A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

2012 Celebrates the West Side Market

As we close out yet another exciting year in Cleveland, I would like to take time to give a shout out to a fantastic event that has occurred throughout 2012. Our publicly owned and now nationally famous market reached its centennial anniversary this year. It's hard to believe our local treasure opened for business in 1912!
There were lots of celebrations including the star studded gala, a wallet friendly People's Party, and a parade. Being a regular shopper, it was fun to see everyone making a fuss over our city's best market. It finally got the national praise it deserves.
Cleveland’s West Side Market is located at the corners of West 25th and Lorain Avenue in Ohio City, and is home to approximately 100 diverse merchants.

The West Side Market's 137 foot clock tower has stood over West 25th for virtually a century, and is one of my favorite Cleveland landmarks. 
The building is a beautifully developed piece of architecture, and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Cleveland’s West Side Market is one of the last of its kind in the United States and offers locals and tourist alike a wonderful shopping experience. One can discover fresh cut flowers, seafood, vegetables, ready-to-eat foods, meat, bakeries and dairy products. 
Cleveland’s West Side Market is not only an interesting place, it’s a Cleveland tradition. There are over 100 merchants at the market but the interior arrangement of the market was well planned so it's simple for customers to discover the countless merchants and products available. But half the fun is just walking around exploring. You can find the complete merchant directory here.
The interior concourse of Cleveland’s West Side Market is home to countless diverse hard working vendors. On Saturdays it's normally jam packed so come with some patience. Before I start my food shopping, I like to grab a bite (you know you shouldn't shop on an empty stomach, right?!) so I normally stop for a tasty bratwurst at Frank’s Bratwurst Company located at stand G-3. Frank's Bratwurst was established by the Ratschki family and has been serving German style bratwurst for over 40 years.
Make sure you get the hard roll and don’t forget the Stadium Mustard!
Other tasty choices are the West Side Market CafeSteve's Gyro'sNoodlecat and Crepes de Luxe. As a lover of food, you can imagine that as I walk around, I not only feel at home, I get extremely excited! There is so much to choose from here and it’s truly a shopping experience. Some of my personal favorites when I shop for a meal or entertain guests are:

You can locate this delicious bakery at stands F-10 and F-11. Vera's bakery offers an extensive assortment of European style breads and pastries. We love the ciabatta stuffed with peppers and onions. Try it toasted and you'll be hooked.

Another choice for delicious bread. Lots of crusty favorites including the Lake Erie Sourdough and 7-Grain. Stand C-10

Another flavorful stop is located at stand E-3. Ohio City Pasta Company offers fresh pastas including gnocchi, tortellini, and over 20 unique flavors of ravioli. If you haven’t purchased the pasta here, it’s likely that you’ve eaten it at one of the fine restaurants in Cleveland that serve this amazing product.

What can I say, I am hooked on the place at stand E-5! These guys make a great pierogi, and we Clevelander’s know our pierogis! One side of their stand is loaded with classic potato and cheese varieties and the other is full of crazy delicious modern twists. Sloppy Joe, Thai chicken, beef and onion and chicken paprikash are some of the available fillings. They not only create an amazing variety of pierogi they also offer potato pancakes, cabbage and noodles, and giant stuffed cabbage.

Where’s the beef? At Lance’s. A family owned stand that has been in business since 1988. They offer fresh Ohio farm raised beef and cut to order steaks. Stop by at stand F-9.

This family business was established in 1957 and is located at stands F-1 and F-2. I was fortunate enough to meet the nice couple that owns it at the Cleveland International Film Feast at Crop Bistro last year.  They are as sweet as their meats are delicious. Dohar specializes in Eastern European smoked meats and their bacon and brisket are to die for.
Need spices, head to Narrin's Asian Spice. They have every day staples and an impressive array of the exotic. Judy's Oasis has delicious Mediterranean favorites like hummos, feta dips and stuffed grape leaves. Coffee and tea lovers should stop by City Roast. And Campbell's Sweet Factory brings out the kid in all of us. Their flavored popcorn is a must try.

Laura Taxel and Marilou Suszko wrote a book about the Market in honor of it's birthday too. Check out Cleveland's West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking here.

The Market is open for business from 7:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. on Monday and Wednesday, and from 7:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. on Friday and Saturday. If you've always wanted to go but never made it, what are you waiting for? Visit Ohio City and let’s celebrate another 100 years of a Cleveland tradition.