1979 W 25th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
websiteWest Side Market Cafe could be considered a cornerstone of Ohio City’s West Side Market in a literal and figurative sense. The little sit in old-fashioned lunch counter sits at the corner of the main market and offers a full service dining experience as a counterpart to the quick stalls on its main floor. Beyond that, though, the business has been serving food for years, an institution to be known. While the decor might give you the impression that this is an old-fashioned thinking restaurant, in fact the menu is full of surprises.
Some of the things worth trying:
- Pierogi: Like any good Cleveland diner, this place offers the classic Polish dish, like a fritter or ravioli, but stuffed with potatoes and cheese. This restaurant ops to fry and serve them extra large, which is not too bad. Applesauce and sour cream add a balancing factor to an already enjoyable dish. It’s an appetizer, but if you really enjoy these you might want to order it as a main course.
- Clam chowder: Regularly making its rounds as one of the soups of the day, the chowder is thick with vegetables and has a ton of texture, which is nice. But it is a bit salty. And I would also say that actual clam seems to be in short supply here.
- Gyro Platter: An enormous gyro filled with lamb meat, onions, tomatoes, and a thick taziki sauce on the side. This seems to be a favorite on that menu. Then it is served with an overwhelming heap of fries.
Yes, the decor of the place almost brings you back to the 1950s when a diner like this one was extremely common throughout the country. Sit down service. Daily specials. And overwriting sense of esteem, as though the experience of lunch wasn’t something everybody rushed through while glued to their phones, but enjoyed slowly and with company. That’s a special kind of feeling. It’s nice to see someone give it back.
Ohio City has so many new restaurant concepts coming aboard as the neighborhood becomes more of a hotspot. The market has many vendors or come and go. So it’s easy for this place to get lost in the shuffle. What is the mood and the easy-going charm that really make it worth a visit, and that can’t be shown on a menu or a Facebook page. Keep it in mind.
- Make sure to take advantage of the all day breakfast option. This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when locals try the place.
- There are also a number of daily specials posted on the board outside. Come later than lunch, though, and they will probably be out a few.
- A good bet is that much of the menu is fried. Other vendors on the market a have lighter and healthier choices.