|[Image by City of Cleveland]|
[Update: Well, better late than never. Welcome back West Side Market! I wrote this post last week...and the market re-opened yesterday. So, the best way to help is giving them business. Please visit the market!]
Cleveland's West Side Market is a block away from my old high school. I walked by every weekday for four long years. I would stop for an occasional egg sandwich at the diner on the southwest corner, but I wasn't brave enough to venture into the main part of the market. I walked through once, quickly, and it was full of weird stuff - sausages hanging from hooks, alien looking fish, and a stuffed goat head mounted over one of the stalls.
I thought the height of cuisine was a Polish Boy with everything from one of the hot dog carts downtown. Those dogs warmed me on many RTA rides home.
I grew up, moved to Akron, and my love for cooking blossomed. I realized what I was ignoring all those years. I started making the trips to the market, especially for the lamb vendors.
My favorite? The stall with the goat head mounted over it. So scary back then. Now it pulls me in.
All the lamb in my rotisserie cookbook came from the West Side Market, and so did a few of the ducks.
I was horrified to hear about the electrical fire in one of the stalls, and even more horrified to see the picture, the one at the top of the page. Foster's Meats, one of those lamb vendors, was right in the center of the fire.
Luckily, the fire wasn't large, and only burned up a handful of stalls. But the smoke damage was extensive. The market has been closed since January 30th, while they clean and disinfect everything.
I'm asking for your help. Insurance will fix the building, but the vendors need help make up for the lost inventory, sales, and to pay their employees.
Here are three ways you can help out the West Side Market:
- Donate to the Market Vendor Relief fund.
Michael Symon launched this charity to help support the vendors of the West Side Market.
- Buy the Support The Market T-Shirt
CLE Clothing is selling West Side Market T-shirts, and donating all the proceeds to the Vendor Relief fund.
[Update: SOLD OUT. Darn, I didn't have a chance to get one. They may re-stock, so keep an eye on the page if you're interested.]
- Buy the West Side Market Bond
Buy a $40 West Side Market bond, get a $50 West Side Market gift certificate. The extra $10 is donated by the sponsors of the West Side Market Centennial, and it gives you extra money to spend once the market is open. (The extra $10 offer expires after 750 people buy these bonds, so hurry if you want one.)
Most important: if you live in the Cleveland area, stop by
-once the market is open- and give them your business. This will help the small businesses in the market, even when they're not facing an emergency.
[Update: Again, the market just re-opened. Get out there and buy something!]