West Side Market should be on your shopping list
Tina Ryu/ The Explorer
Stepping through the entrance of the building, visitors can feel the different cultures of the world shining from every stand.
The West Side Market, located in Cleveland, consists of two buildings; the produce section is inside a long brick-house, while the meat, dairy and bread are inside the tall building.
The fruits and vegetables there were delicious and unique, although very expensive. Just one mango was $5 and a cup of dried fruits was $11. They could easily be bought at a local grocery store for much less.
The crowded main building has an entirely different atmosphere. Specialty pizzas are one of the most popular items in this area.
Several chandeliers adorn the ceiling and provide a low light that casts over the whole building.
Food from all over the world can be found in the market. One section had so many varieties of cheese that my head started hurting looking at all the blobs of yellow and orange through the glass.
Some stands represent a certain country or culture. Most of the French and German sections had bakeries and cheese. One vendor offered a loaf of bread called butter crust, and it looked like it was from a cartoon, it was so glossy and perfect.
One stand that stood out was Campbell’s Popcorn Shop. This place had more than 15 different flavors of popcorn. There were many unusual flavors such as cotton candy, cherry chocolate or white cheddar jalapeno pepper. The way they gave out free samples was very different. Samples were in a jar, and you had to twist a knob to make the popcorn shower onto your hand. I tasted the BBQ and smoky cheddar, but I thought they didn’t have enough flavor. It was very bland and didn’t taste that much different from normal popcorn.
A popular pastry booth was Cake Royale, and they had more than 10 different kinds of cake on gold platters. Cookies were inside small glass jars. The surface in the display glass was made of marbles and stones; it looked like an ancient castle ruin. The most mouth-watering cake was the peanut butter. It was covered in chocolate and pieces of nuts. On the top of the cake there were mini Reese’s cups.
Another popular stand was Crepes De Luxes, which makes French pastries called crepes that can be sweet or salty. You can add your own ingredients or they give you a menu to choose a certain crepe. My sister and I chose the salty crepes Jambon et Brie, which has ham, cheese and asparagus, and the Naples, which has pepperoni, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. You could watch the workers cook your order right in front of you.
Overall, the market was a very fun experience, and it allows people to sample many parts of the world. That said, the foods weren’t the best quality, and the vendors weren’t as polite because they were so busy serving the hundreds of people that were there.
I definitely recommend everyone to go to the old market early in the morning with your family. Taste the samples if there are any and have fun; it’s an excellent experience.
The hours of operation are: Mondays and Wednesdays from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Unfortunately, the market is only open four times a week.
Gourmet cheese is one of the many delectable treats available at the West Side Market in Cleveland. Homemade, organic goods like these cheeses are what the market was made to sell.