. Joe Bucci, owner and president of the family-owned business, said that Bucci’s Rocky River was the adaptation of his grandparents’ restaurant, Francescas, which was located on the west side of the city. Named after his grandmother, Mr. Bucci said Francescas was one of Cleveland’s first pizza parlors, known for its fresh ingredients and homemade items. For many loyal customers, Mr. Bucci said, Bucci’s Rocky River evokes nostalgia because it is the original home of Bucci’s and still has the same casual atmosphere.
Since the restaurant’s modest beginnings, Bucci’s has bloomed into Bucci’s in Berea, Bucci’s Brick Oven, J-Bella Italian Restaurant and Bucci’s Italian Steakhouse at the Crowne Plaza, which was the latest installment of the family establishment. Though each eatery is thematically different they are all equally satisfying in the quality of ingredients and dishes, and that’s how it should be, Mr. Bucci said.
“The restaurants are [located] close to each other, so we try to give them different ambiances but use the same signature sauces [and dishes]. We like to say Bucci food, but we put a little twist on all of our places,” he said.
Photos of the Bucci family are replacements for wallpaper at Bucci’s Brick Oven in Middleburg Heights. Here, pizza is the focus, and the setting should be as comfortable as sitting at your kitchen table – the air thick with the smells of cheeses, meats and toppings such as clams, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts coming from the wood-fired oven. But Bucci’s in the Berea suburb of Cleveland has an air of finer dining. It seats 200 guests, offers an extended house specialty list and can play host to private parties. Of course, the aroma is standard at any Bucci restaurant.
Bucci’s at the Crowne Plaza is also available for private parties, with a maximum capacity of 72. A private banquet room would be ideal for hosting a business retreat or conference. Vaulted ceilings, pendant-shaped chandeliers, walls painted with brown and gold hues and full place settings on every table bring sophistication to any event. And since Bucci’s is the selected caterer for events at the Crowne Plaza, the courses will match the setting.
Particulars are important to the Bucci name – everything in a Bucci kitchen is homemade, and nothing comes out of a box. The meats are bought locally from Blue Ribbon Meats Inc., and Mr. Bucci has created a quality specification list based on size, thickness, and the age of the meat to ensure that only the finest cuts are being served. It’s part of the unspoken Bucci guarantee.
Bucci’s fundamentals may be in Italian food, but it also offers seafood selections such as broiled scampi in garlic Chardonnay butter and gourmet entrée salads with your choice of a salmon, chicken or steak topper. At all Bucci’s restaurants you can order most of the staples that have made this Cleveland treasure a hotspot for Italian cooking, and at Crowne Plaza, Bucci’s Italian Steakhouse highlights the broad range of Bucci’s mastery of the kitchen. That includes its traditional dessert options, such as tiramisu and cheesecake.
“We are particular about the food we serve. It’s a family owned [restaurant], and we want people to know that we care about what they are eating. We want people to know that when they have our food it always exceeds their expectations,” Bucci says.
The local residents have experienced ‘beyond expectation,’ and Crowne Plaza Cleveland Airport hotel and Bucci’s invites you to do the same.