Meet the ‘Food Dude’ and his underdog street-side concept in the middle of Cleveland’s crowded food scene

Jason Brokaw is far from your average downtown food vendor

Meet the ‘Food Dude’ and his underdog street-side concept in the middle of Cleveland’s crowded food scene
Jason Brokaw sets up shop at East 12 Street and Chester Avenue in downtown Cleveland to offer up gourmet street fare.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The sloppy hot dog carts and food trucks that dot Cleveland streets face a new competitor: the “Food Dude.”

His real name is Jason Brokaw, 35, of Willowick, and he’s drawing in downtown’s hungry lunch-goers with a gourmet food station that serves up freshly prepped steak, chicken, veggies, slaw, deli sausage, plump Polish boys and more.

'Food Dude' bringing quality fare to Cleveland streets

Brokaw can be spotted in Euclid, outside the Beachland Ballroom and off East 9th Street, but the Manhattan Deli and Restaurant in Mentor is his home base.

It’s where the local underdog turned his life around and became the entrepreneur he is today.

“You stroll through life and opportunities come to a lot of people, and it seemed like I’ve gotten passed over on a lot of opportunities. So what do you do? You make a way for yourself,” said Brokaw, a native Clevelander who grew up on the West Side and was cycled through 27 foster homes during his upbringing.

He overcame abuse, addiction and poverty, and is drawing in new people everyday who can’t resist the smell and sizzle of his street fare.

Tim Shaker, Brokaw’s boss and owner of the Manhattan Deli, summed it up in a few words: “Jason has really turned things around for himself, and we’re all proud of him.”

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