Alesci’s embraces family traditions. If it’s not already apparent by the third generation of brothers who co-manage the deli and grocer, it shimmers to the surface in the stories of old regulars and those who remember Grandpa Frank Alesci. Starting with Frank, and now for more than 50 years, the Alesci family has curated a collection of imported products, providing immigrants with the sought-after goods from across the pond. Beyond that, it’s a place for fresh, crusty bread, pizza, a myriad of cheeses, and deli meats sliced by hand. Inside the 7,000-square-foot location, shelves are lined with everything from polenta to biscotti, olives to olive oil, and peppers who share space with their natural enemy: the tomato.
Metropolitan Market is a locally-owned-and-operated market that's been serving up stupendous cuts of meat and freshly delivered seafood to the Cleveland area since 2003. Both uncooked and prepared foods are available for culinary captains and last-minute party-planners alike. Menus shift weekly, but you'll always find a variety of meat and seafood, as well as specialty foods such as frozen soups and pastas, dips, side salads, and more. If it's sea-meat you're craving, pick up walleye filets ($16.99 per pound) or Bay of Fundy salmon ($12.99 per pound) for a feast fresh from the earth's tear ducts. Get a USDA Prime aged signature sirloin steak ($12.99 per pound), and truss that mighty meal up with shiitake mushrooms ($9.99 per pound) or peaches and creamed corn ($4.99 per bag). Mop up whatever's left on the plate with a French dinner roll ($5.99 per dozen).
When Frank Cangemi first opened Miles Famers Market in 1971, it was a seasonal, open-air market that only sold fresh fruits and vegetables. Frank would arrive at the Northern Ohio Food Terminal at 3 a.m. every day and proceed to hand select his stock of fresh produce, carefully choosing veggies without bruises and punting overly ripe cantaloupes. This hand selection and attention to detail is something he still does to this day, even though Miles Farmers Market has expanded to a 21,000-square-foot shopping space that also houses a deli, a butcher, and a bakery.
Its cheese department hosts more than 400 varieties of cheese, which complement varietals from a wine section that Wine Spectator hailed as “outstanding.” Its bistro not only makes up quick bites but also full dinners to go. Its staffers help foodies navigate the aisles and are on hand to offer tips that range from how to ripen an unfamiliar fruit to how to successfully wash food in the dishwasher.
Yet, even with all of this, it’s the dedication to having the best produce that really draws in shoppers. For more than 40 years, Miles has fostered partnerships with local produce growers such as Burnham, Spiegelberg, and Rittman Orchards, as well as Ohio Fruit Growers. These alliances allow for a vast selection of organic and local produce that may have been ripening on the vine or stalk seven hours before hitting store shelves.
Raddell's Sausage Shop, a four-time winner of the Polka Hall of Fame's People's Choice Award, boasts three generations of Slovenian sausage-making experience and more than 50 varieties of sausage. Enliven a party with a variety of smoked sausages ($4.79/lb. loose; $4.89/lb. vacuum-packed), such as andouille, hungarian, polish, or the popular slovenian, appreciated for their varying assortments of spices and encyclopedic knowledge of knots. Grills, broilers, and well-aimed magnifying glasses will gleefully roast Raddell's selection of fresh sausages ($3.79/lb.), including the classic bratwurst, the lithuanian, and the fresh garlic slovenian.
The North Union Farmers Market began in 1995 as a small market—back then, more than 500 hungry customers shopped the stalls of only six local farmers. Today, the market coordinates eight certified-producer farmers’ markets around Cleveland, allowing farmers to sell their products—from fresh, seasonal produce to meat, syrup, eggs, and dairy—directly to residents. The planet-friendly concept reduces the energy used for transportation and maximizes the freshness of the food.
Margaret and Phillip Nabors were ahead of the curve in championing natural and organic foods when they opened Mustard Seed Market & Café in 1981. To ensure the integrity of every item stocked on their shelves, the Nabors developed a list of golden standards—nine guidelines that range from a ban on high-fructose corn syrup to selling only cruelty-free cosmetics. This combination of rigor and passion has propelled Mustard Seed for more than 30 years, filling two locations with locally grown produce, fresh-baked vegan cookies, and naturally lean-but-tender beef from certified Piedmontese cattle, which are raised on an all-vegetarian diet free of steroids and antibiotics.
Today, the Nabors' children, Abraham and Gabe, have joined their parents in leading Mustard Seed's team of natural-foods experts—who include everyone from the customer-service associates to the stockers, ensuring that shoppers can find answers to their questions around every corner. The store also educates customers through classes and free lectures on topics such as California wines and what’s going to happen when they run out of letters to name the vitamins.