CLEVELAND - The West Side Market welcomed eight new vendors to the historic market earlier in September—offering new products that are reflective of Cleveland's growing food scene.
At 97 vendors filling 178 spots, the West Side Market is now at 10 percent vacancy.
All the new tenants are local companies making their mark on Cleveland's culinary future.
It began with a craving and the need to find something familiar. Owner Dickon Newman, who was born and raised in England, had that immediate need when he came to Cleveland in 1997.
"I had a hard time finding something that reminded me of England, my childhood," said Newman.
His business started with a stand during a convention at the I-X Center. After selling 1,000 of his Golden Jacks bars, a bar that is made with oats and golden syrup, he felt it was the right time to expand it into a home business, and eventually a stand at the West Side Market. At his stand, England's famous, banoffee pie—a pie with a graham cracker crust made with custard and bananas. Newman claims "it's the only place to find such a dessert."
Pictured: English Treats
Ora Bell's Southern Cuisine
It's the market's first African-American family-owned business offering food that is good for the soul.
A business rooted in family and tradition, Ora Bells is changing the game with southern soul food made from recipes passed on through generations. Terry Robinson wanted to bring his mother's recipes alive after she passed away nearly three years ago. His wife, Sharon Robinson, does 95 percent of the cooking, saying "it takes a lot of time but wouldn't trade it for the world."
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Terry couldn't find the collard greens, corn bread and macaroni and cheese his mother so meticulously made in large batches for his 15 siblings. The Robinsons used to sell their southern staples out of a stand in Euclid before someone recommended they get a spot at the West Side Market.
"It's a dream come true, never expected it to happen. Been in the process for a year and now we are here. Couldn't be happier," Terry said.
Pictured: Terry Robinson and Sheila Aldridge
Mahajed Louis is bringing his two worlds together at his new produce stand. Originally from Alexandria, Egypt, he came here with his family in 1997 as an electrical technician along with his childhood knowledge of produce.
Back in Egypt, he sold Japanese produce which is something the public will see at his stand. Dragonfruit, rambutan and bok choy are placed in a meticulous fashion, an art that takes him more than 30 minutes, Louis jokingly admits.
Pictured: Mahajed Louis
Working in a real-life, gigantic candy store is a dream for some, but for Tom Scheiman, it's one he has been living in every day for over 65 years.
Scheiman said since the West Side Market lost its candy vendor around five to six years ago, they wanted to reintroduce another vendor.
Going from a 40,000 square foot space to a 120 sq. ft space was a new challenge, Scheiman admits, but it forced them to get creative with what they bring to the market. At the stand, customers will have a throwback moment to candy that sparks childhood memories, with most of them ranging from 25 cents to a dollar.
"From the children to adults, it [the candy] appeals to everyone," Scheiman said.
Pictured: Danaj Denujea, manager of B.A. Sweeties at West Side Market
Piccadilly Artisan Creamery
The process of liquid nitrogen mixing with an assortment of flavors is synonymous with Piccadilly and now, with the West Side Market.
Owner Adrian Bota wanted to make the move to the market because of what it means to him.
"It's a place that welcomes innovation and new vendors while also staying a historic foodie place in the country," Bota said.
Pictured: Adrian Bota, owner of Picadilly
Growing up around produce, Fadi Abouelainein knows a lot about anything that comes from the ground. Since he was 8 years old, he has been helping at the produce stand with his family.
He specializes in different varieties of watermelons—from Crenshaw melons to casaba melons, he likes to bring variety to customers who don't normally come in contact with exotic fruit.
Just across the aisle, his brothers run Brothers Produce and Fadi assures the competition is friendly and fun.
Pictured: Fadi Aboulainein, owner of Prince Produce
Bringing exotic mushrooms to The Land, Avant Garden specializes in bringing wild mushrooms from out-of-state and growing specialty mushrooms right here in the state.
"We wanted to give Cleveland access to exotic mushrooms that are difficult to find here but they are reasonably priced," said Corey Maizel, owner and grower for Avant Garden.
Wild morels, truffles from Italy and black garlic are a few exotic products that are available for purchase.
Pictured: Cory Synder
Lakewood Plant Company
Plants are taking over one stand at The West Side Market. The Lakewood Plant Company will be one of the market's first vendor spaces solely designated to all things plants. From cactus plants to miniature succulents, there are a variety of options to spruce up any indoor space.
Daniel Gifford, the owner of the Lakewood Plant Company, works alongside Peace by Piece—an organization working with individuals and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities.
Aside from their abundant green market space, the community can get their hands dirty by attending classes on making planters and terrariums for indoor use.
Pictured: Daniel Gifford, owner of Lakewood Plant Company and Jen Forbus, employee of Lakewood Plant
During your next visit, grab a grocery bag and your walking shoes because there are new faces to see at the West Side Market.