The West Side Market will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It opened 1912 in the very same iconic building it now occupies in Ohio City. Celebrations will be held throughout the year, starting in June with fireworks and an ice cream social and ending in November with a Centennial Gala featuring Michael Symon and Jonathon Sawyer. There’s even word that Great Lakes is working on a Centennial brew.
The West Side Market has always been a beloved Cleveland institution, but its popularity has greatly increased over the last decade. As Ohio City gentrifies, people from all over the region have been rediscovering the market. Its also received national attention, being named the “Best Food Lovers Market” by the Food Network, and featured on several different shows.
While some still see it as just a market for hard to find produce and meat, the reality is quite different. Many of the vendors now sell hand crafted, artisan products. One vendor, Ohio City Pasta, makes only fresh, not dried, pasta and ravioli. Paired with some fresh Parmesan cheese from Annemarie’s Dairy, its a better meal then you’ll find in most upscale restaurants. Over a dozen bakers have stands there as well, featuring every kind of dessert pastry you know of. On the healthy side of things, the Mediterra bakery makes artisan loaves of bread, with no additives and uses only old school baking processes. You can go there 100 times and try something new each time.
Before You Visit
The West Side Market is only open four days a week,(Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). And while the official hours are 7am to 4pm(6pm Friday and Saturday) the reality is that by early afternoon many of the vendors are sold out of their best products. Aim to get there early. Saturday’s are very busy, and during peak hours it can be difficult to get a place to park, especially when the weather is good. There is a large lot directly behind the market with access from either Lorain or W.25th. On the busiest days that lot will fill up, so you’ll have to park in the neighborhoods across the street. There are usually spots on side streets west of 25th. This being a 100 year old structure with little renovation, the entrances to the building are not well marked. Just knowing how to get in can be somewhat confusing to a new visitor. But keep in mind just about every door is an entrance, and if you’re not sure, wait a moment until someone else walks in.