I was on my way to grab a bite to eat when I came across Glen Village. First, let me say that I never heard of this place before nor had I seen it anywhere in the local news outlets. No ads, no commercials, and no flyers.
But neighborhood residents were quick to inform me that it had been around for over a year. So, since I consider myself a foodie and I always know about the new hot spots, I asked myself how I could have missed this gem, a beacon of hope for Black-owned and operated restaurants in the area.
Glen Village is located on East 105th Street and Wade Park Boulevard, near the Louis Stokes Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in the heart of this historic community.
When I originally envisioned Culinary Cleveland! magazine, this is exactly what I wanted to focus on: minority-owned and operated restaurants that were bringing fresh, new concepts to the Greater Cleveland food scene. Glen Village is that and so much more. The concept is an “incubator” for new food related businesses that are developing their “culinary” brand. It offers these new restaurateurs and food purveyors, a chance to test their concepts, perfect their craft and culinary skills and, to hopefully go on to bigger and better things.
While they not only have a chance at achieving success, but I will also wager that they will far exceed anybody’s expectations. The businesses located in Glen Village are offering fresh new concepts and doing food on their own terms. They will not be put in a standard mold, nor will you see them that way.
I was so surprised at the mother and daughter partnerships that are located there and, how many of these businesses are owned by women of color. It’s truly a sign of the times. Women are in business to stay in business.
We visited every food vendor in Glen Village and sampled all the food items available. The anchor store is a restaurant that features some of the most insane sandwiches that you can imagine, like the railroader burger with bacon jam. OMG, this takes the burger to a whole new level. The BLM chicken sandwich is a complex blend of flavors and textures that is sure to please the most curious and discriminating palate. And just when I thought I seen it all, I tried the garlic parmesan fries; forget about fries with ketchup or barbecue sauce, these fries are fresh cut with layers
Specialties of Black Box Fix: BLM Chicken Sandwich, Garlic Parmesan Fries and Railroader Burger
Continuing my tour of Glen Village, I could not wait to get to Pipe’n Hot Grill to try the fish and their signature “bamba pineapple” iced tea. The owner, Angela Sharpley, and her daughter and partner, Stesia Swain, run a tight ship. We had to wait because it was obvious that they had a lot of orders ahead of ours. So, I began to wonder why so many people were ordering and waiting on this food. Let me tell you why. She coats the fish in this crunchy breading that is seasoned to perfection and leaves the fish moist and flavorful.
Pipe'n Hot Grill's Orange Rough Po Boy, White Bass Dinner, and Bamba Iced Tea
The white bass was fresh and cooked just right. I loved the orange roughy po boy (not too many operators still use orange roughy because of the cost), so I was pleasantly surprised to find it on her menu. But the star of the show was the tea, and that tea is going to propel her to the next level. It is indeed a “must try” beverage, and they will be canning it for retail sales soon. I am a meat and potato guy and I know that I should be eating more healthy food items. My wife Cynthia is always on me about my eating habits; she was so happy to see a vegetarian option in “the village” and could not wait for me to try some of the food. Of course, I went kicking and screaming to Vitamin Kandie Café. She had seen this unique menu of vegan and vegetarian options that were creations of the owner Mary Johnson. Mary has been a health and wellness advocate for more than 10 years and has been eating vegan for four years. She was recognized by Cleveland Magazine Who’s Who in 2017, for her efforts to encourage healthy eating and the importance of exercising.
Vitamin Kandie Cafe’s Berry Blast, Bohanon Boy, and Quinoa Bowl with Chicken
We tried the bohanon boy, the special of the day; it is a vegan Italian sausage on a pretzel roll with apple cranberry slaw, banana peppers, vegan cheese, onions, and mushrooms. It was finished off with a delicious “m j” sauce. I was blown away by the flavor profile, it was absolute magic. I never thought I would like a vegan sandwich but, this was so much more. It is difficult to put into words, how good this sausage was, and its vegan. Wow!
I also tried the quinoa bowl with chicken. They offer you the option of real or vegan chicken and a berry blast to finish it off. The fruit is real (not berry flavoring), and it’s topped off with vegan whipped cream. This restaurant will certainly find itself on the list of Cleveland’s best restaurants, with some of the most creative and flavorful menu items ever offered in the area.
Cleveland Cold Brew is a newcomer to the coffee scene. Their brew steeps for 24 hours and is infused with nitrogen. Karen Ross, the owner of this new concept, is onto something big. I had the nitro cold brew to start off the day, and it turbo-charged me. When I say Starbucks has nothing on this, trust me. It has a bold flavor with a mule kick. Because this little gem is in such proximity to the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, the staff will be able to recharge quickly.
Their best-seller is the signature cold brew, salted caramel mocha. But if you’re like me and need a lift, the nitro is a must have.
Glen Village also features some non-food businesses. Such as, the Premier Barber Lounge and a wonderful little boutique, Living Rich. I love, love, love this place. It is owned and operated by the mother and daughter team of Sha’miah Richardson and Sharia Livingston. The concept behind the name is to live rich in spirit, love, kindness, health, and peace. You get the picture, right? It’s not about living monetarily rich.
They have a line of their very own apparel, and they are breaking the norm by giving you a different concept to live life by enriching your being not your appearance. But, to think of others and how you can be a better version of yourself. They not only have the brick-and-mortar store, but they also have an on-line store. Their custom creations are exclusive. I was so inspired to see this young black woman with an understanding of who she is, and where she wants to go. She sees herself as amazing and wants to share her dreams and her products.
I want so much success for her and her brand, so please go and see for yourself. I promise that she will inspire you to believe that the future is bright.
The village also offers one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments and office space for daily, and monthly rental.
Glen Village is an amazing facility and embodies the true meaning of urban entrepreneurship. There is so much going on there, that you must visit and see it for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed!