Rated one Cleveland's Best Restaurants, The Lancer Steakhouse is located at the heart of the city on Historic Carnegie Avenue. The menu features a unique selection of prime, bone-in and dry-aged steak options. Every steak is hand cut in-house and seared under an 1800-degree specialty broiler. A house ground prime burger, fresh seafood and inventive steakhouse sides round out the menu to create an upscale dining experience for those looking for a trendy, local eat.
Originally called the Hickory Smokehouse, the Lancer Steakhouse was established by Fleet Slaughter in the mid 1950s, becoming one the first restaurant's in Cleveland owned and operated by an African American. The Lancer Steakhouse caters to not only the African American professional, but also to working class patrons.
When The Lancer opened, its well-dressed patrons included physicians, lawyers, successful business owners and numbers bankers who prospered before the state encroached on their territory with the lottery.
As Carl Stokes ran for mayor in the mid-1960s, The Lancer was where campaign workers swapped information, recharged their political batteries and planned new activities after an evening of volunteer work. It was considered the unofficial campaign headquarters. Stokes was elected by a hairsbreadth in 1967 as the nation's first elected black mayor of a major city and launched a political revolution that opened urban leadership to all citizens across the country. Arguably, it was The Lancer that put him over the top.
The political importance of The Lancer continued throughout the Stokes administration as the mayor opened the full range of positions in City Hall to black job-seekers for the first time. Municipal workers, City Council members and anyone wanting the back story on developments at City Hall knew they could get a good political conversation going at The Lancer. The upstairs conference room was the place of choice for strategy sessions.
Over the decades, politics, economics and demographics changed and so did The Lancer. As the old customers faded and the next generation of professionals were welcomed in new hangouts downtown, the base for a center of black social and political activity also waned. But not completely. When there was a need to gather, old-timers resurrected the past at The Lancer. For instance, whenever boxing promoter Don King came back to Cleveland for a political event or the funeral of a former colleague, he bought out the house and everyone was welcome.
The most significant celebration in The Lancer's history occurred in 2009. The local NAACP wanted to have a viewing party for the election of Barack Obama as president, and there was just one logical place to go. International television broadcasts emanated from the large tent in the restaurant's parking lot at East 77th Street and Carnegie Avenue, where euphoric voters rejoiced in Obama's incredible victory.
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