For recommendations on where to get Cleveland's best sweets and desserts, we're turning to Matt Danko, whose pastry creations at The Greenhouse Tavern earned him a nomination for Food & Wine's The People's Best New Pastry Chef award, and a place in Eater's Young Guns Class of 2012.
Danko started in the savory side of the kitchen at The Greenhouse Tavern just over four years ago, transitioning to pastry two years later after expressing his disappointment in the desserts that were being served at that time. He says seasonality plays a big role in determining the dessert menu, and makes changes as every two or three weeks to take advantage of the freshest produce. Like the savory side of the menu, Danko says he wants to make his desserts available to everyone, so he's mindful of creating options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diners.
Scroll down to see all of Matt Danko's favorite sweets and desserts in Cleveland:
Doughnuts: Childhood memories revolve around trying not to get messy while eating marshmallow doughnuts from Stan's Bakery in Northfield. The donut obsession continues now through my adulthood at Jack Frost Donut Shop. You can find the traditional and non-traditional here that encompass everything from glazed to jalapeño-flavored donuts.
Chocolates: Lilly Handmade Chocolates in Tremont makes a fine bridge between hard to find beers, ciders, wine and carefully crafted chocolates. Each equally difficult to resist, I can never walk out with one and not the other.
Cookies: Presti's Bakery in Little Italy has some great cookies. The Clothespins are my weakness.
Breakfast Pastries: My ideal breakfast is croissants and sticky buns from On the Rise Artisan Breads & Pastries. Picking fresh bread at this neighborhood bakery in the morning has its perks.
Rootbeer Floats: Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop offers a vintage look in to past with a menu and an aesthetic that represents another time. I'm a sucker for a root beer float and you can't find a better one in the city.
French Pastries: Coquette Patisserie's beautiful and delicate pastries are always good. One of the only places in Cleveland to get fresh traditional French pastries is from this patisserie at the Shaker Square Farmers Market on Saturdays.
Ice Cream: When all I want for dessert is ice cream and I have some time on my hands I head to Country Maid Ice Cream in the Cuyahoga Valley. The drive is worth the honey ice cream I've been eating since I was a kid. Also an orchard and small farm, they sell fruits and vegetables from their property while they're in season. If I wanted something a little closer to home I would head over to Churned Ice Cream Shop in Tremont. Adventurous flavor pairings make their house made ice cream unique and satisfying.