Overhead view of downtown Akron.

Best of “New/Native”

In 2016, we heard from some native Akronites and some who are new to our city. We ask roughly the same questions each issue. Here are some of our favorites from 2016.


When did you first fall for Akron?

“I moved here in July of 2015. As we drove through, it was easy to see that the city was quieter and struggling in certain areas. But as I explored, I found The Nightlight, The Devil Strip (which I promptly took home, circled must-sees, and went to find them all), and the trails. On top of that, the people I met really clinched the deal. So many interesting people with vision and kindness. That’s a winning combo and made me want to stay.” – Sarah Coffin D’Alessandro

“As a transplant, and not just a visitor—I fell in love with Akron when I started going to the Howe Meadow Farmers’ Market and then the Art Walk once a month. I met so many people that were local artists and artisans. I realized what a supportive, energetic community existed in Akron. On a single Saturday I could go to a farmers’ market, walk around the Ira Trailhead, see local artists’ work, listen to an original band at a club and go out for drinks downtown.” – Emily S. Durway

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

“I love that Akron is becoming more of a melting pot with North Hill being very accommodating for non-native Americans. I also love that Akron has a culture of its own which in essence is healing/artistic oriented. The culture seems to be one that is very invested in healing old wounds and creating a more holistic future in all areas.”  – Ashley Suzelis



My favorite local cultural asset without a doubt is the Goodyear Blimp.” – Kurt Anshutz




Where in Akron do you like to escape?

It’s not a specific place, but in the past year, I’ve gotten into taking long walks. It gives me an opportunity to think, listen to music or an audiobook, and get some exercise all at the same time. On most days, this means walking down Market Street from my apartment in Highland Square. I’m sure it doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but it gives me the opportunity to be inside my own head for a while, which I find very useful as a writer.” – Andrew Leask

Who or what do you wish were on more Akronites’ radar?

“Musician Eriq Troi. Someone pointed me in the direction of his music and I was blown away that there was someone making funk, soul, R&R and hip-hop, and at such a high caliber here. Plus once I met him, he turned out to be a nice guy and a lot of fun to talk to.” – Roger Riddle



I think North Hill is a gem. There’s a lot of great people there, and so many interesting places. I travel internationally quite a bit, and I truly believe you can find the same charm and experiences in parts of North Hill that you’d pay to find somewhere else. In face, whenever I have friends or family in town, I take them to North Hill. I try to frame the experience for them so they understand what it used to be, is, and why it is a special place. Although I know it’s on Akronites’ radar, I think we need an attitude adjustment. I’ve lived there, the mayor lives there. It could be a thriving international district should we choose to invest our time, energies, and belief in it. And, Rancheros Taqueria makes the best enchiladas this side of the border.” – Kevin Smith

Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

“I don’t have just one! But the place I drift back to most often is Taste of Bangkok, because of the authentic cheesy decor, and because a good bowl of pho with all the trimmings is irresistible. You will need a nap afterwards.” – Brant T. Lee





When did you first fall for Akron?

It was the Spring of 2014. I had just moved back to Akron after living in Virginia for a year and Kent for more than 4 years. I believe that it was my first time visiting Highland Square (I know, I know) and the creativity, the art, the like-minded individuals just blew me away.” – Bronlynn Thurman



When I moved back after almost a decade away. I was probably at the lowest point in my life. I desperately needed a community, and I found one pretty much immediately. I was no longer in contact with most of my childhood friends, but the people I met in the first couple months back welcomed me and showed me kindness and generosity and compassion like I had never seen before. Hiking the trails of CVNP with my newfound friends helped me get through the toughest part of my recovery.” – M. Sophie Franchi

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

Mustard Seed Market in Highland Square. That is one place where you can’t go wrong. I can grocery shop or dine in, catch live music, hold an event, take a class and eat overlooking the city. The fact that it’s a healthy establishment offering vegetarian options that I need is the cherry on top.” – Christel Silas


What do you wish were on more Akronites radar?

“I wish more Akronites realized that they can get involved and impact the direction of the city — the groups working hard to make Akron better want their help.” – Tim Fitzwater



I wish more people went out to see live music. We have some great venues, like Musica, Goodyear Theater and Hive Mind. Thursday’s is having live music again on certain Fridays, and someone is always playing at Annabell’s. I go to way too many sparsely attended shows in this town, and it shouldn’t be that way.” – Jessica Anshutz


Where in Akron do you like to escape?

“For a little fun, I love exploring the Bomb Shelter. My husband and I are both salvagers, so we like sifting through the immense amount of treasures you can find there and deciding how to repurpose them for our own house. Nothing is my house is a matching set, that’s too easy. You’ve got to define your style from scratch! It builds character.” — Annie McFadden


For sure the Metroparks trails. I am a bird-watching nerd to the core, so I am always happiest walking around listening for feathered friends, and trying to spot them in the trees.” – Christine Amer Mayer



Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

“…right now I’m really enjoying Sushi Asia Gourmet in the valley. As to why: because it’s locally owned and operated. The food quality is great!  One of the more authentic Szechuan menus I’ve had since Chinatown in Manhattan.  Some of the best dishes are only listed on the in-house menu. It’s been great every time thus far.” — Josh Estafen


(Featured photo of Akron by Shane Wynn, found at akronstock.com)