Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Van Aken Market Hall

The Van Aken District is just exploding on the east side. Local business favorites like Cleveland Clothing Co., Mitchell's Ice Cream, and Room Service have opened locations, and shoppers can also enjoy additional boutiques like Whiskey Grade and Luster. The restaurants have also flocked, and I personally look forward to trying Michael's Genuine Food & Drink (now open) and the soon-to-open Jonathon Sawyer spot.

In the heart of it all is the Van Aken Market Hall.
In addition to the sit-down restaurants, the area now offers a 21,000-square foot food hall. It's a great place to gather, with a little something for everyone. We recently met our friends and their two young children there for dinner on a Friday. There is plenty of room for the kids to run around, a couple of food stands to choose from, and Craft Collective where the adults can grab an alcoholic beverage.
We sample a bit of everything, including the Mac and Cheese with Focaccia Bread Crumbs ($8) from Scorpacciata Pasta Co. (one of my little friends' personally favorites)...
...and their Carbonara ($14) with black pepper fettuccine, Ohio pancetta, yolks, and arugula.
We've always enjoyed the poutine and cased meats from Banter on the west side, so we just had to dig in to a couple of the Sliders, which you order individually.
They did not disappoint. That's a jalapeƱo popper on top of that beef slider pictured above! An order of poutine graced the table too.
A couple of takeaways from our experience...
  1.  I am falling in love with a Food Hall concept. It's great for groups or families, because everyone gets to choose what they want or you can mix-and-match a couple of small things from more than one place to make a meal.
  2.  When the garage doors on the Van Aken Market Hall can be open in the warmer months, the flow and vibe will be really cool.
  3.  Ohio City Galley has the logistics and atmosphere figured out much better. First, the positioning of the restaurant stands and designated seating areas are more clear and cohesive. Second, their liquor license includes the entire space so you're not limited to where you can enjoy an adult beverage (Craft Collective space only here).
  4. The food was all solid and no real complaints, but the food quality and flavor are better at Ohio City Galley. 
  5. Timing. The food flies out at Ohio City Galley, but the waits were around 45 minutes at Van Aken Market Hall (after you waited in line for quite a bit) on what seemed like a steady but not slammed night. 
  6. Mitchell's Ice Cream is right across the street, and made for a perfect end-of-the-meal treat!
What are your thoughts on food halls? If you've been to both, which do you prefer?

3441 Tuttle Road
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
(216) 491-8800


Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com said...

I really need to get over there to check this out! I admit that I'm glad to hear that OCG is a little better, though, as it's closer to me & I looooove it.

Bite Buff said...

Totally worth checking out and we’d go again if in the area, and definitely for the sit-down spots, but I’m glad my preferred one is on my side of town!

Crystal @EatDrinkCLE said...

I work across the street and dine here regularly. The wait times are my biggest complaint. I like the amount of room much better at Van Aken and parking is easier too. I also like that I can get coffee and pastries plus loaves of super yummy bread in addition to lunch/dinner options. But OCG definitely wins in the booze department - I love their bar and that you can drink anywhere.

Bite Buff said...

Agreed, the parking is much better at VAM! Sounds like full open container is on its way, so I hope that’s true. But for me the food quality is much better at OCG, and I like being in a renovated historic building better than the new build warehouse feel of VAM. But great to have both in NEO!