Located one block north of Shaker Square on Cleveland's east side, Larchmere Boulevard is home to a fascinating mix of antique stores, bookstores, stores selling handcrafted items, and eclectic eateries.
Sylvia Ullman's American Crafts Gallery
Start your walk down Larchmere Boulevard on the south side of the street, just off of N. Moreland. If you've taken the RTA train from downtown to Shaker Square, walk north for one block along N. Moreland until you get to Larchmere and turn left (west).
The American Craft Gallery houses a wonderful collection of handmade textiles and jewelry, hand-blown glass, wooden furniture, metal works, and pottery in all price ranges. You never know what you'll find there, but it's the wares here are always of the highest quality and often things you've seen nowhere else.
Spring brings a large selection of garden items, from fountains to bird baths to mobiles. The December holiday season ushers in a fantastic display of hand-blown glass orbs in a rainbow of colors as well as other one-of-a-kind gifts.
The Academy Tavern
Continue down Larchmere Blvd, turning west and walking to the end of the block. There, on the corner, you'll find the Academy Tavern, a neighborhood fixture since 1939. This bar/restaurant is known all over town for its homemade soups, yummy burgers, and hearty daily specials, such as stuffed cabbage, roast beef, and meat loaf. There's a nice selection of beer as well as a full complement of bar favorites.
The Academy Tavern serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and breakfast items can be ordered throughout the day. It's a great place to relax after shopping.
Boulevard Blue Restaurant
Continuing west on Larchmere, in the next block, you'll find Marc Goodman Antiques, a large store, filled with elegant estate sale finds and fine pieces of glass, china, furniture, and other treasures.
Farther down Larchmere, you'll soon reach Boulevard Blue, a sleek modern eatery. The fare is contemporary American cuisine. The menu changes frequently, but there's always a couple grilled fish items as well as braised and roasted meats. Boulevard Blue serves lunch and dinner daily except for Sunday and offers a late night menu on weekends. There's also live jazz on most Friday and Saturday nights.
Walking left from Boulevard Blue, in the next block, you'll see several interesting, restored buildings. In the middle of the block is a lavender Victorian, called Fine Points. This purveyor of hand knits, luxurious yarns, and sewing accessories also sells special occasion clothing, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and other eclectic wearables. The small rooms of the former townhouse are ideal for displaying her fascinating stock.
Crossing Larchmere from Fine Points, we're going to double back on the other side of the street. In the first block, in the middle of a strip of shops, you'll see Thriftique, a second-hand store that's always worth a peek inside. There's lots of junk -- old furniture, lava lamps, bean bag chairs, etc. -- but sometimes you'll find an overlooked treasure, such as hard-to-find books, vintage piano music and notecards, and interesting glassware. There's a little bit of everything.
Leaving Thriftique, you'll see a new building of townhouses about a block away, which is Larchmere Court. The recently completed building features three-story town homes with roof-top run decks, complete with a view of downtown Cleveland. They also have ground-level garages, balconies overlooking the street, and corner units feature ground level retail space -- perfect for working at home. What's more, the building includes a 100 percent 10-year tax abatement.
Continuing down the block, you'll find Loganberry Books, a quintessential independent bookseller. No corporate inventory here. Loganberry's books are hand chosen with the store's clientele in mind. There's a great section featuring Cleveland authors here as well as books about the city. Also featured are women's topics and a nice selection of children's books.
Loganberry also nurtures local artists and frequently hosts receptions for local authors, poets, painters, photographers, and other artists.
Just two doors down is the final stop on our Larchmere Boulevard tour. Hopefully, you've worked up an appetite -- you've arrived at the Larchmere Tavern. This is the local after-work gathering place, casual dinner hangout, and Larchmere's version of a wine bar. The food is a combination of American bistro cuisine and mom's home cooking, with lots of comfort food as well as delicious sandwiches and salads.
The wine list is varied and affordable, with many selections offered by the glass. In the summer, diners can sit on the patio and watch the passersby.