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.

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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 http://coventryvillage.org, 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)

 

 

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

Eating in the CLE

"The Greenhouse Tavern Snags Award for Best Vegetarian Sandwich in America" (image courtesy of Instagram user @thegreenhousetavern)
“The Greenhouse Tavern Snags Award for Best Vegetarian Sandwich in America” (image courtesy of Instagram user @thegreenhousetavern)

By Janet Carleton, Host Committee cochair

Cleveland is blessed with a multitude of great food! We’ve had plenty of posts about food so far, and more to come.

But don’t worry about missing any–just select the tab on this blog devoted to food. It includes a Google Map of spots from the hearts & stomachs of the Host Committee, all posts in the Food category, and perhaps best of all, a Google spreadsheet sortable by name, neighborhood, etc., at http://bit.ly/SAA15-HC-food.

From Top Chefs and James Beard winners to ice cream to vegetarian to ethnic to comfort food and everything between–Cleveland has it.

10 Iconic Cleveland Foods: Pierogi" (image courtesy of clevescene.com
“10 Iconic Cleveland Foods: Pierogi” (image courtesy of clevescene.com)

And legal beverages?

We’ve got coffee, tea, beer (20 local breweries), wine (more wineries per square mile than any other winery region), mixed drinks, and more.

And don’t forget–for all things food truck (56 area food trucks!) see http://www.cleveland.com/food-trucks/.

Walnut Wednesday fills the streets. Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer (image courtesy of Cleveland.com)
Walnut Wednesday fills the streets. Thomas Ondrey/The Plain Dealer (image courtesy of Cleveland.com)