Ohio

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Last Updated September 2020! We’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Ohio that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).

Note: You can ignore the date on this post going forward. We’ll update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new restaurant recommendation, change, or closure. 

Local Ohio Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Akron

  • Melt Bar & Grilled – This local restaurant chain has an entire vegan menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and more. See the Cleveland Listing for full details.
  • Mustard Seed Market & Cafe ⭐️ – This locally owned grocery store has two locations and a cafe at each site. The menu is extensive, with icons for dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. They serve starters, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more. They also whip up dairy-free smoothies and have some vegan desserts available.
  • Old Carolina Barbecue Company – They’re a local chain that cares about special diet diners. They have a gluten-free menu and a full allergen chart with an impressive array of dairy-free options. Their meats are slow-cooked for 14 hours, but the food comes out quickly at this counter-serve restaurant. In addition to their pulled pork, ribs, smokehouse chicken, coleslaws, beans, and French fries, dairy-free customers can order hush puppies and Boardwalk Bites, which are basically donut holes with tossed in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Alliance

Avon

Beachwood

Boardman

  • Ely’s to Go ⭐️ – They have some seating, but everything at this vegan restaurant is packaged ready to go. Their daily menu includes soups, salads, spring rolls, rotating sandwiches, muffins, cookies, and scones.

Canton

Cincinnati

  • Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – This is a popular regional chain that offers dairy-free cheese alternative at no extra charge! In fact, their classic pizza crust and sauce are vegan, and they can make any veggie pizza vegan. They also have a fantastic allergen list. It tells you the specific items with dairy AND the items that contain dairy even when you hold the cheese. As a not-so-obvious heads up, their Thai Chili Sauce contains dairy.
  • Happy Chicks Bakery ⭐️ – This quirky bake shop and cafe is completely vegan. They serve a savory menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides for lunch, and offer many items to go, like empanadas, quiches, croissants, and savory scones. On the sweet side, they bake daily cakes, cupcakes, cookies, breakfast pastries, and more. They also take custom cake orders for any occasion, including weddings.

Cleveland

  • Café Avalaun – This certified gluten-free cafe and bakery has a varied menu for breakfast and lunch. As is, most of the menu items contain dairy, but they have options to make most dishes dairy-free. For example, they have two dairy-free crepe batter options for their popular crepes. Sandwiches can also be made dairy-free, and they usually have a vegan soup on hand. The bakery side is filled with dairy-free cookies, bars, muffins, donuts, cakes, and breads. Some paleo treats are also available.
  • Melt Bar & Grilled – A grilled cheese sandwich shop might send you running in the opposite direction, but this local restaurant chain has a huge vegan menu. They offer both dairy-free mozzarella and dairy-free cheddar cheese alternatives, for an additional charge. Their menu also includes an array of faux vegan meats, and of course, they have fresh-baked vegan bread and buns. They also offer several sides and salad options, and some additional menu items can be made “just dairy free” on request. Gluten-free options are also available. They have five locations in Cleveland, at last count.
  • Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream – In addition to sorbets, they scoop creamy dairy-free flavors daily at this local chain. At last check, their staples were Vegan Chocolate and Vegan Salted Caramel Pecan, each made with coconut milk and organic sugar. But they sometimes craft new or seasonal vegan flavors. Additional vegan items include: sugar cones, cake cones, chocolate sauce (not the hot fudge), peanut butter, raspberry, strawberry, peanuts, cherries, and rainbow sprinkles.
  • Piccadilly Artisan Creamery – They specialize in nitrogen ice cream, so it’s made quickly and to order. They have a couple creamy vegan ice creams available and actually have a vegan topping menu.

Columbus

  • Alchemy Cafe – This modern counter-serve cafe is mostly dairy-free, and serves many vegan and gluten-free items as labeled on their healthy all-day menu. They focus on sandwiches, toasts, smoothies, and smoothie bowls. They also have a unique coffee drink menu that uses oat milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, and almond milk for making various beverages and superfood lattes.
  • Alchemy Kitchen – This casual spot serves most of the same smoothies, smoothie bowls, toasts, sandwiches, and beverages that you can find at their Cafe location. But they also serve a small menu of burgers, burritos, and bowls for lunch and dinner, and have a more extensive breakfast menu. Many dishes are dairy-free, or can be made dairy-free, and vegan and gluten-free items are clearly labeled.
  • Destination Donuts – Located inside the North Market, this all-natural donut purveyor bakes fresh throughout the day. They typically have at least a couple of vegan donut varieties available each day. The selection rotates, but they could include Butterscotch Sea Salt, Cookies & Cream, Dueling Vanilla, or Blueberry Lemon. Sometimes they also bake vegan cinnamon rolls in fun flavors like maple or citrus.
  • Matt’s Bakery ⭐️ – This husband and wife run bakery is a kosher and dairy-free establishment (they do use eggs). Their baked goods are also nut-free, with the exception of pecan pie, which he says is baked separately. Their selection includes tons of breads, cookies, pies, pastries, and more. They also bake custom cakes for weddings and other celebrations.
  • Melt Bar & Grilled – This local restaurant chain has an entire vegan menu of grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and more. See the Cleveland Listing for full details.
  • Pattycake Bakery ⭐️ – All of the handcrafted sweets at this quaint little bake shop are vegan. They bake cupcakes, cakes, cookies, whoopie pies, muffins and more daily. They also serve gluten-free baked goods, and take custom orders for celebration cakes and cupcakes.
  • Soodles Cake Shop ⭐️ – To round out the mix, this bakery is dedicated free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, sesame, peanuts, and all tree nuts except coconut. They can often accommodate other allergens upon request. Their best seller is Cinnamon Coffee Cake, but they offer a huge selection of breads, crusts, pies, and other sweets. They can also bake a cake for your special occasion.
  • Ted’s Montana Grill – Founded by media mogul and rancher Ted Turner, this American chain serves a meat-heavy menu with lots of dairy-free options. See our Dairy-Free Guide for Ted’s Montana Grill for more details.

Dayton

Lakewood

  • Ice Cream Joy – The owner said to us, “I love my vegan ones sometimes more than my regular ice creams.” You can tell! Their menu now has more creamy dairy-free vegan flavors than dairy ones, and they have vegan options for everything on the menu. You can order a vegan scoop, sundae, float, or milkshake.

Lancaster

  • The Well – At this gathering place, they roast their own direct trade coffee beans, source local and organic foods whenever possible, and have a wholesome menu filled with special diet options. Almond milk is on hand for drinks, their dairy-free smoothie options are expansive, and they’re always baking vegan and gluten-free desserts. You can even enjoy them a la mode with coconut ice cream. On the savory side, they serve breakfast and lunch with an array of fresh dishes with house-made sauces. Many of the options are dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or vegan.

Massillon

Ontario

Orrville

Rocky River

Shaker Heights

Solon

Stow

Strongsville

Westlake

Most Popular Chains in Ohio for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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