The 1st West Side Market
West 25th and Lorain Rd
Southeast corner of the Market building
I like driving around Cleveland and Ohio because, for the most part, Cleveland and the whole state of Ohio major surface roads are on a grid system with road names telling you where you are going. It is easy enough to get around. Detroit Rd heading west will eventually get you near Detroit,MI, Lorain Rd will eventually get you close to Lorain, OH. To the west of Cleveland, Cleveland Road will get you to Cleveland. Also, most of the major roads are a grid, so you can trust the numbered streets to run north-south and get you to Lake Erie or south. It is fairly easy to get around once I took a minute to understand the road name convention in Cleveland, and looked at the overall grid road system for Ohio. You don't get grid and ease in Nashville or Boston, two place where I have lived or live, and have kvetched about getting lost on roads that don't make any sense.
Anyway, getting to the West Side Market was easy for me. I hopped on Lorain Rd, and took the scenic route to see what I could see on Lorain Rd. I knew I was there because I saw a West 25th St sign and the very tall 137 ft clock tower of the West Side Market. There is ton of free parking in various lots around the market. The market is only open M, W, F and Sat. The market has a lot of meat, cupcake and vegetable stalls. There are also a pierogi, Asian, Middle Eastern, cheese and other kiosks to see. The food sold here during the week is mostly not local nor organic, and looks like the meats and produce are from the same wholesale warehouse chain grocery stores are sourcing their products. Midweek, there were many empty stalls at the end of the vegetable market, and perhaps on Saturdays that is where local farmers sell their food. I don't know that for sure if this happens on Saturdays, but it would be nice if there were locally grown foods for Clevelanders. It was a little odd not to see any locally grown foods because Ohio is one of the major agricultural states of the USA. There are many acres of farmland in Ohio, so it is unclear to me why it is so hard to find farm fresh food at West Side. But the upswing of the West Side Market is that the meats and produce solid cost less than at the big box chain grocery stores. There were also "price wars" going on with veggie stall owners with one saying, "$2 per lb," and then the 2nd saying, "$1 per lb we have the best deal here! Come over here!"
Walking around the West Side Market was fun, and I worked up an appetite, so we all went to the West Site Market Cafe, which is quite diner like. They offer breakfast and lunch items here and are open 7 days per week from what I understand. Since I was a little disappointed in the lack of locally grown foods inside the market area, I was not expecting much from this cafe. Was it my initially low expectations, or was that the West Side Market Cafe makes really good food, I don't know, but I really enjoyed my sandwich and fries! I got a house smoked salmon sandwich with house cut fries. The waitress said they get the salmon from the market house, and then slow cook the salmon over wood and smoke and serve it on toast with mayo, lettuce and tomato or a SLT. The salmon is not like Nova lox, it is cooked over wood charcoal and smoke, so it is the texture of cook salmon, with a medium light addition of smoky aroma and flavor. The salmon was perfectly delicious, moist, and tender. I really liked SLT a lot! This was an exceptional sandwich. I keep saying I don't like sandwiches, never had, but I keep blogging about good sandwiches I like a lot like this one. It must be that I don't like bad sandwiches, which there are quite a few bad sandwiches out there. But West Side Market Cafe, house smoked salmon sandwich is definitely a good sandwich.