A tragic trolley accident has led this hopping world cafe to be haunted by some pretty malevolent spirits.
The History: The building that is now home to Johnny Mango World Cafe may seem unassuming with its bright paintings, music blasting, and crowded tables. Built in 1910, the brick building sits on the corner of Bridge Ave. in the hip town of Ohio City in Cleveland, a town that was a witness to one of the biggest tragedies in the town’s history. Just down the road from 3120 Bridge Ave., in 1895, a trolley car derailed and tumbled into the Cuyahoga River, killing 17 passengers. Deemed the 1895 Central Viaduct Disaster, the bridge was eventually closed and has been replaced with Innerbelt Bridge (I-90) today.
The Haunting: With such a traumatic event just down the road, it’s no surprise that Johnny Mango is considered one of the most haunted places in Cleveland. It is believed that a woman who lost her life in the Viaduct Disaster over 100 years ago named Margaret is haunting the halls of the restaurant. It would seem, however, that this haunting is not connected to the building since Margaret died tragically in 1895 and the building wasn’t built until 1910. Instead, it seems the land that Johnny Mango is built on is haunted. According to claims, there are also several hostile entities lurking in the women’s bathroom down in the basement. However, after Mary Ann Winkowski (the real-life “Ghost Whisperer”) visited the restaurant several years ago, she declared the space clean and supposedly the atmosphere is much lighter nowadays.
Sadly, I think this is the least frightening haunted place I’ve ever visited. The interior of the building has been completely redesigned and has no hints of its 108-year-old history (they painted the tin ceiling blue! Oh my heart…). It is bright, colorful, modern, and bustling. Of course, none of those are bad things if you’re not trying to show off your history and haunting, and I think that’s exactly what Johnny Mango is doing. They are not advertising that their establishment is haunted and have done an excellent job at creating a fun and carefree environment. The restaurant was extremely crowded even on a Sunday at 3pm (a good problem to have, I suppose!), and there was only one waitress serving everyone in the dining room, so, unfortunately, we were unable to talk with the staff about any personal experiences any of them might have had. We did, however, capture an interesting EVP down in the women’s bathroom.
If the ghost stories were lacking at Johnny Mango, they managed to make up for it with their food. They offer Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean inspired dishes as well as a huge offering of vegan options, and even $2 tacos on Tuesdays. Prices weren’t nearly as high as other haunted restaurants I’ve visited over the years, however, the menu is a bit on the limited side. Aside from side dishes and their burrito/quesadilla options, there’s really only ten things on the menu. They do have a great drink menu ranging from freshly squeezed juices to margaritas (I got the El Diablo, and I was not disappointed!). I do recommend the pad thai–from the reviews I read online, everyone recommended it as did our waitress–it was spicy and delicious, and the portion was generous. For dessert, I highly recommend the Chocolate Triple X, a decadent chocolate pate with raspberry sauce–great to share and the perfect little period at the end of the sentence.
Type of Experience: Restaurant and bar
Dining Style: Casual
Cuisine: Mexican, Asian, Caribbean, Vegan
Price Range: $1.50-18.00
Address: 3120 Bridge Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113
Phone Number: (216) 575-1919
Hours of Operation:
Bar open until 1:00am
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