I received an email back in July from Andrea Mueller, the marketing manager for Hilton Cleveland Downtown. She wondered if I would consider writing a column about their new restaurant, The Burnham Restaurant, located inside the new Hilton on Lakeside Avenue East. I thought about it for some time, as I typically promote the locally-owned restaurants in the zones that The Post Newspapers serves. But then, the thoughts of downtown and the holidays and the Indians and the Cavs and Playhouse Square made me think happy thoughts about the incredible renaissance that Cleveland has and is experiencing. The fact that Andrea grew up in Strongsville and her parents read our paper made me think that yes, many of us like to have a getaway or a staycation weekend in Cleveland.

Growing up, visiting downtown during the holidays was just something we had to do. Tradition. Windows. Shopping. The lights and sounds and feel of the big city. Now, with all the fantastic changes to Cleveland, it is once again a must do during the holidays. So, I thought writing about a great new hotel and a wonderful restaurant in downtown Cleveland made a lot of sense. If you are going to do this right, an overnight stay and a great home base seems like an excellent way to do it. This Hilton was built before the Republican Convention came to town a while back, and is situated perfectly. The lake just to the north, with views of the Browns stadium, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center and City Hall.

Cleveland was named recently among the best 21 places to visit in the world in 2018 by National Geographic Magazine. Cleveland came in No. 14 and was only one of two places in the USA. They say it is because we exemplify the spirit of urban renewal. How about that.

The Cleveland dining scene is on the forefront of the city’s rebirth. With too many new restaurants to mention, it means that our area is now one of national focus as a place to visit. Northeast Ohio is back on the map. From Tremont to Ohio City to East Fourth to Gordon Square. There’s lots to be proud of if you live in or are from Northeast Ohio.

The restaurant in the Hilton is called The Burnham Restaurant, named after Daniel Burnham, who was director of the planning commission that laid out the design for downtown Cleveland’s Civic Mall, called the City Beautiful framework. The Burnham Restaurant looks out over this green space that has now been restored, and has Mall B as its main view.

The restaurant itself is visually stunning with big open spaces and lots of wonderful light. It has a very local focus, from local artworks to local flavors and locally-sourced ingredients. They tell me they designed the new menu to be “Cleveland-centric.”

I visited the Burnham for lunch on a Friday this fall. I enjoyed a perfect butternut squash soup topped with portabella mushrooms and truffle oil, followed by a hip new version of chicken paprikash, which was different than what I know as paprikash but kept the integrity of the dish with a wonderful new spin. I finished with a sweet potato cheesecake with torched marshmallows and candied pecans. Everything was perfect. You can always tell when a kitchen has well-trained chefs preparing the food. They certainly have energetic young talent in the kitchen and it shows in the dishes.

For instance, one of their chefs is Jack Halfin. He went to Le Cordon Bleu Peru where he got his Associates of Science degree in culinary arts in 2010, worked at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Naples, Fla. for two years, then to NYC where he worked in a bunch of Michelin Star restaurants. That is some experience.

Did I mention they also serve Mitchell’s Ice Cream, a Cleveland classic.

I asked Andrea what her favorite part of the new restaurant and hotel was, and she told me it was “the pride of knowing and seeing what this hotel and this restaurant represents. As a native Clevelander, I have never been prouder to be from Cleveland!”

By the way, Bar 32 on the 32nd floor overlooks Lake Erie and the Cleveland skyline. One of the most dramatic places I know of to chill and take it all in. The patio off Bar 32 is a sight to see.