Located near the Detroit Shoreway area, the Gordon Square Arts District is definitely a work in progress. I've never seen so many barrels, torn up sidewalks, or construction workers in such a concentrated area. It was somewhat difficult to meander around with all of the work going on, but I appreciate all of the work that's going into the neighborhood. Once all of the construction has been completed, there will be three theaters within the neighborhood - two performance theaters - Cleveland Public Theatre and the Near West Theatre - along with Capitol Theatre, an independent movie theater (a la Cedar Lee).
After parking in one of the public lots and realizing it would be too difficult to walk to our lunch destination, we drove down the street to Latitude 41 N. (If we'd realized they have their own spacious parking lot, we would have headed straight there!)
The restaurant itself is really cute and airy. (although not literally airy - it was hot in the dining room!) The decor is sort of thrift store chic.
Unlike most restaurants, Latitude 41 N is pay first, eat later. I always feel awkward when I pay first. I'm not sure why. I guess it's because I never know if I should tip before I'm served.
I ordered a meatless Reuben "attitude" which ended up being a calzone. (had I realized it was a calzone, I wouldn't have ordered it - a Reuben as a calzone is not so great) It came alone with the vegetarian friendly house tomato bisque soup. The soup was pretty good. It had a little bit of blue cheese on top, which I'd never had with tomato soup before. My friend ordered a pizza - the Island of Lesbos pizza - which was oozing with different types of cheese, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and spinach. I had lunch envy, to be quite honest. Latitude 41 N seems to be trying to make a name for itself with pizza, and I probably should have tried one. Although the restaurant wasn't all that busy, I felt like we waited quite awhile for our food. It looked like there were only two people in the kitchen, so if you want to eat in a hurry, this probably isn't the place for you. (although they appear to have free wi-fi, so you could always kill some time if you needed to)
After lunch, we drove pack to a parking lot so we could check out Room Service, a cute little boutique which features items made by Cleveland artists. If I were to open my own shop, it would totally look like Room Service - eclectic, sort of modern, funky - think Urban Outfitters without the chain atmosphere. I wish the shop owner - Danielle DeBoe well. She seems to be holding her own despite running a store in what looks like a war zone. My friend picked up some nice jewelery, and although I didn't buy anything, I'll definitely be back if I'm looking for a unique gift (or a CLE t-shirt!)
I look forward to seeing what this nice little neighborhood looks like when it's completed. It might just be the next Cleveland hot spot.