Pickled Loafs and Teriyaki Smokes: Cleveland’s West Side Market

There are two things people think they must do in Cleveland. One is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. But instead of spending 4 hours inside, I quickly trolled around the lobby and gift shop and then explored the waterfront around the gorgeous, Louvre-like building. Outside of the museum there were some food vendors, a food truck and some rouge fisherman (check out the album) catching walleye and perch. (There are “no fishing” signs all over the place!)

But I did fully visit another landmark, Cleveland’s historic West Side Market, a large building housing produce, meats, meats, meats, pierogies and Italian specialty items.

10 Finds from Cleveland’s West Side Market

1. Question the produce.

With avocados sitting next to Brussels sprouts, apples and tomatoes, at first glance this market seemed to get its produce from all over the place. But my guide Heather told me that if you start asking vendors, and as the summer offers more local vegetables, you’ll be able to find true Ohian fare.

2. Love your loafs.

I don’t know what’s in a Pickle Loaf. And I’m afraid to ask.

3.Try a new meat.

This just screamed Midwest to me. Plus I’m just picturing that SNL skit with the Super Fans from Chicago and all they keep repeating in their heads are: Ditka, sausage, Kielbasa, Jordan, Ditka, sausage, Da Bears, Ditka… (go to minute 4)

4. Don’t leave Cleveland without a pierogi tasting.

My one regret is leaving Cleveland without trying a pierogi. Heather and I ate a late lunch (gravity-defying apple!) and we didn’t arrive to the market until about an hour to close. Heather’s favorite pierogi comes from Pierogi Palace, but it closed shop before we got there and she didn’t want to subject me to less than awesome potato nuggets. But when you go, Heather suggests the jalepeno/potato/cheese pierogies. (Check her other top picks for West Side Market.) I guess that means another trip to the “Mistake by the Lake.”

5. Smoke something.

I don’t know why, but the word “smokies” really cracks me up.

Next: 5 More Finds from Cleveland’s West Side Market