Best of Cleveland 2011: Shops & Wares

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Best Place to Buy Music & Best Place to Buy Vinyl

Music Saves

This cool little record store sits just down the road from the Beachland, thus cementing its reputation as a hipster favorite — which is to say, a bastion of vinyl old and new. The shop is stuffed with indie-rock records, from the latest Mountain Goats CD to the new Jessica Lea Mayfield vinyl. It also hosts in-store performances, the better to get up close and personal with your guitar-strumming heroes.

15801 Waterloo Rd.; 216-481-1875;

Best Tattoo Parlor

Voodoo Monkey

Even when we're not looking for a lifetime discount on grilled cheese sammies or drooling over Michael Symon's porcine tats, Clevelanders thinking "ink" are likely thinking Voodoo Monkey, the hip Ohio City parlor where art, professionalism, and good hygiene intersect. After all, getting tattooed should be like giving birth: The process may be no picnic, but the results should make you happy for a long time to come.

2070 West 25th St.; 216-664-5658;

Best Auto Repair

The Lusty Wrench

How many mechanics do you know who boast a philosophy on their own website. Lusty Wrench patriarch Sam Bell is a veritable Plato of autos: "When I'm trying to figure out what services to recommend to a customer, I ask myself: 'What would I do if it were my Dad's car?' Then that's what I recommend." Now some 32 years into the family business, Bell rings the bell for customer-friendliness — but also for eco-friendliness: The shop is outspoken in its dedication to minimizing the impact of their labor on the environment we all share. Or, as Sam puts it: "We work hard to tread lightly." If only there were more folks like them. Until there are, the line forms at the bright yellow driveway marker out front.

2120 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights; 216-371-8150;

Best Liquor Store

Minotti's Wine & Spirits

Because sometimes in life you need beer and sometimes you need more, Minotti's earns the top prize when it comes to liquor stores. A West Side institution five stores strong, every Minotti's stocks a dizzying assortment of beer and wine, but is also a state-licensed liquor store. Weekly wine tastings and regular events help make each raised glass a cause for celebration.

19831 Detroit Rd., Rocky River;


20550 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park;


30664 Detroit Rd., Westlake;


27313 Wolf Rd., Bay Village;


7526 Broadview Rd., Parma;


Best Hospital

Cleveland Clinic

Every year since 1995, Cleveland Clinic has been rated No. 1 in the nation for heart care by U.S. News & World Report. But that's not the only area in which the Clinic excels: 14 other adult specialties cracked the top 10 too, and so did its pediatric neurology care. From its more comfortable designer hospital gowns to the harpists' notes ringing through the lobby of the Cole Eye Institute, the Clinic aims to provide a "best in class patient experience." All signs indicate it's doing exactly that.

9500 Euclid Ave.; 216-444-2200;

Best Animal Hospital

West Park Animal Hospital

With enough doctors on staff to cast their own TV drama, West Park Animal Hospital specializes in a level of care most humans could only dream of. A member of the American Animal Hospital Association, West Park is pioneering in its use of an online pet portal to help owners keep tabs on their loved ones' health.

4117 Rocky River Dr.; 216-252-4500;

Best Discount Store


Marc Glassman's bargain empire grew out of a single store in Middleburg Heights back in 1979. It now numbers some 50 locations across Northeast Ohio, with an ever-exanding empire of believers who swear by the deals pouring out of every aisle. The best part of every visit revolves around the closeout gauntlet set up at the entrance of each store — an unpredictable wonderland stocked with everything from hardware to housewares at prices that weren't this low 30 years ago.

Locations throughout Northeast Ohio;

Best Sporting Goods Store


You know how people gripe about the service at big-box stores? It's folks like Geiger's who keep those complaints a-coming. At the flagship store in Lakewood and its two specialty shops, Geiger's has long prided itself on unequaled customer care. Their specialties include skiing and apparel, and their services include tailoring, cycle repair, and racquet stringing.

14710 Detroit Ave., Lakewood;


Geiger's Ski & Sport Haus,

Chagrin Shopping Plaza, Chagrin Falls; 440-247-4900

Geiger's Store for Women,

19126 Old Detroit Rd., Rocky River;


Best Cab Company

Westlake Express

They're called "Westlake" and they're found in Rocky River, but the Express fleet has made the rounds throughout Northeast Ohio for 39 years and counting. You'd be wise to think of them for your next trip to the airport — and even wiser for your next trip to the bar.

19061 Depot St., Rocky River;