When it comes to dining out, there is no shortage of options in Shaker Heights. The first restaurant in the area to serve Northern and Szechuan cuisine, Pearl of the Orient remains a favorite among Chinese food connoisseurs. Opened in 1978, Pearl of the Orient is consistently voted best Chinese restaurant by Cleveland Magazine. It is famous for serving large portions at lunch and dinner in a quiet, upscale setting. Diners come for the crusted pork, which consists of tender crusted slices of pork stir-fried with pineapples, onions and red peppers in a tangy hoisin barbecue sauce.
Fire Food and Drink serves upscale simple foods with innovative presentations, using the freshest ingredients from local farmers and purveyors whenever possible. The focus is on classic American dishes that changes seasonally. Using natural colors and textures in combination with sultry lighting and fresh flowers, the decor blends the charms of the original 1929 space with modern style that brings the building to life. Menu standouts include the tandoor rib eye accompanied with broccoli and butterball potatoes, and the crispy duck confit with herb spaetzle. The Miller Farm grass fed cheeseburger topped elevates the plain hamburger several notches. Diners who still have room enjoy the desserts such as Jackie O's honey nut brown ale spice cake with compressed pears and Chantilly cream. Homemade sticky buns are part of the weekend brunch menu.
Saffron Patch is a local favorite that burst on the Shaker Heights dining scene since 1991. Using 38 different herbs and spices, the chef creates flavorful – and healthy – authentic Indian cuisine. All foods are made to order so the chef can adjust the spiciness as the diner desires. Tantalizing aromas from the clay oven add to the welcoming atmosphere. The large, well-varied menu includes many of the delectable breads India is known for, including naan, paratha and onion kulcha. Tandoor temptations, such as lamb shops marinated in garlic-ginger yogurt sauce, join a wide variety of vegetarian delights like baingan bhartha, and Punjab-style eggplant sauteed with onions, tomatoes and green peas. Unusual desserts include kulfi, an exotic ice cream from India made with pistachios, cashews and saffron.
Nightlife in the Cleveland area runs the gamut from pulsating dance clubs to wine bars to trendy lounges. If there isn't enough excitement within the confines of Shaker Heights, there is plenty in downtown Cleveland. Rudy's Pub, a great local bar furnished with contemporary woodwork and twinkling stars hanging from above, hosts live rhythm and blues bands on weekends. Karaoke happens every Wednesday night.
The many choices outside of Shaker Heights include Nighttown, Cleveland's most acclaimed jazz dinner club. Velvet Dog and Barley House are the most popular dance clubs, while the chic D'Vine Wine Bar has a reputation as a great place to hang out with friends over cocktails. The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights features live music and microbrews. The Agora is a concert venue in Cleveland that hosts top acts from around the world. The Agora is in a historic location, first known as the Metropolitan Theatre when it opened in 1913.
The North Union Shakers, a utopian religious sect, settled Shaker Heights in 1822. They called the settlement, which encompassed 1,366 acres, Valley of God’s Pleasure. The Shakers built a dam on Doan Brook to create the Shaker Lakes and did some development, but by the late 1800s only a handful of streets remained. The Van Sweringens purchased the land and developed the city, banking on the beauty of the area and proximity to Cleveland to entice wealthier families to buy homes.
There’s much to see and do in and around Shaker Heights. The mission of the Shaker Historical Society and Museum is to preserve the history of the area through its permanent and rotating displays and educational programs.
The Shaker Heights Arts and Music Festival brings large crowds to the area each summer to listen to music and peruse the vendors offerings. The Shaker Arts Council promotes arts in the area by sponsoring events for artists to sell their wares.
Neighboring Cleveland offers numerous cultural activities that include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Public Theatre and the Cleveland Playhouse, the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra and numerous museums and gallery spaces. Shaker Heights residents are also dedicated fans of the local professional sports teams, the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.
The Shaker Heights Rapid Transit System was built in response to the need for residents of the area to commute easily to downtown Cleveland. Both the Blue and the Green lines transport residents from Shaker Square to Tower City, Cleveland’s main transit hub, in around 15 minutes. The cost to ride is $2.25; an all-day pass is $6, and a monthly pass costs $85.
For taxi service, Shaker Heights residents have several options, among them Tommy Taxi & Car Service and Cleveland Taxi Limo. All are available 24/7 and some have online reservation capability. Uber offers ride share service in the Cleveland/Shaker Heights market.
Shaker Heights earned the distinction of Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. The city features a network of on-road bike routes that connect riders to major points of interest in the city including parks, schools and shopping areas. Bikers find convenient racks at spots throughout the city.
Very walker friendly, the city has more than 200 miles of sidewalks and neighborhood streets with low speed limits. There are several fitness paths throughout the city as well.
The cost of living in the area is 17 percent higher than the average for Ohio and about seven percent higher than in the rest of the country. Gas prices are consistent with the national average and around one percent higher than the average for the rest of the state.
The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Shaker Heights is about $900 a month. Beer drinkers expect to pay around $3.50 – 5.00 for a craft brew, with discounts available at different times of the day.
Shaker Square, one of the country’s original town centers, lies at the city's border with Cleveland. This large retail outlet serves as the nexus of the neighborhood where people come to shop, dine and play. Among the shopping options are Cosmic Bobbins, a lifestyle brand with a recycle-redesign philosophy. Owner Sharie Renee takes materials others might consider trash and turns them into one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories. Playmatters Toys carries an extensive selection of toys, puzzles, dolls, games, and more from the finest toy makers across the globe. The creative, constructive toys encourage thought and family interaction.
The city also has shopping along Van Aken Boulevard, Warrensville Center Road, Larchmere Boulevard and Chagrin Boulevard. A vintage and consignment shop in the heart of Larchmere, the Eclectic Eccentric buys and sells vintage clothing, home accessories and art. Two Crows for Joy takes pride in being the source for the Adooka line of organic layette wear and children’s clothing and accessories. The House Warmings offers refinished antique and vintage furniture, home accessories, handmade jewelry, and more.
Local residents also have a number of grocery shopping options. Heinen’s Grocery Store began in 1929 as a butcher shop, but evolved into a full-fledged supermarket in response to customer demand for more products. Heinen’s continues to provide world class customer service while offering the freshest, highest quality foods. In Shaker Square, Dave’s Supermarket, locally owned and operated for three generations, spans more than 26,000 square feet and caters to the neighborhood's diversity. There's also a Fresh Market in the area.
One of the largest certified producer only farmers markets in the Midwest, the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square runs outdoors from April through December, and indoors from January through March. At least 40 farms sell the finest organic greens, sweet corn, tomatoes, melons, onion, berries, tree ripened fruit, squash, potatoes, Berkshire hogs, grass fed beef, bison and dairy products. The farmer's market also features artisan bakers and local artists.
When designing the city of Shaker Heights, the Van Sweringen brothers appropriated nearly 300 acres of land for parks. Today, Thornton Park offers a wide variety of recreational activities. The Ice Arena, open year round and home to the Shaker Figure Skating Club, the Shaker Heights High School hockey team and the Shaker Youth Hockey Association, offers ice skating lessons under the auspices of the U.S. Figure Skating Association. In addition to an outdoor swimming pool, open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Thornton Park has tennis courts, a batting cage, a walking trail, sledding hill, sand volleyball court, basketball court, skate park and playground.
Other parks and playgrounds in the city include Horseshoe Lake Park, featuring a raised boardwalk, picnic pavilions, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and a playground, and Chelton Park with a play area for children two through 12.
The Nature Center at Shaker Lake connects residents with the environment. Listed on the Register of National Historic Sites, the Nature Center serves the community by teaching environmental education and preserving the area’s most important natural habitats – lake, stream, marsh, field, ravine and forest.