Neighborhoods: AsiaTown

By Ron Davidson, Host Committee member

A Chinese dragon adorns a wall on a building on Payne Avenue in AsiaTown (photo courtesy of Ron Davidson)
A Chinese dragon adorns a wall on a building on Payne Avenue in AsiaTown (photo courtesy of Ron Davidson)

In the mood for some dim sum? Or Korean barbecue? How about a nice bowl of pho? Pad Thai? You can find all these and more in Cleveland’s AsiaTown neighborhood, on the near east side–just a short drive from the convention center. You’ll find good food and culture in this small but busy neighborhood.

AsiaTown began to develop as a distinct neighborhood around the 1950s, when the small existing community of Cleveland Chinese began to move here, supplemented by an influx of immigrants from China. By the 1970s, the Chinese were joined by immigrants from Vietnam, Korea, and other Asian nations, making today’s AsiaTown a diverse but close-knit community.

As we hinted above, there is a great variety of Asian (and other) restaurants in the area. Two of Cleveland’s favorite dim sum restaurants are in AsiaTown: Bo Loong on St. Clair Avenue, and Li Wah in the Asia Plaza at E. 30th Street and Payne Avenue. If you’re not in the mood for dim sum, but still want Chinese, there are more restaurants to choose from. For Vietnamese, AsiaTown’s pho restaurants get high reviews: #1 Pho and Superior Pho on Superior Avenue, just to name two. You’ll find good Korean food in AsiaTown, including Miega Korean BBQ, Ha Anh, and Korea House, all on Superior. And even some Thai food.

2015 is the Year of the Sheep, so you can find artistically-rendered statues of sheep throughout the neighborhood, each sponsored by a local business or organization (photo courtesy of Ron Davidson)

If you want to take some groceries home, AsiaTown has two supermarkets specializing in Asian foods: at the Asian Town Center, E. 38th and Superior; and at Park to Shop, in the Asia Plaza on E. 30th Street. You’ll find plenty of produce, meats, groceries, and prepared foods you won’t find at most supermarkets. Stop in for a fresh pork bun, spring rolls, a Vietnamese sandwich, or many other ready-to-eat foods. Or stock up on foods for the trip home. There are plenty of fresh baked goods in these stores, but you’ll also find some bakeries in the neighborhood. Koko Bakery is rated the best Asian bakery in town–you’ll find good bubble tea and Taiwanese shaved ice among their specialties.


Neighborhoods: Hingetown

By Jennie Thomas, Host Committee Co-Chair

Courtesy of Urban Orchid.

Hingetown is located on the “hinge” between Ohio City’s Market District, Gordon Square, and the Warehouse District. On their website, they lay claim to a “kick ass art museum, unbelievably delicious coffee, the best florist, dynamic residential opportunities, & much much more.” Businesses includes the Urban Orchid, Dean Rufus House of Fun, Harness Cycle, and Ohio City Dog Haven, as well as Rising Star Coffee Roasters, the Beet Jar, Cleveland Tea Revival, and the Jukebox bar.

The historic Transformer Station has been renovated into a contemporary art gallery. The Transformer Station’s collections and summer concerts draw thousands to the area.

Definitely stop by Hingetown next week!

Courtesy of the Beet Jar.

Neighborhoods: Coventry Village

By Jill Tatem, Host Committee member

These days there may be more tattoos than tie-dye, but Coventry still retains the quirky independence that made it Cleveland’s hippie haven in the ’60s.

About 2 miles east of University Circle, in Cleveland Heights, Coventry Road between Mayfield Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard is two blocks of restaurants, bars, and shops.

You can find burgers and fries, vegan, Thai and Japanese cuisine, comfort food of all varieties, and one of the best milkshakes you’ve ever had (Tommy’s). Besides a wine bar (La Cave du Vin), Coventry offers concerts (Grog Shop), and numerous happy hour venues.

Coventry has, not one, but two, independent bookstores (Mac’s Backs and Revolution Books). You can find vintage toys and collectibles (Big Fun), vinyl records (Record Revolution), clothing and accessories — for you and your pets, Cleveland souvenirs and work of Cleveland artists (In the 216), and a real hardware store (Heights Hardware).

Be sure to visit Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. Even if there’s no yoga or outdoor movie showing, it is a fun place to finish your Coventry visit.

More details are available at, including a Google Map.


Other Cleveland Heights shopping and dining districts include

Cedar Fairmount

Cedar Lee 

Fairmount Taylor

Coventry Village (Photo courtesy THD3 Wikimedia Commons)
Coventry Village (Photo courtesy THD3 Wikimedia Commons)



Happy Hour in Cleveland

By Jill Tatem, Host Committee member

One of the dangers of a packed and stimulating conference program is data clog. Experienced archivists know that taking breaks to refresh, relax, and chat with colleagues is essential. Fortunately, downtown Cleveland offers a range of venues for happy hour rejuvenation.

Some of those restaurants and bars also offer glimpses of Cleveland’s historic architecture, including:

A grocery store may seem a strange location for happy hour, but Heinen’s downtown is not your typical grocery store. Housed in the renovated Cleveland Trust Rotunda at East 9th and Euclid, the 2nd floor Lounge offers numerous wine and beer selections, small plates, people watching, and wonderful views of this renovated historic building.

 Downtown neighborhoods with concentrations of bars and restaurants are

The Host Committee’s restaurant spreadsheet offers more choices, both in these downtown neighborhoods and farther afield.

Cleveland RTA’s C-Line Trolley provides free transportation from the Convention Center to all these areas all day on weekends and evenings on week days.

Happy Hour guides are available from


(photo courtesy Susan Frazier via Flickr Creative Commons)
(Happy Hour. photo courtesy Susan Frazier via Flickr Creative Commons)

Neighborhoods: Gordon Square Arts District

Located at the intersection of W. 65th Street and Detroit Avenue, Gordon Square is the historic commercial district of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. In 2007, the Cleveland Public Theatre, Near West Theatre, and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization/Capitol Theatre came together to create the Gordon Square Arts District (GSAD) to leverage the vibrant arts and culture of the area to foster economic growth and collaboration. A recent $30 million capital campaign resulted in remaking Detroit Avenue from West 54th to West 78th Streets into a thriving arts district complete with galleries, boutiques, restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, arts lofts, and affordable housing, which more than 80 new businesses (many arts-based) and numerous locals now call home.

If you’re going to be in the GSAD, you have to try the Happy Dog with the most creative hot dogs you’ve ever had and lots of local music; Luxe Kitchen and Lounge, a hipster hangout with delicious Mediterranean fare; Spice Kitchen + Bar with its garden patio and local ingredients; Toast, a cozy wine bar, sourcing food from their own farm; Latitude 41 to satisfy your comfort food cravings; Sweet Moses, an old fashioned soda fountain; Minh Anh for Vietnamese and other Asian fare; the Stone Mad Pub to get your bocce ball on; Rincon Criollo with its authentic Puerto Rican cuisine; and Gypsy Beans and Baking Company for great coffee and pastries.

Gordon Square (photo courtesy Roger Cross via Flickr creative commons license)
Gordon Square (photo courtesy Roger Cross via Flickr creative commons license)

For more information, see:

The Best Way to Start Your Day: Cleveland Breakfast and Brunch

by Jennie Thomas, Host Committee co-chair

Granola. Courtesy Lucky’s Cafe
Granola. Courtesy Lucky’s Cafe.

Cleveland is for foodies, and breakfast/brunch fare is no exception. From crepes and sweet potato pancakes to chicken and waffles, from biscuits and gravy to quiche, and with some of the best bloody Marys and mimosas around, Cleveland has some amazing offerings when it comes to breakfast and brunch.

Some recommendations for those out and about Cleveland neighborhoods in the morning hours during SAA week:


Grumpy’s Cafe
2621 W 14th St

Lucky’s Cafe
777 Starkweather Ave

Ohio City

Bonbon Pastry and Cafe
2549 Lorain Ave

Heck’s Cafe
2927 Bridge Ave

Jack Flaps
3900 Lorain Ave

Le Petite Triangle Café
1881 Fulton Rd

West Side Market Cafe
1995 W 25th St

For additional recommendations, see Breakfast – Best of 2015.

Cleveland has even more to offer on the weekends for brunch so, if you’ll be in town on Saturday or Sunday, be sure to check out Cleveland Scene’s “16 Boozy Brunches” and Brunch – Best of 2015!

Vegetarian and Vegan Options in the CLE

By Jennie Thomas, Host Committee cochair

Yes, here in the CLE you can get things like deep fried hot dogs, Polish boys, beef souse, and Cincinnati chili, and there’s even a restaurant where you can order a whole pig head, but we definitely do not ignore our vegetarian and vegan friends!

Over the past few years, vegetarian and vegan options have dramatically increased in our fair city. The Flaming Ice Cube is an all-vegan restaurant that received national recognition last year for its veggie burger; while Cleveland Vegan offers the first vegan brunch in the area with a cafe and bakery.

Many of the same restaurants that serve unique fare for the carnivore also offer many vegetarian and vegan options, including Fahrenheit, Pura Vida, Greenhouse Tavern, Happy Dog, Aladdin’s Eatery, Momocho, Ty Fun, Root Cafe, Bac Asian American Bistro and Bar, El Carnicero, Pure and Supreme Cuisine, and Tommy’s. (Want a tofutti shake — Tommy’s is the place for you!) A number of these restaurants also primarily serve local and organic foods and provide gluten-free options as well.

For information on these restaurants and more, see:

5 great vegetarian-friendly, vegan-friendly restaurants in Cleveland; 2015 A-List dining guide

16 of the best vegan eats in Cleveland