Category Archives: Updates & Changes

Restaurant and market updates.

Bad News, Good News

Eating update. Garden Cafe, the Taiwanese restaurant in the little strip mall at 37th and Payne is gone. That’s the bad news. But a wonderful Thai place opened in the same spot two weeks ago, and after my first meal there last night I have to say this is very good news indeed.

It’s called Map of Thailand .  The remodeled space is lovely- handpainted images of branches and birds on white walls, modern lighting, and a decorative half wall hiding the kitchen door. Lined up along the top are big glass jars filled with signature drinks- lemongrass tea, non-alcoholic red and white sangria.  Upscale touches (without the accompanying prices) include cloth linens, fresh flowers on every table, and attractive contemporary looking dinnerware. It’s BYOB and I was pleasantly surprised when our server asked if we preferred white or red wine glasses.

But it’s the expertly prepared food that will ultimately earn this spot a devoted following.  Our foursome ordered seven dishes- two appetizers, soup, and four entrees- for sharing and each one prompted much oohing and aahing from all.  Here’s the play list with comments:   Golden Bags- stuffed tofu pouches tied with a bit of seawood and fried to a perfect, greaseless crispness;  Thai spring rolls- an unusual filling made with carrots, sweet potatoes, cabbage and taro which added a sweet note; Seafood coconut soup, creamy, rich with a brightness from kaffir lime leaf, lemon grass and galanga; spicy basil fried rice with ground chicken; lard nar- wide rice noodles, vegetables, chicken and shrimp in a really intriguing sauce; an outstanding execution of chili duck- half a boneless bird roasted, fried, glazed with spices; and a fine and out of the ordinary Massaman curry featuring roasted peanuts, sweet potatoes and chick peas.

There were no leftovers to take home.  And I’m already thinking about what I want to try next time. Thanks to my  friends, eating adventurers and dining companions extraordinaire Jb and Kristina, for bringing this great new place to my attention.

3710 Payne Avenue, Cleveland. 216-361-222o


Filed under Restaurants, Updates & Changes

Bad Blogger

I have been a bad, bad blogger.  I’ve broken the rules by failing to post with regularity and let my friends and followers down. All the usual excuses apply- holiday craziness, too busy,too tired, too whatever, hey I have a life, and dog ate my homework- but who cares. Bloggers are supposed to blog. Often. And consistently.  I didn’t. And I’m sorry.

But I’m back, vowing to try harder and do better. To kick things off for 2011 I’ve decided to do a round-up (as the media often does at this time of year) of the Cleveland Ethnic Eats listings we lost, the new spots that have opened, and a few old restaurants and markets that have relocated to new homes.

CLOSED: Tom’s Seafood; Hana Asian Food, Antalya Red Square; Baricelli Cheese Company; Buetner’s Bakery; Maria’s; Gertrude Bakery; Rachel’s Caribbean; Chefs Choice Meats; Chandler and Rudd; Aoeshi Cafe; Mint Cafe (reopening under new management…maybe new name, but same Coventry Road corner)

MOVED: Athens Food and Pastries is now at 5120 Pearl Road; Lancer Steakhouse has moved across the street  from the original location to 7804 Carnegie Avenue; and Angie’s Soul Food Cafe is at 3859 Superior in the former Town Fryer. After a hiatus Niko’s, the Greek restaurant in Lakewood is back in business at 15625 Detroit Road. Asia Food Market on St. Clair is gone but the same family opened an even bigger supermarket in Asia Town Center, 3820 Superior Avenue 

OPENED: New Ethnic Restaurants (in no particular order) 

Istanbul Turkish Grill, 2505 Professor, Tremont, 216298-4450

Dervish Mediterranean and Turkish Grill, 35840 Chester Road, Avon, 440-937-0733

Mia Bella, 12200 Mayfield Road in Little Italy, 216-795-2355

Mulino Pastry, 25092 Center Ridge Road, Westlake, 440-835-2555 

Banana Blossom Thai Cuisine, 2800 Clinton Avenue, Cleveland, 216-696-5529

Indian Flame Restaurant, 11623 Euclid Avenue, University Circle, 216-791-5555

Park to Shop Asia Market, 1580 E. 30th Street, Cleveland, 216-781-3388

Middle East Grill, 20126 Chagrin Blvd, Shaker Heights, 216-752-7500

Maha’s Cafe (a sit down version of the felafel stand at the West Side Market), 3323 W. 25th Street, 216-741-9810

Frank’s Falafel House, 1823 W. 65th, Cleveland, 216-631-3300

Le Oui Oui Crepe Cafe and Luchita’s Express, both in a sort of Food Court at 11309 Euclid Avenue, University Circle

Taqueria La Loma and Supermarket, 421 Darrow Road, Akron, 330-784-9300

Cilantro Thai and Sushi Restaurant, 326 S. Main Street, Akron, 330-434-2876

Annotate and update your print edition. Let me know what I’ve missed. And if you’ve visited any of the new places name here, I’d love to get your opinion. In fact, I’ll mail a free copy of Cleveland Ethnic Eats to the first person that posts a write up describing their meal or their shopping trip to any one of these newly opened ethinc eats destinations.   My way of saying thanks for sticking with me.


Filed under Updates & Changes

Food News

Some shuttered restaurants, some new ones, and a few updates.

In the sadly gone column, Henry’s at the Barn in Avon has closed. Hoping Chef Paul Jagielski finds another location where he can serve up his wonderful Low Country fare. Another one to bite the dust is Maria’s Italian in Lakewood.

Spotted these two,  but haven’t tried them yet: Mia Bella in Little Italy (in the former Corbo’s Bakery…which moved down the block); Zdara, on W. 9th (Mediterranean)

Wandered through the huge new Asian superstore called Park to Shop, behind Li Wah.  If you’re in the market for live frogs, duck tongues, pickled sour mustard, or other obscure ingredients, they’ve probably got it here.

Blogger Tom Noe recommends Taqueria La Loma and Supermarket in the Akron area for excellent and authentic food.  Another Akron restaurant, this one suggested by a Cleveland Ethnic Eats fan is Cilantro Thai and Sushi on S. Main downtown next to the Areos ball park.

Starting this week, Michaelangelo’s has added lunch hours, 11:30-2, Tuesday-Friday. Definitely a way to add some excitement to the work week!

Leave a comment

Filed under Updates & Changes

Centering in on Asiatown

It’s taken seven  years for the Duong family to turn the massive old manufacturing facilty on 38th and Superior into the Asiantown Center  . There’s still work going on inside this two story urban mall and many empty spaces waiting for tenants, but the place is already destination-worthy.

The public spaces are gorgeous- renovated and redesigned with a kind of gritty elegance  infused with Asian aesthetic, and decorated with orignal pieces of art.  And a 20,00 square foot grocery store, stocking products from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philipines- replacing the Asia Food Market on St. Clair which closed in April-is now open for business. There’s live fish, fresh meat and produce, bbqed pork and whole roasted ducks, and an in-house bakery, plus an in-store cafe. 

After my guided tour yesterday courtesy of Alexandre Duong and his sister Angela,  I polished off a wonderful Vietnamese lunch of rice paper rolls and a cold chicken and rice noodle salad, and headed home with a container of shrimp noodle soup and savory meat and bean paste filled buns for supper. 

This Friday night, June 4, is a great time to check it out. Asiantown Center is hosting an art festival from 7-11 PM with works by local talent on display, live music, and good things to eat.

The project began because the Duongs needed a larger space for the market, but  quickly grew into something much bigger. They had a vision of the possible, hung in during the recession and have brought something exciting to the city and the neighborhood.  This family venture is the kind of development and the spirit Cleveland needs, and they deserve our praise and support.

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Markets, Restaurants, Updates & Changes

News from Athens

I’m talking food not the Greek economy. Got the following message on Cleveland Ethnic Eats’ Facebook fan page:

Hello Laura, Just wanted to let you know that after 51 years of being in Ohio City Market District, Athens Pastries and Imported Foods is moving to 5120 Pearl Rd in the Pearlbrook Shopping Center. I hope that you will stop in and see us. Our grand opening in June 1, but we will be moving out by the end of April.

Pencil the new address into your copies of the book (page 122 in the current edition). And schedule a date this summer to visit the new place and stock up on feta, kalamata olives, and galaktoboureka-an irresistable combination of custard wrapped in phyllo dough.

1 Comment

Filed under Markets, Updates & Changes


Sadly, as I’ve been driving around town, I’ve noticed some restaurant  and store closures. Grab your copy of Cleveland Ethnic Eats and add the following notes so you won’t end up heading out to a place that is long gone.

Closed: Tom’s Seafood; Rachel’s Caribbean Cuisine; Antalya Red Square; Maria’s (on Detroit); Hana Asian Food.

If you know of any other spots in the book that have shut their doors or moved, please post the information here.


Filed under Updates & Changes

Musical Chairs

Theres been some restaurant relocations recently. The Lancer Steakhouse on Carnegie, known for its African-American cooking and well connected clientele, suffered a devastating fire that burned their building to the ground in December. But they are now back in business across the street  (7804 Carnegie)  in what was Angie’s Soul Cafe.

Meanwhile Angie’s has set-up shop at 3859 Superior. This building formerly housed the Town Fryer. (which moved to the Agora…and is closing next week).

Leave a comment

Filed under Updates & Changes

Put a Little Polish on Your Plate

A coupl of weeks ago, there was a comment posted here about Polish food and where to find some. That’s prompted me to tell you about one of my shopping trips to Seven Roses, a Polish deli and market on Fleet Avenue in Slavic Village (page 154 in Cleveland Ethnic Eats).  seven_roses_5720_sm

 I go there because I like stocking my pantry, fridge, and freezer with Eastern Eurpopean flavor and  because I can get a lot without spending a lot. Here’s what I brought home this time:

-a jar of Polish style mustard with horseradish

-jar or sauerkraut

-1 lb smoked Swiss Cheese

-4 lbs. garlic kielbasa

-a loaf of fresh bread

-a cherry babka (coffee cake)

-2 liter bottles of imported mineral water

Total bill for all this: $48.08. 

seven_roses_5721_sm Besides great value, this is such a pleasant space to be with the lace curtains at the window, wooden shelves and pressed tin ceiling. It’s like stepping out of time and place, to suddenly finding yourself in a 19th centuryEuropean shop.  Going to the supermarket just can’t compare.

Photos courtesy Photos of Barney Taxel         

I’ve heard that a Seven Roses outpost opened this spring in the basement of an office park in Beachwood. This location- 23230 Chagrin Blvd, Building 2, focuses on their prepared foods-soup, sandwiches, potatoatoe pancakes, cabbage and noodles- rather than packaged products and ingredients. I haven’t been yet so I’m not sure if it’s a sit down restaurant or just for take-out.

1 Comment

Filed under Markets, Updates & Changes

News from Aladdin’s

Driving home from a downtown meeting I decided to stop in at Aladdin’s  Baking Company on Carnegie to stock up on creamy French goat’s milk feta, kalamata olives, and spinach pies. Although they’re open for business, a major remodeling is underway. The new floorplan will devote more space to tables, making this equal parts grocery store, prepared foods market and cafe where you can sit down and immediately dig into their terrific chicken shawarma, felafel and gyro sandwiches, taboulie and fatoosh salads, bowls of lentil soup, and plates of grape leaves or hummus. 

I also discovered that they’ve added a new bread to their line-up- light fluffy whole wheat nan. It’s delicous. A package of five big fresh rounds  feels like a pillow and is priced at only $1.50.


Filed under Markets, Updates & Changes

Air Time

I talked ethnic eating today on WCPN’s Around Noon, sharing the microphone with host Jim Goldurs, and three of the food folks featured in the book: sausagemaker extraordinaire Kris Krieger of Chef’s Choice Meats in Berea; Alma Alfonzo from Lelolai Bakery and Cafe, the place for Puerto Rican pastry and Cubano sandwiches; and Chef Sergio Abramof, owner of a pair of  fantastic restaurants,  Sergio’s, with a Mediterranean menu, and Sarava, which specializes in Brazilian fare.  Thanks to an exchange between Jim and Sergio, I finally learned how to correctly pronounce feijoada, a traditional stew. Spelled phonetically it’s feh joo ah da.

back row, from left to right: Sergio Abramof, Jim Goldurs, front row, from left to right Alma Alfonzo, yours truly LT, Kris Krieger

Back Row, left to right: Sergio Abramof, Jim Goldurs, Front Row, left to right: Alma Alfonzo, yours truly LT, and Kris Krieger                                                    

We all had great fun and got some  interesting phone calls from listeners.  Two people mentioned new places I have to try- an Argentine restaurant  in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood called La Boca, and Ararat on Chardon Road serving Armenian food. Anyone been to either of these?

But my favorite call was from the guy who told me that he used Cleveland Ethnic Eats to court the woman who is now his wife. He said he picked unusual, out of the way places to take her and she was quite impressed by his epicurean tastes, so impressed she married him. I’m delighted to think that all my eating and writing contributed to bringing them together!

 If you missed our conversation and want to hear it, here’s a link to the audio of the show


Filed under In The Media, Restaurants, The Book, Updates & Changes