Welcome to the second installment of “Cantoro Travels,” a regular peek into the travels of Cantoro Italian Market & Trattoria team members. The following is from Jasmine, a longtime server in our Trattoria.
We love markets so much that we visit them for leisure when we travel! Jasmine recently went to the historic West Side Market in Cleveland and even she, a Cantoro expert, was impressed.
Packed with colorful wall-to-wall stalls that overflow with farm fresh produce, meats, dairy products, prepared foods and pastries, the West Side Market was, as Jasmine says, an unexpected delight because of its history, vivacious atmosphere and emphasis on interesting local specialties.
Built in 1912, the West Side Market has been a bustling spot for decades where local, family-owned businesses bring their unique specialties to sell to enthusiastic families — and foodies like Jasmine. Designed by renowned local architects W. Dominick Benes and Benjamin Hubbell (who also designed the Cleveland Museum of Art), the West Side Market is Cleveland’s oldest continuously operating municipally-owned market.
A 30-minute walk from downtown, West Side houses a diverse group of local companies like Theresa’s Bakery, who sells more than 30 kinds of bread (sounds like Cantoro’s bakery!) and 17 flavors of cannoli. Czuchraj Meats, which has operated out of the market since 1954, offers preservative-free, fresh sausages and smoked meats flavored with a specialty blend of interesting spices. Getting hungry? Visitors can grab a bite from a number of prepared food vendors selling dishes inspired by different regions of the world.
The most eye-catching item in the market was the special Chocolate Monk Cake made by Cake Royale, says Jasmine. With its velvety chocolate outside, which is molded like wrapping paper around a present, this was a treat that will linger in her memory forever.
Cleveland is edgy and walkable, with a vibe reminiscent of Ann Arbor and Chicago. It has fun, quirky spots like West Side Market, tons of live music venues and beautiful serene beaches on Lake Erie for visitors to enjoy.
Let us know your favorite must-sees in Cleveland in the comments below.