West Side Market

west side mktNot too long ago, I had the opportunity to visit the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio.  I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and the person who rode with me had never been there, even though she was raised in Cleveland.  We also met Fran and her husband shortly after she had finished her last TV appearance on Good Morning Cleveland.  I don’t know how many of you have a market where fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish, meats, etc. are sold but they can be a lot of fun and provide some great food.  The market itself is just over 100 years old, but the area has been a gathering place for growers and consumers since long before that, as early as 1840.  And, in 1868 a shed was built to shelter vendors.  The current structure was finally built in1912.  Family businesses and families who shop there have literally grown up, done business and shopped there for generations.

As you might imagine, there are the usual staples for almost any market.










Seafood                                                                          Beef








Poultry                                                                            Bread

fruits & veggies



…fruits and veggies for days…




Then there are collections of items that almost boggle the mind.

hot sauce

Enough hot sauce to float a small flotilla, with some very interesting names…










More salt than even I thought existed (and that’s saying something) plus spices and rubs galore.

blue potatoes

And then there is the truly odd…


…and a truly awesome gyro.

There are ethnic specialities, holiday specialities…the list goes on and on.  If you go, there are a few things you should keep in mind.  The Market isn’t open every day.  It is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  If you’re a bargain hunter, you may be able to find some deals near the end of the day.  Walk past the vegetable stands on the way to your car and the vendors will tempt you with prices that are lower than advertised.

In addition to the food, it is a great place to people watch.  The ethnic vendors, many of whom are more than ready to tell exactly how their olives are made and how many they make at a time, are also worthy of attention.  Many of them are as much of the experience as the food they sell, and you may even run into a character or two.  As we were leaving the Market, a older man walked in one of the side doors.  He had shoulder length gray hair, was wearing bright blue tights, red shorts, a cape, some really awesome socks and I think he had some sort of shield under his cape.  For me, he just completed the experience.  So if you go, take it in…take it all in and enjoy…

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