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Ohio City, Cleveland: John Lynch

West Side Market

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Ohio City

Flying Fig

Though originally born in England, John Lynch's family moved to Cleveland when he was six years old. He studied philosophy at Ohio State University, then moved to Berkley, California after college. At 26 years old he moved back home for what he thought would be only a few months just to recharge his batteries, then found himself having a new appreciation for the city which he'd never had before. He is now the Community Engagement Strategist for Centers for Families and Children, one of the largest nonprofit healthcare providers in Ohio, where he manages a variety of community engagement initiatives.
Dining & Drinking 
Thanks to a lot of positive buzz from celebrity chef Michael Symon, Cleveland's Ohio City, also known as "Cleveland's Artisan Neighborhood," is one of the hippest places to be in the Cleve. The West Side Market is the anchor of the neighborhood. It is the oldest continuously-run public market in the country, having just celebrated its centennial in 2012. In the market district is where "the lion's share of the coolest bars and restaurants are." John says, "[This area has] definitely seen a huge revitalization in recent years, with over $100 million in private and public investment in the last two years. There's a lot of cool new restaurants and breweries popping up."
Flying Fig is John's favorite restaurant in city, and is a champion of the farm to table movement. The restaurant works with sustainable family farms and is very progressive and inclusive of the community. Crop Bar and Bistro is "a really amazing restaurant" with "a really opulent space." Located in an old bank building, one of the best aesthetic features of the space is the high ceilings and the huge frescos on the walls. This is a high-end kind of place for special occasions. 
Great Lakes Brewing Company was Ohio's first craft brewery, and is arguably one of the best craft brewers in the Midwest. It opened its doors in 1988 and set the stage for all the other development that's happened there over decades. (Plus they've got a great taproom.) A new brewery, called Market Garden Brewery located next to West Side Market, is home to Cleveland's first beer garden.
Touch Supper Club is a restaurant and bar located in a basement with a really cool dance floor. The last Saturday of every month they host an old school hip-hop party called "I Got 5 On It." This is a monthly must-do for John and his friends.
As for the market itself, it's open five days a week (closed Tuesdays and Thursdays), though Saturdays are by far its busiest day. Get there 7:30 a.m. or come late around 4:30 p.m. to avoid the crowds; plus you might get good deals late in day.

Arts & Culture 
John says there are a lot of great public spaces in Ohio City, including the Market Square Park across from the market that was recently renovated for the market's centennial. Every Saturday in the summer the park hosts an open-air market with various artisans and vendors and live music. "It's a great community event," John says.
Ohio City also does a lot to support the arts, including a new weekly event called Artisan First Fridays, held the first Friday of the month, when local artists come in and display their work in Ohio City's bars and restaurants, which includes all types of paintings, photos and jewelry. The Transformer Station, in a 90-year-old building, used to be a sub station for the old Cleveland railway. Its focus is on contemporary art is free to the public in perpetuity thanks to a generous contribution from philanthropic foundations.

Bike This City 
Spending a Saturday in Ohio City, it becomes unnavigable by car. Thankfully they have a great public transit system, and the city is also very bike-friendly. "There are a lot of interesting and distinctive bike racks in front of businesses," says John. Another new brewery called Nano Brew is first-ever nanobrewery in Ohio also has a bike box in front – kind of like a garage for bikes. Bike boxes are made of shipping containers and offer shelter from the elements and more security, as well as a distinctive mechanism for placemaking and an opportunity for more public art. "[I think] we'll see more bike boxes in the Ohio City area. This neighborhood and the city as a whole is dedicated to sustainable transportation and bike culture." 
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