West Side Market- Cleveland OH

On our trip to Cleveland, we went to B.A. Sweeties as a side trip, but our real reason for heading there was the West Side Market. A Cleveland institution, this place has been running since 1912! We had checked out the website, the vendors list, and thought we were mostly prepared. We were not.

Guys, this place is huge and outrageous. Plan for an entire day. You will need it. Bring comfortable shoes, and a wagon or something to stash your goodies in, unless you have a runner to take things back and forth to the car. We took a collapsible wagon, and that thing was overflowing and overweighted by the time we got back to the car. We probably should have done a car run to unload it halfway through, really.

So when you show up, you end up in a parking lot. (You do have to pay for parking. It’s $1 an hour, with a maximum fee of $10.) Once you get into the building, you are in the fruit and veggie markets. I’d suggest skipping these at first, and grabbing them on the way out, so they don’t get squished. Head down the rows until you see doors, where you can get to the building on the other side by a narrow alleyway type thing. That’ll be the “main” market.

Prepare yourself before walking in… the main market is a madhouse.

There are over 100 vendors at the market, and most are permanent vendors. You have multiple options for basically whatever you’re looking for. The best thing about it is that all are from small farms, family owned butchers, local bakeries, homemade and homegrown. You can feel good about supporting small businesses and know that everything is small-batched and humane here.

We wandered around at first, but broke the ice purchasing some handcrafted meat sticks… a jalapeno one for dad, a honey one for me, and regular for the puppers. I had to stop at two different dairy stalls for cheeses, of course. We snagged some homemade breads, some great cuts of meat, a few bakery items, lots of fruits and veggies, handmade noodles, infused olive oils, bones for the pups, and a specialty spice we’d be looking for everywhere and hadn’t been able to find.

One of my favorite vendors was Mena Produce, located outside in the first building. She had some dried strawberries that I swear tasted like candy. I ended up getting a package of those and a package of beet chips. Next time we go, I’m definitely getting a bigger pack of strawberries, and I want to try the carrot chips instead. She’ll let you try a taste of anything you want, so you can test whatever strikes your fancy before buying a bigger container.

The best part of the market is that almost all vendors accept credit, debit, cash AND EBT, so you can get quality foodstuffs with your EBT card to feed your family. It is also handicap accessible, so those in wheelchairs can get through just fine. In busier parts, it can get a little finicky, but people were super friendly and moved out of the way as soon as they realized my aunt Robin was having a bit of trouble navigating. The aisles are wide enough, basically, but sometimes it gets packed lol

One thing to note, outside with the fruit and veggie vendors, it’s best not to make eye contact too much. I am hearing impaired and read lips, so I couldn’t do that, and it’s a bargain basement bonanza. I ended up buying things I wasn’t even sure what they were, as they’d start adding things to the basket… “If you buy this for $5, I’ll add this and this and this and this for $3! My stuff is better than his stuff, and I’ll give you a discount, plus this and this!” It’s crazy!

Mom kept telling me to stop making eye contact, but if someone was saying something to me, I had no choice, I had to look at them to read their lips, and then I was a goner LOL Not that it wasn’t a great deal when they got into bidding wars, but we ended up with a bit more than we needed and spent a bit more than we planned to spend because of the good deals. I think since we saved the outside part for last, they didn’t want to cart everything back into their trucks, so they were willing to take the loss to get rid of it. So just be aware of that.

My aunt loved her cream puff, because it was like $5 and as big as her head. I got two cake pops from the bakery, and they were quite delicious. We were really happy with everything we got, honestly. The quality was superb, the prices were fantastic, and the people were so friendly and accommodating. We plan to try to make a trip every few months if we can, because it’s definitely worth it. We don’t think we even managed to see everyone, because we got so turned around and lost with so many things to oogle.

For a printable guide of the vendors, you can go here. I definitely recommend it, I’ll be printing one before we go next time and checking off who we visit, so we know we definitely saw everything next time around!

West Side Market
1979 West 25th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44113

SATURDAY: 7am – 5pm
SUNDAY: 10am – 4pm

Closed Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A Liliom Press Independent Author
Join my newsletter here!

Website by Liliom Press

Are you a Blogger or Vendor?
Download a Press Kit