There’s an essay about Larchmere in Rust Belt Publishing’s new Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook called “On the Cusp.” In it, Harriet Logan (proprietor of neighborhood staple Loganberry Books) writes that Larchmere is a neighborhood that’s been just about to get “hot” for pretty much the past three decades without ever quite making it.
Larchmere is pretty but unassuming, a quaint stretch of shops and restaurants that starts just a block north of its far more bustling neighbor, Shaker Square. All of them are locally owned, and though there’s no brewery -- the key, perhaps, to becoming hot in Cleveland -- there’s a charming and eclectic assortment of vintage and craft stores, salons, and art galleries.
Yuppie restaurants in converted Victorian homes like Felice and Batuqui (a winner in last year’s Best of Cleveland awards) punch arms with old-time establishments like The Academy Tavern, a nearly 80-year-old watering hole with a lauded dinner menu. And it’s easy to miss, but don’t pass Big Al’s, a lightning-fast greasy spoon that local food hero Michael Symon named as a breakfast favorite. Maybe Larchmere will attain hotness someday, but if not, that’s OK -- the parking will stay really easy.