Saturday, January 26, 2008

Virtual Exploration of the West Side Market

Last weekend, an old friend of mine was in Lakewood visiting family. Our respective schedules were pretty full and in conflict, but we both had some free time Saturday afternoon. Since she'd never been there and though her brother and sister-in-law love the place, they rarely take advantage, I suggested we meet at the West Side Market. (The fact that going there only required a thirty-second walk down the block also shaped my decision, though naturally I didn't play that angle up to my friend.)

When we finally met up, it started to dawn on me how little I know about the market. I'm not talking history, I just mean that my ability to tell you where the secret treats are in the place is pretty limited, much more so than I want it to be. I don't know which butcher has the freshest meat or the best prices. I don't know which produce vendor's stuff is organic, which is consistently just the right kind of ripe. I don't know which place has better fish or bread or something crazy awesome with a Eastern European name I can neither pronounce nor translate.

I was commenting on this to Christine at Really Bad Cleveland Accent. She empathized (but was also able to give me some market tips as well as some valuable intel on some of the neat shops within a block or so of the market). I also was able to gather some tips from the reader comments concerning this particular post on her blog, the topic of which was "Five Reasons to Love the West Side Market."

Since our chat, Christine has started a new weekly blog feature, in which she posts two brand new items she's purchased from the market and discusses what she's prepared with them (the inaugural week features orange-honey almonds and kippers). It is a great new idea and I'm excited to see how it develops and read about what she makes.

However, I'm not content. I'd like to learn more about the hidden secrets of the market. I suppose I could start to learn them myself, through trial and error, but that takes too long and costs too much. At least if that's the only way one goes about gathering information.

Instead, I'd greatly appreciate it if readers of this post would comment on their favorite stands and products at the market and, most importantly, why. (Also, if there are places or products to avoid like the plague, that'll be helpful, too.) To make it a little easier, I've copied a list of vendors below. Also this link will take you to an interactive map of the market, in case you know the location of your bounty but forgot the proprietor. The lists and map are accurate as of the end of last year, to my knowledge, though if there are any mistakes, please let me know.

Eventually, I plan to figure out a more user-friendly way to share the knowledge accumulated in the comments section. I'm really excited about learning from you about the best the market has to offer.



P-nut Gallery (A-3)
Meister Foods (A-4,5)
Judy’s Oasis (A-6,7)
Kim Se (A-12)
Frickaccio’s (B-3)
Pinzone’s (B-4,5)
J&J Meats (B-6)
Dionne’s Poultry (B-7)
Dennison Pies (B-8,9)
Czuchraj Meats (B-10)
Candy Corner (B-11)
Michelle’s Bakery (B-12)
City Roast Coffee (C-1)
Crepes Deluxe (C-2)
Kaufmann Poultry (C-3)
M&M Foods (C-4,5)
Tayse Meats (C-6,7)
Dionne (C-8)
S&K Deli (C-9)
Christopher’s Bakery (C-10)
Reilly’s (C-11)
Michelle’s Bakery (C-12)
Campbell’s (C-13)
S&S Seafood (D&E-1)
Michael’s Bakery (D-2)
Walker’s Meats (D-3)
Fernengel’s (D-4,5)
Theresa’s Bakery (D-6)
Cake (D-7)
Rolston Poultry (D-8)
Edw. Badstuber & Sons (D-9)
Larry Vistein (D-10)
Bistricky’s (D-11)
Wiencek’s Poultry (D-12)
Juice Garden (D-13)
Urban Herbs (E-2)
Ohio City Pasta (E-3)
Foster’s (E-4)
Pierogi Palace (E-5)
Jim’s Meats (E-6,7)
D.W. Whitaker (E-8,9)
Kluth Meats (E-10)
Narrin Asian Spices (E-11)
Apple Cured Meats (E-12)
Steve’s Gyros (E-13)
Dohar/Lovaszy (F-1,2)
Kaufmann Corners (F-3)
Ehrnfelt Meats (F-4,5)
Tom Kearns (F-6)
Orale (F-7)
Steve Check, Jr. (F-8)
Lance’s Beef (F-9)
Vera’s Bakery (F-10,11)
Kate’s Fish (F-12,13)
Frank’s Bratwurst (G-3)
Sebastian’s Meats (G-4,5)
Vince’s Meats (G-6)
Brueck & Kindt (G-7)
Old Country Sausage (G-8)
Wiencek’s Meats (G-9)
Rita’s (G-10)
D.A. Russ (G-11)
K&K Bakery (G-12)
Frank’s II (H-3)
AnneMarie’s Dairy (H-4,5)
Spanos Bakery (H-6,7)
The Cheese Shop (H-8,9)
Irene Dever (H-10,11)
Grandma Freda’s Fresh Bake (H-12)


Maha’s Falafel
Dani’s Fish
Mediterranean Imports
Westside Market Café
Westside Tobacco
Johnny Hot Dog


Samuel’s Produce (3,5)
Aleena Produce (4,6)
Queen Produce (7,9)
LoSchiavo’s Produce (8)
Kilani Produce (10)
King Quality Produce (11,13)
Mark’s Produce (12,14)
A-1 Quality Produce (15,17)
Elias Produce (16,18)
Samah Produce (19,21,23)
Shadi Produce (20,22,24)
Mike’s Produce (25)
Four H’s Produce (26)
Michael’s Produce (27,29)
Iskander Produce (28,30)
Bacha Produce (31,33)
Boutros Brothers (32,34)
Maria’s Produce (35,37)
Chuppa (36,38,40)
Harb Produce (39,41)
Boutros Brothers (42,44,46)
Mena’s Produce (43,45)
Calabrese Produce (47,49,51)
Maryou Produce (48,50,52,54)
Schilla Produce (53,55,57,57½)
Ehab Produce (56,58)
Basketeria (60,62,64)
Christie’s Produce (61,63,63½)
Dave & Sons Produce (66)
DeCaro Produce (65,67)
A&J Produce (68,70)
Jaajaa (69,71)
Fritz’s Produce (72,74,76)
Paradise Flowers (73,75)


Nate and Rachael said...

Just linked in and read your concerns about the west side market. I've bee n in Ohio City for a year now and I'm still learning the ropes, but I'll tell you where I like to stop. Basketeria Produce (60-62) is a great stop for organic and local produce. They are slightly more expensive, but its worth the extra dollar or two for organic. I also love their fresh herbs since I don't have a green thumb and always seem to kill my basil. My next stop is at Boutros Bros (42). Anything I can't get organic I get from them. Its a great price, their service is wonderful, and I always come home with fresh veggies. Then on to meats...I only buy chicken so far. I haven't figured out where to stop for beef or pork. For chicken I go to Kaufmann's (F-3). Its only 4.89 a pound for boneless breasts and its all natural. I'm still checking out other stands but I think this is a good place to start. Hope it helps.


I know this is an old blog so not sure if people will see this...but if you go to the West Side Market and are not a vegetarian/vegan - stop by Dohar Meats. Amazing stuff. They'll let you sample anything in the counter as well. Their stand is underneath the balcony in the corner right along West 25th St. The smoked Hungarian meats they have you WILL NOT find anywhere else around. Guarantee it. Vera's bakery and Pierogi Palace are also good spots.