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Academy Tavern

12800 Larchmere Ave.
Cleveland  Ohio  44120
United States
(216) 229-1171
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Midwest Living Review

Sarah Routh
This tried-and-true east side tavern serves up classic burgers for a great price.

The Academy Tavern sits on the edge of Cleveland and Shaker Heights. It celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2009 (and two years later, the waitresses are still wearing the commemorative T-shirts). It's an old-style neighborhood bar with a decent-sized dining room that's rarely empty. You'll find everyone from uniformed police officers to guys who've stopped in after work to families with young kids enjoying a night out. There are also plenty of older folks who flock to the Academy for both the old-school ambience and low prices. If you talk burgers with anyone on the east side, the Academy Tavern almost always gets a fond mention. Academy serves at least seven basic burgers on the printed menu and has several more specialty choices listed on the board on the wall. These flame-broiled burgers are 1/2-pound patties made from 100% black Angus beef. If that's not big enough for you, doubles are available. We tried the Academy Burger -- a classic with cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon -- and the blue cheese burger. Both were properly cooked and pretty darn juicy. But the flavors of toppings were sort of lost on the sandwich. There are two things that can swallow the flavor on a burger: the bun and the meat, and this time the meat overwhelmed everything. That's not to say the meat wasn't tasty, we just missed the flavor of the toppings. Burgers here are a solid deal. They range from $6 for a 1/2-pound hamburger to $9.40 for a 3/4-pound Big Gus burger. A family of five can eat here for well under $60, and no one will walk away hungry (or disappointed). The burger here is good, just not terribly inventive. It's probably most appreciated by purists who want a simple burger at a good price.

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