Halal in Cleveland

For a city not ranked as one of the largest in the U.S., Cleveland has a lot to offer in the way of halal foods.
There’s an area on Cleveland’s west side that is home to a large Arab-American population, many of whom are of Palestinian descent and Muslims who seek out halal foods. Within just a few blocks of one another you can find halal meat markets that also serve as grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and even clothing stores. Here’s a list of the ones I was able to take a peek at and have even frequented when I lived there some years ago. If you’re ever in the city, it’s really worth the time to stop by for lunch or dessert as almost all of the grocers have some sort of halal food to go.* (see Note at end)

This place has been around for over 20 years and the last time I visited (8 years ago) it was mostly a grocery store well-known and respected for their absolutely delicious pita bread varieties.

Assad’s Bakery is more than just a bakery of sorts, it’s also a small grocery that carries every type of Middle Eastern spice, food products and fresh produce. Also, they’ve just opened up a sandwich are where they’ll serve up falafel sandwiches, as well as chicken or lamb gyros.

They also serve up freshly baked pizzas and Middle Eastern sweets like katayef, which is like a spongy folded pancake, sweetened with a syrup and stuffed with walnuts.

The hummus and falafel as well as everything else on the deli counter looked as though it was made fresh to order. The staff was friendly and more than eager to please everyone who came through the door. There’s a reason they’ve been in business this long.

Assad’s Bakery

2719 Lorain Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44111

216.251.5777

Sahara Supermarket

I’ve passed up this place for the past several years since I’ve come home to visit and never stopped in until just recently. My mom and her neighbor frequent this place for meat, sweets and their favorite Middle Eastern breads. They love it because the owner, Bassem, is helpful in explaining things that are unfamiliar to them and is completely open about the source of meat and how fresh it is at the time of purchase.

During my stay in the area, I’ve shopped at Sahara for my meat and spices and was simply amazed at the variety they carry. Turkish sejouk (sausage) was available, as was every type of spice-blend per ethnicity represented in the area (i.e. kepsa spice, kofta blend, kebab blend, curry spice, kibbeh spice). I’ve never seen that much variety in one place, not even in Chicago.

Sahara Supermarket

3353 W. 117th

Cleveland, Ohio 44111

216.688.1219

Holy Land Imports

Holy Land is a large market just across the street from Sahara Supermarket. It’s got a large selection of produce, a huge meat counter and sells pretty much the same things in the way of spices, rice and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food products. It seems busier than most of the other stores in the area, but I’m not exactly sure why.

Holy Land Imports

11717 Lorain Ave.

Cleveland, Ohio 44111

216.671.7736

AlMadina Imports

AlMadina is the grocery store I frequented most when I lived here in Northeast Ohio. It’s a smaller store than most in the area, but I always liked it for how easy it is to find everything you need without being overwhelmed by a larger store. The meat is clean and nicely packaged and you can see the staff through glass windows who are processing and packaging it, as well.

AlMadina also has a hot food and sandwich counter. You can get rice and meat dishes, fresh fatayer (seasoned breads) and fresh cheeses and pastries, too.

AlMadina Imports

11550 Lorain Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44111

216.671.4661

Almanar Market

I really didn’t spend too much time here except to browse the aisles and see if there was anything different here from any of the other halal markets I am familiar with. As far as I could tell, this small store was equipped with much of the same fresh produce and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean goods as the others. There was also a restaurant attached to the store, which was closed during the month of Ramadan due to daytime fasting.

Almanar Market

3279 West 117th Street

Cleveland, Ohio 44111

216.941.1900

Olive Tree

Olive Tree is located in the western suburbs of Cleveland where a large population of Arab-Americans have settled into the comfortable, quiet neighborhoods of places like North Olmsted and Westlake, places I visited so very often during my childhood but have no recollection of seeing any immigrants other than Italian-Americans.

Olive Tree is a cozy corner store that seems to draw in many Arabic-speaking neighborhood folks, those who all know each other well, sort of a family place. I really liked the decor and organization. I believe it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a halal market that had signs above every aisle to tell you where the ‘ethnic’ foodstuffs are located. Apparently here, Goya products have an importance all their own. I loved it.

The produce was fresh and seasonal (see the figs and dates below) and the meat so incredibly organized in this store, with prices and meat varieties listed next to the butcher counter. It felt a bit like a small European corner market I was glad to have found.

Olive Tree

Middle East Foods & Meats

27189 Brook Park Rd.

North Olmsted, Ohio 44070

tel. 440.734-4790

Amana Gifts

Although Amana is not a food store and doesn’t sell any food products, I think they are a gem in the area. The store is run by a lovely hard-working Palestinian couple who has been in the area for years and were some of the first people I met when looking around for Islamic books and modest clothing. They sell beautiful coffee and tea cups from the Middle East, which make lovely wedding or hostess gifts. I bought ornamental tiny coffee cups here to use as part of the gifts given to guests at our wedding.

Amana Gifts

3529 W. 130th Street (at cross section of Lorain Ave.)

Cleveland, Ohio 44144

tel. 216.944.9710

Halal Restaurants in Cleveland

I really hadn’t planned to talk too much about the halal restaurants here in Cleveland, at least not now. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten at any of them and most of my visit was spend during Ramadan when many of the restaurants were closed. Just from observation, here is one to try.*

Al Rayann Restaurant

3359 West 117th Street
Cleveland, OH 44111-3603
216.688.1750

Al Manar Buffet

3279 W 117th St
Cleveland, OH 44111-1704
(216) 941-1900

*Note: For more information regarding the halal factor of the meat served up at each of these places, please look them up on Zabiha.com, as I am only familiar with the specific items I have asked for and consumed.

5 comments

  1. As Salaam Alaikum and THANK YOU for this post. I’ve had the most difficult time locating halal meats during my visits. InshaAllah next time I’m in Cleveland, I’ll visit some of the places mentioned in this post.

  2. I ate freshly made katayef for the first time in Indiana while visiting a Palestinian family. and the taste is still on my mind several years later! Palestinian sweets are heavenly!

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