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West Park 

click to enlarge Serving up comfort food at the Red Lantern

Photo by Emanuel Wallace

Serving up comfort food at the Red Lantern

Located just south of Lakewood and just east of Rocky River, West Park doesn't possess any well-defined boundaries. Originally, before Cleveland absorbed the independent "village," West Park consisted of everything west of 117th Street to Rocky River Reservation. Today, locals consider it to be the territory that lies west of 130th Street. With its brick bungalow, single-family houses and easy access to the Rocky River Reservation, West Park feels more like the suburbs than the city, but that's part of its charm.

Must Eat and Drink

The collection of bars and restaurants clustered at Kamm's Corners is a major draw. P.J. McIntyre's Irish Pub is owned by Patrick Campbell and his wife, Rebecca Brady-Campbell, principal dancers from Lord of the Dance. No surprise it houses an Irish dance academy. Known for its Friday fish fry and its "perfect pint" of Guinness, the nearby Public House feels historic (it dates back to the 1920s), and both West Park Station and Back Stage Bar feature live bands and solid food. Ostensibly a biker bar (but the place welcomes anyone), Smedley's Bar and Grille features jam nights on Wednesdays, and the locals love the Sunday taco bar. Chef Ken Hatfield has raised eyebrows with the comfort food he serves up at Hatfield's Goode Grub, and AThai adds an ethnic flair to the street.

Must Shop

For years now, Carol & John's Comic Shop has remained one of the top comic book shops in the region. You'll find thousands of comics meticulously sorted into labeled boxes. The shop also sells various figurines and toys. One of the best Facebook marketers in the country, co-owner John Dudas regularly flies to California to participate in conferences. Geeks descend upon the place annually for Free Comic Book Day, which generally draws hundreds of comic book fans who line up around the block before the store opens.

Must Go

Now in its 12th season, West Park's mid-June to mid-October Farmers Market has steadily grown over the years. The market started with only 11 vendors but now boasts close to 30. The market, which takes place on Sunday mornings from 10 to 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Walgreens at West 168th Street and Lorain Avenue, features live music and chef demonstrations in addition to an assortment of locally sourced fruits and veggies.

Must Go

Now in its ninth year, the Hooley is an annual West Park homecoming celebration. The festival came to fruition when the Kamm's Corners' street-scaping project was completed nearly 10 years ago, and the locals started clamoring for a festival that would define the neighborhood. The family friendly event takes place each May, featuring bands, vendors, and arts and crafts, and attracting thousands.


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September 9, 2020

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