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Best Place to Buy Unique Gifts, Best Toy Store & Best Comic Book or Collectibles Shop
Cleveland's museum of nerdabilia, Big Fun is a repository of youthful icons: Transformers, Pee-wee Herman trading cards, and a herd of My Little Ponies among them. You'll also find birthday cards, T-shirts, and more gag gifts than you can shake a whoopee cushion at. With locations East and West, Big Fun brings out the kid in all of us.
1814 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-371-4386; and
11512 Clifton Blvd., 216-631-4386;
Staff Picks: Best Place to Buy Unique Gifts: Room Service; Best Toy Store: Big Fun; Best Comic Book or Collectibles Shop: Carol and John's Comic Shop
Best Place to Furnish Your Place
An anchor of the Gordon Square Arts District since 2007, DuoHome serves as the retail operation and design studio for Scott Suskowicz and Tim Kempf. A giant leap away from big-box furnishings, DuoHome's specialty is in style-forward furniture and accessories you won't find anywhere else. Why "Duo"? Because it's a partnership. Why "Home"? Because that's the goal of any well-considered design scheme, and what DuoHome achieves like few others.
6507 Detroit Ave., 216-651-4411, duohome.com
Staff Pick: Arhaus Furniture
Best Adult Store
To find stuff this titillating, it used to be you had to venture into neighborhoods and cross thresholds you really didn't want to have to pass through. Thankfully, Adultmart's many locations have taken the fear out of sex shopping and taken the fun to a whole new level. With their exhaustive — and exhausting! — line of DVDs, sex toys, clothing, accessories, and gifts, all offered in a comfortable and welcoming setting, Adultmart has cornered the local market on sex.
Various locations throughout Northeast Ohio; adultmart.com
Staff Pick: Ambiance
Home of the biggest and best corned beef sandwich in town, Slyman's is a shrine to the joys of slow-cooked, thin-sliced, lean-and-tender meat — served up in softball-sized portions. The towering signature sammy even found a place on Esquire's list of America's Best. Sure, Slyman's serves other stuff too. But the corned beef is why we go.
3106 St. Clair Ave., 216-621-3760,
Staff Pick: Jack's Deli & Restaurant
Best New Store
Three cheers for Dredgers Union, clearing a channel back to retail for downtown shoppers. Beyond the home goods, gift items, and kid stuff, the artful store on East Fourth Street offers a private-label line of men's and women's clothing: designed, produced, marketed, and sold right here. Suddenly, shopping local is fun!
2043 East Fourth St., 216-357-2911,
Staff Pick: ILTHY (I Love the Hype) Workshop