1. Local

Northeast Ohio Ethnic Food Markets

By

Northeast Ohio is a great place to shop for ethnic food specialties. The region has a rich history of ethnic communities combining to form the culture we find there today. German, Polish, Czech, Slovenian, Latin American, Italian, and various Asian cultures all have had a hand in forming "Cleveland Culture." There's no better way to learn about these cultures than by visiting the many food markets here. Below are some of my favorites (in alphabetical order).

Alesci's

In the 1950s, the Italian residents of Little Italy began moving eastward, to South Euclid and Mayfield Heights, among other suburbs. Alesci's, in South Euclid, opened in 1957, a reflection of these new eastside residents. The huge, 7,000-square foot store is still going strong and offers a wide selection of prepared foods as well as cured meats, cheeses, house-made breads and pastries, and a myriad of Italian canned and jarred goods. They also make and sell their own pasta sauces. If it's Italian, and it's food, you'll find it at Alesci's.

Alesci's
4333 Mayfield Rd.
South Euclid, OH
216 382-5100

Almadina Imports

This Middle Eastern market on Lorain Avenue is spacious, aromatic, and friendly. They stock all things Middle Eastern, from pomegranate juice to olives to freshly-baked pastries. There are grains, breads, meats (slaughtered according to Islamic guidelines), and a large variety of spices and nuts.

Almadina Imports
11550 Lorain Ave.
Cleveland, OH
216 671-4661

Athens Pastries and Imported Foods

Though they've moved from the shadow of the West Side Market, Athens Pastries and Imported Foods is still the wonderful food emporium you remember. Just walking in the store is a treat, as you are met with exotic and heady aromas. The market carries everything from freshly-baked pastries to meats and cheese -- including five different kinds of feta. There are aisles of Greek canned and jarred goods as well as wine, tea, grains, and spices. You'll even find Greek music and serving vessels--everything you'll need for a Mediterranean feast.

Athens Pastries & Imported Foods
5120 Pearl Road
Cleveland, OH 44129
216 861-8149

La Borincana Foods

This is one of the first ethnic markets that I discovered in Cleveland and it's still one of my favorites. The music, aromas, and friendly atmosphere that greets you at this family-run shop at the edge of Ohio City is like a quick trip south-of-the-border. They stock foodstuffs from all over the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. You'll find different kinds of chorizo sausage, masa harina to make your own tortillas, dried corn husks for making tamales as well as a diverse selection of produce.

La Borincana
2127 Fulton Rd.
Cleveland Ohio
216 651-2351

Charles Peters Bake Shop

Located along Turney Road, just south of the Mills Creek development, Charles Peters Bake Shop has been serving Eastern European pastries, breads, and pies since 1929. Their party trays of cookies and brownies are one of the best--and tastiest--values in town. During the weeks preceding Lent, they offer Paczki (Polish filled donuts). Other highlights include strudel, kuchen, and Polish sweet bread.

Charles Peters Bake Shop
4608 Turney Rd.
Garfield Heights, OH
216 641-6887

Corbo's Dolceria

Corbo's Bakery in Cleveland Ohio's Little Italy
(© 2007 Terry Michelle/Platinum Photography)
Corbo's Dolceria, located at the corner of Mayfield and Murray Hill Rds. in Little Italy, is a delight for all of the senses. The store draws you in from the street with its enticing smells and captivates you with its beautiful displays.

The family-owned bakery is known for its traditional cassata cakes, a yellow cake with strawberry filling between the layers). Also available are cookies, pies, pepperoni bread, and other goodies.

Corbo's Dolceria
12210 Mayfield Rd.
Cleveland, OH
216 421-8181

Gertrude Bakery

Gertrude Bakery, Slavic Village, Cleveland Ohio
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)
he aroma of freshly-baked bread, doughnuts, and fruit and cream-filled pies greets you as you enter Gertrude Bakery on Gertrude Avenue in Cleveland's Slavic Village.

The last survivor of over twenty bakeries that once thrived in the neighborhood, Gertrude Bakery is the quintessential corner bakery. Immaculate display cases surround you, packed with cookies, breads, doughnuts, cakes, and rolls. All offerings are tasty and affordable, so feel free to indulge.

Gertrude Bakery
6506 Gertrude Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44105
216 641-7582

Gust Gallucci's Italian Market

Gust Gallucci's Italian Market - Cleveland Ohio
(© Stu Spivack/cc License)
Gust Gallucci's is a complete Italian food market, located in Cleveland's Midtown Corridor, halfway between downtown Cleveland and University Circle. Started 85 years ago by an Italian immigrant, Gust Gallucci, hungry for the food of his homeland, Gallucci's still sells a wide variety of Italian canned goods, fresh and cured meats, cheeses, wines, and Italian housewares.

Gust Gallucci's
6610 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44103
216 881-0045

Hansa Import Haus

Another Ohio City market located in the shadow of the West Side Market, Hansa Import Haus offers all things German, with a smattering of Swiss and Austrian goods. Here you'll find cold cuts, sausages, rows and rows of jams and jellies, baked goods, chocolate, and non-food items, such as beer steins, German language magazines, nutcrackers, and German music.

Hansa Import Haus
2717 Lorain Ave.
Cleveland, OH
216 281-3177

Irish Cottage

Irish Cottage
(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)
Located on Sloane Avenue on the west side of Lakewood, the Irish Cottage is a little building tucked away off of the street. The store stocks a host of Irish imports -- both food and non-food items. Food offerings include jellies, jams, cookies, kippers, tea, and freshly baked scones.

Irish Cottage
18828 Sloane Ave.
Lakewood, OH 44107
216 221-6412

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.