Dearing’s Restaurant, lauded by the Call & Post as “Cleveland’s Pride,” was one of the most popular Black-owned dining establishments in the Midwest. Owned and operated by Ulysses S. (U. S. or “Sweets”) Dearing, the restaurant opened in 1944 at 1035 East 105th Street and was one of several Dearing eateries over the years. The restaurant was beautifully decorated and air-conditioned, making it a good place to work and an even better place to eat. In 1949 another Dearing’s opened in the spacious dining room of the popular Majestic Hotel at East 55th Street and Central Avenue. By the 1970s Dearing’s would have four different locations around Cleveland.
U. S. Dearing was known as one of the nation’s most widely famed Black restaurant men. Originally from Washington, Pennsylvania, he began his restaurant ownership by moving into a hotel in Pittsburgh, formerly known as Calloway Hotel, in March 1930. Dearing rejuvenated the restaurant, serving the same high-class grade of foods as at his future establishments. Eventually he moved to Cleveland where he managed three Green Book-listed businesses over the course of the 1930s and ’40s—Cedar Gardens, Mason’s Farm, and the Blue Grass Club. Among his own restaurants, the best-known was located at 1035 East 105th Street.
Dearing’s Restaurant featured an extensive and elaborate menu but was most widely frequented for its shack fried chicken and “Soul Dance Time,” which occurred every Thursday to give Clevelanders a mid-week opportunity to dance and enjoy music. The restaurant offered fine home-style food, hosted many events such as farewell dinners, retirement dinners, and Memorial Day breakfast. Dearing’s sold only the best of meats and freshest of vegetables, all while maintaining an affordable cost for the public. With the restaurant open 24 hours a day, Dearing Jr. joined his father to help operate the family business in the 1950s. Dearing Sr. would oversee days, and Dearing Jr. was in charge of nights. In 1972, however, a devastating fire, thought to be caused by overheated cooking oil, burned one of Dearing’s establishments. The overall loss mounted to $40,000 in fire damages, although thankfully there was no loss of life.
- “Chef Jenkins is Old Timer: Even Dearing’s can’t Meet Prices of 1893.” Call & Post. July 25, 1953.
- “Dearing’s First to Get Sunday Liquor Permit.” Call & Post. March 20, 1971, City edition.
- “Dearings’ Fire Loss is $40,000.” Call & Post. February 5, 1972, City edition.
- “Dearing, Popular Restauranter, to Move into Fine New Quarters.” Pittsburgh Courier. March 1, 1930.
- “Exciting Thurs. Nite Set?: Soul Dance Time Rocks at Dearings.” Call & Post. September 18, 1971, City edition.
- “New Dearing’s Now in Majestic.” Call & Post. February 12, 1949.
- “Other 25 — no Title.” Call & Post. July 29, 1972.
- “Seasons Greetings from Dearing’s: Fine, Home Cooked Meals.” Pittsburgh Courier, December 24, 1949.
- “There has to be A Reason: Dearing’s Restaurant is Cleveland’s Pride.” Call & Post. March 13, 1954.