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The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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A trip to…Shaker Square, Larchmere

Classy, elegant, artsy, quaint, luxurious, charming; these are just some of the words to describe the Shaker Square and Larchmere Cleveland communities. Nestled just west of suburb Shaker Heights, these areas provide some of the best art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, diners, and bookstores Cleveland has to offer.

To walk around Shaker Square is to walk amidst great history with a modern style perfect for the college student. This place has it all: Dewey’s Coffee Café which serves up custom blends, free wifi, and a fireplace, Michael’s Diner, a phenomenal diner that has been in Cleveland for years, and more recently, common accoutrements, like a Subway.

For those looking to impress, the Square is home to some of the top-rated restaurants around. Serving Hungarian food and wines since 1964, Balaton Restaurant is the Hungarian restaurant in Cleveland. Hungarians come from all over the nation to dine at Balaton’s. For Americana, upscale Fire is the place. SASA, which features Japanese Izakaya, provides a pub-like experience, and Sergio’s Serava is home to the taste of Brazil on the Square.

It is hard to be bored in Shaker Square upon stepping out of any of the mentioned restaurants. Catch a film at the Shaker Square Cinema that plays Hollywood films, as well as independent and specialty films, or walk through the Lake Erie Artists Gallery. The area is also home to a number of places to shop for groceries and commodities, and it features a number of specialty stores, including PLAYmatters, a locally owned toy store, and Alexander’s Floral Designs.

Located just one block north of Shaker Square, the cozy and picturesque Larchmere Blvd. boasts some of the best antique shops and independent traders in Cleveland. What started as a project by Sedlak Interiors, Larchmere Blvd. transformed into the thriving arts district it is today by the organization of the Larchmere Merchants Association.

Strolling down Larchmere Blvd., it is hard to miss the unique offbeat vibe that each establishment emits. Places like Elegant Extras offer very impressive crystal, sterling silver, and porcelain selections. Bingham’s Antiques provides a twist on traditional small gifts, and specializes in 20th century art. It is also hard to miss Marc Goodman’s Antique Mall, a great place for those who want to “buy, sell, liquidate, or appraise.”

Larchmere has much more to offer than just antiques and art shops though. It is home to one of the best bookstores in Cleveland, Loganberry Books. With over 70,000 new, used, and rare books to choose from, this bookstore is a gem for the avid reader. It has a very feasible book club that hosts books for virtually every age level and every genre. And with an annex gallery showcased every month, it is a great place to find a good book and a new art display.

The Dancing Sheep is one of the hubs of Cleveland’s art scene. This gallery sells wearable art by local and national artists, hand-blown glass art, and spectacular yet unusual trinkets and gifts. One of its greatest features, however, is the glass tableware and accessories are made from recycled materials.

As with Shaker Square, Larchmere has some great dining options. Big Al’s Diner boasts huge, cheap breakfast choices. Vine and Bean Café serves up a celebrated brunch and visual art. For an exquisite wine selection, ranging from ports to specialty dessert wines, and an upscale dining experience, take a venture into Menu 6. Additionally, Flying Cranes Café is great for tea and Japanese rice and noodle dishes.

As with any diverse and cultural area, it has to be experienced firsthand to truly capture what it has to offer. Shaker Square and Larchmere Blvd. are rich in history and culture. A quick hop on the rapid takes riders right into the heart of Shaker Square, and now a ride on the new RTA circulator bus will take people from University Circle to the Square and back. So whether looking for a good book, for a place to eat a good meal, or just to browse around, do not rule out Shaker Square and Larchmere Blvd.

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About the Contributor
Jacob Martin, Opinion Editor

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