Neighborhood Spotlight: Tremont
By Lexi Hotchkiss, Image by Cody York
The grit, charm and authenticity of Tremont—occupied by everyone from Polish grannies to 20-something hipsters—makes this artsy and funky near west side neighborhood one of Cleveland’s most defining communities.
Tremont embodies the city’s distinguishing artistic revival while serving as the cornerstone to the crescendoing culinary scene. Its historical churches tower above the coffee shops and indie stores that make up its very own boutique-led retail district.
It’s impossible to take a step along the tree-lined neighborhood’s cracked sidewalks flanked by re-invigorated century homes without stumbling upon history.
Tremont is a community built around the workingman.
Its close proximity to Cleveland’s center of manufacturing — The Flats — during the late 1800s quickly evolved it into becoming home base for Cleveland’s working class, many of whom were immigrants from the Ukraine, Greece, Germany and Poland. It was those very people who helped shaped the neighborhood for what it is today.
Now, Tremont is one of the most interesting (and delicious!) places to visit in Cleveland — whether you’re scoping art galleries, tipping back a few craft beers, noshing at a locally owned restaurant or shopping an indie boutique.
Here’s the scoop:
The full list of indie restaurants, eateries and bars in Tremont is long. Really long. So long, in fact, that we don’t have room for it here (check it out here).
But know this: Tremont is a community of diversity. And, as such, there’s a wealth of taste opportunities throughout its twisty-turvy avenues.
For dinner, there’s the beloved Sokolowski’s University Inn, a third generation Polish cafeteria-style joint, that does pierogi, halushki, stuffed cabbage and homemade desserts like nobody’s business. On the other end of Tremont, dive into the super spicy bahn mi and Vietnamese noodles at Bac Asian American Bistro. Or, make it a night of po' boys and gumbo at Bourbon Street Barrel Room.
The second thing you should know about Tremont, is that it’s a great place to imbibe. While fancy handcrafted cocktails can be found at places like the Spotted Owl, the craft beers are still frosty at Tremont Taphouse and Edison's Pub. The mellow vibe of this community makes it a low-key destination for catching-up with old friends and intimate gatherings.
Art & Retail Therapy
In the 1990s, as suburbanization held a stronghold on the country, the neighborhood made its most significant pivot. Lured by affordable housing, artists seeking live/work spaces moved to Tremont in droves. A snowball effect occurred.
The movement resulted in Tremont becoming one of the most art heady locations in the city — an asset it still holds dear today.
Stroll down Professor Ave. and you’ll come face-to-face with the photography-loving Paul Duda Gallery and the abstracts at Hartshorn Studios. Then, just a few blocks away, take some time to shop the women’s fashion at Evie Lou and art, accessories and clothing at Banyan Tree. That's just a start.
A Christmas Story House & Museum
Fun fact: Scenes from the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story," based on the story written by author Jean Shepherd, were filmed in Tremont.
That actual home where the classic holiday film was shot has been totally remodeled to look just as it did during filming. A Christmas Story House (and the museum and store across the street) is now a wildly popular visitor attraction — one that’s drawn hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
Tremont’s Historic Churches
Walk through Tremont and you’ll suddenly notice the sheer volume of gorgeous churches that dot its quaint streets. How could you not, when the onion domes from St. Theodosius Cathedral sprout along the skyline and gold sparkles from atop Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church?
Turns out, Tremont is home to the largest concentration of historic churches in the country. And, thankfully, many of these facilities offer tours and other opportunities to check out the magnificent beauty inside.
One of the best ways to experience the awesomeness that is Tremont is to participate in WalkAbout Tremont, an art walk occurring on the second Friday of every month from 5-10 p.m. Park your car and gander through Tremont’s art galleries, retail shops, restaurants and bars with street performers and pop-up art along the way.
Or, if you consider yourself a foodie, a decent home cook or someone who just likes to eat, hold your calendar for the Taste of Tremont in July each year. During the event, Professor Ave., which runs through the center of the neighborhood, is closed to vehicle traffic and opened to pedestrians. Then, the eateries, pubs and businesses throughout the neighborhood take over the landscape with dozens upon dozens of booths. And, better still, admission is free.