CLEVELAND — During the winter months, we might feel cooped up avoiding the cold and snow that has blanketed much of Northeast Ohio. But a new program is encouraging people to get out and explore all that Cleveland’s neighborhoods have to offer.
“So many of the businesses in this neighborhood are not just local and entrenched in the community, but they’re owned by members of the community,” said Cleveland Councilman Charles Slife. “So when people come out and support local restaurants and support local businesses, they’re supporting their neighbors as well.”
Eat & Explore CLE is a wintertime push designed to boost individual city neighborhoods by promoting restaurants, other small businesses and unique outdoor spaces.
"We want Cleveland businesses to know that Clevelanders support one another, period,” said Michael Elliott, director of Neighborhood Economic Development. “So we wanted to be intentional that when we come out, we appreciate the value that businesses are bringing to the neighborhood.”
One neighborhood is highlighted per week. This week, it’s Kamm’s Corner.
“When we spend dollars at local businesses, a much greater portion of our money stays in our community where these businesses will reinvest in us as well,” said Rosemary Mudry, Executive Director of West Park, Kamm’s Neighborhood Development.
Inward Compass Yoga is a business in the heart of the West Park, Kamm’s Corner neighborhood. It opened in the midst of the pandemic. Originally slated to begin classes in April, complications from the pandemic pushed the opening to September.
But the COVID-19 friendly studio is finally up and running, offering classes of up to five.
Across the street, Five Points Coffee & Tea has been bringing a bite of Ireland to the heart of Northeast Ohio for the last four years. While the indoor dining and cafe is closed, the business opened a carry-out window and added an awning to shelter customers from the harsh winter weather.
“We made the tough decision back in March to close as the pandemic was hitting. We reopened in May and kind of flipped everything around,” owner Conor Boylan said. “We are in take-out only mode. [The covered awning] is heated that allows people to stay at a safe distance, stay warm and still get their favorite coffee or tea.”
Meanwhile, Planted is a Cleveland health food restaurant offering wholesome, plant-based, nutritious dishes.
“I would say that the pandemic made ghost kitchens extremely popular,” said co-founder Erica Carlberg.
The initiative is designed to celebrate the season and support small businesses.
A full list of all the participating restaurants and businesses can be found here.