Soon celebrating 100 years, the West Side Market continues to offer a bountiful spread of foods, from pierogi to empanadas, and to attract thousands of shoppers each week. The public market is an emblem of Cleveland’s rich ethnic heritage and present-day diversity.
The recent opening of Alaturka, a Turkish restaurant at 1917 West 25th Street, is further cementing the area’s reputation as a hub for international cuisine.
To the delight of Ohio City residents,Yashar Yildirim, the owner of the popular Anatolia Café in Cleveland Heights, has marched across town and opened shop near the West Side Market. Anatolia originally opened in a South Euclid strip center before moving in 2008 to Lee Road.
“I knew there was potential for a Turkish restaurant here because I had customers from the West Side traveling to Cleveland Heights to visit Anatolia Café,” says Yildirim.
Yildirim chose Ohio City’s Market District because of the area’s reputation for ethnic cuisine, the revitalization taking place, and its proximity to downtown and highways. “The people here are diverse and open-minded,” he says.
Yildirim himself has something of an American immigrant success story. Born and raised in Istanbul, he moved to New York City in 1996 to attend college. He migrated to Columbus and then to Cleveland after his friends told him Northeast Ohio lacked a decent Turkish restaurant. “I like it here because it’s affordable, but there’s a sense of big city,” he says.
Of Turkish cuisine, Yildirim says, “Turkey is in the Middle East, but it’s very close to Europe, so the region is a mixture of ethnicities. So our food is a well-balanced combination of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean styles.”
Although he stops short of offering a money-back guarantee, Yildirim says that if you eat off Alaturka’s health-conscious menu, you can cancel your gym membership. “We have a lot of vegetarian options, and all of the food is freshly made,” he says.