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.
Steep your brain with flavorful promises of a menu to plot out an early-morning caffeine infusion, mid-day lunch treat, or late night drive-by brainwiring. Phoenix's coffees are brewed fresh from their very own beans, so have a cup of old-school joe to return to the café's roots (up to $1.70), or punch your taste buds with the devil's brew (coffee with a shot of espresso, up to $2.50). Chug their namesake with a cup of Café Phoenix, a mocha made with their signature locally produced chocolate syrup and an extra shot of espresso ($3.60), or hammer your endocrine system with the indulgent excesses of their Stuporball—two kinds of custom-blended coffee, two different chocolate syrup infusions, and an extra shot of espresso (up to $4). Tea lovers get some love at Phoenix, too—premium oolong, white, and select black or green tea varieties are available iced or hot (up to $2.40), while the house-made artisan Chai latte arrives steamed and creamy (up to $3.20). You can also upgrade to larger drinks and pay the difference.
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.