Food, glorious food: West End Market, Cleveland, Ohio

We’re taking a break from writing about the colorful country of Morocco to share with you some American colors that made our hearts (and stomachs) skip a beat.  After checking off a bucket list destination — the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — we saved a day or two to explore Cleveland, Ohio, with a must-do visit to West Side Market, the oldest indoor/outdoor market in the city.  The trip solidified one of our long-held beliefs:  there’s no better way to get to know a place than by visiting a market filled with local foods from the farms and kitchens nearby.

Fall brings apple cider and pumpkins to West Side Market.

Fall brings apple cider and pumpkins to West Side Market.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, West Side Market opened in 1912, dazzling visitors with its lofty ceiling of yellow brick, a wide concourse arrangement that houses over 100 vendors, and a 137-foot clock tower that dominates the area around it.

Since 1912, West Side Market has housed vendors of fresh foods and produce in an architectural gem of a building.

Since 1912, West Side Market has housed vendors of fresh foods and produce in an architectural gem of a building.

It’s estimated that over one million people visited West Side Market last year.  We’re  thrilled to be counted among the guests this year as the whole marked amazed us with colorful produce, unusual offerings, and artful displays.

Up first — fruits and veggies. (And if you don’t know passion fruit from figs, someone will patiently explain all. We know because we asked a lot of questions.)

Inside the main hall, the variety is endless.  From bacon with flavorings you’ve never heard of to links and sticks of sausages. And yes, even chicken feet.

And Bert’s favorite, though, had to be this packed-with-goodness apple provolone stuffed tenderloin!

Stuffed tenderloin bundled and ready to take home.

Baked breads were ready to purchase whole or sliced as were several varieties of fresh, homemade pasta.

And what could be wrong with a bagel topped like a pizza?  Nothing we could find.

From the Pizza Bagel Lady's booth: yum!

From the Pizza Bagel Lady’s booth: yum!

Sweets like French macarons had delectable names like Salted Caramel, Red Velvet Cake, Pistachio, and Dreamy Mango.

Cookies were big: you could hardly get your hand around them!

How many calories?

How many calories?

Pretzel sticks lay in waiting, covered in chocolate and nuts, drizzled with icing.  To die for.

At last: a snack you can eat while walking!

At last: a snack you can eat while walking!

But I really wanted to try something I had never tasted:  a perogi.

Perogies ready to take home -- but where could I find one cooked?

Perogies ready to take home — but where could I find one cooked?

It was easy to find ready-to-cook perogies, but not the ones ready to eat.  When I asked the perogi vendor where I could taste one, she suggested that we have breakfast in West Side Market Cafe, the restaurant in the back.  Which we did.  Immediately.

West Side Market Cafe in Cleveland, Ohio

West Side Market Cafe in Cleveland, Ohio

After ordering a plate of corned beef hash with an over-medium fried egg and crispy toast, I felt a little sheepish asking for a perogi on the side.  But how else could I taste one?  The waitress brought out two freshly cooked perogies so we could both try one.

On a diner plate (what else?) was piled-high corned beef hash at West Side Market Cafe

On a diner plate (what else?) was piled-high corned beef hash at West Side Market Cafe

One bite of a hot perogi — a tasty bit of fried dough wrapped around creamy potatoes — and I knew I could live in an area that served this on a regular basis.  Carb heaven, perhaps.  But soooo good.

A perogi on the side!!!

A perogi on the side!!!

If you live in the neighborhood, don’t take West Side Market for granted.

And if you’re a visitor, start your day here.  Just be sure to bring along a cooler.  You’ll want to take something — or a lot of things — home for later!

Historic West Side Market filled with edible treasures!

Historic West Side Market filled with edible treasures!

Do you have a favorite market you like to visit?  If so, we’d love to hear where.

Other markets we love:

Decatur Farmers’ Market in Alabama

Red Stick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Capital City Public Market in Boise, Idaho

 

For more information:

West Side Market, 1979 West 25th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113; westsidemarket.org

Open Year-round:  Mondays and Wednesdays, 7 to 4; Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 6; Sundays, 10 to 4; Closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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23 Responses to Food, glorious food: West End Market, Cleveland, Ohio

  1. I am from Ohio and I love to represent my state, as well as seeing others sharing their interest in everything that Ohio has to offer. Really enjoyed this post and will definitely be checking these amazing places out the next time I am in Cleveland. O-H-I-O! 🙂

    • Thanks for taking a look at our post. We absolutely loved our trip to West End Market, a historical and cultural place that caught our attention almost accidentally. You live in a great state – so much to see and do. Thanks for checking out our blog!

  2. We are huge fans of food markets. Anywhere. Everywhere. I used to live in Cincinnati, very close to Cleveland and there is a fabulous covered market there, that actually looks pretty similar to this one.
    Mmmmm yummy!!!!

    Peta

    • We love food markets as well. Our next stop on the way back to Knoxville was Cincinnati, so we stopped at Findlay Market — some similar foods but also quite different. Found one of the best spice markets I’ve ever seen in the U.S. Thanks for taking a look!

  3. Prior... says:

    I could feel the history from the outside shot – all that brick. made me wonder what it was like in the early years –
    and glad it is still a thriving place – the food looks awesome – and glad you were able to try perogi – they have some that have cheese and meats (not just potato) but what a fun post – thanks

    • It was historic yet thriving, as you noted — a real gem for that city. We would love to have a market that varied in our city. Just going there makes you want to go home and cook what you’ve bought fresh. Thanks for taking a look.

  4. It’s a good thing that I am disciplined enough to keep to my prescribed diet. If anything would have knocked me off of it, this post would have done it. 😀 Lovely, lovely! Enjoyed the visit to the market very much.

  5. M.B. Henry says:

    Yummmm… made me really want a macaron.

    • Thanks for taking a look. We bought some of the macarons, and they were just as good as they looked! I’ve never made any, and don’t think I could duplicate their efforts, so I guess I’ll always be a purchaser! Thanks for shopping with us!

  6. tappjeanne says:

    I just ate lunch and now I’m hungry for all the wonderful goodies from your photos, Rusha!

  7. I with you and Bert on loving large market places, Rusha. What really caught my eye was the apple-stuffed tenderloin. Makes me want to go on the Internet for a recipe! Thanks for the tour. –Curt

  8. Such beautiful photos of food!

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I’m just now able to get back to you, but I appreciate your response. I used my iPhone while in the market. Thought it might be less obvious that I was drooling and coveting while photographing with a small camera! Thanks for noticing.

  9. Amy says:

    What a delicious post!

    • And what a delicious day. The food in the restaurant was good and filling, so we headed back to the market content to take pictures after eating. Sometimes it’s hard being a pass-through tourist and not getting to purchase and take home some of the glorious food!

  10. Pit says:

    On our recent visit to Cincinnati we enjoyed Findlay Market a lot [https://wp.me/p4uPk8-1yM].

    • We headed to Findlay Market after visiting Cleveland and spent the night in Cincinnati. Both markets are terrific. We found spices in Findlay that were quite lovely and varied. Can you tell we love to eat and shop?

  11. lulu says:

    Sometimes we forget all the beauty that we can see right here.

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