When I make a visit back to my hometown, Cleveland, I can’t call a trip complete until I make a trip to the West Side Market. Let me give you a tour of this delicious and historic marketplace.
The West Side Market has over 100 vendors calling it home. You can find fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, cheese, poultry, seafood, baked goods, ethnic foods, spices, sauces, and flowers among the many selections at the market. The building is a recently refreshed National Historic Landmark (after a fire) and offers a shopping experience like no other in the Cleveland area. The market opened in 1912 and is Cleveland’s oldest continuously operating municipality owned market. There were once two other municipality owned markets that have long since closed.
My first stop at the market is Pierogi Palace. Dave has over 150 different flavors of pierogi, but since I’m a traditionalist, I go for the sauerkraut, potato and sweet cheese. A dozen of these amazing pierogi will only set you back $10. These pierogi taste just like my grandmothers. While I’ve got grandmas recipe, I don’t make them because they’re so time consuming. These little babies are destined for dinner on the day that I buy them.
My next stop is to Narrin Spice & Sauce. Narrin Carlberg has a huge selection of spices, vinegar and oils, a large selection of sauces and dried legumes. She’s always got the spice(s) that I’m looking for and the prices are great. I’ve never asked for something she didn’t have. The selection she carries in her stall is AMAZING!
Just in case you thought giant steer heads were only found in Texas, you’d be wrong. Foster’s Meats carries just about every part of the cow. The cuts are beautiful and the guys behind the counter are super helpful.
Looking for fresh pasta? Ohio City Pasta is your place. They’ve got just about every kind of cut you could possibly imagine. They’ve even got sauce if you don’t have the need to make fresh sauce out of the tomatoes you can buy from the outside vendors at the West Side Market. They’ve got flat cut pastas, ravioli, short cuts pasta, and several types of gnocchi.
Need bacon? There are multiple vendors with what seems like a million types and flavors of bacon. Some that I saw on my recent trip included beef bacon and lamb bacon (which if you’ve never tried, you definitely must), cajun bacon, maple bacon, coffee bacon, jerk bacon and even curry bacon.
When I’m looking for baked goods, it’s a stop at Vera’s Bakery for me. I have to pick up a loaf of her amazing Hungarian white bread. She’s also got beer breads, stuffed crown breads and lots of sweet treats to pick from.
My final stop is D.W. Whitaker for my fresh garlic Polish sausage. I always get two pounds of this magical stuff. I cook up a pound to go with my pierogi then take a pound of it and freeze it. The frozen sausage then gets packed in my suitcase and gets brought home with me for our New Years Day sauerkraut and pork cookup. D.W. Whitaker is a porkophile’s dream shop. If it’s pork…they’ve got it.
If you find yourself in Cleveland and you’re looking for something to do, outside of watching the Browns lose, head on over to Cleveland’s West Side Market. It’s open year round and is only closed on Tuesday and Thursday.
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