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Downtown's Arcade is a food-lover's dream

Cleveland's skyline has changed considerably over the years, but two architectural treasures are eternal: Terminal Tower and the Arcade, the breathtaking Victorian-era structure that spans Euclid and Superior avenues with two nine-story towers joined by a five-story covered passageway. Built in 1890 by the Detroit Bridge Co., the Romanesque Revival-style Arcade was modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

"The Arcade has an international reputation as one of the finest buildings in the world," says property manager Sarah Hawkins of the Chartwell Group.

The Arcade's current amenities include a post office, shoe repair and tailoring shops, boutiques, a luxury spa, the venerable Federal Coin & Stamp Exchange, and a multitude of tempting dining options. Among them are two stylish restaurants: The Chocolate Bar, with food and drink menus that are a chocolate lover's dream; and the classic 1890 Restaurant & Lounge. Complementing them is a bustling food court that offers a diverse selection of casual ethnic and American cuisine.

One of the food court's newest additions is Lelolai Bakery & Cafe, a well-loved West 25th Street fixture that recently brought its popular Cuban sandwiches, homemade flan, and other Spanish and Caribbean delicacies to the Arcade. Healthy Asian fusion is the focus of Zen Cuisine, which offers noodle and rice bowls, teriyaki, and daily specials; and Mexican food lovers line up at Chili Peppers Fresh Mexican Grill.

Also at the Arcade are two first-rate sandwich shops: Charley's Grilled Subs, with its signature Philly Steaks, and the new Presto Sandwiches, originally in Fairview Park, serving soups, salads, and hefty hot subs. The granddaddy of casual Arcade dining is Greek Express, whose gyros, kebabs, and curries have served loyal fans since 1981.

On November 26, the resilient landmark will usher in the holiday season with its annual Winterfest, featuring hot cocoa, Santa, and the chance to mingle with costumed historical Cleveland personages like Frances Payne Bolton and John D. Rockefeller, who, as it happens, was one of the major financiers of the Cleveland Arcade.

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