Northeast Ohio is a great place to shop for ethnic food specialties. The region has a rich history of ethnic communities combining to form the culture we find there today. German, Polish, Czech, Slovenian, Latin American, Italian, and various Asian cultures all have had a hand in forming "Cleveland Culture." There's no better way to learn about these cultures than by visiting the many food markets here.
This Middle Eastern market on Lorain Avenue is spacious, aromatic, and friendly. They stock all things Middle Eastern, from pomegranate juice to olives to freshly-baked pastries. There are grains, bread, meats (slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines), and a large variety of spices and nuts.
Athens Pastries and Imported Foods
Though they've moved from the shadow of the West Side Market, Athens Pastries and Imported Foods is still the wonderful food emporium you remember. Just walking in the store is a treat, as you are met with exotic and heady aromas. The market carries everything from freshly-baked pastries to meats and cheese -- including five different kinds of feta. There are aisles of Greek canned and jarred goods as well as wine, tea, grains, and spices. You'll even find Greek music and serving vessels--everything you'll need for a Mediterranean feast.
La Borincana Foods
This is one of the first ethnic markets that I discovered in Cleveland and it's still one of my favorites. The music, aromas, and friendly atmosphere that greet you at this family-run shop at the edge of Ohio City are like a quick trip south-of-the-border. They stock foodstuffs from all over the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. You'll find different kinds of chorizo sausage, masa harina to make your own tortillas, dried corn husks for making tamales as well as a diverse selection of produce.
Corbo's Dolceria, located at the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill roads in Little Italy, is a delight for all of the senses. The store draws you in from the street with its enticing smells and captivates you with its beautiful displays.
The family-owned bakery is known for its traditional cassata cakes, a yellow cake with strawberry filling between the layers). Also available are cookies, pies, pepperoni bread, and other goodies.
Gust Gallucci's Italian Market
Gust Gallucci's is a complete Italian food market, located in Cleveland's Midtown Corridor, halfway between downtown Cleveland and University Circle. Started 85 years ago by an Italian immigrant, Gust Gallucci, hungry for the food of his homeland, Gallucci's still sells a wide variety of Italian canned goods, fresh and cured meats, cheeses, wines, and Italian housewares.
Hansa Import Haus
Another Ohio City market located in the shadow of the West Side Market, Hansa Import Haus offers all things German, with a smattering of Swiss and Austrian goods. Here you'll find cold cuts, sausages, rows and rows of jams and jellies, baked goods, chocolate, and non-food items, such as beer steins, German language magazines, nutcrackers, and German music.
Located on Sloane Avenue on the west side of Lakewood, the Irish Cottage is a little building tucked away off of the street. The store stocks a host of Irish imports -- both food and non-food items. Food offerings include jellies, jams, cookies, kippers, tea, and freshly baked scones.
Krusinski's Finest Meat Products
Krusinski's, in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, makes spicy kielbasa, smoked polish sausage, bratwurst, and knockwurst fresh daily as well as a variety of homemade pierogi, those delicious Polish dumplings, filled with cheese, potato, meat, sauerkraut, or a combination.
Polish food lovers travel from all sides of Cleveland and beyond for this corner grocery store's offerings. In fact, if you enjoy pierogi at other restaurants in Cleveland, there's a good chance they were made right here at Krusinski's.
This Little Italy favorite is located along Mayfield Road in the heart of that colorful neighborhood. The family-owned bakery serves a variety of freshly-baked Italian bread as well as mouth-watering cakes and pastries. You'll find traditional desserts, like tiramisu and cannolis as well as more unusual, yet equally tasty, offerings. You can also sit down for a light meal or pizza or a cup of coffee. It's where friends meet in Little Italy.
Seven Roses Deli
The Seven Roses, in the middle of Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, is a little gem of a store. The restored 19th-century building has a beautiful tin ceiling, floor-to-ceiling hardwood shelves, a rolling library ladder, hardwood floors, and delicate lace curtains. You'll find rows of Polish canned and jarred goods as well as a deli case full of Polish kielbasa and other meats, prepared foods, and some of the freshest baked goods around.