Big Book of Cleveland: How to Eat

Many Clevelanders enjoy food every day. Here's how you can too

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Is Cleveland really the nation's fattest city? Maybe. But if so, we come by our stature honestly, through a lifelong commitment to heapin' helpings of delicious eats. Whether you're seeking the best places to shop or the finest spots to dine, we promise: You will never go hungry in C-town.

Dave's Markets: Based in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford, this 14-store chain of urban supermarkets has been around since the 1920s. It earns kudos for its dedication to serving both city core and Latino populations.

Giant Eagle: With dozens of locations throughout Northeast Ohio, this full-service, PA.-based grocery chain offers everything from wine and cheese to dry cleaning and prescription drugs. Especially in these days of high gasoline prices, their Fuel Perks program, which rewards card-wielding consumers for their grocery purchases with gasoline discounts, is a popular draw.

Heinen's: Founded on Cleveland's East Side in 1929, Heinen's continues to honor its local roots with 17 locations offering a combo of world-class service and fresh foods often sourced from local farmers and producers.

Marc's: Founded in the Cleveland suburb of Middleburg Heights in 1979 by Marc Glassman, this "grocery and deep discount" chain offers fresh, frozen, and canned foods as well as toiletries, cosmetics, and a pharmacy. Most intriguing, though, are the closeout aisles: A jumble of bargain-priced goods that can, and often do, range from mascara to lawn furniture.

More than two dozen locations throughout Northeast Ohio,

Gallucci's Italian Foods: In a city that still loves its ethnic markets, Gallucci's remains a classic, wafting huge aromas of cured meats, sharp cheeses, zesty olives, and incomparable pizzas out the doors and into its post-industrial neighborhood just east of downtown. Big, crowded, and crammed with Clevelanders grabbing up everything from dried sardines to imported torrone, this bastion of Italian eats is a don't-miss shopping destination.

6610 Euclid Ave., 216-881-0045

Nature's Bin: Specializing in organic produce and natural foods, Nature's Bin has been committed to bringing fresh produce, a friendly atmosphere, and a better way of life to the Lakewood community since 1975. More than just a store, Nature's Bin also serves as a vocational training facility for folks with disabilities, giving hardcore cred to its claims of community service.

18120 Sloane Ave., Lakewood,


Park to Shop: While Cleveland's Asiatown is small, it contains several notable grocery stores: Park to Shop is the largest, with bin, after shelf, after refrigerated case crammed with Chinese produce, Asian noodles, fresh seafood, and more, turning each visit into a delightful, cross-cultural adventure.

1580 East 30th St., 216-916-0177,

Trader Joe's: With two suburban locations (Westlake and Woodmere), this national chain specializes in unconventional and interesting foodstuffs, often sold under the Trader Joe's label at highly competitive prices. Packaged and frozen products make up the core of the selections. But taken in combination with attentive service and a fun-loving vibe, shopping here can be a cheerful diversion.

Mustard Seed Market: With two handsome locations in the suburbs of Solon and Montrose, Mustard Seed Market, founded in 1981 by Margaret and Phil Nabors, has gone on to become Northeast Ohio’s largest locally owned natural and organic foods market, with offerings that include a juice bar, a large deli and carryout operation, and an in-store bakery.

West Point Market: While located about 45 miles south of Cleveland, on Akron's west side, West Point Market is the region's premier gourmet and specialty food market: a 75-year-old stalwart where you can count on finding obscure (and expensive) ingredients for your most exotic recipes, as well as a vast selection of wines, cheeses, unique condiments, imported goods, and impeccably fresh seafood, meats, and produce. Theatrical lighting, knowledgeable workers, and enthusiastic baggers who tote your haul to your car just add to the sense of luxury.

1711 West Market St., Akron,


Whole Foods Market: With two area locations (Woodmere and University Heights), Whole Foods is where Clevelanders head for natural and organic produce, an excellent selection of beer and wine, and numerous carryout options ranging from soup and salads to full dinners.

Coit Road Market: Open year 'round, this producer-driven farmers market serves East Cleveland and the surrounding areas every Saturday morning with a lineup of fresh produce and handmade goods. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

15000 Woodworth Rd.,

East Cleveland, 216-249-5455,

North Union Farmer's Market:Founded in 1995, the North Union Farmers Market has grown into one of the largest markets in the nation, linking farmers, producers, and food-savvy eaters with an ever-growing roster of locations. 216-751-7656,

Downtown Farmers Market at Public Square: This Friday market brings fresh, local food to everyone who works, plays, and lives downtown; summer hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Public Square across from the Old Stone Church,


Kamms Corners Farmers Market: Held outdoors each Sunday June through October, the market features a large assortment of freshly grown produce, artisanal goods, and meats. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

West 168th St. and Lorain Ave.,



North Union Farmers Market:

North Union operates markets at the following locations throughout Northeast Ohio:

Chagrin Falls: Operating on Sundays, June to October. Find them at the intersection of North Main and North Franklin streets.

Cleveland Clinic: Operating Wednesdays, June to October, the market is at Carnegie Avenue and East 100th St. on the Cleveland Clinic Campus.

Cleveland State University: Serving CSU's staff, students, and downtown neighbors, this market is open on Thursdays from June to November, in the greenspace in front of Marshall Law School at 1930 Euclid Ave.

Crocker Park: Operating Saturdays, April to November, the market is at the corner of Crocker Road and Market Street, in Westlake's Crocker Park.

Lakewood: Now in its 12th year, this mid-week market is open Wednesdays June to September at the Arthur Ave. Extension in front of Lakewood's Kauffman Park.

Shaker Square: This year 'round, Saturday-morning market at Shaker Square is still the best, with a weekly festival of farmers, bakers, vendors, and assorted artisans selling everything from fresh produce to handmade jewelry. Find it at 13209 Shaker Square.

Tremont Farmers Market: This year marks the sixth season for this Tuesday market; outdoor hours are 4 to 7 p.m., May 3 through October 25.

At Lincoln Park (West 14th Street

between Starkweather and

Kenilworth avenues),


A Cookie & A Cupcake: Like tiny works of edible art, the plump little cupcakes coming out of this Tremont bakery have stolen Cleveland's heart. Twelve daily flavors include carrot, apple, red velvet, and chocolate-peanut butter, each topped with a fat swirl of rich buttercream frosting. Owners SynDee Klingenberg and Wendy Thompson have a combined 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, and their talent shines through in every delicious crumb.

2173 Professor Ave., 216-344-9433,

Corbo's Bakery: The city's ultimate Italian sweet shop, this family owned bakery produces nearly two dozen varieties of cookies each day, including rich macaroons, chewy pignoli, and killer biscotti. Fresh-baked breads, sweet cassata cakes, and filled-to-order cannoli round out the offerings, leading Clevelanders to declare, "No visit to Little Italy is complete without a trip to Corbo's!"

12210 Mayfield Rd., 216-421-8181

East Coast Custard: Since 1985, East Coast Custard has been cranking out rich, creamy, old-fashioned custard inspired by the stuff once served at the long-gone-but-not-forgotten amusement park Euclid Beach. Piled into a cone or a cup, the confection is both a beloved treat and a delicious trip down memory lane.

Various locations,

Lilly Handmade Chocolates: Chef Amanda Montague turns out the city's best artisanal chocolates in this sweet pink-and-white shop in Tremont. Crafted with ingredients ranging from Nueske's bacon and Hawaiian sea salt to Szechuan peppercorn honey, Montague's truffles are bite-sized decadent delights — and even more so when paired with a craft beer or wine from the shop's curated selection.

761 Starkweather Ave.,


Malley's: The question isn't What does Malley's dip in chocolate? The question is, What doesn't Malley's dip in chocolate? At its various locations around town (some of them double as old-fashioned ice cream parlors), you'll find Fritos, Twinkies, potato chips, grapes, bacon, and strawberries — all smothered in rich, tasty chocolate. You can find lots of assortment boxes and by-the-pound candies here too.

Various locations,

Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream: Since 1999, brothers Mike and Pete Mitchell have overseen a small but growing empire of contemporary ice cream shops, outfitted with stylish lighting, comfy tables, and cases crammed with cartons of their premium ice cream. With an ever-changing rotation of standards and seasonal additions, the flavors range from Key Lime Pie to Double Chocolate Chunk; the menu includes shakes, sodas, smoothies, sundaes, scoops, and signature treats like the Cleveland Brownie Sundae. Shop locations are in Solon, Beachwood, Rocky River, and Westlake.

Sweet Moses: This Gordon Square soda fountain is wall-to-wall with ice cream, chocolate, shakes, sodas, and malts — with a handful of crunchy popcorn tossed in for good measure. Sweet Moses sticks to traditional American favorites like hot fudge sundaes, chocolate malted milk shakes, root beer floats, and strawberry phosphates. Also on tap are chocolate cups, chocolate barks, and caramel corn. Everything from the ice cream to the marble-slab fudge is made in house.

6800 Detroit Ave., 216-651-2202,

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