Guest Post // Zach Christy

Hey CLE, “boy” do I have a treat for you today! I don’t know if you remember or not but at the beginning of this year I put out to the universe a few goals for this blog and today I’d like to officially kick off the new i heart cleveland “man friend” series!

Not that I don’t write about things for both women AND men, but sometimes my sparkly, cupcake-filled, fashion-minded me overtakes and it’s always good to included a view from the other team…so here we go…

Today I’d like to introduce you to a friend of a friend (and now my friend too) Mr. Zach Christy. Zach seems to have his hands in some wildly creative projects around town and so when I approached him about his favorite hots spots  he really gave me lots of “to-do’s” to add to my own personal list. I know you will all be pleasantly surprised by some of his favorite foodie hot spots and I don’t know about you but after you finish reading his wise words, if you want to call me for tacos and guac…I totally have a craving.

Thanks so much Zach for kicking off this series! Cheers to a great year of spicy Mexican, antiquing adventures and more creative play. To follow Zach and see some of his work check out his vimeo site here! Take it away Zach…

“I moved to Cleveland in 2009. I moved here for a job and really didn’t think I would be staying for too long.  I met a girl and we dated for a little bit, but that’s beside the point.

Almost. 

We shared a mutual appreciation; let’s call it love,  for Mexican food.  Pretty early into our dating life we decided that we were going to try and go to every Mexican restaurant within the greater Cleveland area.  And, I am pretty sure we managed to get to most.  All of this is beside the point, other than the fact that it really allowed me to discover some of the great places that Cleveland has to offer that I would have never found.  It doesn’t hurt that my dad and I also deal antiques on the side. So, the willingness to go into places off the beaten path has been built into my nature from the start.

As someone who has exclusively lived on the west side of Cleveland, Painesville is not the first place that comes to mind when it comes to getting food.  And, although El Meson is technically in Mentor, it was close enough to The Miscellaneous Barn for us to stop in for a visit.  After a little navigational issue, we pulled up to 3 buildings filled to the brim with items that had been acquired from estate sales.  And, I am not going to try and lie and say everything there is wonderful, but the owners are more than willing to work with you on price (especially if you are looking at furniture or buying in bulk).  It will take some digging but there are definitely bargains to be discovered.  And, if you are handy, the place could potentially be a goldmine.

On another adventure, we ended up in Grafton, Ohio to test out Mezcal Mexican Restaurant. With unbelievably under-priced food, this has to one of my favorite “unknown gems” in Cleveland.  Delicious food and strong margaritas—enough said.   While in the area, we stopped in this seemingly tiny building called The Hatchery.  There were several live chickens outside and the owner actually sells brown eggs in addition to antiques.  Once inside, the building opened up into a labyrinth of intertwining hallways and corridors all filled with antiques.  It doesn’t appear like The Hatchery has standard hours of operation, so my advice is to just hope you happen to catch the owner when he is there.  Prices vary for sure depending on how attached the owner is to items, but that being said, I know I have found things that I absolutely love there multiple times.  Items differ from primitives to old cameras to bedframes, with just enough wear on them that each piece seems to have a unique history you aren’t going to find at Ikea or Target.

Si Senor is also another reasonably priced Mexican restaurant located on Cleveland’s west side.  The girl I was seeing and I had this thing where if a restaurant had numbers on their menu, we would just pick a number and be surprised with what came out.  I ended up with the Seafood Chimichangas (not something I would have ordered regularly), and was more than pleasantly surprised.  I have been back several times since and have yet to have a bad meal.  And, I am not sure if initially we went to Reincarnation the first time we went to Si Senor, but it is close enough that it definitely could happen in the same trip.  Ron and Cyndy, the owners of Reincarnation, are two of the nicest people I have met.  From the first time I went in, they both remember my name.   This hospitality is something that I feel is really rare and something that makes Cleveland great.  And, it’s not just this great small business attitude that makes Reincarnation a n adventure worth taking, their style is top notch.  Reincarnation is the epitome of what I would like to do if I had a shop of my own and rarely do I leave without something I know that I will absolutely cherish.  They take items that by themselves are already cool, and transform them into practical, well-designed, beautiful items that could be in any publication out there.  They are consistently changing merchandise and building new things, so every time I go in, it is still a similar aesthetic, but new and fresh all at once.

And now it is 2013, and I am still at the job I moved here for initially.  I am no longer seeing the girl I was dating, but still love Mexican food, antiquing, and the adventure of finding new places.  I don’t think that desire is ever something that will go away.”

Happy Wednesday guys and dolls…Thanks again Zach, that was awesome!