***Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest blog post from Lauren Reed about one of Cleveland’s most iconic spots: The West Side Market. Read along as she takes you through the history of the Market and some of her favorite vendors. I added a couple of my own photos.***
Just seven years ago, in 2012, we celebrated the Centennial of Cleveland’s West Side Market. As it stands today, the West Side Market is the oldest continually operating municipally owned market in Ohio.
Located in historic Ohio City, the West Side Market was originally built to replace Pearl Street Market. Once construction started in 1908, the market became one of the three public markets in Cleveland that served the growing immigrant population in the 20th century – and it is the only one out of those three that remains open to this day.
In late 1973, the market entered into the National Register of Historical Places. Much later in 2008, the West Side Market was named one of the “10 Great Public Places in America” by the American Planning Association.
Throughout the years, the West Side Market has done a terrific job at attracting and maintaining a solid base of consistent consumers. There are many vendors that pop into one’s head when they think of the West Side Market.
Some of the well-known favorites are Ohio City Pasta, Ooo…Fudge, Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, Pierogi Palace and D.W. Whitaker Meats.
I grew up with a ton of Italian influence on both sides of my family. Every time we go to the West Side Market, we always make it apparent that a visit to the Ohio City Pasta stand is a must! At their stand they have a variety of pasta types all accompanied with a variety of tastes and health benefits. My personal favorite is the assorted ravioli because it looks and tastes amazing!
Similar to growing up with an Italian influence, I am also surrounded by a very strong Polish denomination within my family. My grandma always says that no one can make pierogi like her mother did, but the Pierogi Palace is a close second! Everything at this stand tastes incredibly fresh and it is something that you can’t quite experience with frozen store-bought food.
I wouldn’t consider myself a “sweets” person but Ooo…Fudge and Campbell’s Popcorn Shop are two places that cannot be missed during your next trip to the West Side Market. Lastly, D.W. Whitaker Meats is the one stand that both my mom and dad swear by.
The West Side Market is also home to a variety of healthy vendors with delicious options. Some of the most noteworthy include The Basketeria Organics and King Produce.
The Basketeria Organics is a vendor that sells solely organic fruits and vegetables. Within the same commodore, you will find King Produce which sells Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables in addition to their selection of tropical fruits.
The location of the West Side Market itself is gorgeous. Growing up in Cleveland you were supposed to understand and promote the “rivalry” between the east and west side of Cleveland. I grew up on the east side of Cleveland about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.
As I grow older and am in my 20s, I have to say (regretfully) that the west side truly is the best side. ***Editor’s Note: Agree to disagree, Lauren. Mad love for both sides of town!***
The West Side Market is right next to the bridge that connects the west side to the downtown area. Within walking distance of the market are various restaurants, little getaway spots, and outside-of-the-box fun!
Some of the most popular businesses in the surrounding area include Ohio City Burrito, Townhall, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the home to newly reigning baseball state champions at Saint Ignatius High School.
The future for the West Side Market varies on which vendors you ask. Some vendors blame the increase of rent for affecting the traffic of shoppers. Some vendors note that there has been a decrease in shoppers while others disagree.
The future of the West Side Market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers. Be sure to plan your next grocery trip or weekend plans around visiting the West Side Market and all of its wonderful vendors including two of my favorites Theresa’s Bakery and EuroSweets!