This week in Cleveland: Kafaya's Kitchen Lunch Mob, Belt Bar Crawl and more

This week, taste traditional Somali fare at Kafaya’s Kitchen, support independent journalism at Belt’s bar crawl, take a moonlit bike ride on the Towpath, learn to construct a pinhole camera and more.
Kafaya's Kitchen Lunch Mob
Wednesday, April 23rd. 11:45 am - 1:45 pm
Kafaya's Kitchen, 3650 W117th St.
$10 lunch
Kafaya Muhammad has a deep history of cooking traditional Somali fare and it shines through her excellent dishes: piping hot spiced chicken, goat or fish, sautéed vegetables, stewed beans, cardamom rice and pancake-like flatbread, finished off with house hot sauce and washed down with a cup of sweet, flavorful Somali tea.
Kafaya’s Kitchen is tucked away on W. 117th St., located before the intersection of Cooley Ave. When you pull into the small lot it is likely that a few of the spots will be occupied by Somali cab drivers stopping in for lunch. Her restaurant, although only open for a year, has quickly become a central gathering place for Cleveland’s Somali and Middle Eastern communities.
Kafaya first learned to cook when she was 10. “I came from a traditional Somalia family. My family was my community and most of the kids learn to cook when they are small,” she said. She fled the Somali Civil War and found herself in a United Nations Council of Human Rights refugee camp in Yemen where she put her skills to use as a cook before moving to Cleveland in 2006.
She is a widowed mother of seven who came here with her small children, knowing absolutely no English. Kafaya and her husband had owned a restaurant in Somalia and opened the restaurant with the help of the Cleveland Office of the Economic and Community Development Institute. The "Lunch Mob" is designed to welcome Kafaya and introduce the rest of Cleveland to her delicious cooking.
She’s expecting a crowd and the restaurant will contain overflow seating in the business next door for the day only. When it’s most busy, guests might eat in “shifts.” This is informal dining and if every seat is filled, take-out is always an option.
Like restaurants in Somalia, there's no written menu. you'll go to the counter, give Kafaya $10 and tell her you want lunch. You can tell her what type of meat you want or if you want vegetarian. $10 will cover a generous meal, but  bring a few dollars to tip. Space is somewhat limited, so get there early. RSVP only if you plan to come.
Belt Bar Crawl
Thursday, April 23rd, 6 - 9 pm
Begins at Speakeasy in Ohio City, 1948 W. 25th St.
$20 members, $25 nonmembers, $100 VIP
Support independent journalism and drink good beer! Belt is dedicated to producing thoughtful long form journalism, op-eds and first-person essays pertaining to the Rust Belt and beyond. It launched in the fall of 2013 and is funded by individual memberships.
The night will kick off at Speakeasy in Ohio City, and includes live readings at Bar Cento, Market Garden Brewery and the Bier Markt. Readers include Dave Lucas, award-winning poet and lecturer at Case Western University; Matt Stansberry, nature writer and author of The Rust Belt Bestiary; and Abi Bechtel, NEOMFA student and feminist blogger.
“Cleveland has an amazing craft beer scene and a rich literary tradition. We appreciate the support of the Ohio City pub scene in our efforts to promote talented nonfiction writers,” Anne Trubek, editor of Belt Magazine, said in a release. The night will end at Speakeasy featuring live music from singer-songwriter Joshua Jesty at 8 pm. You can buy tickets online and at the door.

WRUW DJs Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern!
Thursday, April 23rd, 8 pm - 12 am
Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern, 11625 Euclid Ave.

Munch on some tots and dogs and dig some great tunes with WRUW DJ's every Thursday at the new Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern! Up this week, Natalie of Popular Favorites, spinning garage and punk!

Syncope Opening
Friday, April 24th (exhibition open through June 6th), 6-9 pm
Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Rd.

In medicine, syncope (pronounced “sing-kuh-pee”) refers to a fleeting loss of consciousness described as “fainting” or “passing out” that is often caused by emotional stress. In phonetics, it’s when sounds or letters are not pronounced aloud such as in the reduction of “never”  to “ne’er.” Heights Arts’ new exhibition, titled Syncope, pairs works by Cleveland artists Rachel Beamer and Achala Wali that suggest the moments between loss and what remains.

21st Season of Night Rides on the Towpath Trail
Saturday, April 25th, 8 pm
Century Cycles in Peninsula, 1621 Main Street.

This Saturday is the season kickoff of Century Cycles’ Night Rides on the Towpath Trail! The moonlight rides first started in 1994 as a staff ride and have grown dramatically in popularity, now regularly attracting over 150 bicyclists.

Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are casual, ride-at-your-own pace bicycle ride about 14 miles long. The rides are open to all skill levels; however, participants must have their own bicycle and headlight and wear a helmet. Children under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. The rides begin and end in the parking lot of Century Cycles bike store in Peninsula.

If you can’t make it, there are 10 Century Cycles Saturday Night Rides: April 25th, May 16th, June 6th, June 20th, July 11th, July 25th, August 8th, August 22nd, September 5th and September 26th. Click here for more information.

PenPal Social Club Initial Gathering
Saturday, April 25th, 12 pm - 2 pm
Canopy, 3910 Lorain Ave.
In our fast-paced world, getting a letter in the mail feels really special. Here’s your chance to slow down for an hour or two and tell somebody what’s on your mind. Canopy Collective, The Red Heart Press, and Memorabilia Productions miss the days of passing notes and getting mail and they have joined forces to bring you Pen Pal Social Club! Bring a pack of stationary or fun stickers to help stock the letter-writing bar. Canopy will provide envelopes, stamps, and transport to the post office for $1/letter.

An Evening of American Folk and Roots Music
Sunday, April 26th, 7:30 PM
Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Rd.
$10 advance, $12 day of show
This Sunday, enjoy American roots and folk music that is rooted yet contemporary. Two talented acts on the roots music scene – one local and one imported – will come together for a double headliner. Low Lily (formerly called Annalivia) from southern Vermont and Paul Kovac & Bill Lestock from Northeast Ohio will showcase their creative interpretations of roots genres – highlighting both originals and traditional numbers. Folk and string-band enthusiasts alike will be drawn in by the expert vocals and songwriting, excellent musicianship, contagious energy and innovative approach.

Rising Star Celebrates Worldwide Pinhole Camera Day
Sunday, April 26th, 11 am - 5 pm
Rising Star Coffee Roasters (East Side location), 2187 Murray Hill Road
$10 donation
We bet you didn’t know that Sunday is the fifteenth Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day! Since art and coffee go together like bread and butter, Rising Star Coffee Roasters will partner with Romanian artist Alexandru Patatics to conduct a workshop on the pinhole camera and to develop photos in a makeshift dark room inside of Rising Star. The shop will display the photos until May 1st. Bring a $10 donation for supplies and make a reservation by email at

Read more articles by Jacqueline Bon.

Jacqueline Bon is a freelance writer that has been contributing to Fresh Water Cleveland since 2014. As a journalist by trade and self-taught photographer, she has a lot of curiosity in people and their stories. She is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has pursued film and digital photography for a decade. She is likely to be the first person on the dance floor, especially if you put on Prince.
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