The Northeast Shores Development Corporation’s seventh annual Taste the Neighborhood took place at the Lithuanian Hall on East 185 St. yesterday. Local restaurants and eateries in the North Shore Collinwood Area, such as Gus’ Diner 185, Muldoon’s, and the Grovewood Tavern, were represented there. A large crowd of locals were able to sample a variety of foods, right down to deserts. It isn’t my imagination when I state that it has become an increasing popular event over the years and shows how strong East. 185th St., and other parts of the community’s restaurant scene are becoming.
I wound up sitting next to Ken Silliman, Mayor Frank Jackson’s Chief of Staff and Anne Hill, who was Governor Ted Strickland’s Regional Director up here and is now with MetroHealth (one of the event’s sponsors). We had a nice discussion about things that matter to most Clevelanders, from such practical matters as fixing those potholes to the ambitious Slavic Village Recovery Project taking place in the Broadway Avenue area of Cleveland. In fact, Mr. Silliman was there to accept an award with Councilman Polensek from Mr. Friedman for all the work they did to secure the funding for the Waterloo Road Streetscape Plan which was completed last year. The councilman went on to state that he could not wait for one for East 185th St. in the future, which met with rapt applause. They were just two of many who received plaques that night, including the head of the new University Hospitals Euclid Health Center at East 185th and Lakes Shore Blvd.
As for me, I admit that I feel like a fish out of water at events such as these. Let’s face it, similar events happen throughout many urban neighborhoods (Taste of Tremont here in Cleveland comes to mind). Also, many of the people I knew in the community two decades ago have for the most part left and there are so many new faces from the Heights and other areas who have moved in who don’t really know how active I’ve been. The days you can walk into the development corporation offices to say hi and shoot the breeze are long gone. On the other hand, I’m really glad that some of these newcomers residents have a passion to make neighborhood better, such as Stephen Love in regards for all he does to help clean up Euclid Beach. For the survival, let alone re-invention, of a Cleveland neighborhood, that’s important. That’s why those restaurants participated in the event as well. It’s a pretty safe bet that it will be even more difficult next year to find parking spot on East 185th than even this year, and Taste the Neighborhood will be even better.