Bridgeport Cafe provides healty food choices in eastside neighborhood

CLEVELAND - The Bridgeport Cafe , a cafe-style restaurant featuring healthy sandwiches and wraps, salads, soups, and baked goods, is now open. The new eatery is in the Bridgeport Place development at East 72nd and Kinsman Avenue.

Developed by Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc., the new cafe is part of a larger project that addresses the lack of healthy food choices in the Kinsman neighborhood. The area's lack of grocery stores that provide fresh produce classifies it as what has become known as a "food desert".

Food deserts are communities where residents have to travel more than a mile to get fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. Many elderly residents or those without transportation usually get their food from convenience stores or stores that don't sell or have a limited selection fresh produce. Another option is to eat fast food, which is less healthy or fresh.

Tim Tramble, with Burten, Bell, Carr developers, said Bridgeport Cafe "is just one part of a broader neighborhood strategy effort to increase access to fresh wholesome foods."

Part of the plan to encourage health eating is the creation of a community kitchen, Cornucopia , at Bridgeport Place. Area residents can attend cooking classes and demonstrations throughout the year to learn how to cook healthy meals. The community kitchen will also allow space for urban agriculture entrepreneurs to clean, prepare, and package their produce for sales and distribution.

The goal, said Tramble, is to show residents how eating healthy can improve the quality and length of their lives.

"The life expentancy for someone in this neighborhood and neighborhoods just eight miles away", Tramble said, explaining the difference a better diet can make, "is like 20 years."

There is also a plan for a Mobile Market, a specially built truck that will be converted into a mobile grocery store. The truck will make stops throughout the Kinsman neighborhood where people can enter and purchase fresh produce and healthy foods without the need to travel to a grocery store.

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