Northeast Ohio Parent Shaker Heights Community Focus March 2021

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S h a k e r He ights

SHAKER HEIGHTS LIVING Find out why residents love this family-friendly town

A DAY IN THE CITY Happenings for All



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bby and Chris Hart are boomerang Northeast Ohioans. They grew up in Seven Hills and South Euclid, respectively, went to Boston and Cincinnati for college, and moved to Chicago for about a decade, before returning to Cleveland in 2015. Seeking the urban vibe they loved in Chicago, they first moved to The Creswell in downtown’s Playhouse Square neighborhood. Three months later, they learned they were expecting. House hunting in the suburbs ensued. They moved into their home in the Fernway neighborhood of Shaker Heights nine days before their oldest son was born in September 2016. Abby Hart is a senior editor at North Coast Media and Chris Hart is manager of innovation for the Cleveland Indians. They have two sons: Alvin, 5, and Leo, 1. Here’s their take on living in Shaker Heights. Why did you choose Shaker Heights? ABBY HART (AH): We

wanted a neighborhood and a house with a lot of charm, and we wanted it to be a little older. The condo we owned in Chicago and the apartment we were coming from in Playhouse Square

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By Marisa Palmieri Shugrue

were both brand new, modern and industrial. We wanted to go in the other direction. In Shaker, we liked that there were a lot of young families. We were targeting a specific neighborhood in Shaker called Fernway. There is an elementary school in the heart of this neighborhood, and we’re close to Shaker Square. If we put our kids in Shaker Schools, which we plan on doing, it’s nice that they can spend a nice chunk of their careers within walking distance of one of their schools. CHRIS HART (CH): It

has elements of the way of life from living in a big city that’s more family-accessible. There’s a walkability to it with coffee shops, Heinen’s, the Van Aken District, and the public transit and proximity to downtown that appeals to people who moved here from big cities — either boomerangs or (people) new to the city. It’s an interesting mix with people who’ve lived in Shaker all their lives. It contributes to the diversity of experiences of people who live here.

Has living in Shaker met your expectations? AH: Absolutely. We

became friends with our neighbors immediately. On each side of us, there are couples in the same age range

with kids nearly the same age as ours. The day we came home from the hospital (after Alvin was born) happened to be the day of the annual block party, so when we pulled into our driveway with our new baby, there were kids on bikes, running up and down the street and playing in the closed-off street. It was idyllic. I couldn’t believe this was our neighborhood. What does a typical (nonpandemic) Saturday in Shaker look like for your family?

Going to parks and Shaker Square is the typical Saturday. We’d go to the farmer’s market and then we would go to brunch. Or we might go wander around Larchmere and go in Loganberry Books or have lunch on the Academy Tavern patio. Then we’d go to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and wander the trails. We love that spot. We’ll also take the kids to Horseshoe Lake Park and wander around there and take pictures. In normal times we would take the train to a Tribe game or a Cavs game. AH:

(We love) the amount of nature at your doorstep — the hiking and lakes in Shaker parks mixed with the urban proximity. CH:


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haker Heights offers plenty of family-friendly amenities for parents and kids of all ages. If you’re looking to spend a day in the city with your kids in tow, consider the following activities to start your planning. RISE AND SHINE

For a caffeinated start for mom and dad — and a hearty breakfast for the whole family — check out 3-19 Coffee (319, located at 3247 Lee Road. A wide variety of sustainably sourced coffee, espresso and other options complements a family-friendly menu with offerings like gourmet toast, breakfast sandwiches and pastries. While you’re there, enjoy works for sale by local artists and grab a bag of coffee to brew at home.

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Next, get your hearts pumping with a climbing or yoga class at Shaker Rocks (, located at 3377 Warrensville Center Road. The locally owned facility offers a large climbing gym and classes for ages 3-plus at all experience levels. With 14,000 square feet of climbing surface, there’s room for everyone to have fun. Families with children as young as four months can get moving, too, at The Little Gym of Shaker Heights (thelittlegym. com/shakerheightsoh), located at 20707 Chagrin Blvd. The kid-focused facility (for ages four months to 12 years) offers unique educational classes that revolve around active play, including gymnastics, dance, sports skills, parent/child classes and more. Later in the morning, slow down with

some new reading material. Head to Shaker Heights Public Library’s (shaker Main Library (16500 Van Aken Blvd.) or Bertram Woods branch (20600 Fayette Road) to browse the collection of books, music, movies and digital materials. The independent library system also offers an array of programming options for families and children, including Family Connections and Literacy Library Playroom. The Main Library is undergoing extensive renovations that are slated for completion this fall. Add to your home library with a visit to Loganberry Books (loganberrybooks. com), located at 13015 Larchmere Blvd. in the Larchmere Business District. This local gem is an independently owned and operated bookstore featuring carefully selected new, used and rare books. Get lost

Mediterranean flavors. Build your own pita or bowl, or choose from any item on the menu — and don’t worry, for picky eaters, Boaz also offers a kids menu. Take your picnic to nearby Horseshoe Lake Park ( and spread out a blanket or dine in the pavilion. While you’re there, make use of the playground equipment, walking/nature trails and public art. After lunch, head west on South Park Boulevard to the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes (, where you’ll easily spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the nature trails (the building is temporarily closed due to COVID-19). Founded in 1966 to prevent a highway from destroying treasured green space, today the nature center welcomes more than 40,000 annual visitors to its 20 acres. SHOPPING, DINNER & DESSERT

Photo Courtesy of Van Aken District

browsing the more than 100,000 volumes — which include children’s and illustrated books, among many others — and pick up unique gift items and greeting cards, too. AFTERNOON ADVENTURE

If your family has worked up an appetite by now, you’re in luck: Shaker Heights offers a bevy of dining options sure to please all palates. Consider eating lunch alfresco by picking up your family’s meal from Picnic Hill Market (picnichill or Boaz (, both located on Fairmount Circle. At Picnic Hill, a chef with more than 30 years of experience creates recipes for the Take Out Gourmet prepared food case, which houses fresh salads, homemade soups and entrees — including vegan, gluten-free and organic options. Boaz specializes in dishes that are seasoned and spiced with traditional

End your day in Shaker Heights by browsing the independent shops in the Van Aken District (thevanakendistrict. com), home to roughly two dozen retailers offering clothing, home goods and decor, gifts, treats and much more. Kids will love The Candy Lady & Kids; girls from toddlers to teens will like Double Rainbow; dad can up his fashion game at Whiskey Grade; and mom can enjoy SLFMKR (a self-care dedicated modern apothecary), STEM Handmade Soaps, and Luster, a Gift Boutique. Don’t forget to pick up a treat for Fido at Woofgang Bakery. You also can add to the whole family’s wardrobe with a stop at Cleveland Clothing Co. For your littlest one, check out Two Crows For Joy, (, an organic baby clothes and gift store. Be sure to check out the event schedule. Van Aken District hosts frequent events, including weekly farmers markets, holiday markets, yoga, outdoor movie nights and more. Stay in Van Aken District and enjoy a family-friendly dinner and dessert. Order hearty sandwiches, salads and sides at Brassica (; feast on classic Italian favorites at Scorpacciata Pasta & Pizza (; or sample the quick and healthy cafe menu at Nature’s Oasis ( End the day — and satisfy your sweet tooth — with a scoop, sundae or milkshake from Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream (, where each batch is hand-crafted locally and is sure to please everyone in the family.

PHOTOS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Photo Courtesy of City of Shaker Heights; Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Photo by Bob Perkoski; Photo Courtesy of Shaker Rocks; and Photo courtesy of Van Aken District

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By Amy Brown


haker Heights School district in greater Cleveland is recognized as a pre-K-12 International Baccalaureate (IB) Continuum District. The International Baccalaureate, an internationally recognized educational program with a rigorous curriculum, features a global focus and emphasizes creative problem-solving, hands-on projects, inquiry-based learning and community service. “The IB’s mission is for young people to develop the knowledge, skills and disposition to serve as learners and leaders in our shared community, underpinned by the belief that all people have valuable perspectives and experiences,” says Shaker Heights Schools IB Diploma Programme Coordinator Dr. John Moore. “Our curriculum is driven by inquiry, guided by differentiation and assessed through open-ended, authentic applications. Our educational approach allows learners to begin where they are and grow from there.” Shaker Heights Schools offer three IB Programmes: Primary Years Programme (PYP: grades pre-K-4), Middle Years Programme (MYP: grades 5-10) and Diploma Programme (DP: grades 11-12). Every preK-10th grade student in the district receives an IB education. The Diploma Programme is optional, yet open to all juniors and seniors at Shaker Heights High School. “The IB framework of learning is built upon the principles of developing student agency and action as a result of their learning,” Moore says. “An integral part of this is finding meaningful connections across subject areas that fit together when addressing real-world problems and ideas.”

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Photos courtesy of Shaker Heights School District

Shaker Heights teachers take state standards from across disciplines and subject areas and group them into big ideas and concepts. Students choose topics to research within these themes — how to limit traumatic brain injuries in football, the pros and cons of electric cars or addressing issues with food deserts, for example — and go on to conduct interviews, perform research and present their findings to the community. This method allows for a deeper understanding of their studies as it relates to the world around them. For example, MYP student Molly Harper explored how social identity theory influences the judgement of soldiers given the organizational structure of the U.S. Army. Her extended essay project has been her proudest accomplishment. “It pushed me to embrace my own capabilities,” Harper says. “Although I had tremendous support by my peers and teachers, it was an independent project, forcing me

to explore my individual interests and skills. The passion, curiosity and sheer hard work that I put into that essay made me incredibly proud of both myself and of the entire IB program at Shaker.” Other topics of exploration for students at Shaker Heights School District include a second grade unit called “People create systems to provide goods and services to meet wants and needs” through the lens of “how we organize ourselves.” Students explore a T-shirt factory and relate it to entrepreneurship, supply and demand and math. They investigate what makes companies successful, write about it and set up their own business. In fourth grade, students study the concept of “who we are” by analyzing how “decisions promote or deny justice.” This unit combines social studies standards on the branches of government, utilizes English-Language Arts standards on reading through social justice resources, and it culminates in writing research-based editorials. Sophomores explore “How can I make a change?” through the statement of inquiry: “People seek change through action due to an imbalance of power and equity.” After studying the Civil Rights era, students conduct research on an “-ism” and take action. One group explored income inequality through the lens of classism and conducted interviews and research to create a letter-writing campaign for school board members. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IB GRADS

An IB Diploma sets the stage for a successful transition to life after high school,

“Hosting the Korean Delegation was a fascinating experience, as I was able to see how the IB curriculum is explored by folks on the other side of the world,” Weiss says. “Learning about how the IB infrastructure can adapt to cater to both American and Korean cultures proved the legitimacy of the program to me.” LEARNING IN THE PANDEMIC

including preferential access to university admissions, college credit and financial scholarships. Some universities offer merit scholarships to IB graduates, while others provide credit for passing IB courses where students can enter college as sophomores. Additionally, more students are taking advantage of their IB Diplomas’ international recognition by opting to take their higher education studies abroad. “We have a rich history of high-achieving IB Diploma Programme candidates receiving admissions to Ivy League schools, historically Black colleges and universities, and other highly selective institutions,” Moore says. The IB Diploma Programme also provides unique opportunities to connect and collaborate with educators from across the globe, as was the case for DP student Isaac Weiss.

Many schools worldwide have been tasked to reinvent how they deliver their curriculum, as well as how to evaluate students’ progress. With the collaborative structure and core philosophy of the IB Programme already established, Shaker students and teachers have been able to maintain a consistent level of instruction and assessment throughout the pandemic. “Shaker educators meet weekly in collaborative planning teams where we work to develop a shared curriculum, reflect on assessment data and plan a course of learning,” Moore says. “Having these teams in place prior to the pandemic meant that we already had a culture of collaboration and creativity, so that when the things we did in school were no longer possible, educators were not on their own to rebuild courses.” Shaker’s comprehensive evaluation strategy, which assesses students’ critical thinking, has

allowed the district to conduct learning as usual. Rooted in project-based learning, the IB Programme provides a foundation for students to thrive and flourish. “IB programs exist to help schools build communities of learners who are ready to lead our world into the future,” Moore says. “The amazing projects, service and leadership our students show in every grade of every building encourage us that we’re on the right track.”

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Enjoy the Outdoors!


By Katie Difranco


here are many ways to hit the trails and parks in the city of Shaker Heights and enjoy the Cleveland weather — no matter what it is.


This recently completed trail provides a walkable and ADAaccessible connection between Thornton Park and the Van Aken District, which is a mixed use development offering dining, retail and entertainment. Thornton Park is the hub of the Shaker Heights Recreation Department and includes an ice arena, outdoor swimming pool, skate park, playground and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts. The Farnsleigh Road Trail also provides easy access to public transit options, including rail and bus. This trail connects with a 1 mile section of trail that runs along Warrensville Center Road from Farnsleigh Road to the southern border of Shaker Heights.


Nestled among the historic homes of the Moreland neighborhood, Chelton Park is a gathering spot for residents looking for opportunities to get outside and be active. Chelton Park was dedicated in October 1964 after years of effort by the Moreland Community Association to provide additional play spaces for neighborhood children. The “Faces of Moreland” mural, which spans the length of a retaining wall along the eastern edge of Chelton Park, was added in August 2016. The project was overseen and guided by the nonprofit Sankofa Fine Art Plus and contributed to by residents and community members. Chelton Park features multiple play structures as well as picnic tables, a basketball hoop and a large field with a baseball/softball diamond.


Located near the Onaway and Woodbury Elementary Schools and Shaker Heights High School, Southerly Park is a convenient location for family outings. The south branch of the Doan Brook flows through Southerly Park before passing under Shaker Boulevard and entering the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. The Doan Brook played a crucial role in the history of Shaker Heights. The North Union Shakers dammed the Doan Brook twice during the mid-nineteenth century to provide water power for their mills. Meandering trails are nestled within a wooded, natural landscape. A fitness circuit, located in the center of the park, includes 14 pieces of strength and cardio equipment.

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Photos Courtesy of the Shaker Heights Recreation Department


The Shaker Median Trail is an ADAaccessible, dog- and family-friendly, 1.5-mile paved trail along the southern side of the Shaker Boulevard median. There have been many proposals for development within the Shaker Boulevard median, but advocacy from residents has preserved this natural space for community use. The trail is suitable for walking, running and biking, and provides mile markers to help track pace or distance. It connects with 1.5 miles of paved trails in Beachwood and Pepper Pike. Shaker Boulevard dates back to the founding of Shaker Heights and the desire of the Van Sweringen brothers to connect the residents of Shaker Heights with downtown Cleveland via light rail.


TOP PHOTOS: LEFT: Shaker Heights High School Class of 2020 graduate Aaliyah Williams poses beside a mural she painted in a classroom for her 10th grade IB personal project. PHOTO BY JASON MILLER. RIGHT: Annual Lomond 4th of July Bike Parade PHOTO BY DINA HOEYNCK



Located in the Sussex neighborhood, Sussex Park offers tennis and pickleball courts as well as a baseball/softball diamond. There are also playgrounds suitable for children of all ages. Katie Difranco is the community and skating programs coordinator at the Shaker Heights recreation department.

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Shaker Heights

Businesses and Organizations Special Advertiser Listings BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES — SHARON FRIEDMAN

Serving the Eastern suburbs as a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Professional Realty, Sharon Friedman serves clients from first-time buyers, to move-up, and seniors. Her 35 year plus career gives her an expert’s insight into the neighborhoods and market. “I pride myself on exceptional knowledge of the area,” she says. “My clients have brought me to where I am today, and I am very grateful for that.”216-338-3233,


Come taste the unique, traditional flavors of the Mediterranean at Boaz Fresh Lebanese, from the family that brought you Aladdin’s Eatery. From soup to salads, smoothies to juices, they offer a wide variety of preservative-free dishes for the whole family to enjoy. They proudly offer a range of vegetarian and gluten-free options as well to fit any dietary preference. 20630 John Carroll Blvd., University Heights 216-417-7765; 2549 Lorain Ave., Cleveland (Ohio City), 216-458-9225,


Watch your child’s eyes sparkle. You will love how they blossom in confidence, balance, poise, and skills. Nurturing and inspiring small classes guarantee personalized attention and develop friendships. For ages 3 to 8 themed camps, such as Under the Sea, Sleeping Beauty, Peter & the Wolf and more, include an art project. Camps for ages 8 and up master technique with friends in ballet, pointe work, jazz, modern, conditioning, choreography and classical variations, dance history & film and more. Adult and children individual classes are also available. Sessions run June-August. 216-295-2222,


The Candy Lady & Kids retail store showcases over 200 types of candies, gourmet chocolates, popcorn, nuts and gifts. Most products are individually wrapped and prepackaged to preserve freshness. Stop in to stock up on candy bags, candy bars and more for birthday party treats and favors. To help celebrate socially distant birthday parties, The Candy Lady & Kids will be offering craft kits soon. 20166 Van Aken Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-331-6060,


The Early Childhood Enrichment Center (ECEC) has been serving children from 18 months through pre-kindergarten for over 45 years in Shaker Heights. They have a 5-star Step Up to Quality rating, an Ohio Healthy Program designation, and it is a Cuyahoga County Universal Pre-Kindergarten site. ECEC prides itself on its economically, racially and culturally diverse student body, inclusion of special needs children, as well as its qualified and dedicated teaching staff. For more information, please call 216-991-9761.

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Young children’s behavior communicates feelings they can’t put into words. The staff at Hanna Perkins Center for Child Development works with parents to discover what those behaviors mean and help children learn to communicate and manage their emotions for success in school and life. They offer a nurturing preschool and kindergarten, toddler-parent classes, parenting support, and a mental health clinic just for kids and families. Located in the former Malvern School, nonprofit Hanna Perkins Center is 70 years old and a proud member of the Shaker Heights community.


Jackie Collesi has been helping families find homes in and around Shaker Heights for 20-plus years. Shaker Heights is family friendly: block parties, Family Connections, parks, skating rinks and sledding hills. The homes are truly a treasure. Many were built in the 1920s and offer coziness and a traditional layout. Those built in the 1950s offer the midcentury vibe. Whatever your style, she is happy to help you find a house and you can make it your home. 216-780-8607.

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Shaker Heights Businesses and Organizations Special Advertiser Listings LITTLE GYM

The Little Gym is the world’s premier enrichment and physical development center for children ages 4 months through 12 years. Programs in parent/child, gymnastics, dance and sports skills offer children a Springboard to Life’s Adventures by using movement-based learning and imaginative play to help build the confidence and skills needed at each stage of childhood. They offer classes, summer camps, birthday parties and private play dates. Visit or call 216-7529049.


Loganberry Books is an independently owned and operated bookstore in the historic Larchmere neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Established in 1994, it features a carefully curated collection of new, used and rare books in all genres for both readers and collectors, with an inventory over 120,000 volumes. 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-795-9800,

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Love and Wellness Lactation is a Shaker-based business owned by Shaker resident Jessica Kielbasa, RN, BSN, IBCLC. Jessica is an experienced board certified lactation consultant and provides lactation consult home visits, telehealth visits, private prenatal lactation consults, pumping consults and return-to-work consults. Gift cards available for purchase. Jessica is a participating provider with some insurances; visits may be covered in full. See website for details and book conveniently online at


What will you discover when you unplug and reconnect with the outdoors? Step into the outdoor classroom nestled in the heart of the Shaker Parklands on Cleveland’s east side. Unleash your curiosity and explore all that Northeast Ohio native

habitats have to offer. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is free and open to the public. With over two miles of trails, and connecting trails throughout the Shaker Parklands, adventure and discovery await.


Just 20 minutes east of Cleveland, Shaker Heights is defined by its close-knit, walkable neighborhoods. It’s a place that invites you to make meaningful connections and RECREATION treasured memories with people and places. Whether sipping coffee with friends at a locally owned shop, chatting with a neighbor you bump into at the playground, or delighting in butterflies and flowers with your children while strolling along park trails, each day in Shaker is a chance to create community.


The Shaker Heights Recreation Department offers a wide variety of summer camps that are sure to make your child’s summer a terrific one. Our day camps, Camp RECREATION Discovery (grades K-2) and Camp EXPlore (grades 3-5), include arts and crafts, STEAM activities and sports-related fun. The sports camps provide engaging instruction in baseball, basketball, flag football, hockey, ice skating, soccer, tennis, track, volleyball, wrestling and more. Find out more at www.


CONNECT WITH SERVICES IN SHAKER HEIGHTS! City of Shaker Heights: or Arts Council:

RECREATION Shaker Heights Recreation: or

Shaker Historical Society: Van Aken District: Shaker Life Magazine:

Did you know Shaker Heights has a Rapid Station? 13051 Shaker Blvd. Shaker Heights, Schools & Learning Resources:

Shaker Public Schools:

Shaker Heights Library:

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes: Story Forum operates school year, summer experience, and community programs. Independent Schools Nearby:

Shaker is a unique community with kind, caring people that want to make a difference in the world! — Quote and Photo Courtesy of Shaker Heights Schools

Beaumont School, Hathaway Brown School, Laurel School,

The Lillian and Betty Ratner Montessori School, University School,

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Shaker Heights Businesses and Organizations Special Advertiser Listings SHAKER HEIGHTS SCHOOLS

Shaker Heights Schools is one of only eight pre-K-12 International Baccalaureate districts in North America. Our students receive a holistic, high-quality education that prepares them to be caring citizens, to take action and to make our communities and our world a better place. A Shaker education focuses on excellence, equity and exploration and produces Ivy League scholars, Broadway stars, Pulitzer Prize winners and trailblazing entrepreneurs. Learn more about Shaker Heights Schools,


The Shaker Historical Society is a nonprofit organization and museum focused on connecting our community with local history. The society is committed to sharing the story of Shaker Heights in new and interactive ways, including growing our family-oriented programming, expanding hands-on camps throughout the year, making community gardens available for rent, and much more. Learn more about SHS at, 216-921-1201 or

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The professional brick and stone masons at Stone Ridge Masonry provide outdoor living services, such as patios, kitchens, grill islands, fire pits, pool decks and water features, and repairs, like chimney restoration, brick repairs, patio repairs and others. They also build walkways and foundations. 440-321-1084 or 440-636-5554.


Shaker Rocks is Northeast Ohio’s premier rock climbing gym serving families, serious climbers and new adventurers in an unparalleled atmosphere. Located in the Van Aken District, Shaker Rocks provides a unique opportunity for sport, camaraderie and good, clean fun. Offerings include climbing (top-rope, lead, speed, auto-belays and bouldering), coaching, classes, fitness and yoga. Parties and private bookings are also available. Find your fit at Shaker Rocks. More information at


As Shaker’s premier soccer club, SYSA provides developmentally appropriate soccer programs from introductory skills to premier level to over 1,000 players starting at ages 4 and extending through high school. They offer

year-round programming and are currently registering for their spring break camp (March 29-April 2) and will offer a Summer Skills Camp in July (12-31). Join us on the field. Learn more about programs and register online:


Upper Crust in Shaker Heights is now open to the public. Chef Michael Unnone works tirelessly to ensure Upper Crust has the best kitchen and team to serve its neighbors. The staff wants to thank the community of Shaker Heights for allowing them to be a part of your family and the fabric of their community. They promise to uphold the highest standards of operational excellence with attention to every detail concerning health and safety. Open daily at 11 a.m.; hours vary between days. Delivery is available via third party. 16600 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights, 216-510-3777,


The Van Aken District, located in downtown Shaker Heights, offers the best mix of retail, restaurants and entertainment that Clevleand has to offer — all coming together in the name of community, craftsmanship and supporting the local economy. Have a bite to eat in the Market Hall, stroll down the street with a drink and shop, or simply grab a seat, a coffee and a friend for good conversation. Enjoy the experience of the District.

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