The Ethnic Food Markets of Northeast Ohio

Corbo's Bakery in Cleveland Ohio's Little Italy
••• Corbo's Bakery. (© 2007 Terry Michelle/Platinum Photography)

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. Below are some of my favorites (in alphabetical order).

  • 01 of 12

    Almadina Imports

    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, breads, meats (slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines), and a large variety of spices and nuts.

    Almadina Imports
    11550 Lorain Ave.
    Cleveland, OH

  • 02 of 12

    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.

    Athens Pastries & Imported Foods
    5120 Pearl Road
    Cleveland, OH 44129

  • 03 of 12

    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 greets you at this family-run shop at the edge of Ohio City is 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.

    La Borincana
    2127 Fulton Rd.
    Cleveland Ohio

  • 04 of 12

    Charles Peters Bake Shop

    Located along Turney Road, just south of the Mills Creek development, Charles Peters Bake Shop has been serving Eastern European pastries, breads, and pies since 1929. Their party trays of cookies and brownies are one of the best--and tastiest--values in town. During the weeks preceding Lent, they offer Paczki (Polish filled donuts). Other highlights include strudel, kuchen, and Polish sweet bread.

    Charles Peters Bake Shop
    4608 Turney Rd.
    Garfield Heights, OH

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Corbo's Dolceria

    Corbo's Bakery in Cleveland Ohio's Little Italy
    ••• Corbo's Bakery. (© 2007 Terry Michelle/Platinum Photography)

    Corbo's Dolceria, located at the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill Rds. 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.

    Corbo's Dolceria
    12210 Mayfield Rd.
    Cleveland, OH

  • 06 of 12
    Gertrude Bakery, Slavic Village, Cleveland Ohio
    ••• (© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

    he aroma of freshly-baked bread, doughnuts, and fruit and cream-filled pies greets you as you enter Gertrude Bakery on Gertrude Avenue in Cleveland's Slavic Village.

    The last survivor of over twenty bakeries that once thrived in the neighborhood, Gertrude Bakery is the quintessential corner bakery. Immaculate display cases surround you, packed with cookies, breads, doughnuts, cakes, and rolls. All offerings are tasty and affordable, so feel free to indulge.

    Gertrude Bakery
    6506 Gertrude Ave.
    Cleveland, OH 44105

  • 07 of 12
    Gust Gallucci's Italian Market - Cleveland Ohio
    ••• (© Stu Spivack/cc License)

    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.

    Gust Gallucci's
    6610 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, OH 44103

  • 08 of 12

    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.

    Hansa Import Haus
    2717 Lorain Ave.
    Cleveland, OH

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Irish Cottage

    Irish Cottage
    ••• (© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

    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.

    Irish Cottage
    18828 Sloane Ave.
    Lakewood, OH 44107

  • 10 of 12
    ••• (© 2006 S. Mitchell)

    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.

    Krusinski's Finest Meat Products
    6300 Heisley Ave.
    Cleveland, OH 44105

  • 11 of 12

    Presti Bakery

    Presti Bakery in Cleveland's Little Italy
    ••• (courtesy of University Circle Inc.)

    This Little Italy favorite is locate along Mayfield Road in the heart of that colorful neighborhood. The family-owned bakery serves a variety of freshly-baked Italian breads 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.

    Presti Bakery
    12101 Mayfield Rd.
    Cleveland, OH 44106

  • 12 of 12

    Seven Roses Deli

    ••• (© 2006 S. Mitchell)

    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 keibasa and other meats, prepared foods, and some of the freshest baked goods around.

    Seven Roses Deli
    6301 Fleet Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 44105