Tommy’s Restaurant celebrates 50 years in Cleveland Heights

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 7:00 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 10:14 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Tommy Fello purchased a seven-seat diner when he was just 19 years old.

A half-century later, Tommy’s Restaurant has grown to more than 100 seats and is a staple in the Coventry neighborhood.

Fello is known not only for his milkshakes but also for the wide variety of vegetarian options the restaurant offers.

For Cleveland Cooks this week, he shared a family recipe for escarole and potatoes; a Lenten favorite from his childhood.

For the restaurant, he adapted it and made it into a sandwich.

Escarole and Potatoes Recipe from Tommy’s Restaurant


  • 6 heads of escarole washed chopped
  • 3 quarts diced white onion
  • 5 pc minced garlic
  • 10 potatoes washed chopped and soaked overnight in water
  • 4 oz olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons black pepper
  • 4 oz basil
  • 2 oz oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary leaves
  • 2 whole lemons

Boil cubed potatoes until they are cooked just shy of being soft.

While the potatoes are boiling saute onions and garlic in the olive oil.

Saute until onion are see through in a soup pot.

Add spices and stir.

Add 1/2 the escarole squeeze 1 lemon onto mixture, stir.

Add half your drained cooked potatoes and stir.

Add remaining escarole squeeze second lemon, stir.

Add remaining potatoes, stir.

Cook until the escarole is completely soft.

Serve with crusty Italian bread, or wrap a large spoonful of the mixture in bread dough, seal and bake at 400 for 7 minutes, split and eat as a sandwich.

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