THERE ARE HOURSLONG DEBATES, hundreds of combined miles logged and several overfull tummies that went into choosing this year's "Best of Cleveland" winners. To vet our 72 editors' picks, we slurped down Crop Kitchen's beef udon noodle bowl, raised our glasses to newgrass band Honeybucket and pedaled around on Cleveland Public Library's book bike. For the latter, assistant editor Sheehan Hannan strapped on a helmet and took an indoor spin. "It's like a tricycle in reverse," he says. "I can't imagine anyone would want to actually ride it any serious distance, because it only has one gear. Or maybe I just need to exercise more." Meanwhile, associate editor Kelly Petryszyn was reminded of a forgotten childhood dream when she spotted the Tracey Opera troll doll wearing a black evening gown and a baby pink feather boa at the Troll Hole museum in Alliance. "I used to comb her bubble gum pink tresses into a bun and pretend she was me in the future as an actress," she says. "That didn't happen, but hey, I got paid to don a troll wig and write about it. I think I'm doing OK."
WHILE THE JUNE 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling to legalize same-sex marriage inspired our "Love Reigns" feature, the 10 same-sex couples moved our local photographers just as much. Marc and Tony Photography, Manda Wakeman Photography and Harrison Photography gifted each couple with photos shot at locations that held special meaning for them. For Wakeman, who is giving her couples all the images for free as well as an 8-by-10 print to frame, it was a heartfelt decision. "I often look back at [my] wedding photos, and the feeling I get never goes away. [It's] just pure happiness," Wakeman says. "I hope that when these couples look at the photos I took for them, they feel a similar sentiment."
While puttingtogether our August issue, editor Steve Gleydura , managing editor Kim Schneider and associate editor Jason Brill* strapped on fitness trackers. As part of a wear test for our "Top Doctors" feature on pg. 94, the wristbands counted two weeks worth of data. With a grand total of 17,641 minutes in bed and 441,981 steps, find out who is stepper-and-snoozer-in-chief.
FOR THIS MONTH'S Michael Symon story, managing editor Kim Schneider walked the streets of New York City's West Village with the Iron Chef, stopping at his favorite NYC pizza place, coffee shop, cheese shop and butcher. She also learned a few new things about the man we thought we knew so well.
He doesn't like raspberries."I hate those little fruit buggers. They make my mouth itch. I hate it when they put raspberries with chocolate desserts. It literally makes me angry."
He's a fan of Nashville's food scene."A lot of the Southern cities I really enjoy because the food is so regionally specific. When we do the Nashville [Music City] Food and Wine Festival, the first night we go and get their famous hot chicken. It's the one place you can get it, and it's so damn good."
He's pro Polish Boys."Whenever people ask me about a Cleveland sandwich, I push the Polish Boy harder than I can ever push anything else so it would catch on. I think it has a little bit, but people never think of a Polish Boy like they think of a Chicago dog, and they should. It's truly a Cleveland dish. I've never seen it anywhere else."
Throwing an April 23 garden party presents challenges — like 30-degree temps and more than a half an inch of snowfall. But thanks to a warm-blooded model (Ann King of Borrow Rentals), a chilly associate editor (me), a dedicated associate art director (Sam Twarek) and a resourceful photographer (Casey Rearick), the pictures at the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in this month's "Summer Fun Guide" look like a sunny oasis. With 60s and 70s temps just days before, I wore a peacoat, thin socks, open-top shoes and no gloves, so my fingers and toes quickly froze stiff. But King donned only a black sundress, a sheer blouse, flip-flops and a wide-brimmed hat, so we ran her a coat between takes. By the time Rearick made the wobbly ascent up the ladder for the tablescape shot, us girls were shivering so much we had to run around for warmth. // Kelly Petryszyn
While researching this month's "Resting Place" feature on Lake View Cemetery, associate editor Jason Brill and I witnessed beautiful architecture, manicured horticulture and the surfeit of history. But what gripped us the most was the gargantuan, medieval-looking Garfield Memorial key in the console of Lake View director of community outreach Mary Krohmer's car. The roughly 2-pound bronze key is locked up every night, along with 80 other mausoleum keys, in the cemetery's archival vault. "We don't go in [the mausoleums] all the time," says Lake View president Katharine Goss. "Once or twice a year we go in and make sure everything is clean and there's no cobwebs."
Junior Carlie Beard loves the different personalities on Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School's cheer squad, including the mother figure who helps others when they're down and the teammate who pushes the squad to work harder when they're slacking. "You are an athlete," Beard says. "You work out like any other athlete."
Lutheran West High School senior Kiersten Kemmett has been cheering for 16 years and was inspired by her mother, a cheerleading coach, as well as her school. "Not only does [Lutheran West] really emphasize religion, but it also emphasizes family and sports," Kemmett says. "It's a very well-rounded school."
Marie Klein, a senior at Walsh Jesuit High School, broke the Guinness World Records mark last year by completing 40 consecutive back handsprings. "I practiced through the summer and ran," Klein says. "I've been tumbling for a while now." Though her record has since been broken, Klein hopes to reclaim her title. // Patrick Williams
You can't camp in the trailer that appears on our cover — but that hardly matters. "We knew we wanted a small, vintage camper," says design director Kristen Miller, "but weren't sure where to find one." Enter Rocky River antiques dealer Mitchell Sotka and Hingetown district developers Graham Veysey and Marika Shioiri-Clark, acquaintances who spotted this 1978 Serro Scotty parked on a Valley City Craigslist post, bought it and revamped it. "For probably four weeks, on nights and weekends, we were in there with hot glue guns and paint," Veysey recalls. The trailer now hosts artists and business owners who use the space as a pop-up shop. It's also available to rent, which Cleveland Magazine did, lugging it down to Atwood Lake for the shoot. "It was perfect," says Miller, "with a splash of aqua and a lot of kitsch."
The Wild, Wild Bluffs
As photo intern Sara Sevek and I scouted for winged creatures for this month's "Wing Nuts" with biologist John Pogacnik (right), we were shocked — and more than a little afraid — to learn the Lake Erie Bluffs is home to coyotes. But Pogacnik assured us that the wild canines weigh just 30 pounds, and he made sure to point out the coyotes' droppings throughout the park. "They're more afraid of us than we are of them," he told us, explaining coyotes prey on rabbits and squirrels. We weren't particularly calmed by his logic, but felt a tad safer that he was there to protect us from the coyotes in case of a sighting. // Cassie Neiden
unusual tactics are necessary to capture emotion on camera. When photographing Arthur Chu (center) for this month's feature (pg. 112), Jeff Downie and his team asked the Jeopardy! champion to recite a monologue from Handle With Care, an Actors' Summit play in which Chu starred. "Just like that, he snapped into character," Downie says. "Within moments, I was shooting a completely different person." To mimic throwing a TV, Downie had Chu toss a pillow across the studio. "He threw the pillow as hard as he could, and he almost knocked [makeup artist] Maggie [Kleinman] clear off her feet," Downie says. She was OK, so we'll chalk it up to Chu wanting to maintain his villainous Jeopardy! image.
Man vs. Food CLE Edition
Thanks to procrastination and various deadlines, I only left myself one week to attempt the three food challenges for "Fare Trials" in this month's Dish section. During that week, I endured a self-inflicted bitten lip (a momentary setback that editor Steve Gleydura live tweeted as if it were the Super Bowl), earned a pretty cool soda jerk hat, discovered some tips on battling brain freeze, and learned that if you feel like you might throw up, you should smile. That last little nugget came from associate art director Sam Twarek (left), who accompanied me on all the challenges, capturing all the necessary — and often gory — photographic evidence. He saw me at some low moments. "I was sick to my stomach pretty much the entire time," he told me later. // Jason Brill
National Reading Month
Interns Sara Sevek (left) and Megan Murray braved frigid temperatures over three days to capture 13 Midwesterners with their noses buried in books for this month's Shelf page. "A lot of people spend their time on their phones or tablets," says Sevek. "It seems like not many people are reading for leisure or pleasure anymore. The people we did find [reading] had something similar to say: It's healthy for your brain."
On the Cover
Main Street Cupcakes co-owner Sarah Forrer toted 18 cupcakes, including the bakery's top-selling strawberries and pink Champagne and classic chocolate with pink vanilla buttercream frosting, to this month's cover shoot. "We frosted the cupcakes on set and added sprinkles with tweezers," she says. "We even analyzed the crinkles in the cupcake wrappers." While the shop offers customers treats for any occasion, it was Forrer's color-coordinated 21-month-old daughter, Hadley, who took the cake for cutest creation. "She got a hold of the sprinkles, and there was no looking back," Forrer recalls. Main Street Cupcakes, which has locations in Hudson, Rocky River and Medina, will open its fourth spot Feb. 4 in Chagrin Falls.
Cleveland Magazine's Most Interesting People Party
Gather the city's most intriguing citizens around an open bar — as we did at this year's annual fete, held at Aloft Cleveland Downtown — and they become even more fascinating. We learned that before 55-year-old Lance Rice, an autistic beer historian, departed on his national brewery tour, he'd never spoken to a stranger. We discovered singer-songwriter Antoine Dunn took two hours to get ready for the party. And we found out assistant editor Jason Brill has "really soft hands," according to comedian Ricky Smith (pictured here with his date, Tiffany Sloan). Smith, who has been spreading Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, certainly knows about extending a helping hand.
Kent State University'sCleveland Urban DesignCollaborative
Creating a 3-D map of our downtown living options for this month's cover story was as complex as any construction project. "The large files cause my programs to crash!"says Julie Whyte, a graduate fellow at Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and member of the three-person team who reviewed building footprints and plans, then drafted several versions of the detailed cityscape using multiple software. "[The map] will capture an important moment in time for Cleveland," says Terry Schwarz, the CUDC's director, "when housing demand in the downtown area is strong and growing stronger."
Sam Twarek / Associate Art Director
Twarek traveled throughout Northeast Ohio to photograph six delicious burgers for this month's cover story, starting on pg. 88. "All of the burgers looked and smelled so good, but I was happy to pawn them off on office mates," says the vegetarian. So it's no surprise Twarek preferred the 15 nonfood items he photographed for "A Handmade Tale." "My favorite things to shoot were the doughnut warriors," he says of The Republic of Cute sculptures. "It was like playing with little green army men toys, setting them up in different battle arrangements — except instead of men it was an angry mob of fork-wielding doughnuts."