Wednesday, November 21, 2018

new music performance stage, new tamales, new laptop vending - within a small stretch of Mahoning Avenue

It's exciting to see entrepreneurs hit their milestones.

This came to mind as owner Nate Offerdahl was sharing his vision during a tour of West Side Bowl, where this new Youngstown music venue will welcome guests for the first time to their expanded Main Stage, this Friday November 23. Headlining the night's activities will be the great act Spirit of the Bear.

The Main Stage is built out of wood repurposed from eight of the existing bowling lanes. What's really awesome, West Side Bowl has partnered with neighborhood artists who live on the surrounding streets to add to the character of the space.

So not only can you bowl here, and drink a Penguin Beer here, and order a pierogi pizza here, and admire the art by talented neighbors, but you can also rock out now both downstairs and upstairs throughout West Side Bowl at 2617 Mahoning Ave.

This place is really coming together ... with a mural in progress from Eric Alleman on the west wall, a mural from Craig Latchaw Jr on the east wall, and sculptures from Tony Armeni along the front of the structure.

The Downstairs Stage has been hosting a great variety of acts too. A neat feature of the space is the acoustic paneling, made from the t-shirts of touring bands and local organizations.

West Side Bowl offers a monthly calendar showing the variety of activities taking place, including comedy shows, karaoke, bar bingo, bowling leagues, and trivia nights.

And where one business pops up, others follow.

Just a few doors down La Huasteca opened three weeks ago at 2328 Mahoning Ave. This place has got some legit food.

We're talking tortas, sopes, aqua frescas, in addition to the standard fare you find at many mexican restaurants. For the proteins, you have a wide array of choices including marinated beef, pork with pineapple (pastor), beef tongue (lengua), chorizo, and chicken.

Adding to the mix on weekends are soups like Menudo and Pozole, and regional specialties as some of the employees are from El Salvador. 

Here's a pastor torta, with slices of avacado, bean spread under the toasted bun, with sides of limes, sauteed onions, radishes, cucumbers, and pickled jalapenos.

A simple chicken taco, with some of their homemade sauce on top.

Food orders can be take-out or sit-down. Damn good horchata.

Here is a beef tongue taco. It was magnificent.

And a corn papusa on the weekend, served with a marinated cabbage, the special Salvadorean sauce, and some hot peppers.

Check out the tamale, served in a banana leaf. Just excellent all around.

And to write this blog, all I had to do was walk down to the new Michael Kusalaba (West) Library at 2815 Mahoning Avenue.

They have this wonderful vending kiosk where you can use your library card, and check out a laptop to use around the library.

It's great getting to know the people who make all of these places possible, from Nate and Jami at West Side Bowl, to the families new to the United States running La Huasteca, to the friendly librarians at the Kusalaba branch.

All of these places started with a dream ... a dream now becoming reality.

Will be exiting to see what business opportunities pop up next along this slice of Mahoning.