Larchmere takes its place among growing neighborhoods

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The stories are well known and maybe we've even spent some time in the Cleveland neighborhoods that are part of the rejuvenation of the city. We know all about downtown, Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, Tremont and University Circle, but don't fall asleep on the success story developing on Larchmere, the neighborhood that borders Shaker Heights and Cleveland.

The neighborhood only covers about 10 blocks of Larchmere, but those 10 blocks are jammed with eclectic shops, galleries, antiques, restaurants and bakeries. The Larchmere neighborhood is not just an extension of nearby Shaker Square, with a new street-scape, but it's become a destination all its own.

The newest neighborhood addition is Gray House Pies. Avon Verduyn owns the shop and the building it's in. He knew the neighborhood, at some point, was going to be a big draw. "It's extremely important. That's why I am doing it. I am doing it for the neighborhood to create something people really like. It's good for the neighborhood, it's good for the street, it's wholesome. The bakery business is good," Verduyn said.

Larchmere has managed to mix in the new while preserving the history of the street. The Academy Tavern has seen its share of changes, but its been open in the same spot since the 1930s.

Verduyn bought the building in 2004, and watched the neighborhood grow around the building. Now, his building houses Gray House Pies, as well as the vegan Poison Berry Bakery.

"We're quite surprised how well it is doing, how many people in the neighborhood are coming. We've seen a lot of families. I had no idea the little kids running around here on this side of Larchmere," Verduyn said.

The summer will include a couple of street festivals including the Larchmere Porchfest on June 17th. It's promoted as 30 bands on 30 porches, plus theatrical and artistic performances.

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