June 6, 2023

Ninja City replacing Domo in Van Aken Market Hall

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – Ninja City is expanding into Van Aken Market Hall.

The eatery, which bills itself as “urban Asian cuisine,” will replace Domo Yakitori and Sushi, which opened in 2020 at Van Aken.

Ninja City’s flagship location is in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood, at 6706 Detroit Ave.

Van Aken is at 3441 Tuttle Road in Shaker Heights, at Warrensville Center Road and Chagrin Boulevard. Its Market Hall holds an amalgamation of stalls – diverse cuisines and fast-casual service, from coffee to bread to sandwiches and more. Ninja City’s stall will be in the back near seating options. A patio also is available in the front of Market Hall, whose culinary tenants include Lox, Stock and Brisket; Banter, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Old Brooklyn Cheese and others.

While Fallon said, “We would love nothing else to be open by Memorial Day,” the usual bureaucratic holdups probably will force some delays. But he added construction and health-department plans are being submitted so “it won’t take a super long time.”

Almost all of the changes coming to the former Domo space are aesthetic, he said, though the layout will be altered some. The adjacent dining area will be subbed out. “We’re going to have the largest kitchen in the Market Hall, which allows us to have almost our full menu from Gordon Square,” said Fallon, who said initially he was looking at a smaller space in the hall. But that would have meant offering a smaller menu – “great operationally, but not as fun.”
Fallon said he and his team initially considered moving unto Van Aken when the Shaker Heights development was starting up a few years ago, when Ninja City previously was in University Circle. But Ninja City wound up in Cleveland’s Gordon Square neighborhood.
Now, he said, the expansion will allow Ninja City to offer “something for everyone.”

Fallon grew up in Shaker Heights, a five-minute walk from Van Aken, so he appreciates resources being nearby as well as people who are familiar with the eatery.

Domo’s style of cuisine was okonomiyaki, what owner Carmen Paponetti once described as a “cabbage pancake” – an egg atop soba noodles cooked on a flat top.
Ninja City will maintain its Gordon Square flagship as well as its spot in the Global Center for Health Innovation for lunch. The daily flow of business traffic might not be at pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, but it draws from the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland’s steady transient and diverse customer base, from comic-con fans, beer-fest sippers, a tattoo festival, volleyball athletes and others.
Now, Ninja City has a chance at gaining East Side fans. “Everything worked out for the best,” he said. “It’s around the corner,” added Fallon, who credited his team for being able to be in the position to expand. “We’re making progress; we’re super excited to be there.”

I am on cleveland.com’s life and culture team and cover food, beer, wine and sports-related topics. If you want to see my stories, here’s a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I talk food and drink usually at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.

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