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Longtime vendor Maha's Falafil joins others in saying goodbye to the West Side Market

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 16:24:26-05

CLEVELAND — Maha’s Falafil is the latest business to call it quits at the West Side Market. A beloved staple at the market since 1986, the family-owned stand dished out its famous falafel sandwich that folks from all over Cleveland stood in line for. Once named the "Best Falafel Stand in Cleveland" by Cleveland magazine, it has been visited by celebrities like Katie Couric during her “City Rising” series and on the Rachel Ray television show "$40 a Day."

Maha's says its last day at the West Side Market will be Dec. 31. Now, customers craving the crispy, homemade falafel will have to go to Dave's Market locations in Ohio City and on East 61st Street.

In August, longtime meat vendor Turczyk’s Meats announced it would part ways with the West Side Market. Since 1954, Turczyk’s Meats served local chefs, restaurants and celebrities an array of meats, from lamb and sheep to goat. In December, the business posted a lengthy statement on Facebook, explaining the decision while also criticizing the market’s owner and landlord, the City of Cleveland.

“It is with bitter feelings toward the city of Cleveland that I have to tell all of you friends and patrons that I have had to close my businesses at the West Side Market,” the vendor said on Facebook. "It was a very hard decision and thing to do, but I have to think of my family and well-being first.”

Michael Turczyk listed a myriad of reasons for the departure, saying after “36 years of blood, sweat and tears (that are forming now,) it was time to part ways."

“After spending most of my life as a 'marketeer,' this was the last thing I wanted to do. But I had no choice,” Turczyk said. “I planned on retiring with my West Side Market family and friends that I have provided excellent meals for years! The deplorable conditions they had me working under is totally unacceptable.”

The departure of longtime vendors like Maha's Falafil and Turczyk's Meats comes after numerous problems were exposed inside the market, inlcuding plumbing and electrical issues, as well as mismanagement and unsafe working conditions, as some vendors have voiced on social media.

As the year comes to an end and some problems remain unfixed, the City of Cleveland announced its 2020 goals, which include "improving relationships with tenants," "integrate cost-effective means for vendors," and "strengthen safety and security plans," among others.

“As we look forward to 2020, the City of Cleveland does not take lightly its important role as the West Side Market’s owner and operator,” Darnell Brown, chief operating officer for the City of Cleveland, said in a statement. “We are committed to preserving this iconic landmark for future generations and look forward to working with our valued tenants to meet our goals.”

Continuing coverage of the West Side Market

West Side Market employee shocked by faulty wiring; sparks fly between city, vendors

Records reveal frequent plumbing, electrical issues at West Side Market; City says fixes are coming

City of Cleveland releases 2020 goals for West Side Market