CLEVELAND - Shoppers at Cleveland's West Side Market found a meat vendor opening his stand for the first time since the fire on Jan. 30.
The fire shut down all vendors inside the near-west side market for weeks.
Andrei Ramaso bought Sebastian's Meats a few years ago after working there for the previous owner. Building on an already solid meat-buying crowd, he had added to his clientele list each year with his attention to detail, selling meats other vendors weren't offering. He was happy to be back inside with his fellow vendors Wednesday.
"The fire was just hard to even explain with words. I mean, I felt like after seeing my stand, the ground just disappeared under me. That's what I felt for a little while. Then as time went along, it started coming together," Ramaso said.
For caterer Herb Fall, who was searching for corned-beef in brisket-form, it was a blessing as well. He needed four full beef briskets for a St. Patrick's Day event he's catering this upcoming weekend.
"This is the only place you can find them," Fall said. "His beef is the best quality in the market. I've gone everywhere and his is the best quality. I've had to go other places and it just hasn't been the same."
Ramaso's vending stand, G-7, is near the middle of the West Side Market facing the north wall. Ramaso keeps the name Sebastian's Meats because of its longtime recognition. It sits just a few feet from an 8-foot gray wall of painted plywood surrounding his lost stand.
"I've had an overwhelming amount of support from customers, vendors, family and friends. It's been a really good experience," said Ramaso.
For most of the vendors, the clean-up following the fire was a blessing in disguise. The owner of Vince's Meats and president of the West Side Market Vendors Association said they have been lobbying for a thorough market cleaning for years.
For information on the West Side Market's vendors in this story go to:
Bald Brother's Catering- firstname.lastname@example.org 216-650-2089
The Cheese Shop- 201Cheeses.com 216-771-6349
Vince's Meats- 216-621-5703
Sebastian's Meats- 216-861-5250 www.westsidemarket.org