Where to eat and shop in University Circle


Sarah Lisk/Observer

Over the summer businesses both closed and opened in Uptown

Cleveland’s warm summer months ushered in a number of grand openings in the University Circle neighborhood. While some businesses shuttered their doors, even more opened for the ever-increasing number of students, residents and Circle visitors in the area. Understandably, the number of business openings exceeds the number of closings.

Anne van H., an upscale boutique located in Uptown since 2012, announced its closure this past July. The shop, owned by entrepreneur Anne van Hauwaer, was previously located in Little Italy, where it had been a staple since 1988.

The Verizon Wireless store on Euclid, part of Uptown since the business district opened in 2012, left the area over the summer.

Wrapz Pita Bar opened in January 2014 in hopes of serving students Mediterranean fare and poutine until three in the morning. After first limiting night hours, the restaurant went dark in August despite its popular food.

Reasonably-priced fast-casual restaurants dominate the University Circle business scene. Despite the loss of Wrapz, a number of new eateries joined the likes of the recently opened Ninja City Kitchen & Bar, Chipotle, Panera Bread, ABC The Tavern and Jimmy John’s. On the whole, these restaurants illustrate the rapidly changing neighborhood around Case Western Reserve University.

Following the success of their downtown location, Tea House Noodles opened a second casual sit-down restaurant in Uptown. The Asian restaurant also delivers orders via GrubHub to hungry Circle residents.

On July 7th, Kenko burst onto the University Circle food scene. Serving hibachi, sushi and much-loved bubble tea, the new Japanese restaurant excels at connecting to students and the area community.

Dynomite Burgers & Sushi expanded to Uptown in May. The Zack Bruell restaurant joins Crop Kitchen in serving upscale, sit-down food. The popular eatery features themed burgers from each of the Cleveland entrepreneur’s other businesses.

The popular Chapati Indian Grill serves rice and wraps in an assembly-line style. The restaurant seeks to dish out Indian flavors to college students at its second location (the first location is at Cleveland State). The University Circle opening signifies a possible rapid expansion, as it will soon be followed by a third restaurant in Chicago.

Inchin’s Bamboo Garden offers another taste of Pan-Asian cuisine. The nationwide restaurant, which already has a location in North Olmsted, expanded its Northeastern Ohio presence with an Uptown opening.

Finally, the only new non-restaurant establishment in the Circle, FirstMerit Bank, opened in Uptown following the recent closure of several Ohio branches. An ATM and walk-in service area make the bank a convenient addition to the area.

University Circle’s growth mirrors that of downtown Cleveland. Public transportation like the HealthLine, which transports riders from East Cleveland to downtown through the Circle, and the newly constructed Little Italy-University Circle rapid station. Despite the closure of several businesses in Uptown, the new establishments demonstrate the up-and-coming nature of the University Circle neighborhood, already an economic and cultural powerhouse of Northeast Ohio.