Since moving to Cleveland my mission has been to learn the city, make some new friends and find the best places to eat. This search has brought me to Cleveland’s West Side Market. It’s a historical public market located in Ohio City, which is just a quick drive from downtown Cleveland over the Hope Memorial Bridge. The West Side Market has been featured on television shows like Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. Last Monday, my sister and I took a day trip down to the market. It was her first time going and mine since I’ve been a resident of Cuyahoga County. I was excited to share this experience with her.
History of the West Side Market
The West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest and still standing marketplaces built in 1912. It served Cleveland’s growing immigrant population during the early 20th century. The market was built of brick with a large interior concourse for merchants, an outdoor produce arcade that wraps around the building, and a tall clock tower at the front entrance. The concourse houses just over 100 booths for sellers and an additional 85 stalls outside for fruits and vegetables. When you look up, the entire 44-foot high vaulted ceiling is covered in Guastavino tile. The architecture alone is stunning.
Some booths are family operated and have been for generations. The market’s merchants are vary diverse and reflect the community they serve. You can find foods of Irish, German, Italian, Hungarian, Greek, Polish and Middle Eastern descents.
Types of Vendors
The market host a variety of different vendors. You can find virtually anything you’re looking for. Even some things you’re not… Or didn’t know you were until you found it. I saw so many good eats I didn’t even know were here. The market sells fresh cuts of meat, pastries to die for, the catch of the day and cheese. Lots of cheese. You name it, they have it!
If you’re not much for cooking the West Side Market offers already prepared foods as well. Steve’s Gyros have been there since 1989 serving up the best meals. They even appeared on an episode of Man v. Food. I would highly recommend visiting Maha’s Falafel stand. Their menu includes chicken gyros, steak Phillies, lamb shawarmas, fish dinners and their famous falafel sandwich. Maha’s Falafel was voted “Best Falafel Stand in Cleveland” by Cleveland Magazine.
Food categories include:
- Meats & Poultry
- Prepared Foods
- Spices, Nuts and Oils
Click on each image to enlarge
For a full list of vendors, visit www.westsidemarket.org
Hours of Operation
The West Side Market is open year round. Their days and hours of operation are as follows:
MONDAY & WEDNESDAY: 7am – 4pm
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 7am – 6pm
SUNDAYS: 10am – 4pm
Closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The long & Short
To sum it all up, the West Side Market is a gorgeous historical landmark of Cleveland where dreams do come true. It’s a foodie’s paradise. #FoodPorn. The market has a rich history with Cleveland and represents our diversity while simultaneously highlighting individual culture. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. This is the first of many!