Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, when you search deeply enough, has many restaurants that offer vegetarian or sometimes even vegan choices, but not nearly enough to keep up with the slow but growing desire for such food. As Vegetarians or Vegans, some of us grow tired of the places that offer so called “options” because of the rather narrow and bland representation of this wonderful cuisine—And, perhaps with the frustration when mentioning the word “vegan” for example, to restaurant servers and being looked at as though we just fell out of a tree! Yes, some of us understand the true diversity of the vegan diet and it opening up a whole new array and cornucopia of food choices and flavors—well beyond the common perception of such food as having only lettuce and tomatoes from which to chose!
Having said the above, when I first yearned for a genuine and exclusive vegan cafe to be located in Cleveland, contrary to popular opinion, I thought downtown would be the perfect place to begin representing this great food! Why? Well, that is what this essay is all about……
At first mention of a vegan cafe and a good location, the usual opinions I have heard from the supporting crowd of such food are the typical arty eclectic enclaves that exist in Cleveland such as Tremont, Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway, Coventry, Lakewood, and so on. While these locations would all probably foster well a new vegan cafe, I thought that just perhaps a more visionary, daring and much less obvious choice would be to locate one in the epicenter of Northeast Ohio in the heart of downtown Cleveland.
First off by locating here, we can bring the tasty world of vegan food to a much more diverse audience “beyond the choir” so to speak. We can demonstrate that this food can integrate with many other foods and be a success—which would blow down the myth that such a cafe is limited to the kinds of places I mentioned above!
Tasting is believing, and we can introduce and perhaps make more vegan believers out of those who would have never otherwise considered trying what is simply good food. Add to this, a sad testament to the status of fresh food availability these days in America, unlike our grandparents, many inner city people do not have as much access to healthier food choices, and having a vegan cafe right on downtown Cleveland’s public transportation HEALTHLINE is a great way to send the message of better eating. Thousands of downtown office workers and visitors alike, will also have the option of better and more delicious eating other than the heart attacks in the box.
Secondly, Cleveland’s Public Square, especially the S.E. Quadrant, offers an historic, charming and somewhat romantic ambiance backdrop for the vegan experience. Looking outside the window of The Flaming Ice Cube in downtown Cleveland is worth the visit alone. You can even stroll over to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument afterward and view this gorgeous monument and museum from the inside. Its FREE!
Another reason downtown is really a good selection is because it is central to all Greater Cleveland locations and convenient to nearby adjacent neighborhoods—all served by public transportation and even a free circulating trolley bus service that runs every 12 minutes or so…and can drop patrons off virtually in front of the cafe. The downtown location also re-connects more people with their downtown and offers them a chance to utilize it and discover its actual conveniences, contrary to some opinions of those who have not ventured into town for a long time. There is plenty of nearby parking for reasonable rates. All parking facilities are within a 3 to 12 minute stroll to the cube if you are taking your own transportation…and offer a great opportunity to “walk up” an appetite before your meal, or afterward, walk off your meal! While you’re at it, take in all the great downtown architecture on the historic avenue.
Lastly, but not the least of reasons, or the end of reasons for that matter, I think downtown is a great location, is that being here offers a chance to support the core of the region, which essentially keeps business and vibrancy in the urban hub. By making this choice there is a benefit to animals—and most vegans, by nature, tend to be animal lovers. What is the benefit? As mentioned, supporting the core contributes to its success, and its success then contributes to keeping urban activity in the urban hub—and thus takes on a benefit of reducing natural habitat consuming urban sprawl.
You can help Ohio’s natural heritage and paradise will not be paved to put up a parking lot if we all just ventured into town and supported more local and independent owned businesses. You just may find the experience unique and rewarding. So, I hope I shed some light on why this location is actually a good one. Come down to learn downtown the way your grandparents knew how to utilize it and you will see that it is a lot more convenient than you might think!
Finally, visit the Flaming Ice Cube website to learn about all the convenient delivery offerings and more….the downtown Cleveland location offers! The Flaming Ice Cube is in the street level of the historic Park Building—directly across from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument—and a 3 minute walk west of the E.4th Street entertainment district–on Public Square! Just remember…”the cube on the square”