Ohio City’s Hingetown district is growing into a neighborhood where artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship intersect
By Kristen Mott
There once was a time when Ohio City was synonymous with West 25th Street, a main thoroughfare lined with some of Cleveland’s most well-known bars and restaurants – and, of course, the venerable West Side Market.
But that perception is shifting as the neighborhood’s cultural and culinary footprint expands north and west to the blossoming Hingetown district, so named because it serves as a geographical pivot between West 25th Street and the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood’s Gordon Square Arts.
Sparking Hingetown’s development has been the Transformer Station, which has served as the Cleveland Museum of Art’s first bricks-and-mortar venture into the West Side and drawn art enthusiasts since it opened to the public in 2013.
As that’s attracted more visitors and increased foot traffic, and as new residential developments have popped up in the vicinity, a vibrant retail and dining scene has bloomed in Hingetown, situated largely on West 29th Street between Detroit and Clinton avenues.
In short, Transformer Station visitors will find plenty of places to explore in Hingetown.
Graham Veysey and Marika Shioiri-Clark have become known as the driving forces behind Hingetown.
“Graham really knew what he wanted to do from the beginning,” says Robert Stockham, the general manager at Rising Star Coffee Roasters. “What he did here was create a neighborhood that had a lot of options and a lot of things to do. There’s a selection of shops that he chose to feature in this neighborhood that were really conducive to making it a walkable, enjoyable neighborhood.”
Veysey renovated the Ohio City Firehouse on West 29th Street a few years ago and transformed it into a mixed-use building of offices and retail space. One store that quickly moved in was Rising Star.
“We thought this was the best location for the store,” says owner Kim Jenkins, who previously owned a coffee roasting business in
Richfield. “We decided to move up here to try to help transform the neighborhood and help create what is now Hingetown.”
The shop is focused on selling handcrafted, high-quality beverages.
“Rising Star’s mission is to create the finest coffee from the finest beans and create an overall coffee experience that is pleasing to all of your senses,” Stockham says. “The goal for us is not to do what everyone else is doing. We want to be known for producing the highest quality coffee and beverages.”
Rising Star directly sources all of its coffee beans to ensure quality. The store boasts a full espresso bar with a single origin espresso and a blended version, as well as single cups of pour over coffee and coffee that’s brewed in a vacuum pot coffee maker.
Alex Budin opened local tavern Jukebox earlier this year. A passionate music fan and proud Clevelander, Budin set out to create a different kind of bar.
“Conceptually we’re a neighborhood bar with a music vibe,” says Budin of Jukebox. “I wanted to do something emblematic of the city but also create somewhat of a neighborhood tavern feel in this blossoming part of Ohio City called Hingetown.”
Budin knew he wanted to open the bar on Cleveland’s Near West Side, and when he was pointed in the direction of Hingetown, he thought the location would present a great opportunity.
The focal point of the bar is an old-school jukebox that houses up to 100 albums that are switched out on a monthly basis – and many of which are those of Cleveland-area bands. When a guest purchases a drink (the bar features 12 rotating craft beers on tap along with a selection of bottled beers and wine), he or she is given a few tokens to use to select songs on the jukebox.
Budin believes the jukebox is symbolic of Cleveland’s own rock ‘n’ roll history and hopes the bar will reignite Clevelanders’ love of music.
“I felt for a long time, after going to places around Cleveland and Chicago, that the art of a well-crafted jukebox was somewhat of a lost art,” Budin says. “People were switching more toward digital and almost shutting off jukeboxes entirely. We hope that people will come here and listen to some music that they’re unfamiliar with or haven’t heard in a while and it will trigger them to buy a concert ticket in the future.”
When locals Michael George and Amber Pompeii moved to Seattle a few years ago, they realized what Cleveland was missing: a tea shop. After moving back to Cleveland last year, the couple began the search for a location for their store, Cleveland Tea Revival. They narrowed their options down to Lakewood, Tremont and Hingetown.
“We really liked Ohio City and we would spend a lot of time there while we were searching for a place,” George says. “It just dawned on us while we were sitting outside on a spring day and we said, ‘Look at how nice this area could be.’”
Cleveland Tea Revival offers about 50 varieties of certified organic tea. George hopes the store will educate people about tea and give tea an image makeover.
“People don’t always realize what tea is,” he says. “People grow up with tea as a secondary beverage to coffee. We wanted to make it more accessible to people who are younger, because it’s a great drink.”
Other places to check out in Hingetown include Urban Orchid Floral Boutique, an upscale floral shop; BEET JAR Juicebar & Takeaway, which features cold-pressed juices and a menu filled with vegan and organic options; Kutya Rev – Ohio City Dog Haven, a pet supply store; and Blow Hair and Nail, a salon and spa. Hingetown also is home to one of six Zagster bike-share stations in Ohio City.
After exploring Hingetown, be sure to venture over to the heart of Ohio City on West 25th Street. Besides the West Side Market, Ohio City is home to numerous restaurants and bars.
For brunch, lunch or dinner, check out Bonbon Pastry and Cafe, Crop Bistro & Bar, TownHall Ohio City, Le Petit Triangle Cafe and The Flying Fig.
Prefer a drink instead? Consider Great Lakes Brewing Company, Nano Brew, The Black Pig, ABC The Tavern, Market Garden Brewery or Market Avenue Wine Bar, among many others. CV