Gordon Square Arts District
West Side- Cleveland, Ohio
The Gordon Square Arts District is part of the vibrant Detroit Shoreway community centered on Detroit Avenue between W. 54th to W. 76th on the west side of Cleveland. Theatres, restaurants, galleries, wine bars and shops occupy the area. The neighborhood has a diverse population and a hip vibe while maintaining laidback charm. I was first introduced to the Gordon Square Arts District while working as an environmental consultant on a restoration project in the area. I spent my lunch hours and time after work exploring the neighborhood and find it a fabulous destination for an Ohio Day Trip.
Exploring Gordon Square Arts District is best done on foot. With all the cute shops and eclectic restaurants, don’t risk driving right past a fabulous find. There is plentiful parking in any of several public lots. Groupings of funky-shaped benches are arranged on the sidewalk for relaxing, people-watching or reading the latest Scene Magazine. Community gardens now occupy formerly vacant lots. The Cleveland Lakeshore Bikeway also runs through the neighborhood between Ohio City to the east and the Lake Erie shore to the north.
The Cleveland Public Theatre (6415 Detroit Avenue) is a group of performance spaces which bring exciting productions to the stage by showcasing plays, dance troupes, and performance artists. The appearance of the buildings and the intimate seating add to the ambiance of the theatre experience. My sister Megan and I attended a performance of the Verb Ballet, a contemporary dance company. The dancing and music were expressive and evocative and the performance was so stirring that Megan and I were moved to tears.
The Capital Theatre (1390 W. 65th Street) shows independent movies, documentaries and foreign films on three screens. The building was originally built in 1921 and was vacant for two decades before reopening as a movie house with concessions as well as beer and wine sales- my kind of movie theatre!
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert are covered in the Gordon Square Arts District. I’ve made quite a few restaurant discoveries while working in the neighborhood. My first meal in the area was at the Gypsy Bean & Baking Company on the corner of Detroit and 65th. Since enjoying that tasty sandwich I’ve tried bagels, breakfast muffins, paninies, pizza and Greek pasta but my absolute favorite dish is the Open Face Hummus Sandwich- yum!
One of the most unique places in the area is Happy Dog (5801 Detroit Avenue), a hot dog joint that serves quarter pound meat and veggie dogs with just about any topping you can imagine. While you can get the usual ketchup and mustard you can add habanera sauce, chipotle hollandaise or baby bok choy coca cola stir fry. I had my first vegan dog with saffron aioli, garlicky escarole and smoked gouda- delish! The next time I had a meat dog with truffle mustard and bacon- tasty! A favorite of Cleveland native Iron Chef Michael Symon, they even had a write-up in the July 2011 edition of ‘Travel & Leisure’ magazine. Plus, they sell the cutest T-shirts- who doesn’t want a shirt that says ‘Happy Dog’?
Across the street from Happy Dog is another great area restaurant- Latitude 41 (5712 Detroit Avenue). Latitude serves the most delectable comfort foods with soup, salads, sandwiches and pizza on the menu. They also have a good wine selection and some delicious desserts. Megan and I shared pasta for dinner before our night at the theatre and returned afterward to discuss the performance over shared desserts- everything was scrumptious!
Another fine dessert place is Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Sweet Shop (6800 Detroit Avenue). The shop has an old-fashioned cash register, a long counter with stools and tables with restored wrought-iron chairs. Handmade confections are sold from a large display case and homemade ice cream is served from behind an authentic soda fountain. I’m always thrilled when I can get an old family favorite, a chocolate soda!
There are many more restaurants in the area that I have yet to visit. These include the Big Egg, La Boca Barrio Tapas & Wine Bar, XYX Tavern, Stone Mad Irish Pub & Restaurant and Rincon Criollo Puerto Rican Restaurant.
I’ll just admit it- I love clothing and accessories that are glamorous, bold and edgy. Turn Style Boutique (6505 Detroit Avenue) has a unique selection of pieces with a certain type of sophisticated sex appeal. On top of nice clothing is the boutique atmosphere- the owner Terri introduced herself to me the first time I visited. I truly felt treated to high-end personal service.
Right next door to Turn Style is another great boutique- Duo Home Decor (6507 Detroit Avenue). As I first gazed in the window at the collection of contemporary and quirky furniture and home decor I thought anything inside would be way out of my price range. I was wrong. Pleasantly surprised, I found that everything in the store was very reasonably priced and of high quality- a rare combination!
In the Gordon Square Arcade building is S.P. Leather (6702 Detroit Avenue) a little leather goods shop with a nice collection for the girly biker set (in addition to the usual leather stuff). Not that I’m a biker babe or anything, but I know a cute pink-detailed fringed leather vest when I see one. They also do leather repair, a service I’m going to keep in mind as I have some boots and a few purses that I never want to see injured!
Every Saturday from June to October the Gordon Square Farmers’ Market
is held in the parking lot of the B ethany Presbyterian Church at West 65th and West Clinton Streets from 10:am to 2:pm. Herbs, produce, baked goods and other local items can be purchased from local vendors.
On the third Friday of every month the 78th Street Studios stays open late for browsing the galleries, music studios and design firms. Music and live events are often hosted by galleries within the complex. As a huge fan of Canton’s First Friday celebration I look forward to getting a chance to visit Gordon Square’s Third Friday affair.
In June an arts festival is held in the neighborhood. Around this time pop-up boutiques, retail spaces which operate on a temporary basis, featuring the work of local artists, designers and craftsman fill available storefronts. I learned that everything sold at Collective Upcycle, a gift shop with items ranging from handmade clothing and jewelry to home and outdoor decor, was created from items that were repurposed as art or decoration- a classic trash to treasure story and a great shopping experience. The only downside is that it was only open for about three weeks- I hope it returns next year.
The Gordon Square Arts District is one of those neighborhoods that pulsates with a metropolitan vibe and a real feeling of urban community. While it is cultured and open-minded it isn’t pretentious or snobby. With something to do any time of the day, visiting the Gordon Square Arts District is a fabulous way to spend a day.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A Day in the Gordon Square Arts District
Gordon Square Arts District