Wednesday, August 22, 2007
One of Cleveland's great treasures is the West Side Market, which has been around since 1912. Unlike some other cities, it's not a "festive marketplace" or some sort of touristy place. No, it's a food market, owned by the city, but populated mostly by ethnic grocers, some of whom have had their stands in the family since the day the market opened! The outdoor market is for produce, and was mainly Italian greengrocers, but in more recent years, the produce merchants have been Middle Eastern. Inside are the butcher shops, bakeries, fishmongers, and a variety of stands selling everything from killer fresh pasta to Cambodian cuisine.
It's a great place to go for lunch; I love getting a bratwurst at Frank's ... for $2.50 I can get an amazing bratwurst, with sauerkraut, on a soft roll. Add some fresh pasta salad from Ohio City Pasta, and it's perfection, all in just a scant few minutes. New vendors add to the Market's flavor, as there's now a stand selling Middle Eastern delicacies, the aforementioned Cambodian stand (great pad thai there), and now even a stand that sells crepes! It's a wonderful cross section of Cleveland, too ... and English is NOT the dominant language you hear there!
Anyone who wants to see the West Side Market (if you're unfortunate enough to not live in Cleveland) could see it on the PBS special on markets that's currently running, and also probably Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" episode set in Cleveland, which should air on Monday, August 27 at 10pm on the Travel Channel.
It's even a good reason to come and visit Cleveland for!