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Columbus Day Is Weak, Anyway I’ve always felt that Columbus Day is a weak holiday, which could just as well have been called Leif Erikson Day or John Cabot Day. The contributions of the Shawnee and Miami to Maketewah are far more meaningful to this city than any ancient seafaring figure. — Kent Lyle, West End

Free Heroin? Sean Hannahs You mean like the time I was walking to the library and a Mexican stopped me, asked me a few questions about downtown, then as we were ready to part, he stuck out his hand for me to shake and in it he palmed me a 20 piece of heroin? Those kind? Comments posted at in response to Oct. 14 post, “Undocumented immigrants go through hell to get to Cincinnati, where criminalizing rhetoric and violent crime often await”

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What a Week! BY T.C. Britton


It’s hard out here for a clown. The mass mysterious clown sightings/attacks and subsequent hoaxes are damaging to more than just their victims. Professional clowns across the country are reporting lost business because of the recent trend tarnishing their name. Why hire a colorful balloon animal artist when you can find a clown in the woods for free? Cam from Modern Family would be devastated. Even America’s Top Clown, Ronald McDonald, is feeling the effects. McDonald’s has limited its mascot’s appearances in light of the clown-related hysteria, instead focusing on headline-making research, like the fact that apparently only one in five millennials has tried a Big Mac. But there is one clown-related trend on the rise — pun intended — clown porn! According to Pornhub, searches for adult clown videos have risen 213 percent since August. The most popular related search terms are “clown porn,” “clown girl” and “clown gangbang.” It begs the question, who is more fucked up: the psycho that dresses up in Bozo drag to incite panic or the sicko that hears about it in the news and gets a boner? Bozoner?


Ken Bone, breakout star of the second presidential debate and costume inspiration for pop culture-savvy Halloween partygoers across America (seriously, you will definitely see at least one “slutty Ken Bone” costume next weekend), continues to bask in the afterglow of his moment in the spotlight. On Twitter Thursday, local restaurateur Jeff Ruby invited Bone and his wife to dine at any of his fine establishments and enjoy an 18-ounce T-bone steak on the house, “with red sweater wine, not MILK” which is either a reference to Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh, who tweeted a photo from Ruby’s rival Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse that showed him enjoying a steak with a tall glass of milk (unforgivable), or to Charlie’s favorite dish in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (milksteak, boiled over hard). No word yet on whether Mr. Bone took Ruby up on his offer, but speaking of American heroes at Jeff Ruby restaurants, on that same day, the steakhouse’s Nashville

location welcomed two: Rob O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden, and apparent BFF and American Bad Ass Kid Rock.


This week on Snapped: Ben Carson short-circuited on live TV, a Michigan judge jumped the bench to subdue an unruly defendant in court and Alex Trebek straight up called a Jeopardy contestant a loser. When BBC journalist Katty Kay pressed Carson about the abuse allegations against Donald Trump on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a visibly frustrated Carson flipped, repeating, “Stop, stop, stop,” as Kay continued her line of questions, then told the panel to turn Kay’s mic off. Truly the stuff that Vines are made of. Meanwhile in our neighboring state to the north, Jackson Circuit Court Judge John McBain found himself dealing with an aggressive defendant in a hearing. McBain hopped off the stand, took off his robe and helped subdue the man, which is the judicial equivalent of asking your friend to hold your purse and earrings. Finally, legislative librarian Susan Cole appeared on Jeopardy this week, and in her intro she told host Alex Trebek that her favorite musical genre was nerdcore Hip Hop. “It’s people who identify as nerdy, rapping about the things they love — video games, science fiction, having a hard time meeting romantic partners,” she explained. “Losers, in other words,” Trebek jabbed. Savage AF.


You know how every episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit starts with the same disclaimer: “The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event”? Well everyone knows that’s just to cover their asses, because the stories are most definitely “ripped from the headlines” and very much rooted in some kind of true story. An upcoming episode of SVU titled “Unstoppable” stars Gary Cole as a wealthy politician whose campaign descends into chaos when several women come forward accusing him of misconduct. The episode’s promo even features Cole’s character saying, “I’m a handsome, charming

millionaire. Women throw themselves at me.” That’s right — a Trumpisode. While the episode was scheduled to air Oct. 26, it’s been pulled from the lineup. Trump must have threatened to cancel SVU like he did SNL — The Orange One is not pleased with the sketch comedy show’s portrayal of him, particularly Alec Baldwin’s hilarious impression, calling it a “hit job.” Nevermind the fact that at least half of the jokes are direct quotes.


During a Tidal concert Sunday, Beyoncé’s earring ripped out of her ear mid-song. The alien fembot goddess continued performing, wiping the blood from her ear and thus proving she bleeds, causing the Beyhive to go into frenzy. (The disturbing hashtag #cutforbeyonce was trending.) But we see past the hype. Clearly this was nothing more than a thinly veiled Illuminati bloodletting ritual.


Amidst all that aforementioned insanity that is real life, wouldn’t it be amazing to visit a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano? OK, maybe just a place where wine flows like water fountains? In what we imagine is the stuff of school teachers’ dreams, a free wine fountain has opened in Italy. A vineyard in the Italian region of Abruzzo has opened a drinking fountain that serves red wine for public consumption, 24 hours a day. Arrivederci, America!


Luke Perry, the Dylan to our Brenda, celebrated his 50th birthday this week in totally normal fashion by appearing on the cover of AARP Magazine. What’s more shocking: that the teen idol (j/k he was like 30 when he was on 90210) is half a century old, that he looks better at this age than you ever have or that he’s just now identifying as a retired person despite the fact that he hasn’t done any memorable work since 2001? CONTACT T.C. BRITTON:

What Else Could Trump Have Done During His Flight?

Turns out, The Donald didn’t spend much time mulling over whether or not he should be cool for once in the face of criticism or go nuclear on someone he badly needs help from, as the 41-minute flight was more than enough time for him to decide on the latter. (“Borges, you’re fired. Fuck you.”)

Still, the story made us wonder: What else could Trump have done during this flight? • Woven a back-up mane from strands of the finest golden silk. • Demanded the birth certificates of every person of color in the Senate (there are five out of 100). • Picked out the perfect Trump brand tie for Vladimir Putin’s birthday gift. • Come up with an even more offensive mascot for the Cleveland Indians in an attempt to win more of the racist vote in the Buckeye State. • Groped a flight attendant. • Assembled and eaten a taco salad. • Watched an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

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Republican presidential nominee and probably serial groper Donald Trump last week made an unusual decision during a flight from Columbus to Cincinnati: to declare political war on Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges. Borges had presumably been acting like too much of a loser by telling Ohio Republicans they wouldn’t face backlash from the party if they choose to move as far the hell away from Trump as they can leading up to what is shaping up to be a most catastrophic election for the party, thanks in part to its the GOP candidate’s racist, sexist, xenophobic, pussy-grabbing ways.


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Public Transit Saves Lives By DEREK BAUMAN

During my 25-year career as a police officer, I saw too many terrible, horrific scenes involving injury and death — bodies in pieces, people impaled, some who had been crushed, individuals burned alive, dead and injured children — to count. I’m not talking about murder scenes. These were traffic accidents. Those scenes proved to me that, among the many reasons that we should be investing in public transportation, possibly the most important is the one that is least talked about: safety. During my first week on the job as an officer, I responded to my first serious crash. It took place on I-71 in Medina County, near Akron. As I parked my cruiser and walked up to the scene, another officer yelled out to me to be careful where I was walking. I looked down to see shards of flesh all around me on the ground. A teenage boy had been traveling with his mom when their car broke down. Another vehicle stopped to assist them, and the teen got out of his car, approached the second vehicle and was struck and instantly killed by a passing semi. That was a sight that a 21-year-old rookie cop will never forget. These types of grisly scenes are all too common on America’s roadways. The worst scenes I’ve witnessed on the job were those of car accidents — far outnumbering murders or any other type of accidental death. Now that I’ve retired from the police force — and spent many years advocating for urbanism and mass transit — I’m wondering what it will take for people who don’t see every day the most tragic results of our reliance on automobiles to realize just how huge of a problem this has become. Every year, more than 1,000 lives are lost to traffic crashes on Ohio roads. Nationally, the rate is even higher. The U.S. has been averaging about 34,000 crashes annually — about 2,800 a month. And these numbers appear to be rising. The New York Times recently reported that traffic deaths in the U.S. rose 10.4 percent during the first half of this year compared to last year. The article noted the trend maintained “a steady climb.” According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, since the latter part of 2014, traffic fatalities have been steadily rising at a higher rate than that which total vehicle miles driven have been increasing. The statistics don’t spell out exactly why this is, but some have suggested distractions from devices like cell phones, increased speed limits on interstates and increases in drugged driving related to the heroin epidemic.

Let me provide the overarching reason: Driving automobiles is more dangerous than people realize, yet government-subsidized policies continue to keep us tied to them without providing alternatives. As tens of thousands of people are dying every year from car crashes, we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars to widen I-75 and build a new highway interchange on I-71. During the past week, interstates 71, 75 and 275 have been shut down for hours at least four separate times because of crashes, and yet we shrug our collective shoulders. They’re barely newsworthy anymore. Have you driven north on I-75 through the mess of construction and curving, temporary lanes near Hopple Street? You should be careful if you do. On the other side, buses and trains have fatality rates far below cars and trucks. A 2013 study in Research in Transportation Economics titled “Comparing the Fatality Risks in United States Transportation Across Modes and Over Time” found that busses and trains have a fatality rate of between .11 and .15 per billion passenger miles, while cars and light trucks have a fatality rate of 7.3 per billion passenger miles. The researcher explains: “One might argue that transportation equipment, and in particular the motor vehicle, must be the most dangerous machines that we interact with on a daily basis. The annual toll in motor vehicle crashes exceeds the deaths resulting from the next most dangerous mechanical device, firearms, by about 40 percent.” Ohio plans to spend more than $2.1 billion on roads and bridges for these dangerous machines this year. Last year, it spent $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, over the last decade and a half, the state has cut its contribution to public transit funding from $43 million to a scant $7.3 million last year. That’s just 63 cents per person — among the lowest rates of state spending on transit in the nation. Simply put, public transit modes of bus and rail travel are extremely safe compared to car travel. Yet our political leaders won’t provide us with the resources to build these safer transportation alternatives. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley won’t even allow the city to move forward with a feasibility study to learn what an Uptown streetcar connection might cost. This step is typically necessary to apply for grants that could end up funding large parts of the project.

The streetcar’s early ridership numbers have far outpaced projections, clearly showing how much interest locals have for utilizing mass transit in the city. Cars and our auto-based lifestyle are not going away any time soon. Over the longterm, safety improvements like seatbelts, air bags and child safety seats have helped make car travel less deadly. But we have alternatives that we know are safer, more environmentally friendly and a boon to economic development. Meanwhile, we know that driving is one of the most dangerous things that most of us do on a daily basis. What is the hold up?

“You’re more likely to get killed on I-75 on your way downtown than you are being downtown.”

As a downtown Cincinnati resident, I often get questions about the “safety” of living in or visiting the city. My typical response is simple: It’s much safer being in a walkable urban neighborhood than it is leading a lifestyle where you have to drive everywhere. You’re more likely to get killed on I-75 on your way downtown than you are being downtown. If Ohio had inter-city rail transit — which we would be well on our way to having if the federally funded 3C rail line between Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland wasn’t scrapped by Gov. John Kasich in 2010 — it is all but certain that fewer people would die on Ohio’s highways every year. Without it, others who might have chosen the safer option will end up in crashes week after week. Automotive deaths are part of a public health crisis. We need to invest in transit options to provide safer alternatives to driving. DEREK BAUMAN is the southwest Ohio director for All Aboard Ohio, a statewide rail and public transportation advocacy organization, and an activist supporting urban Cincinnati. Contact Derek: letters@ or @ derekbauman.

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Targeting Winkler’s War Room

Ethics complaint filed, investigation sought for Hamilton County official’s recruitment of employees for her campaign BY JAMES MCNAIR



that Robinson and two other supervisors were asking workers for help as far back as 2012, ahead of Winkler’s first election. Most pertained to putting up signs. “We really need on EAST side of town on major roads or intersection. Business or Residential. Thanks for any and all help you can give,” Robinson wrote to 40 employees on Sept. 18, 2012, a Tuesday, at 12:16 p.m. Moreover, Robinson and Winkler herself routinely post on Facebook during the course of the workday. In the last 90 days, Winkler took to Facebook at least 49 times during her office hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Her posts covered everything from political campaigns — including her own — Republican Party events, birthdays, family photos, fundraisers and, on the morning of Oct. 7, a video clip from the old I Love Lucy show.  Robinson drifts into Facebook on taxpayer time, too. At 1:26 p.m. on Monday, April 25, he wrote, “Help Support Tracy Winkler keep her seat as the Clerk of Courts! Come meet Tracy and help her in her REELECTION bid against the other guy!” Robinson went after the Clintons in daytime Facebook posts on Sept. 30 and Oct. 4. During the morning of Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, he shared a friend’s post of a confederate flag. Robinson could not be reached for comment. “He’s working for the (Republican) party while he’s being paid by the taxpayers,” says the former Winkler employee, who

Local attorney Tim Mara speaks at an Oct. 17 news conference with Hamilton County Clerk of Courts candidate Aftab Pureval (left) and State Sen. Cecil Thomas. asked not be identified for fear of repercussion. “The closer it gets to an election, he’s 95 percent political.” The source says that during Winkler’s 2012 campaign, Robinson recruited employees to stuff envelopes with political flyers and make phone calls to voters. The work was done at Republican headquarters during lunch breaks. Whether any of these workday Facebook posts or emails went through county-issued equipment was not immediately verifiable. In a statement to WCPO, Winkler said that “no county resources were used to further my election, and nothing illegal occurred.”  But personal use of taxpayer equipment was enough of a problem in 2012 that Mark Waters, Winkler’s top administrator and second-in-command, had to remind employees of office policy forbidding it. “Of particular concern,” he wrote in a June 15, 2012, memo to “Clerk_Everyone,” was employee use of Facebook and other social media, “even when on break.” “The office has received recent complaints from members of the public about employees visiting such sites during work hours,” Waters wrote. “In addition to violating office policy, such actions are very unprofessional and reflect badly on the entire office. It is expected that

all employees will strictly adhere to this policy in the future. Violations of the policy may result in disciplinary action.” CityBeat tried to reach Waters for details of any such disciplinary actions, to no avail. The practice of prodding employees to help the re-election campaigns of their bosses is widely frowned upon and has given rise to civil service protections at the federal, state and local government levels. But because the Hamilton County court clerk’s office considers all 220 of its employees “unclassified” — based on an opinion from county prosecutor Deters — they aren’t protected from solicitations to pitch in.  The Winkler email flap elicited a vow from her Democratic opponent Pureval to end the practice if he is elected. He said Oct. 17 that he would classify the “vast majority” of the office’s employees. “This is going to protect them from coercion and intimidation by shielding them from being able to be overtly partisan,” he said. “It’s why in other counties in Ohio, the clerk’s office employees are classified.” On Oct. 12, State Sen. Thomas took a step in another direction. He asked the threemember Hamilton County Board of Commissioners to request an investigation of the CONTINUES ON PAGE 13

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ow that email and social media trails show that the Hamilton County clerk of courts office served as a communications center for incumbent Tracy Winkler’s re-election campaign, the fallout is growing. It began with a lone employee who felt bullied by being asked — by email during work hours — to plant Winkler signs and stand in a parade wearing a Winkler T-shirt over the Labor Day weekend. A former employee chimed in, saying that if staffers during this person’s time in the office refused to pitch in on campaigns, “your shit was weak.” Criticism of Winkler’s politicking on taxpayer time peaked Oct. 17 in a press conference in front of the courthouse. Local attorney Tim Mara said he filed a complaint with the Ohio Ethics Commission. State Sen. Cecil Thomas said he would continue to press for county prosecutor Joe Deters to investigate the practices. And Winkler’s opponent, Aftab Pureval, said he would take steps to protect court clerk employees from unwanted solicitations to provide campaign help. “I’m a state senator,” Thomas said. “I am not allowed to solicit my staff for campaign contributions, nor am I allowed to solicit them to work for my campaigns. That’s all part of state law. For some reason, we’re seeing something totally different here in Hamilton County.” Interviews with current and former Winkler employees, along with Facebook posts and emails, depict an office from which political material was disseminated during office hours. Winkler herself sent one such email on Thursday, Sept. 1, asking employees for campaign help. She was joined by Donald Robinson, her chief bailiff in Municipal Court, who used a more insistent tone in rounding up volunteers. Winkler has not returned phone calls from CityBeat. She did respond to Cincinnati Enquirer questions about the Robinson email. “I became aware of an email sent by an employee using his personal email account,” she was quoted as saying. “I was disappointed in his comments, as we have run a positive campaign with many great volunteers. I met with the employee and expressed my strong displeasure and told him that this type of comment will never be tolerated by me or anyone in my office. I’ve taken corrective action and I’m confident this will never happen again. I consider the matter closed.” But is it? Eleven additional emails given to CityBeat by a former employee show

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Fight over Dennison Hotel Demolition Application Continues Even after a sometimes-testy four hours of cross examination, Cincinnati will have to wait a little longer for a decision on the fate of downtown’s historic Dennison Hotel building. The city’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Oct. 17 heard an appeal from lawyers for Columbia REI, LLC, the company run by the influential Joseph family that owns and would like to demolish the 124-year-old Dennison building. The Dennison, designed by the firm of famed Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford, last served as single-room-occupancy affordable housing. It was one of the last such SRO buildings downtown. In 2011, plans by Model Group to convert the building into 63 units of affordable housing for seniors fell through. The building was sold in 2013 to its current owners by an affiliate of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation for about $740,000. The group commissioned cost estimates for different redevelopment scenarios — part of the process for requesting a permit to demolish historic buildings — and says there is no way to make redevelopment of the Dennison work financially. A study completed by Beck Consulting found that renovation of the Dennison into a 60-room hotel would cost $10.5 million; turning it into a 52-unit apartment building would cost $7.9 million; conversion to 35 condos would cost $8.7 million; and changing it to an office building would run about $5 million. Those costs aren’t feasible at the modest scale the redevelopment would take, Columbia says. But opponents of the demolition point out that those projections don’t include potential Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits that could make renovation more financially feasible. This summer, the city’s Historic Conservation Board turned down an application by Columbia to tear the building down. Columbia attorneys Fran Barrett and Tim Burke cross-examined Cincinnati Urban Conservator Beth Johnson and others who testified before the Historic Conservation Board earlier this year about the building. Barrett has represented other developers seeking to raze historic buildings — including an effort to demolish an iconic structure in OTR and the successful effort to tear down the Gamble House in Westwood — often amidst controversy. During the Oct. 17 hearing, Burke and Barrett, as well as preservationists’ attorney Sean Suder, delved into the minutia of the urban conservator’s role in the city as

well as the expertise of various contractors and real estate experts called to testify by Columbia. Burke’s questioning of Johnson — which focused on Johnson’s qualifications, her use of best practice examples and whether she told the Historic Conservation Board that it wasn’t required to take her advice — was especially tense. Johnson’s office issued a report recommending the city not allow the building’s demolition. “Miss Johnson, we’ve already established that you’ve given the board bad advice,” the Columbia attorney said at one point in the hearing. Burke made the argument that Johnson’s report to the city went beyond what is spelled out in its historic preservation codes. Johnson countered that she was advising the city on best practices for deciding urban conservation cases, not on the letter of the law. Johnson and the preservation advocates’ lawyer, Suder, pushed back by pointing out that Columbia did not attempt to sell the building before declaring it an economic hardship. “You can’t claim you can’t make money on a property if you don’t try to sell it,” Johnson said. Burke and Barrett brought several of their own witnesses to the hearing, including Beck Consulting’s Lance Brown. Brown argued that rehabbing the Dennison was economically infeasible in part because the apartment market in downtown, which has been expanding rapidly, may be nearing its saturation point. He also brought up potential hurdles posed by parking and batted away criticisms that Columbia didn’t consider state and federal tax incentives before declaring rehab of the building an economic hardship. “Where are they going to park?” Brown asked about prospective tenants of apartments in the Dennison. Surface lots owned by the Josephs surround the building, but Brown said that extending use of those lots to monthly customers like apartment tenants would result in a loss of revenue for them. The board did not come to a decision about whether to uphold or overturn the ruling, setting another hearing for Nov. 1 at 8:30 a.m. Should the Zoning Board of Appeals uphold the previous denial for a demolition permit, Columbia has said it will take the case to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. (Nick Swartsell)

Iconic Abolitionist Landmark to Get State Rehab Funds One of Cincinnati’s most prominent antislavery landmarks will get a renovation paid for by the state of Ohio. CONTINUES ON PAGE 13


matter by Deters. Although Commissioner Todd Portune wanted legal advice from Deters’ office, the board did not act on the request. Since two of the commissioners are Republicans, at least one would have to consent to the request. One of the commissioners is Deters’ brother, Dennis Deters. Thomas said he plans to pursue the matter at the state level. “Clearly there was solicitation to the employees. The solicitation took place during working hours. And the tone of one of the emails was threatening,” he said. “There’s no way this can be an acceptable practice.” Thomas, who is black, was further disturbed by the social media post of a confederate flag during work hours. “Why would he do that?” Thomas asked. “As a representative of the courts, of our system of justice, to post the confederate flag, such a hurtful and offensive image, while you’re on the taxpayers’ time is totally unacceptable. CONTACT JAMES McNAIR:, @JMacNews on Twitter, 513-665-4700 x. 142.


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The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Walnut Hills, built in the 1830s, will get about $1 million from the state for interior and exterior rehabilitation and preservation work on the house. It served as the home for the Stowes, a prominent family of abolitionists and women’s rights activists. State Rep. Denise Driehaus, D-Clifton, announced the funding Oct. 17. “The Harriet Beecher Stowe House holds tremendous historical significance, not only for Ohio but for our nation as a whole,” Driehaus said in a statement. “I am pleased the state and the Ohio History Connection are partnering to breathe new life into this important cultural heritage site and help continue educating visitors on Cincinnati’s unique contributions to the Underground Railroad and the abolition of slavery.” The house is named for the author and abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of famous anti-slavery text Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe lived in the house for more than 20 years and wrote her famous novel about her time in Cincinnati. The book, one of the best-selling of the era, details the travails of slavery and the efforts of those looking to escape it via the Underground Railroad to Canada. It was published in the early 1850s, as the nation grappled with the tensions around slavery that would eventually lead to the Civil War. Stowe’s historic house needs work — including foundation stabilization, repairs to the building’s masonry, restoration and preservation of the building’s interior, a new elevator and updates to the building’s electrical and security systems. (NS)

J o i n u s i n pay i n g h o m ag e to a l l t h i n gs ‘z a W i t h $8 p i z z a s fro m s o m e o f C i n C i n n at i ’s m os t p o p u l a r p i z z a J o i n t s!

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Rapid Fired Pizza The Pub Rookwood Rusconi Pizza Snappy Tomato Pizza (17 locations) Taglio P R E S E N T E d b y:

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2016 Dining Guide: Where to Eat Now in Cincinnati According to science, humans can go a couple of weeks without eating food. But thankfully that’s not necessary in Cincinnati (unless you’ve embarked on some kind of personal hunger strike). This city’s ever-expanding dining scene is home to eateries that run the spectrum from budget-friendly finds and ethnic treasures to brewpubs, au courant cafés and luxury establishments that rival some of the best restaurants in the nation — not that we’re bragging. It’s a real embarrassment of riches, whether you’re a gourmand or just grabbing a bite, and this year’s Dining Guide delves into the food scene by asking local experts how they create favorite menu items for their respective restaurants and the best ways to complement cuisine with curated selections of beer, wine and cocktails. We also talk to the team behind Tiger Dumpling about its latest plans for expansion (Kroger, anyone?) and offer plentiful suggestions on where to eat now — including more than 30 pages of restaurant listings divided into handy, dandy cuisine categories. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it…

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Inventing the Recipe

Local chefs divulge how they generate consistently tasty dishes for their respective restaurants BY ILENE ROSS


hink you’re the only one who struggles when it comes to inspirational meal planning? What if it was your actual job to wow people with fresh new palate pleasers each and every day? And by people, I mean the gen pop, not just your spouse and those tiny people tugging at your pant legs. In order to take the mystery out of why restaurant food consistently tastes so good, as well as how to make the job of being a creative home cook a bit easier, we’ve asked three local chefs — Baron Shirley of Inspirado, Jackson Rouse of The Rookwood and Nathan Jolley of La Petite Pierre— how they go about planning the dishes on their menus. Although we’re pretty sure you’re not running a restaurant out of your home, follow their tips and you’ll be planning and cooking like a pro in no time.

CB: What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve ever created and why? JR: I like to let an ingredient speak, using the best seasonal thing and not f-ing with it too much. At the moment on this new menu, I really like our grilled broccoli with preserved lemon, oil-cured black olives, Calabrian chiles and Marcona almond purée. It’s vegan, and vegans love it, but if you’re not vegan, you would never know — that’s why it’s a winner. We are proud to serve up an epic meat-and-cheese board that shows off our large pickling production and awesome in-house meats. CB: What’s something awesome on your current menu and how did you come up with that? JR: Our new menu is a direct reflection of the dedication and hard work that a lot of my cooks have put in through the years. I’m blessed with some that have been with me for three years. This menu, we have a “let the kitchen decide” option in which the guest gets four to five courses. It could be completely off the menu, small versions of stuff on the menu or whatever creative juices are flowing. This has been a huge success for my guests and cooks to show off their skills and their food ambitions. We also really pushed the envelope in local food this menu and have many more local options than ever before — we just won a Slow Food Snail of Approval and we couldn’t be happier.

Baron Shirley Chef at Inspirado

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CityBeat: How do you come up with your recipes? Baron Shirley: For me, it’s a couple of things. The first usually begins with a nice protein I see in a market, be it some really fresh seafood or beautiful cut of beef or whatever. After that I like to fill in the rest of the plate with what’s local and in season. I don’t like to manipulate in-season vegetables much; I like to respect what the farmers have done and serve them as simple as possible — “less is more” is my mantra during the summer. The second, considering my restaurant menu is largely multicultural, I like to find dishes that are ubiquitous to a certain region — goulash from Hungary, laksa from Malaysia and lumpia from the Philippines — and reinvent them using local ingredients and my own ingenuity. I like the idea of several cultures coexisting on one menu. ...It’s a never-ending process thinking how to transform and elevate an ingredient. CB: What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve ever created and why? BS: My mother said years ago that if I wanted to be a millionaire, I should jar my bacon marmalade. It’s really good — we put it on our burger at Inspirado — and it’s definitely in the conversation. I do a scalloped corn dish with oysters and creamed leeks for Thanksgiving that’s pretty good also. CB: What’s something awesome on your current menu and how did you come up with that? BS: Has to be laksa. Laksa is the national dish of Malaysia. It’s a dish I’ve been familiar with and have been making for years. I love the flavors of Southeast Asia. It’s chiles, lemongrass, coconut milk and lime. Years ago I was watching Anthony Bourdain sing the praises of laksa. I wasn’t familiar, so I went and educated myself. Everyone in Malaysia grew up eating it, and everybody’s mother had their own

The Rookwood, 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams,

Nathan Jolley Chef at La Petite Pierre the rookwood’s grilled broccoli with Cal abrian chiles and Marcona Almond PurÉe | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

version. After reading about 100 recipes, I went in my own direction. I love it and it’s one of our better-selling items in the restaurant. I’ve had people that have spent time in Asia tell me mine is as authentic as anything they’ve had abroad. It’s probably my wife’s favorite thing I make. Inspirado, 715 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky.,

Jackson Rouse Chef at The Rookwood CityBeat: How do you come up with your recipes? Jackson Rouse: I read a lot. I also stay current with restaurant openings, food trends and travel via the internet. Most of all, I try to identify with my guests and understand their demographic, wants, needs. I have a unique demographic that ranges from ages 5 to 100, so cool kid food is one of my things, lots of creative vegetable and vegan options, classic elevated burgers and spins on comfort foods. I throw in a little of my travel experiences and music to boot.

CityBeat: How do you come up with your recipes? Nathan Jolley: A lot is taken into consideration, especially in the professional kitchen — available equipment, target price point and food cost, seasonal availability, menu longevity, a lot of administrative thinking and menu planning. When these decisions have been made, then we can look at how we want to execute a dish. As for the food itself: experimentation, consultation and tasting, tasting, tasting. CB: What’s your favorite recipe that you’ve ever created and why? NJ: The favorite changes all the time. What I am in love with this week is not what I will be in love with next week. Pride is not much of a factor for me. When folks say they like a dish, I am more humbled than excited. CB: What’s something awesome on your current menu and how did you come up with that? NJ: Can I refer to the Jeremiah Johnson here? It’s an old goetta hot brown (which has) evolved, matured and mutated over the years into a monster dish, named for a dear friend. La Petite Pierre, 7800 Camargo Road, Madeira,

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PRIME CINCINNATI: STEAK, SEAFOOD, WINE NOW LOCALLY OWNED All about Cincinnati, Art, Wine & Prime Cuisine

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Local artists featured: Brittney Shay, Steven Thomas & Carlos Navarro Expanded Prime Seafood: Shipped overnight directly from Honolulu Expanded wine list: With old favorites, new rising stars, and featuring Veleta wines Live Music: in our lounge Thurs - Sat / Private Dining: for 10 - 200

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tiger dumpling | PHOTO : provided


Cultivating the Jungle

Tiger Dumpling takes a leap into mass production with a new storefront and eatery at The Banks BY GARIN PIRNIA


quality can suffer when you increase quantity. At the Woodlawn plant, the dumpling output will be 15 to 20 times what it was in Clifton. But Hebert assures the greatest difference will be how quickly and efficiently the dumplings are produced. “We did a lot of testing to make sure that our final product — as far as taste, texture, feel — was identical to where we were before with a 100 percent handmade product,” he says. “The only thing in our process that’s changed is the actual closing of the dumpling. Instead of having to do it by hand, now it’s a machine that closes it.” If the dumpling supply runs low at the Banks storefront, all they have to do is jog up to Woodlawn and grab more. The vegetarian dumplings will be processed in a separate area, making them a 100-percent vegan product, and the restaurant will continue to use fresh ingredients, nothing frozen. The business’ so-called “catastrophic growth” astonishes Hebert, who moved to Cincinnati from Detroit two years ago to be with a girlfriend. The relationship didn’t last long, but his dumpling empire has soared. To assuage doing all the work himself, Hebert hired Dallas native Thomas Knier to be the director of operations. Hebert and Knier had mutual friends and met for the first time at Jeff Ruby’s. “And I turn around and I see this gentleman walking toward me in a T-shirt, flip flops, cargo shorts and a hat, and I snidely said to my friend, ‘Oh, they just let anybody in here now,’ ” Knier says. “Little did I know, 10 seconds later, this is Hunter, who I would be meeting and eventually one day be an executive on his staff.” The two bonded and Hebert hired him. Together, they are working on transforming Tiger Dumpling into a brand, replete with franchising potential in college towns. Tiger Dumpling 2.0 will be open sometime late fall.

“Perfection takes time,” Hebert says. The menu will expand to include soup all day — in Clifton soup was only offered part of the day — plus a steamed bun and possibly ramen. And now, with the extra space, they’ll be able to install a fryer. “We would like to see a fried dumpling,” Knier says. Hebert was worried that closing the shop would result in losing fans, but he says the groundswell has doubled their Instagram followers and quadrupled Facebook fans. “It was bad when I shut down for a little bit and I was like, ‘Oh, I kinda want dumplings,’ ” he says. “I’m not going to get them at P.F. Chang’s.” Before Hebert landed in Cincinnati, he spent time traveling and living in exotic locations, like South Africa. “I was blessed to be born into family that gave me an opportunity to do a lot of really neat things at a young age and I think that molded me as far as being able to look at different cultures and different cuisines,” he says. Hebert and Knier both see Tiger Dumpling as a means to be charitable in possibly setting up culinary scholarship funds. “He’s always wanting to give it away to someone,” Knier says of Hebert. “That’s a good mindset to have.” Knier would like it to be “more than a dumpling restaurant,” and says it would be nice to be able to work one job for the rest of his life. Hebert agrees. “I want to see the company that I put all my blood, sweat and tears into be successful enough to give the quality of life to my employees that I would be OK with,” he says. “I just want to see the brand go where a quality brand should go. Knowing that it’s got the capacity to do that now is fun to think about, but it’s also very scary, because it’s happening so fast.” TIGER DUMPLING will be located at 141 E. Freedom Way, Downtown. More info:

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usinesses typically shutter because they don’t have enough customers, not the reverse. But Tiger Dumpling is different. Tiger Dumpling opened on Calhoun Street in Clifton in January 2015 and developed a cult following — the restaurant sold more than 3,000 handmade dumplings a day. It got so popular that owner Hunter Hebert made the decision to close the business on April 28, 2016 — a mere 14 months later. “I didn’t really tell anybody why, but it’s because I knew I was going to move to a larger facility,” he says. “I couldn’t continue to do the volume in that small of a space.” The larger facility is a 1,500-square-foot storefront and eatery at The Banks, previously occupied by WG Kitchen, a big step up from the 525-square-foot Clifton shop. Hebert also purchased a production plant in Woodlawn to massmanufacture dumplings for the Banks location and for an even larger project that he’s been fairly secretive about. “Everyone pretty much thought I was crazy to close the restaurant in Clifton, but there’s a bigger master plan that very few people know about,” he says. Rumors have swirled he made a distribution deal with Kroger, and his response was, “No comment.” But a press release issued by the restaurant on Monday confirmed that Tiger Dumpling will be opening a food cart in Kroger’s Oakley Marketplace by the end of October, with an additional location coming to the Harper’s Point Kroger soon after. In Clifton, Tiger Dumpling offered three kinds of steamed dumplings — chicken, pork and veggie — with sauces. They also offered edamame and soup. That was it. The University of Cincinnati crowd especially gravitated toward the dumplings because they could either pick them up or have them delivered until 3 a.m. The move into large-scale manufacturing can sometimes mean the demise of a once solid product, because

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Drink Up

Experts of their craft recommend which alcohol to imbibe with different dishes BY MCKENZIE GRAHAM

EXPERTS Beer: Chris Mitchell, co-owner of Woodburn Brewery Wine: Kate MacDonald, winemaker and co-owner of Skeleton Root winery; Laura Landoll, advanced sommelier and adjunct professor at the Midwest Culinary Institute Cocktails: Ryan Santos, chef and owner of Please

SNACKS Beer: Mitchell likes to drink fruit beers with appetizers, cheeses and “snackables.” Wine: “We don’t often give enough props to wine’s ability to pair with simple grub,” MacDonald says. “One of my personal favorites is sparkling wine and good, old-fashioned salted potato chips.” Cocktail: “A vermouth-based cocktail with a lower ABV allows you to enjoy a drink and take in the day without putting you to bed,” Santos says. “Vermouth and vermouth cocktails have a wine base with various botanicals that can pair with many snacks.” 

BEEF Beer: A good cut of beef paired with a stout is the perfect combination, Mitchell says.

Cocktail: A sherry daiquiri, because beef and lime together are a “no brainer,” Santos says, adding, “Sherry has a light, nutty, caramel flavor that will complement the sear on a perfectly caramelized steak or the char from the grill.”

FISH Beer: Woodburn’s Cedar IPA or any hoppy beer pairs especially well with smoked or baked salmon, Mitchell says. Wine: “I really enjoy pairing fattier seafood and shellfish, as well as dishes boasting cream-based sauces, with

“As for the rule of ‘no red wine with fish,’ throw it out,” Landoll says. “This rule had much more to do with the freshness of fish 150 years ago. You can pair a red wine that has fewer tannins, like a pinot noir, with fish.” Cocktail: A cider sangria. “A balance of lightly sweet lillet rosé and the citrus acidity from the lemon in Rhinegeist’s semi-dry cider is the perfect way to complement a fall fluke crudo or cooked cod dish,” Santos says.

PORK Beer: “We have a traditional German pilsner called Steinpils,” Mitchell says. He serves it with pork chops, grilled onions and apples. Wine: MacDonald will braise pork shoulders with the same wine she’ll end up drinking. “This harvest, we’ve been killing Eli’s (BBQ) pork sandwich and our 2014 Northern Liberties red wine,” she says. “Smoked meats in general pair well with wines that have seen some barrel.” Cocktail: “The flavors of fall are natural partners to a pork dish,” Santos says. “Apple brandy boosted with a light yet complex cardamom-infused bourbon, fresh lemon and local honey will get your fall pork party going.”

POULTRY Beer: “Sour beers — we have a Berliner Weisse — are nice with lighter meats such as poultry,” Mitchell says. “Saisons

would work, too. The acidity and tartness of the beer complements the lighter meats.” Wine: “Leaner meats are a lot of fun from a pairing perspective,” MacDonald says. “There’s nothing better than Southern fried chicken and a nice white wine or a lighterbodied red. With the holidays coming upon us, I would suggest something with aromatics and flavors you love. I often sip on pinot noir and gamay through the fall.” Cocktail: Punch made with Cynar — an artichoke-based bittersweet liquor — lillet and lemon oleo saccharin (a mix of lemon oil and sugar). “The bitter complexity in Cynar will balance the salt and fat in the dish,” Santos says. “It pairs well with darker meat and thighs.”

OTHER Beer: Mitchell says to eat your dessert with an imperial stout. “We have a chocolate cherry milk stout that could be a dessert by itself.” Wine: MacDonald’s go-to is rosé. “These wines too often get a bad rap due to their color similarity with white zin, but the similarity ends there!” she says. “Rosés are produced from red wine grapes and see a little skin contact to extract a tinge of color and, more importantly, their fresh fruit-forward style.” “At the end of the day, my personal preference is a glass of champagne,” Landoll says. “A bottle of Crémant d’Alsace rosé is my second choice, with prosecco being a very close third. You’ll always find a chilled bottle of dry rosé in my refrigerator year-round.” Cocktail: “A gin and tonic is simple, light and refreshing,” Santos says. “Yet every gin tells a different story. Pairing different gins with certain dishes leads to multiple options in the kitchen. Each gin embraces its own flavor profile, from citrus and herbs to roses and local bushes.” ©

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Wine: “One of my favorite beef dishes to make for a dinner party is a beef tenderloin,” Landoll says. “Since tenderloins lack the fat structure, you’ll have a wider range of wines to pair with it. The red wine options range from bordeaux — my favorite — to nebbiolo from Piedmont, sangiovese from Tuscany to cabernet sauvignon from Napa, but my first choice for beef tenderloin is always a Right Bank bordeaux.”

white wines containing elevated acidity,” MacDonald says. “A nice dry riesling, for instance. For lighter seafood I suggest matching the body and acidity of the wine accordingly, delicate wines for delicate fish. … Another fun one that’s budget-friendly is albariño. Go local! Snag some Alabama Fish Bar whiting and stand it up next to our riesling — off-dry, great acidity.”

L- R : P l e a s a n t r y | P H O T O : A A R O N C O N WAY // T h e A r e pa P l a c e LAT I N G R I LL | P H O T O : J E S S E F O X


Where to Eat Now

Dining destinations for all budgets, tastes and comfort zones BY ILENE ROSS


here has never been a better time to dine out in Cincinnati. Our town is exploding in all regions, price ranges and types of cuisines. That’s why we’ve assembled (with a bit of help from some trusty local professionals) this list of places — in no particular order — you need to know about now. Some are tried-and-true stalwarts, a couple are still sweeping away the construction dust and others might take you a bit out of your comfort zone and put a few miles on the family roadster, but all are totally worth it. Go forth and eat.

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NEW AND NOW Recently featured in Food & Wine Magazine for its vast array of natural wines, Pleasantry is a cozy little Overthe-Rhine eatery that features plenty of perfectly paired dishes to go along with their wines. This place is of-themoment, but nothing feels too precious or hipster-y. Do not pass up starting the evening with the fried olives — they’re totally addictive — as is the salmon tartare with mango, jalapeño and avocado. Feeling adventurous? Eschew a meat-based main and try the cauliflower with coconut milk, grapefruit, cilantro, cashew and sambal. Menu prices are exceedingly friendly (entrées are in the $10-$20 range), and according to Nicolas Wayne, co-owner of A Tavola, it’s the perfect place for a night out with his wife. “For me, it’s a hidden gem and perfect for date night,” Wayne says. “First, the space is beautiful and comfortable with great outdoor seating as well as an intimate and comfortable interior with great light. Second, the food is easily some of the best in the city right now.” Pleasantry, 118 W. 15th St., Over-the-Rhine, Everyone’s favorite French Chef, Jean-Robert de Cavel, has just launched a trio of eateries in all price ranges, starting with the fast-casual, family-friendly Frenchie Fresh, offering salads, four different varieties of macaroni and cheese and sandwiches — all for $15 or less. Add to that six

different types of burgers, including a veggie option, along with dozens of toppings and you’ve definitely got something for every family member. Options blend French and American inspiration — par exemple, there’s a béchamel mac and cheese with seafood and truffle, or an option with bacon, hot dog and sausage. And burger toppings run the gamut from shredded iceberg lettuce and sliced tomato to onion and grape compote and roasted tomato provençal. Popular downtown breakfast and lunch spot French Crust Café and Bistro has moved to larger digs adjacent to Findlay Market, and L, a partnership between chef de Cavel and hospitality expert Richard Brown, is a luxurious fine-dining experience with absolutely no air of stuffiness. CityBeat dining writer Pama Mitchell recently gushed, “‘L,’ the latest endeavor by two local creative geniuses, has elevated Cincinnati’s dining landscape almost immeasurably.” Frenchie Fresh, 3831 Edwards Road, Norwood, 513-366-3960,; French Crust Café, 1801 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,; L, 301 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-760-5525,

ETHNIC EATS Head to Findlay Market on the weekends for our very own United Nations progressive-dining experience courtesy of the outdoor food stands. Bridges features authentic Nepalese dishes prepared by Ashak Chipalu and his mother, Rose. Nepalese cuisine centers around rice topped with gently seasoned dishes like chicken tikka masala, made with grilled and marinated chicken, and potato curry. Bridges also serves samosas, which are savory pastries filled with different potato blends. Chipalu will be opening a brick-andmortar location in 2017 in Northside at 4165 Hamilton Ave., after current occupier Melt relocates to its larger, alcoholfriendly location in the Gantry Apartments storefront. The Arepa Place Latin Grill serves scratch-made arepas (Venezuelan corn or flour pockets stuffed with a

variety of fillings). These tender little hand pies are available stuffed with combinations of beef, chicken, cheese, beans and plantains. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, are vegan, vegetarian or just love tamales, seek out Jenn’s Hot Tamale. This delicious, traditional Mesoamerican dish is made from masa, or corn flour, wrapped around a tasty filling of chicken, pork or veggies. We’re huge fans of the vegan mushroom version. Do not pass up French pastry stand Baudry for delectable eclairs (the caramel is amazing), shortbread cookies, cream puffs and croissants. Other stands include Saigon Market for fried rice; Babushka Pierogies for stuffed Eastern European-style dumplings, filled with combos like potato and cheddar, cabbage, and beef and mushroom; and Mapi’s Barbequehan for Filipino barbecue. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, Worth a drive to the suburbs is Phoenician Taverna in Deerfield Township for super-fresh and flavorful Mediterranean fare — you can make a meal from a variety of their mezze/appetizers alone. Or Sawasdee Thai Cuisine in Fairfield, which chef Andrew Vogel, culinary instructor at Midwest Culinary Institute, calls “fresh, flavorful, inexpensive.” Budina Noodle and Rice in West Chester is another favorite of Vogel. “They do everything in house,” he says. “Their noodle dishes are outstanding.” Phoenician Taverna, 7944 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, 513-770-0027,; Sawasdee Thai Cuisine, 6600 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-330-5050,; Budina Noodle and Rice, 8179 Princeton Glendale Road, West Chester, 513889-4088,

CASUAL AND CHEAP It’s no surprise that busy chefs enjoy fast, casual, yet good food, especially if they’ve got kids in tow. Chef Nathan Jolley of Madeira’s La Petite Pierre has been going to

L- R : T u c k e r ’ s // F o r n o O s t e r i a + B AR | P H O T O S : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

TRIED AND TRUE ADDITIONS Some favorite tried and true places have opened new outposts. The good folks behind The Eagle/Bakersfield family recently debuted Maplewood Kitchen & Bar in the Central Business District, and not only is the food great, but we’ve also fallen in love with taking our meetings in the giant, round banquettes. For breakfast, try the avocado toast made with 16 Bricks bread, pistachio, Carriage House Farms’ honey drizzle and sea salt. They also make a mean tomatillo bloody mary with fresh-pressed green

juice. Maplewood Kitchen & Bar, 525 Race St., Downtown, 513-421-2100, There’s no doubt that the Pietoso family knows Italian food. Nicola’s and Via Vite are two of our best local restaurants, and now there’s Forno Osteria + Bar in Hyde Park offering authentic, classic pasta, main dishes and wood-fired pizza. It’s all good, but whatever you order, go for a side of the truffled cream corn and save room for dessert. And on Tuesdays, pony up to the bar for a special $12 portion of handmade tagliatelle Bolognese, salad and Blue Oven bread. Forno Osteria + Bar, 3514 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-818-8720, Bones’ Burgers, the go-to food truck for juicy, locally sourced, grass-fed beef burgers as well as salmon and veggie burgers, has opened a brick-and-mortar location in a fairly nondescript strip mall in Montgomery. Inside, top your burger with everything from applewood smoked bacon and avocado to pineapple and smoked Gruyere. Bones’ Burgers, 9721 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-407-2939,

COMING SOON BY EMILY BEGLE Y AND MAIJA ZUMMO Chef Ryan Santos, the mind behind the popular pop-up concept Please, will soon be turning his gypsy culinary caravan into a cool and cozy brick-and-mortar restaurant on Clay Street in Over-the-Rhine. Tucked behind a beautiful blue façade and hefty honey-colored wood doors, expect the same level of creative and seasonally sourced dishes — with ingredients grabbed from the Please garden, just a half-block from the restaurant, as well as other area farms and artisan food purveyors. That commitment to local extends to the décor, with plates handcrafted by Cincy-based CGCERAMICS and tables and chairs made locally by the Brush Factory and Simple Wood Goods.

(Get a sneak peek of what their cocktail menu could feature on page 21.) Please, 1405 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine, The name Cooking with Caitlin likely sounds familiar: Helmed by Kelly Trush and her sister Caitlin Steininger, the brand began as a blog nine years ago and has since booked a regular column in The Cincinnati Enquirer and a radio show on WKRC-AM. Trush created the blog to share her younger sister’s talent for cooking, a passion that propelled the duo’s decision to open their own brickand-mortar specializing in sandwiches and Italian food. The restaurant, which will be named CWC, is scheduled to open mid-November in the sisters’ neighborhood of Wyoming. Local herbs and produce will be incorporated into the menu. CWC, 1517 Springfield Pike, Wyoming, Sisters Shayne and Heather Byer purchased a former home, doctor’s office and Veterans Hall in Pleasant Ridge last year with the goal of transforming the space into three floors of dining as Cal-Mex restaurant Casa Figueroa, complete with a wrap-around deck, retro game room and basement bar. On the menu, expect unique salsas, nachos, tacos, salads and entrées like lamb shoulder mole negro. For special events, the eatery will fire up a locally produced Arteflame grill, which cooks food directly over a wood flame or on a near-500-degree steel plancha. Casa Figueora, 6112 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, Also coming soon: a Taco Bell Cantina. A higherend concept for the late-night beef, bean and Baja Blast purveyor, the cantina is slated to open in 2017. If concepts in Chicago and San Francisco are any indication, expect industrial-modern décor, digital additions, shared apps and alcohol. Soon you’ll be able to get drunk while eating your Crunchwrap Supreme instead of getting drunk before eating your Crunchwrap Supreme. Taco Bell Cantina, 580 Walnut St., Downtown,

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Sebastian’s Gyros on the West Side for years. “It’s kind of a hole in the wall, but my first gyro was from there,” he says. “It’s been owned by the same family for years, with Greek salad, spanakopita, tiropita and Greek fries. Nothing fancy, nothing really unique, just a good, long-standing spot.” Sebastian’s Gyros, 5209 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513-471-2100, For chef Jason Louda of Metropole, it’s Werkhaus Pizza for good, cheap eats. “They do hearty, stuffed pizzas with a really broad variety of fillings as well as a thin pizza with a sesame crust,” he says. “It’s always my go-to when I have to bring food to a gathering but don’t have time, because they have something for everyone. Really great sandwiches, too. Kid-friendly, budget-friendly and a hidden gem.” Werkhaus Pizza, 3637 Werk Road, Western Hills, 513-451-9911, It’s been a long road back, but Tucker’s Restaurant, the iconic 70-year-old family-run diner, has literally risen from the ashes of a kitchen fire and is back to serving their grateful customers omelets (breakfast is served all day), patty melts, veggie chili and Big Tuckers — Tucker’s famous double-decker burger with cheese and special sauce. A cup of coffee is only $1.50, and you can’t go wrong with their veggie BLT, made with vegetarian bacon. Tucker’s Restaurant, 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-954-8920.

24  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Restaurant listings are compiled from CityBeat dining reviews and are edited for space.


Where to Eat Later

H Indicates winners from CityBeat’s 2016 Best of Cincinnati® issue.

Dining options for every type of craving BY CIT YBEAT STAFF

Open since 1861, Arnold’s is the oldest continuously running tavern in town, complete with dark wood walls, vintage memorabilia and a big ol’ bathtub in the dining room, rumored to have been used to make gin during Prohibition. A Cincinnati classic, it serves up a nice range of lunch and dinner options — pasta, sandwiches and burgers, plus vegan and gluten-free options — at bargain prices. Enjoy a local draft in the outdoor beer garden and almost daily live music. Named as one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine. $7-$18. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-421-6234,


Serving only local beers on draft, Arthur’s is a relaxed gathering place on Hyde Park Square. The menu includes salads, soups, sandwiches and — their specialty — burgers with deals on “burger madness” days. Includes a late-night menu. $8-$12. 3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513871-5543,


The bar has been reopened and renovated, and the new menu contains the same inexpensive items from yesteryear, except now with more vegetarianfriendly dishes. $4-$14. 1686 Blue Rock St., Northside, 513681-8100,

BrewRiver GastroPub

City View Tavern

A hillside dive and home of one of the best spicy bloody marys and best views in town. The burgers are damn tasty, too. Meet Big Ted: six ounces of griddle-cooked, handmade beef patty with American cheese, brown mustard, lettuce, pickles, mayo, onion, ketchup and home-grown tomatoes (when in season), served in a plastic basket with a bag of chips. $3-$7. 403 Oregon St., Mount Adams, 513-241-8439.

Habits Café

A classic neighborhood bar and grill. The dinner menu changes a bit with the seasons, but you can always get Potato Rags at Habits. Hash browns on steroids, Potato Rags are smothered in cheese, bacon, onion, tomato and ranch dressing. There’s a french fry version, too. Saturday and Sunday, brunch features a make-your-own bloody mary bar. $6.25-$15. 3036 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-631-8367,

Holy Grail Tavern & Grille

With more than 15 high-definition TVs, a plethora of beers on tap and great pub grub, this is a prime sports spot at The Banks. Munch on classic fare like ballpark pretzels, angus burgers, wings and wraps, with outdoor seating directly across from the Reds stadium. $7-$10. 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513621-2222,

Howl at the Moon/ Splitsville

Half TGI Friday’s on steroids, half luxury bowling alley, Howl at the Moon/Splitsville has everything. The menu — pizza, sushi, burgers, nachos, taco salad, brownie sundaes — goes on and on. The sushi is surprisingly delicious for a classy bowling alley-restaurant tackling Asian fusion, the pizza is massive and delicious with a thick bready crust and the burgers are comforting. $9-$15. 145 Second St. East, Downtown, 513-421-2695, howlsplitsville. com/cincinnati-oh.

H Incline Public House

With a 1,400-square-foot deck for soaking in vistas and cocktails, IPH’s name is derived from the actual Cincinnati Incline that existed there from the late 1800s to the 1940s. Their upscale twist on pub food features sandwiches, pizza, epicurean appetizers and a slew of craft cocktails and draft beers; they have a monthly beer series called Meet the Brewer during which beer-ophiles can sample suds from local breweries such as Blank Slate and MadTree. $7-$14. 2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill, 513-251-3000,

Keystone Bar & Grill

This neighborhood joint offers a variety of tasty comfort food. Huge plates of pasta, a rockin’ quesadilla menu, build-yourown-burgers (including turkey or veggie options) and weekend brunch. When a restaurant dedicates an entire menu to its macaroni and cheese varietals, you know they are serious about grub. $7-$15. Multiple locations including 313 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-261-6777; 249 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-221-5397; 3384 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-2150,


When a celebrity opens a restaurant, customers likely fall into two camps: those who go there for the celeb brand, or those who actually enjoy the food, drink and ambiance. For Over-the-Rhine’s sports bar Lachey’s, it works both ways. The real winner here is the extensive drink menu; along with beer, wine and cocktails on tap, there are bottles, cans and a section devoted to both bloody marys and boilermakers. As for food, the menu (designed by celebrity chef Brian Duffy) wavers between fried foods such as tater tots and wings and healthier dishes like a heaping kale salad. Bonus: 90-inch TVs and a running sports ticker flank the bar. $8-$16. 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-275-0740,

H Moerlein Lager House

Moerlein Lager House celebrates Cincinnati’s brewing tradition in a giant restaurant and brewery with sweeping views of downtown and the riverfront. Offers a large something-for-everyone menu of burgers and pastas, plus fancier dishes like filet mignon and squash wellington. With 24 beers on tap — house brews and other crafts — plus more than 60 in bottles and cans, there’s a drink for every taste. Tours of the in-house brewery available. $10-$28. 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-421-2337,


MOTR Pub does two things really well: rocks your face off with loud music and sweaty crowds and serves up one hell of a burger. But fret not veg-heads — you can get a veggie burger or veggie BLT. There’s also the spicy St. Francis Monastery mac and cheese. Try the Migas Tacos with egg, crispy potatoes, cheese and chorizo with a bloody mary

during Sunday brunch. Now open for lunch. $5-$9. 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-6687,

Northside Yacht Club

The fare might be best described as bar food with a creative twist — meat, cheese and fries, your basic high-fat, low-cost, satisfying stuff, but all meats are smoked in house and sides range from caramelized Brussels sprouts to kale slaw. Fan favorites include short-rib grilled cheese, smoked chicken wings with housemade sauce and poutine with duck fat gravy. For vegetarians, there’s also a large salad and vegan Cincinnati chili served over fries. Full service brunch on weekends, with Tikithemed cocktails. $4-$15. 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-541-0528, northsideyachtclub.

H Taft’s Ale House

Housed in a renovated multistory 1850s-era church, Taft’s is named after William Howard Taft, the 27th president of

the United States and native Cincinnatian. The 6,000-barrelsper-year brewery and restaurant features meat platters, salads and sandwiches that focus on tri-tip beef — similar to prime rib. The creative beer selection boasts brews made with local goods — everything from locally roasted coffee to artisan chocolate. $7.50-$20. 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-334-1393,

Tap House Grill

A locally owned restaurant and bar featuring 34 beers on tap, focusing on local and regional breweries. They also offer a build-your-own burger menu. $9-$20. 8740 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-891-TAPS,

Wurst Bar in the Square

Mount Lookout’s Wurst Bar in the Square has tricked-out sausages showcasing local meats from Wassler’s Meat Market, along with vegetarian dogs (stuffed with apple and potato), and a carefully selected lineup of craft

T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  2 5

Chef Michael Shields, who earned his chops under Emeril Lagasse, opened BrewRiver GastroPub with craft beer and thoughtfully paired New Orleansleaning cuisine in mind. Try the curried beef short rib poutine or Decatur Street Muffaletta with a rotating list of more than 50 handpicked, locally brewed drafts, bottles and cans. When the weather is nice, grab brunch on the patio — a bacon-infused cake donut, chicken and waffles or barbecue shrimp and grits — with a view of the Ohio River. $9-$22. 2062 Riverside

Drive, East End, 513-861-2484,

Incline Public House | PHOTO : jes se fox

BAR & GRILLS/ BREWPUBS H Arnold’s Bar and Grill

nashville hot | PHOTO : jes se fox

e l i ’ s b b q | P H O T O : c at i e v i o x

beer and mixed drinks. The Hans Gruber, a “ruthless” German brat, is topped with peppers, shaved onion and Vienna Dusseldorf mustard. $5-$9. 3204 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-3210615,


Alabama Que

26  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

In 2008, Bellamy, Ala. native Dwan Ward founded barbecue joint Alabama Que, otherwise known as the “home of turkey tips,” in the West Side before bringing the restaurant to Corryville in 2012. After the move, Dwan, a former firefighter and football player, began catering through word of mouth; today, it’s a popular haunt for professional athletes and celebrities like A.J. Green, Snoop Dogg and Wale. All items are non-pork based, making Ward’s grub available to a wide variety of eaters; greens and green beans are made with smoked turkey, baked beans are entirely vegetarian and meat is cooked on separate grills and cut with different knives. $3.50-$21. 2733 Vine St., Corryville, 513-376-8781,

City BBQ

This regional chain was named one of the best in America by Men’s Journal. They put out some dang tasty barbecue, including mouth-watering beef brisket and a good and sloppy pulledpork sandwich. Mix and match your sauce and meat. $7-$30. Multiple locations including 10375 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-257-0362; 7706 Voice

of America Centre Drive, West Chester, 513-755-0518; 2760 Alexandria Pike, Highland Heights, Ky., 859-415-4544;

H The Eagle OTR

The Eagle is nested inside a retired post office and has a relatively small menu, comprised of fried chicken, sandwiches, some snacks and several side dishes. Booze-wise, they serve 100 kinds of beer and have about 15 different brews on tap. The fried chicken is free-range, antibiotic-free and sourced from Amish farms. You can get a whole chicken for $16, a half chicken for $8 (white and dark meat) or a quarter of a chicken for $5. The kale and artichoke dip is a must. $8-$16. 1342 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-8025007,,

H Eli’s BBQ

Eli’s specialty, the pulled-pork sandwich, is a good intro to his amazing barbecue sauce, and you can move on from there to hickory-smoked ribs, smoked turkey or an all-beef hot dog topped with pulled-pork crispins and coleslaw. Try the mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, baked beans or the jalapeño corn bread. The East End location is BYOB, so don’t forget your six-pack. $5-$8; cash only. 3313 Riverside Drive, East End, and on the south side of Findlay Market, 1801 Race St, Over-the Rhine. 513-533-1957,

Green Derby

Most diners who visit the Green Derby know exactly what they want before they walk in the door.

The Derby Salad is a favorite, served with hot bacon dressing. Try the halibut sandwich on rye or one of the Derby’s other plentiful fish entrées. You’ll want to save room for dessert, too. The Green Derby has been around since 1947; it’s easy to see why. $9-$19. 846 York St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-8740,

Greyhound Tavern

Famous for its double-deckers, the Greyhound Tavern has been a Fort Mitchell institution since the 1930s. You won’t want to miss the divine fried chicken, the ginormous onion rings, the Hot Brown or the bread pudding. $10-$29. 2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-331-3767,

The Hitching Post

“World’s Best Fried Chicken” is this diner’s claim to fame, but you should try their outstanding breakfasts — especially Uncle Bubba’s Ultimate Omelet. Burgers and Tall Stacks (overstuffed double-decker sandwiches) complete with traditional classics like meatloaf and BLTs. $4-$13. 2715 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-9201,

Huit Craft BBQ

The menu reflects an intriguing mashup of cultures: Flavors from Indonesia, the Americas, China and Southeast Asia are found in Huit’s spicy tribute to the pig, the chicken and the cow. But their barbecue tofu helps keep those pesky vegetarians happy. This energetic dining spot is bringing new life to Court Street, with

good hours for residents, including evenings and Saturdays, and their ramen is a big, fat bowl of heaven. $7-$24. 29 E. Court St., Downtown, 513-381-4848,

Just Q’in

Just Q’in’s second location in Walnut Hills is huge compared to the Newtown original — an easyto-miss little cube of real estate mostly used for carry out and sort of permanent food truck, which is how the place began. Owner Matt Cuff launched his pursuit of cooked meats by entering (and winning) barbecue competitions in South Carolina. If you don’t want pork, brisket, chicken or ribs, you can get wings, rib tips or even do a platter of sides since each one is only two bucks. Just Q’in’s version of macaroni and cheese is truly delicious. The color is deep and the texture is hearty, and you can tell that real cheese has gone into the making of this dish. $6.50-$27. 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, 513-386-4848; 6901 Valley Ave., Newtown, 513271-6555,

Montgomery Inn

World-famous for its ribs, Montgomery Inn has been a staple in Cincinnati for more than 60 years. Along with ribs, the Inn offers barbecued spring chicken, silver salmon, pulled-pork sandwiches, burgers, salads and more, including everyone’s favorite: Saratoga chips served with their famous barbecue sauce. $8-$35. Multiple locations including 9440 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-791-3482; 925 Riverside Drive, Downtown, 513-721-7427; 400 Buttermilk

Pike, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-3445333;

Nashville Hot

Nashville Hot is owned by a past president of local favorite Tom+Chee, David Krikorian. The chicken can be ordered in four spice levels with cutesy names: 1) Yankee Mild; 2) Midwest Medium; 3) Southern Heat; and 4) Nashville Hot. The meat is very moist — it’s soaked in a buttermilk brine before frying — and the seasoning is aggressive but reasonable. The dinners come with two sides; try the original and fresh Tennessee Caviar and the loaded baked potato salad. There are multiple local beers available, including one from Covington’s Braxton Brewery on tap, as well as sodas and housemade milkshakes. $8-$11.50. 564 Buttermilk Pike, Crescent Springs, Ky., 859-3606632,

Ollie’s Trolley

Ollie’s special seasoning spices up everything from grits and eggs at breakfast to a hearty lunch of barbecued turkey tips. Start with the Ollie burger and fries and stay for the ribs with homemade macaroni and cheese and lemon pound cake for dessert. This cooking feeds your soul. $3-$45 (for whole turkeys). 1605 Central Ave., West End, 513-381-6100,


With pimento dip served with Ritz crackers, Cheerwine and Red Neck Frito Pie, barbecue palace Pontiac takes low-class grub to a self-aware, higher level. Along with their pulled pork, their smoked brisket, turkey, kielbasa

and veg are a beautiful thing. St. Louis ribs available by the slab. $9-$23. 1403 Vine St. Over-the-Rhine, 513-579-8500,​

Ron’s Roost

Family owned and operated since 1960, Ron’s Roost has the best fried chicken around. If the weather is cooperative, sit on the covered patio and enjoy the hot bacon slaw (a West Side staple), German sauerbraten, mock turtle soup and homemade cream pies. It’s easy to find: there’s a giant fiberglass rooster on the roof. $10-$20. 3853 Race Road, Bridgetown, 513-574-0222,

Schoolhouse Restaurant

With the menu written on an ancient blackboard, you might expect (and maybe want?) a metal lunchbox to come to your table bursting with bologna sandwiches and Twinkies. What you’ll get, and be thrilled by, is delicious classic American fare served family-style. Among your choices: fried chicken, baked cod, meatloaf and roast beef. $9-$17. 8031 Glendale-Milford Road, Camp Dennison, 513-831-5753,

Silver Spring House

Dubbing itself “The Chicken Joint,” Silver Spring House definitely serves up some delicious chicken. Marinated in citrus juices and spices, it’s grilled and succulent. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, you can choose pork ribs, salmon, burgers and a variety of sandwiches. Vegetarians need not fear — there are options for them, too.

27 bar + kitchen | PHOTO : jes se fox

autHEntic tHai cuiSinE in the heart of Mason

$11-$25. 8322 E. Kemper Road, Montgomery, 513-489-7044,


The “Q” is for barbecue, the specialty at SmoQ. It’s all done slow and low in a big ’ol smoker. You’re likely to find your favorite Southern specialty here as well, be it a Kansas City strip, blackened catfish or chicken and waffles: a buttermilk-fried chicken breast served on top of a sweet potato-pecan waffle, with maple butter and syrup. $7.99-$26.99. 275 Pictoria Drive, Springdale, 513-671-7667,

Walt’s BBQ

The menu is made for meatlovers and includes many slowsmoked specialties like pulled pork, ribs, roasted chicken, brisket and more. $6-$20. 6040 Colerain Ave., White Oak, 513923-9800; 746 NW. Washington Blvd., Hamilton, 513-868-9258,

Walt’s Hitching Post


27 Bar + Kitchen

Only open on weekends when the rest of us 9-to-5-ers are off,

Bacalls Café

An Art Deco dreamland complete with a custom piece of frosted glass depicting Union Terminal and a phone booth tucked in the corner. Classy, but Bacalls still has TVs on which you can watch the game. The menu has something for everyone including soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, pasta and other entrées. Serving meals and booze to locals and visitors in College Hill for more than 26 years, they must be doing something right. $9.95-$14.50. 6118 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-541-8804,

Bellevue Bistro

Bellevue Bistro is one of those places that you wish there were more of: a small neighborhood café where the food is made from scratch, the coffee is worth having three cups and the service is efficient and friendly. The super-cozy eatery specializes in brunch bakes, burritos, sweets, savories and six different types of benedicts — choices like Kentucky Hot Brown, Spicy Mett and Veggie Benny (sweet potatoes,

squash, avocado, cheddar jack) served over biscuits, with two fried eggs and homemade sauce. For lunchier choices, there are sandwiches served on pretzel or French bread, salads and soup, plus a devious homemade bacon jam. $8-$11. 313 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Ky., 859-581-5600,

Blue Oven Toast Bar

If you’re someone who loves toast, Blue Oven Bakery Toast Bar at Findlay Market is a must-stop before any Saturdaymorning marketing (or just for a good 10 a.m. gluten binge). The bar serves up thick slices of fresh Blue Oven bread, toasted and slathered with yummy things, like sweet cream and homemade strawberry jam or homemade peanut butter and honey-roasted peanuts. $3-$5. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine,

Bistro Grace

The impressive Bistro Grace offers quality entrées on artsy, square plates. The bar serves local beers on tap, with a couple dozen more by the bottle and a 45-bottle wine list, including 17 available by the glass. Eight “signature cocktails” round out the drinks list. Try the hanger steak or the duck poutine. Also offers seasonal chef specialities. $12-$20. 4034 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-9600,

Bow Tie Café

Coffeehouse and café that brews Chicago’s intelligentsia coffee and espresso, served in drip, pour-over and mixed coffee

101 E Main St, MaSon, oH 45040 (513) 234-0779

T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  2 7

Walt’s Hitching Post is a kick-back, casual place where everybody knows your name. Open in some iteration since the 1950s, the new owners have lightly tweaked classic menu items, adding fried green tomatoes to the chicken livers and increasing the steak quality. $12-$30. 3300 Madison Pike, Fort Wright, Ky., 859-360-2222,

Newport’s 27 Bar + Kitchen is a stylish brunch and dinner spot on Monmouth Street (aka Route 27, hence the name). The restaurant, which prides itself on being as farm-to-table as possible, offers dishes for brunch like breakfast tacos, a chef’s-choice frittata and elote dip, along with traditional morning cocktails. The dinner menu includes choices like a steak salad, blackened catfish and bourbon-glazed porkchop. $7-$16. 720 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky.,

french crust Café | PHOTO : jes se fox

March, 2-4

2017 DUKE ENERGY Convention Center

Local Winery Dinners Charity Auction Luncheon March 2, 2017

3 Grand Tastings

at Duke Energy Center March 3 & 4, 2017

at Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza March 4, 2017

RWM Golf Tournament at TPC River’s Bend June 5, 2017

Tickets Available Now!

drinks — along with coffee cocktails. The expansive food menu features breakfast, weekend brunch, burritos, wraps, subs and salads. $2.75-$8. 1101 Saint Gregory St., Mount Adams, 513-621-CAFÉ,

Brontë Bistro

Brontë, located inside JosephBeth Booksellers in Rookwood, is a cozy, relaxed location to enjoy a book and a great meal. It has a lot to offer, including coffee, a full bar, starters, salads, sandwiches, home-cooked entrées and dessert. $6-$15. 2692 Madison Road, Norwood, 513-396-8970, josephbeth. com/bronte.

Si Cucina Al Minuto Offering veal, pasta, seafood, and authentic Italian cuisine

Café de Paris

established in 1989

28  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Bring this ad for your choice of the following offers: $10 OFF bill of two entrees or more with downtown parking voucher (Limit one per table) or choice of FREE Dessert.

580 Walnut Street • Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 • 513-723-0220

Feast on lunch and breakfast selections like salade niçoise, croque madame or a satisfying café bagel, topped with scrambled egg, fresh butter and a slice of tomato. Follow lunch with a Parisian espresso in the colorful and quaint downtown escape in the heart of Garfield Park. $5-$10. 17 Garfield Place, Downtown, 513-651-1919.

Cheapside Café

With a menu featuring kale salads, breakfast sandwiches with pimento cheese and modern espresso drinks (like the bubbly chinotto, with housemade tonic, espresso and soda), along with an interior decked out with a white floor, rustic wood seating and live plants, the ambiance feels decidedly West Coast — especially when you glance at the patio. The focal point of Cheapside’s al fresco seating is a large wooden tepee, constructed

out of slatted cedar, in which you can sit at a bright red table while enjoying your smoked turkey on salted rye and soda made with locally foraged finds. Cheapside plans to open a second location in 2016. Cheapside Corner (1200 Main St., Over-the-Rhine) will focus on handmade ice cream and milkshakes as well as the coffee the spot is known for. $5-$11. 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-345-6618,

Collective CAC

A partnership with local craft coffee shop Collective Espresso, the café inside the Contemporary Arts Center allows you to eat and drink surrounded by both local and international artists and their installations. The current menu features all-day breakfast, with sandwiches, salads and snacks available until 2 p.m. daily. But if you have a hankering for a cortado in the evening, the café offers light bites and coffee service until close — which isn’t until 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Also serves wine, beer and cocktails. $7-$10. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-345-8400,


Located in the heart of historic Mariemont, Dilly bistro and bottle shop serves lunch and dinner daily, with entrées like Ohioraised strip steak, fresh Atlantic salmon and housemade pasta. Paying tribute to their origins as a deli, you’ll also find satisfying sandwiches, housemade soups and their famous beer cheese.

Eat or sip a glass of beer or wine on their giant two-level Englishcourtyard-style patio. Guests can also choose a bottle of wine from their in-house bottle shop to enjoy with their meal for retail price plus a small $5 corkage fee. $7-$25. 6818 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-561-5233,

French Crust Café

French Crust Café is cozy, seating just 26 people, and serves both breakfast and lunch. Fresh fruit tarts and other pastries are served with coffee throughout the day. The lunch menu includes homemade soups, quiche, casseroles and assorted sandwiches. As is the case with sister restaurant Jean-Robert’s Table, French Crust Café sources ingredients as locally as possible. $5-$14. 1801 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, french-crust-cafe.

Gabby’s Café

A family-owned restaurant serving American cuisine with Italian flair. Signature pizzas include The Capone with cappicola, salami, pepperoni, sausage, olives, banana peppers, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan. Specialties include eggplant parmesan, Greek vegetable pasta and gluten-free zucchini linguine. $8-$17. 515 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, 513-821-6040,

Half Day Café

Seasonal menu items with fresh, locally sourced ingredients make this popular Wyoming mainstay a breakfast and lunch standout. Try the thick-sliced mango-butter

o pie o | PHOTO : jes se fox

PRIMAVISTA The Food ~ The View Since 1989

810 Matson Place, Cincinnati, Ohio 45204


“I love the new format! Thanks for supporting local music and introducing the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton area to amazing music. Music moves me, it’s what I live for!” – KAREN D., CINCINNATI OH

rum French toast, and for lunch, indulge in the carnitas with slow-roasted pulled pork in a rich mole sauce. $3-$11. 1 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, 513-821-2323,

a worthy successor to this old favorite. $10-$32. 3410 Telford St., Clifton, 513-281-3663,

Hang Over Easy

After many years as a corporate chef for Kroger and making the rounds at many of the top kitchens in the city, chef Baron Shirley landed in a place of his own with Inspirado at Madison Gallery in downtown Covington, and as the name suggests, the Madison Avenue restaurant/ gallery offers diners a chance to enjoy their meals while surrounded by changing local art displays. Inspirado is Spanish for “inspired” or “full of inspiration,” which is evident in the form of Shirley’s super-eclectic menu with dishes like cemita, a Mexican braised-pork shoulder sandwich; gulyas, or Hungarian goulash; prawn laksa from Malaysia; and a good old Kentucky hot brown. $7-$25. 715 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-261-7600,

Aside from being a legit breakfast and brunch spot, Hang Over Easy is also a nighttime spot with bar hours until 2:30 a.m. — so you can get drunk and cure your hangover all in one place. Try the chicken and chorizo skillet, with peppers, onions, home fries, melted queso and egg, all scrambled up and cooked in a skillet, served with toast. $3-$8. 13 W. Charlton St., Corryville, 513-221-5400,

Harvest Bistro & Wine Bar

Iris BookCafé

A combination of an art gallery, bookshop, coffee shop and wireless café, Iris BookCafé is a locavore’s dream. The sandwich bread is from Shadeau Bread, which is almost directly across the street, meats are from Avril’s on Court Street and ice cream is from Aglamesis. And there are both meat and veggie options on the sandwich menu. $5-$10. 1331 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-2665,


Whether it’s their corn flakebattered French toast topped with bananas and crème brulee or their eggy arsenal of inventive frittatas, Mokka makes a mean breakfast. Vegetarians will love the California, veggie and Greek frittatas, while carnivores can tear into the three-meat and Green Goat (spinach, chicken and goat cheese) varieties. Lunch and dinner options include burgers and hearty grinder sandwiches. $5-$12. 500 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-581-3700,

Om Eco Café

Om Eco Café features fresh, local and organic coffee, tea, soups, salads and sandwiches. Coffee is shade-grown, the apothecary bar features more than 100 herbs to add to cocktails and tea and they even have homemade biscuits for dogs. Lots of veggie-friendly options here. $5-$11. 329 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-381-3436,

H O Pie O

While Findlay-Market-famous for their sweet pies, O Pie O’s restaurant also does savory — pot pies, quiche, empanadas, etc.

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626 Main Street | Covington, KY 41011 MondaY-FridaY 11aM-2:30aM, SaturdaY & SundaY noon-2:30aM We are an 18 & over, Smoker-Friendly establishment with a non-Smoking dining room on the 2nd Floor

T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  2 9

About a year ago, La Poste’s founding owner sold the business to Angela Willett, who morphed the restaurant into a farm-to-table concept and renamed it Harvest Bistro & Wine Bar. One of the restaurant’s strengths is a high level of service. The much-appreciated wine orientation of the old La Poste hasn’t been abandoned, thanks to the ongoing participation of Willett’s husband, Joe Clark, a wine expert who is in charge of the cellar. The roasted beet and kale salad, heaped with golden and red beets, slices of watermelon radish, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts and candied hazelnuts, is topped with a tangy citrus vinaigrette. Second courses range from a bowl of mussels to a burger, a veggie entrée and a seafood special. Harvest is

Inspirado at Madison Gallery

Kitchen 452

Combinations of sweet and savory lead to seasonal dishes such as a pear salad and a hot ham and Swiss sandwich, with crunchy slices of tart green apples. All sandwiches are made with Shadeau breads, and all salads are dressed with homemade vinaigrettes. $4-$8. 2714 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, 513-559-0452,

americano burger bar | PHOTO : jes se fox

And they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a selection of both types. The pie crust anchors the menu with a flakiness that truly melts in your mouth and tastes just as lovely and buttery whether filled with sweet or savory ingredients. $5-$11. 1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-274-3238,

Piccolo Wine Room

Conceived as a wine bar, Piccolo offers wines by the six-ounce glass or two-ounce taste, or you can select a bottle from the shop next door and pay $10 corkage. The menu rarely repeats from one week to the next but usually will include a soup and a salad, a hearty burger or meat dish and perhaps another sandwich and two or three entrées for a total of six choices. The setting, the bonhomie and food and drink make for a splendid experience. $6-$13. 23 Village Square, Glendale, 513-771-6612, facebook. com/piccolowinebar.

30  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Purple Poulet

GRAND OPENING (513) 351-0064 3208 Vandercar Way Cincinnati, OH 45209

Dayton, Ky.’s Purple Poulet brands itself as a Southern bourbon bistro, emphasis on the bourbon —and the hospitality and service. They boast an extensive bourbon collection, one of the largest in the area, and the spirit is woven into many of their dishes. The Fried Chicken and Waffle features four pieces of fried bird — a leg, wing, breast and thigh — atop a plate-sized waffle. The KY Coq Au Vin is flavorful and light. The bourbon-brined chicken breast is juicy and stark white, and the red-wine bacon gravy is full of flavor. $12-$32. 603 Sixth

Ave., Dayton, Ky., 859-916-5602,

Quarter Bistro

A romantic bistro offering seasonal cuisine and sophisticated ambiance. The 18-hour short ribs are to die for and the Q’s pizzas are nothing short of divine. There’s a lovely wine list at Quarter Bistro, and outdoor dining in the historic Mariemont town square is wonderfully charming. $10-$37. 6904 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-5400,

Ruth’s Parkside Café

Located in a factory bay at the American Can Building, Ruth’s offers diners a mix of comforting, well-known classics from the owners’ former restaurant Mullane’s, such as the spinach sauté and red beans and rice, as well as new dishes. Everything is from scratch, and there is plenty for vegetarians and carnivores alike. $4-$15. 1550 Blue Rock St., American Can Building, Northside, 513-542RUTH,

Sleepy Bee Café

A family-friendly breakfast and lunch spot. Much of Sleepy Bee’s food is sourced locally from farms with bee-friendly practices, including Holistic Acres eggs; Marksbury Farms’ humane, pasture-raised meats; and potatoes, sprouts and microgreens from nearby growers. Expect a healthy wait on weekends for healthy and hearty brunch fare. $6-$12. 3098 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-2339; 9514 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-241-2339,

York Street Café

Built in the 1880s, the building holds a beautifully decorated eclectic café, a lounge with live music and an art gallery, along with a terribly romantic garden patio. Order a Conversation Board, with samplings of different appetizers, and let the words flow. $12-$25. 738 York St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-9675,


Americano Burger Bar

Because our country is a melting pot of traditions, Americano has taken the American staples we all love and elevated them with international flavors. In addition to burgers, you can order German- or Chicago-style hot dogs, Russian slaw, New England clam chowder, paprika-topped corn on the cob and classic starters like wings and beer cheese. They have 10 burgers on the menu, ranging from The Argentinean (chimichurri, grilled onions, provolone cheese and mayo) to the hilariously named Florence Y’all (taleggio cheese, portobello, arugula pesto). You’ll be full after the burgers, but save room for one of their frozen custard shakes. They come in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors and as a root beer float. For a few extra bucks, you can add booze. $8-$14. 545 Race St., Downtown, 513-345-6677,

H Flipdaddy’s Burgers & Beers

A classic joint offering craft beer (135 tap handles at their four locations) and 16 signature

monk e xpre s s | PHOTO : jes se fox

• breakfast • brunch • lunch • happy hour • late nite • 39 craft beers on tap • large outdoor patio

Food Trucks Cincinnati Food Truck Association

Empanadas Aqui

P&P Woodfired Pizza

Bistro de Mohr

Granny's Goodies on the Go

Quite Frankly

Harvest Mobile Cuisine

Red Sesame Korean Barbecue

Associated and allied trucks. An eclectic menu featuring local and sustainable ingredients. facebook. com/bistrodemohr

Bones’ Burgers

Angus burgers and grilled cheeses. bones-burgers. com

Bones Brothers Wings Grilled wings, served with secret sauces.

Catch-a-Fire Pizza

Traveling wood-fired pizza.

C’est Cheese Cincy

Gourmet grilled cheese.

The Chili Hut

Cincinnati-style chili on spaghetti and hot dogs.

Cuban Pete Sandwiches

Dojo Gelato

Mobile outpost of independent Italian-style gelateria. dojo­

East Coast Eatz

Authentic East Coast eats.

Soft-serve ice cream, shakes and floats. Healthy comfort food.

Hungry Bros.

Specializes in waffle fries, fried pies and other comfort foods. instagram. com/hungrybrosfoodtruck

Just Jerks

Artisan pizza from a brick oven. pnpwoodfiredpizza. com All-beef franks with quality homemade toppings. Korean barbecue with a Mexican slant.

Renegade Street Eats Wings, burgers and sandwiches.

Authentic Jamaican jerk cuisine.

Street Chef Brigade


SugarSnap! Sweet Treats

Hot dog cart featuring gourmet sausages and Chicago-style street meat.

Legasea East Coast Café

Fresh, free-range Philly cheese­steak. legaseacafe. com

Marty’s Waffles

Belgian sugar waffles with fruit and other sweet toppings. martyswaffles. com

Monk Express

Sushi burritos and rice burgers. monkexpress

Edgy comfort food. Gourmet desserts.

Sweets & Meats Barbecue and smoked meats.

Texas Joe

Family-recipe Tex-Mex. texasjoethelegalmexican. com


Urban Grill

Handcrafted sandwiches and skewers.


Sweet and savory waffles.

Hyde Park Square 3516 Edwards Rd Cincinnati, OH 45208 (513) 871-5543

Anderson Township 8221 Beechmont Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45255 (513) 388-0152

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Cuban and Caribbean-style sandwiches. cubanpete­

South American empanadas, arepas and more.

tickle pickle | PHOTO : jes se fox

zbgb | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

burgers. Add a kick to your dish with the Chuck Norris, a locally sourced beef patty topped with fire-roasted green chile and jalapeño compote, lettuce and pepper jack cheese. Or go German with The Oktoberfest burger, topped with horseradish cheddar, grilled onion, sauerkraut, pickles and bacon Dijon on a pretzel bun. The rotating drafts pour local and regional craft brews; try a craft beer sampler for $9. $8-$17. Multiple locations including 165 Pavilion Parkway, Newport, Ky., 859-431-BEER; 7453 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-272-BEER; 12071 Mason Montgomery Road, Symmes, 513-677-BEER; 8863 US Route 42, Union, Ky., 859371-BEER,

32  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

French Fry Heaven

French Fry Heaven, a brick-andmortar franchise on Calhoun Street, is the only Ohio branch of the fast-growing chain. French Fry Heaven is open all day (11 a.m.-3 a.m.), so it caters to college kids, both sober and drunk. They offer about 18 signature Belgian frites with toppings, but some of the items confound. Before ordering, ask yourself: Do you want hot dogs on your fries (The Ball Park)? Beef and peas (Shepherd’s Pie)? Pancakes and maple syrup (Sunset)? The entire concept begs the question: What can’t you pile on top of fries? French Fry Heaven, thankfully, doesn’t list nutrition info on their website, so you can take the ignorance-is-bliss approach to the caloric intake of your meal. $4-$10. 206 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-221-2070,

Mr. Gene’s Dog House

one). Founded in 1966 by Albert Imm and Ken Talmage, this icon is known for cheeseburgers, chili, soup and cold beer. Daily specials rotate between cheeseburgers and fries and other sandwiches, like barbecue pork and hot ham and cheese. Another famous dish? Their mock turtle soup. $3-$8. 2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood, 513-731-4370; 224 W. Main St., Mason, 513229-0222,

Gordo’s Pub & Grill

The restaurant makes secretrecipe root beer (available by the jug) using water from the property’s 280-foot-deep well and family-recipe chili for their famous foot-long coney dogs. Prices vary. Memorial Day-Labor Day. 11566 Reading Road, Sharonville, 513-769-4349,

Mr. Gene’s menu — for both the weenies-on-wheels food truck and brick-and-mortar location — features hot dogs, metts and Italian sausages with traditional sides of fries and onion rings. A portion of Mr. Gene’s profits are donated to charities, so pig out! Find Mr. Gene’s on Twitter (@MrGenesDoghouse) for truck location updates. $2-$10. 3703 Beekman St., South Cumminsville, 513-5417636, What’s not to love about a pub with more than 100 microbrews and incredible gourmet burgers? Their two standbys are the Jean Robert, with grape compote and goat and blue cheeses and the Gordo’s burger, topped with Boursin cheese, poblano peppers, onions and smoked bacon. A Xavier hangout. $10-$12. 4328 Montgomery Road, Norwood, 513-351-1999,

Mad Mike’s Burgers and Fries

Choose from their creative signature offerings like the Rockefeller, with blue cheese, cranberry chutney, beer battered onions, cilantro mayo and lettuce, or the Goliath, which features two grilled cheese sandwiches for buns because why not? $4-$8. Multiple locations including 6420 Dixie Highway, Florence, Ky., 859-647-6444,

H Quatman Café

A no-frills burger joint with two locations — an original in Norwood, and a second in Mason — that frequently wins best burger accolades from local publications (including this

The Root Beer Stand

H Senate

Pushers of beer, wine and gourmet street food. Senate’s mission is to present upscale street food, and they do a terrific job of it, grabbing national attention from the likes of the New York Post, Forbes and more. The menu plays heavily on hot dogs, from gourmet Chicago dogs to more interesting dog-of-the-days and quirkily named dogs like Hello Kitty 2.0, a beef hot dog with wasabi mayo, ponzu-wasabi slaw, bacon, wasabi peas and sesame seeds. The truffle fries are a must-have, as are the cocktails. The Senate Cookbook is available now and a second Senate location is slated to open fall 2016 in Blue Ash’s Summit Park complex. $9-$25. 1212 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-2020,

Silver Ladle

Silver Ladle is a “fast casual” restaurant that serves a variety of hearty sandwiches, a dozen soups, fresh salads, glutenfree options and its own twist on Cincinnati-style chili and coneys. Burger fans will be happy to see a stout lineup of five “stuffed” burgers, and the five sandwich offerings are far from skimpy. $5.99-$8.29. 580 Building, Between Walnut and Main streets, Downtown, 513834-7650; 7917 Beechmont Ave., Anderson, 513-954-4828,

H Terry’s Turf Club

There’s no other character on the Cincinnati dining scene quite like Terry, and his little juke-joint is a legend — the hard-to-miss exterior glows with friendly neon signs. The short but sweet menu centers on burgers — big, beautiful hamburgers including a tender-as-butter filet mignon burger with béarnaise. Other sandwiches start with grilled chicken or portobellos and shiitakes. Take the basics and add one of the formidable sauce options for a customized burger experience. $6.50-$26. 4618 Eastern Ave., East End, 513-533-4222.

Tickle Pickle

Back-alley, Earth-conscious, locally sourced Rock & Roll burgers are exactly the kind of thing one would expect to find in Northside. And Tickle Pickle happens to serve just that. Patrons order their Rock-themed burgers — like the Nom Petty (with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mayo), Bread Zeppelin (American

cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and ketchup) and Grateful Shred (shredded pulled-pork on a pretzel bun with spicy slaw and grilled onions) — from the counter and then take a seat. Choose from one of the 11 side options for an additional fee. Vegans have one burger option on the menu, the Buns N Roses, and can also opt for non-dairy versions of thick and creamy milkshakes. $7.50-$9. 4176 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-954-4003,

lightly cooked egg yolk perched perkily on top. The burgers are huge. The Italian comes on a semolina roll with bacon and mozzarella topping. The condiments are made in-house and one of the tastiest options is the pickled vegetables, a four-ounce Mason jar with crisp-tender pickled cauliflower, carrot slices and green beans. $9.50-$14. 1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-744-9242,

Zip’s Café

Nine different burgers and nine flavorful wing sauces lend to a variety of options at Zola. A full bar in combination with live music Tuesday through Saturday and a great location make this a happenin’ place to be. $5$12. 626 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-261-7510,

Zip’s has been doing burgers right since 1926, and generations of East Side Cincinnatians call Zipburgers their favorite. The meat arrives fresh daily from locals Avril-Bleh & Sons and the lightly toasted honey-egg buns are from Klosterman — also local. For those who need more than just a burger and fries, Zip’s offers the Train Wreck, a burger, split mettwurst and shaved ham. Now offering bacon! $4-$8. 1036 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-871-9876,


ZBGB is long and narrow New American restaurant and gastropub conforming to the space constraints of most OTR buildings, with about 90 seats total. Start with the carbonara mac and cheese. It’s a mac and cheese take on spaghetti carbonara — a classic preparation that starts with pancetta and ends with egg stirred in at the last moment so it can cook in the heat of the other ingredients. ZBGB’s version comes in a mini cast iron skillet with a very

Zola Pub & Grill


Cutting-edge cuisine with more than 100 wines. $10-$36. 101 Main St., Milford, 513-831-BRIX,

Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar

Working closely with local sources, Bouquet’s farm-totable approach means a fresh, frequently rotating menu packed with seasonal ingredients. Elegant small plates, entrées and thoughtful wine pairings set the stage for an intimate dining experience. $5-$36. 519 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-4917777,

Imported from the historic Gournay region of

France, Chanté is a rich & creamy cheese spread, available in both Plain and also flavored with Garlic & Herbs. Simple recipes incorporating these elegant cheese spreads make them ideal for entertaining any time of year!

TRY CHANTÉ TODAY! Manufacturer's Coupon / Do Not Double


$ 00


When you buy La Bonne Vie ® Chanté Plain or with Garlic & Herbs


T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  3 3

Consumer: Limit 1 coupon per purchase of this product, must be presented at time of purchase, no other coupon may be used with this coupon. Void if sold, exchanged, or transferred. Retailer: You are authorized to act as our agent and redeem this coupon at face value plus 8¢ handling if in accordance with our policy, copies available upon request. Void if copied, altered, taxed, regulated, prohibited, licensed or restricted by law. Consumer must pay for any sales tax. Cash value 1/100¢. Good only in U.S.A. Send Coupons to: Gourmet Foods International P.O. Box 9049 Bridgeport, New Jersey 08014

Expiration Date 1/31/2017

Brown Dog Café

An ever-changing and eclectic menu featuring sustainable fish, wild game, plenty of vegetarian dishes and homemade pasta. Complement your meal with a wide array of craft cocktails, wine and beer. Located in Summit Park. $8-$40. 4335 Glendale MIlford Road, Blue Ash, 513-7941610,


Features full table service, a bountiful wine selection and an environmentally friendly menu in an elegant, exposed-brick dining room. Pick from a whimsical list of “Bar Doeuvres,” including the addictive cheese donuts: beignets with crab and Gruyère dipped in a side of curried remoulade. $4-$25. 3543 Columbia Parkway, Columbia Tusculum, 513-533-2899,

Cooper’s Hawk

A wide-ranging menu accompanies the winery’s housemade wine. $7-$35. 8080 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-4881110,

E+O Kitchen

34  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

E+O stands for “Earth + Ocean,” and the menu, which encompasses lunch, dinner

and weekend brunch, is based on wholesome and organic ingredients. You’ll find Asian influences in dishes like the ahi tuna poke — cold and tender raw tuna mixed with crispy seaweed, carrots and mushy avocado — and miso-marinated black cod. For brunch, the fusion expands to eggs, like the egg nachos (scrambled eggs, gravy, beef and cheese) and egg sandwiches, like the Eggwich (eggs, cheese, turkey sausage and syrup). $6-$27. 3520 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513832-1023,

H Grand Finale

Operating at the same historic building since 1975, Grand Finale serves up everything from steak and lobster to crepes and outrageous desserts. Try the bacon, shrimp and sun-dried tomato deviled eggs or the herbed filet mignon brochette. No worries for your vegetarian tablemates: Grand Finale has plenty of veggie fare. $12-$38. 3 E. Sharon Road, Glendale, 513-771-5925,

Grandview Tavern & Grille

Great cheeseburgers (a grilled Angus half-pounder) and sweet-potato fries. The braised short rib and the oven-roasted

sea bass shouldn’t be missed. $9-$38. 2220 Grandview Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-8439,

H Krueger’s Tavern

The menu is broken up into snacks, sandwiches, sausages, “greens” and sides. The Lincolnshire sausage is bursting with herby flavor, served over colcannon — a tart, creamy take on mashed potatoes, with wilted kale and Guinness-braised onions. Their sandwich section is equally appealing; it features a Cuban, Krueger’s take on the sloppy joe, an eggplant parm sandwich and an awesome, crunchy housemade veggie burger. Try their beer cocktails — beer plus booze! $5-$10. 1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-834-8670, kruegerstavern.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage

Acoustic concerts in the renovated Ludlow Garage cellar have been well-received, and the upstairs restaurant and bar remains open five nights a week, even when the concert venue is dark. Chef Steve Hermes, formerly of The Anchor-OTR, worked to create the menu, which consists of three appetizers, two salads, six entrées, five flatbreads

and a daily soup. There’s also a separate “tapas” menu that serves the music venue on concert nights. Entrées hit all the right notes — the hand-cut strip steak with wild mushroom ragu is stellar. The saag paneer flatbread, with curried paneer, spinach, tomato, red onion, cilantro and Srircha-ranch dressing, is one of several vegetarian offerings. Finish with a Woodford Reserve Manhattan sundae. $6-$22. 342 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-2214111,

Main Bite

Main Bite creates delicious, seasonal fare with crafty culinary cocktails (featuring muddled or puréed fresh veggies and fruits) to go with each nibble. All of the sauces and dressings are made in-house. This isn’t a tapas-style restaurant, but the portion sizes are shaved down, so one dish won’t stuff you. $8-$15. 522 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-2612483,

Maribelle’s eat + drink

With a homey feeling, diners can see — and actually eat — inside the kitchen. Some favorites include a Brussels sprouts starter, with toasted walnut, shaved fennel and a sunny-side up egg; burger with cheese curd

and duck-fat bacon mayo; and a turkey sandwich with peach butter and tomato on a pretzel bun. Saturday and Sunday brunch specials include cornmeal pancakes, housemade goetta and a sunny-side egg sandwich with truffle aioli and Gruyère. $7-$16. 3235 Madison Road, Oakley, 513321-9111,

Marty’s Hops & Vines

This College Hill wine and beer emporium offers weekly wine tastings with six healthy pours accompanied by cubed cheese and crackers. Half the shop is retail, selling bottle craft beers and local and international wines, and the other half is a bar and restaurant. Their newly expanded menu consists of salads, baked subs and an individual build-yourown pizza. $7-$10. 6110 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-681-4222,

The Mercer OTR

The Mercer OTR fills the niche for those diners looking for easy parking, a sense of space, delicious flavor and gracious service in OTR. The scallops starter, which, though plural, is indeed just two scallops, is amazing. The menu is wide, but the chef excels in seafood and mushrooms in combination, like in the branzino:

two crisp filets perched on fregola sarda and maitake mushrooms. $8-$37. 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-5111,


With a menu focused on dishes cooked in a custom-built wood-burning fireplace, the restaurant is a showcase for the area’s sustainable farmers and producers, and the menu features an ever-changing list of hearth-roasted meat and fish, along with vegetables, grains and housemade charcuterie. Offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and bar bites, including incredibly interesting smoked grapes. $8-$32. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-5786660,


Cincinnati native chef Julie Francis finely crafts a small menu filled with locally sourced, organic ingredients. Sunday brunch is also available, featuring pastured eggs, local honey and fresh-baked breads. $7-$25. 1000 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-929-0525,


The pinotage wine is glorious. Try the balsamic tofu for dinner with caramelized kale and honey-curry

cream sauce. For brunch, Benedict Otto’s substitutes fried crispy flatbread and smoked salmon for the English muffin and ham of a traditional eggs Benedict. It’s delicious, a bit rich and a true indulgence. $7-$31. 521 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-6678,

other reason than that the pine nut tart is a dessert with more buttery goodness than your standard after-dinner sweets, topped with a special honeylavender gelato and savory black pepper honey. $9-$39. 812 Race St., Downtown, 513-7212260,

Packhouse Meats

Red Feather Kitchen

Waiters and waitresses get paid either $10 per hour or 20 percent of their food sales — whichever is higher — so there’s no tipping at Packouse, which serves up meatballs in a variety of formats. Pick a packed meat (quinoa, turkey, fried chicken, etc.), then a gravy and stick them in a bowl, on a sandwich or in a salad. $7.50-$9.50. 1004 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-415-2312,

The Presidents Room

The Presidents Room restaurant inside The Phoenix has a traditional feel, but with some whimsical touches that welcome a younger crowd. The menu is modern American with Italian and German influences, visible in dishes like Pork Osso Bucco or the sauerkraut balls with Black Forest prosciutto. It should be on your radar if for no

Red Feather serves up fromscratch housemade dishes using the best possible ingredients. Described as New American, the chef-driven menu reflects a diversity of global influences; small plates range from shrimp and grits to falafel and entrées run the gamut from a burger with boursin cheese and candied bacon to a fava bean agnolotti with curry. The restaurant is an unpretentious, approachable, neighborhood spot that serves fun food that people enjoy. $8-$84. 3200 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-4073631,

Red Roost Tavern

The Hyatt Regency’s farmto-table Red Roost Tavern joins top-notch hotel eateries downtown. Red Roost’s philosophy is: “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” They emphasize harvesting produce

within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. $12-$34. 151 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-5791234,

The Rookwood

Rookwood tile and pottery is a large part of Cincinnati’s heritage, and the restaurant that inhabits the former pottery building is putting its stamp on Cincinnati as well. Great food and well-crafted cocktails are their specialties, served in the main dining room, the loft or inside one of the pottery’s old kilns. The menu has some unique Cincinnati dishes: Hanky Pankys on the small plates list, french fries with Grippo’s seasoning and a crazy-good pork belly sandwich. The young staff has a lot of creativity and skill. $6-$27. 1077 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-421-5555,


The eponymous restaurant from chef Jose Salazar mixes old and new to create an approachable yet refined farm-inspired menu. Salazar offers creative dishes including cured and potted items, like housemade rillettes, terrines and charcuterie. There are also comfortable choices like burgers, fish and pasta.

Seasonal, farm-fresh specials frequently pop up on the changing menu, as do staple favorites like the little fried oyster sandwich with kimi, local radish sprouts and garlic mayo. The wide-ranging drink menu features thoughtful craft beers, cocktails and wines. Now offers lunch and limited reservations. $9-$31. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-7000,

Somm Wine Bar

Somm’s snacks range from marinated olives, mixed nuts and pickled vegetables to bondookies, Lithuanian yeast rolls filled with crispy bacon and caramelized onions. And don’t be afraid to ask which wine from Somm’s selection should be paired with your bondookie (or olives or pickles). That’s the bar’s stock in trade — excellent pairing wines with approachable menu descriptions so you can choose what drink goes with which dish or ask your server, who will undoubtedly have an excellent suggestion.$4-$28. 3105 Price Ave., Price Hill, 513-244-5843,

The Summit

Class is in session! Yes, this restaurant is inside a school.

Culinary and hospitality students at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State are handpicked to staff the kitchen and dining room in this teaching restaurant. Top-notch food at reasonable prices paired with an extensive wine list make this a restaurant for the city to be proud of. $10-$28. 3520 Central Parkway, Clifton, 513-569-4980, thesummit.mci.

Tano Bistro

A contemporary bistro with a seasonally changing menu. $9-$37. 2204 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland, 513-683-8266,

Tela bar + kitchen

Tela bar + kitchen serves pub grub executed at a much higher level than you can find in the northwest suburbs. Serving both lunch and dinner six days a week, Tela does steady business and really rocks on weekends. Rock & Roll cognoscenti will appreciate the numerous music references, starting with the restaurant’s name, taken from a song title by the owners’ favorite band, Phish. The pub-grub slant is apparent at the top of the dinner menu, with items such as pretzel nuggets, chicken wings

and poutine. What brings this fare to a “higher level” might be such twists as preparing the wings as confit or adding pork belly to the poutine. $6-$25. 1212 Springfield Pike, Wyoming, 513-821-8352,

Teller’s of Hyde Park

Located in the historic Hyde Park Savings and Loan building, Teller’s offers unique ambiance, 30 beers on tap, a plethora of wine and a comprehensive menu with pastas, pizzas, salads, steak and more. They also offer a back patio and the option to eat inside of a bank vault. $7-$32. 2710 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4721,


Trio offers something-foreveryone American-style menu items with an upscale twist. Choose from many great salads, sandwiches, gourmet pizzas and seafood and pair your meal with a nice glass of wine from the extensive wine list. The filet mignon, the Trio Meatloaf and the soy-glazed seabass are customer favorites. $11-$40. 7565 Kenwood Road, Kenwood, 513-984-1905,

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Off buttermilk pike, south of downtown OPEN


36  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016


Dine In... Carry Out... Catering... Curbside... 859-341-8888 b eh lestreetbyshe  2220 Gra ndv iew Dr, Fort Mitc h ell , KY 41 01 7

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Walhill Farm

By using what is readily available from the 250-acre farm itself and local farms nearby, the restaurant provides guests with higher-quality products at a lower price point. Walhill Farm raises Black Angus cattle, Berkshire pigs, chickens and other animals sustainably, free from antibiotics and fed with crops from the farm’s acres of pasture. They even have a butcher shop on the premises, where they prepare most of their cuts. $7-$25. 857 Six Pine Ranch Road, Batesville, Ind., 812-9342600,

Wildflower Café

With local farm-raised, grass-fed beef and an extensive wine list that features products from Cincinnati-area vineyards, Wildflower is dedicated to producing the freshest and best-quality food at an honest price. Foods are local, sustainable and seasonable to offer peak freshness. $9-$24. 207 E. Main St., Mason, 513-492-7514,

Wise Owl


Coffee and more than 500 bottles of boutique wine, plus food and artwork, in the middle of Hyde Park square. Prices vary. 2734 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513321-2525,

Bean Haus Bakery & Café

A MainStrasse coffee café and bakery. Prices vary. 640 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-431-2326,

H BLOC Coffee Company

BLOC earns its reputation for serving some of the best cups of joe in the city from local roaster Deeper Roots. All dairy comes from Snowville Creamery, giving that frothy latte an extra touch of wholesomeness. Find everything from cortados and con pannas to chemex and Hario manual brews. The breakfast and lunch menu features tasty egg sandwiches, artisanal toast and build your own sandwiches, served on Sixteen Bricks

bread. $3.25-$8. 3101 Price Ave., Price Hill, 513-429-4548,

Carabello Coffee

Husband-and-wife owners Justin and Emily Carabello roast and sell their coffee on the premises, but they’re also entrenched in local and international philanthropy, giving much of their profits to Third World coffee regions in Nicaragua and Kenya. Also carries frozen ice pops called Bello’s Bike Pops. Prices vary. 107 E. Ninth St., Newport, Ky., 859-415-1587,

Coffee Please

Local coffee roaster in Madeira’s town square, offering pastries, sandwiches, salads and soups. $5-$10. 6930 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-271-4700.

H Coffee Emporium

A Queen City staple with multiple locations, Coffee Emporium has been serving up artisanal roasted beans for decades (they’re the city’s oldest coffee house) and offers up some of the best breakfast pastries in Cincinnati. Lunch options are simple and hearty, with daily homemade soups. A hip, laid-back atmosphere makes it feel like you’re at a book club meeting with 20 of your friends. Prices vary. Multiple locations including 110 E. Central Parkway, Downtown,

Collective Espresso

Big-city-style espresso and coffee bar. Offers cool blends like cortados and espresso lemonade. Collective also helms

the café inside of the Contemporary Arts Center, which offers a limited food menu along with the same craft coffee drinks. $3-$7. 207 Woodward St., Over-the-Rhine; 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-399-7207,

H College Hill Coffee Company

Full espresso and coffee bar with a hearty café menu and gift shop. Free music and Wi-Fi. Prices vary. 6128 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-542-2739,

Fuel Coffee

Coffee shop, breakfast, brunch and lunch. Prices vary. 2726 Riverside Drive, East End, 513-257-1858, fuelcoffeecincy.

HD Beans and Brews Café

A coffee shop, bar, café and sports haven in one. Fair-trade coffee, more than 100 local and national microbrews and wines. Prices vary. 6721 Montgomery Road, Silverton, 513-793-6036,

Highland Coffee House

Not your traditional coffeehouse — Highland doesn’t open shop ’til 5 p.m., and alongside a bunch of coffee drinks and a full bar, there are delights like boozy milkshakes, iced Thai coffee and fresh cookies. Prices vary. 2839 Highland Ave., Corryville, 513-861-4151, officialhighlandcoffeehouse.

Kitty’s Coffee

Hot or iced coffee, tea and sandwiches. $2-$8. 120 E.

Fourth St., Suite 5, Downtown, 513-721-2233.

Left Bank Coffeehouse

Serves Deeper Roots coffee as well as snacks and pastries from local purveyors including Savor Catering, Shadeau Bread, Grateful Grahams and more. $2-$7. 701 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-431-4655,

Lookout Joe

Small but mighty, Lookout Joe in the heart of downtown can roast with the best of them. Serves fair-trade beans from around the world as well as a great selection of pastries, bagels and smoothies. Also in Mount Lookout, hence the name. Prices vary. Multiple locations including 3181 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-871-8626; 15 W. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-241-0281,

Newberry Bros. Coffee

What started as a fair-trade organic coffee roaster and coffee shop in the Mansion Hill neighborhood of Newport has become a full-fledged café and wine bar (with an awesome patio). Newberry Bros. Coffee roasts small batches of beans sourced from family farms in Sumatra, Peru and Guatemala. And if that’s not enough to get you in the door, their from-scratch daily pastries, deli sandwiches, more than 60 wines by-the-glass and 500 different bourbons and whiskies should be. Prices vary. 530 Washington Ave., Newport, Ky., 859-261-9463,

Point Perk

A coffeehouse that trains and employs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from The Point. Serves craft coffee drinks and is one of the only locations in town to serve the delicious Lil’s Bagels. Prices vary. 43 W. Pike St., Covington, Ky., 859-292-PERK, facebook. com/thepointperk.

Reality Tuesday Café

Longstanding Northern Kentucky coffeehouse and bakery. Prices vary. 1518 Dixie Highway, Park Hills, Ky., 859-261-4939,

Redtree Art Gallery and Coffee Shop

Fair-trade and organic coffee within a gallery setting. Prices vary. 3210 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-8733,

Roebling Point Books & Coffee

Local independent bookstore with interior coffee shop. $2-$5. 306 Greenup St., Covington, Ky., 859-815-7204,

Rohs Street Café

This not-for-profit coffeehouse close to the University of Cincinnati fully embraces ethical sourcing by offering only fair-trade coffees and teas. Choose from a selection of locally roasted La Terza coffees to sip with a fresh pastry. $1.20-$4.45. 245 W. McMillan St., Clifton, 513-3817647,

Sidewinder Coffee & Tea

The café offers locally roasted fair-trade and organic coffees,

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Expect thoughtful and consistently excellent wine recommendations in an inviting atmosphere at this wine bar and tapas restaurant. The menu includes small plates, like a charcuterie board and bruschetta, plus more filling options like a variety of sliders (braised short rib or beef tenderloin) and some light seafood dishes. Wine available by the glass and bottle. $7-$15. 6206 Mulhauser Road, West Chester, 513-860-9463,


You could dine every night for a week and sample a new pot of mussels from a different locale around the world each time. Preparations include classic French, Mediterranean, Thai and New Orleans, among others. But don’t get stuck on the mussels: You’ll miss out on a half-dozen flatbreads and great appetizers like eggplant fries dusted with confectioner’s sugar and a spicy-sour dipping sauce. $6-$17. 1400 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-744-9852,

c a m p wa s h i n g t o n CHI L I | P H O T O : c at i e v i o x

dutch’s | PHOTO : jes se fox

espresso drinks, spirits, blended and loose-leaf teas. Tasty sweet and savory treats abound, including a veggie sandwich with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, spinach, hummus and provolone. $1.50-$7.25. 4181 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-542-8321,


Maybe you enjoy the smell of coffee, but would rather have a beer or mixed drink in your hand. This Clifton coffee shop offers a fine line of artisan coffee, local and imported beer, a full bar with signature cocktails and even fancy milkshakes. Food choices include salads, breakfast, sandwiches and options for vegetarians and kids. $4-$9. 324 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513281-7487, coffeehouse.

38  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Trailhead Coffee

Newport, Ky.’s Reser Bicycle doesn’t just sell bikes — they also sell really good coffee at their coffee outpost Trailhead. It’s currently the only place in town where you can get a whole bag or a cup of Portland-originated Stumptown Coffee, which is like the gold of coffees. Using rotating roasts and Brown Bear Bakery’s salty caramel syrup, they make a great somewhatsweet drink called The Grizzly (try it). The best part of the shop? Their baristas are knowledgeable and not intimidating like those at some craft coffee joints. Prices vary. 648 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-2616187, trailheadcoffee.

Urbana Café

Urbana Café’s storefront in Pendleton offers about 20 items on the coffee menu, including more experimental options like the caffé frizzante — espresso is poured into a highball glass and then topped with San Pellegrino carbonated mineral water. Inhouse baked goods range from Italian donuts to European shortbreads to a toast bar. $1.24-$5. 1206 Broadway St., Pendleton, 513-813-3133,

Velocity Bike & Bean

Full-service bike shop that serves coffee. $2-$5. 7560 Burlington Pike, Florence, Ky., 859-3718356,


Avril-Bleh & Sons

A historic Cincinnati butcher and meat market with attached deli and takeout. Established in 1894. Prices vary. 33 E. Court St., Downtown, 513-241-2433,

Bottle & Basket

Bottle & Basket offers an abundance of locally grown whole foods and gourmet takehome salads and sandwiches. Picnic-perfect. A knowledgeable staff of chefs develops the menu and supplies more than enough produce, dairy and meat to make that special dinner without a trip to the megastore. Now under the umbrella of the locally expanding Wellmann’s Brands with sister restaurant Melt. $5-$12. 1400 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-6325, bottleandbasket.


Dutch’s established itself as a wine and bottling shop and open-air pony keg in 1947 and has expanded into a deli/ grocery. Not only do they have an enormous selection of wine and craft beer, they also have an upscale deli with an impressive selection of artisan charcuterie, gourmet cheeses, sandwiches, sausages and pantry staples. They embrace both old-world techniques and the new wave of domestic artisans. Prices vary. 3378 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513871-1446,

Fred & Gari’s

Fresh meats roasted daily draw a crowd during downtown lunch breaks — along with the charm and hospitality of the staff. No packaged deli meats here: The chicken breasts are oven-baked and artfully sliced by hand, and the ham is just like mama made. There are also soft chocolate chip cookies and freshly baked pies. $3-$20. 629 Vine St., Downtown, 513-784-9000,

Fond Lunch and Deli

An organically inspired lunch stop that does locally sourced deli and ready-made meals. $7-$14. 10764 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, facebook. com/fondorganiclunchanddeli.

Fresh Table at Findlay Market

Meredith Trombly, Louis Snowden and their staff do all the hard parts — finding the best locally sourced ingredients and cooking 40-50 delicious and beautifully presented dishes every day. Babyback ribs and grilled wild-caught

salmon highlight the main courses at this constantly evolving eatery. Try the eggless egg salad. $5-$12. 1801 Race St., Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3774,

Gilpin’s Steamed Grub

If you really need a steamed sandwich, like their My Cousin Vinny (pepperoni, ham, bacon, banana peppers, cheese and barbecue chips on a pretzel bun), a steamed burger or a really creative vegetarian snack at like 11 p.m. on a Sunday, they’ve got you covered. Alternately, if it’s 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, you can get the Doritos sandwich off the drunk menu, with turkey, cheese, lettuce, honey mustard, dressing and Doritos — nacho cheese or Cool Ranch. Prices vary. 2504 W. Clifton Ave., Clifton, 513-431-6939; 37 E. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-421-4223,

Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen

Old-fashioned comfort food, cooked and ready for you to take home. $5-$12. 1801 Race St., Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-4726, grammadebbiesatfindlaymarket.

The Gruff

The Gruff is a gourmet market/ deli, a bar and a pizzeria/restaurant all working in tandem. The restaurant does brick-oven pizzas and hot sandwiches, with Graeter’s ice cream and Covington’s Piebird pies and milkshakes for dessert. You can even order food and beer through the drive-thru. Prices vary. 129 E. Second St., Covington, Ky., 859581-0040,

H Izzy’s

A Cincinnati tradition, Izzy’s serves a reuben we can all be proud of. Sandwiches such as the Reuben-ator and the Izzy’s Mex showcase their delicious corned beef. $5-$10. Multiple locations including 800 Elm St., Downtown, 513-721-4241; 610 Main St., Downtown, 513-2416246,

Revolution Rotisserie

Revolution specializes in hormone-free, preservative-free roasted Amish chicken on a number of pita sandwiches named after revolutionaries — Marie Curie, Thomas Jefferson, Gandhi, etc. — as well as in chicken-centric house specialties, indulgent appetizers, fresh salads and traditional sides made with a twist. There is also a full drink menu with draft and bottled beer, wine and house punch. $8-$13. 1106 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0009,


A gourmet grilled cheese and tomato soup shop with a famous grilled-cheese donut. Featured on Shark Tank. Prices vary. 125 E. Court St., Downtown, 513-7212433; Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-291-2433,

Total Juice Plus

Total Juice Plus has been serving natural fruit smoothies, wraps and fresh-squeezed juices to the weekday downtown population for more than a decade. They use all-natural flash-frozen fruit, extol the benefits of fresh juice and make excellent wraps with a Mediterranean lean. $3.25-$9.50.

631 Vine St., Downtown, 513784-1666,

The ’Wich on Sycamore

Quality made-to-order sandwiches with roasted meats. $5-$10. 425 Sycamore St., Downtown, 513-421-9424,


Taking its blazing neon “We May Doze, But Never Close” sign to heart, the Anchor Grill stays open 24/7, offering round-theclock breakfast fare along with lunch and dinner comfort-food classics. The diner ambiance is unmatched, from the sassy-yetpersonable waitresses to the vintage ’50s animatronic miniature band moving in sync with jukebox selections. $4-$12. 438 Pike St., Covington, Ky., 859-431-9498.

Blue Ash Chili

This family-owned chili parlor, established in 1969, not only offers traditional Cincinnati-style chili with coneys and three-, fourand five-ways, but also a menu loaded with sandwiches, burgers, salads and sides. Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. $3-$8. 9565 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, 513-9846107,

H Camp Washington Chili

A great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Camp Washington Chili features greasy-spoon breakfast offerings, double-decker sandwiches, Cincinnati-style chili, coneys and even a few salads. A James Beard Award-winner,

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tucker’s | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

Front of Shirt




LUnCH • Dinner CrAFt Beer • FULL BAr

BOTTOMLESS MIMOSA WeeKenD BRUNCHES 3 eVent SpACeS 2701 Vine Street • 513.221.2300

Camp Washington Chili opened its doors in 1940, and current owner Johnny Johnson started work at the chili parlor in 1951. $5-$8. 3005 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, 513-5410061,

Dixie Chili

Founded in 1929 by “Papa Nick,” Dixie Chili has classic, secret-ingredient Cincinnatistyle chili with cheese and onions on spaghetti. $1.50-$7. Multiple locations including 733 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-291-5337; 2421 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-4317444,

40  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

The Echo

Symphony Hotel & Restaurant 210 W 14th St. Cincinnati, OH, 45202

(513)721-3353 Located in Over the Rhine next to Music Hall

Customer favorites include the Echo Grill (baked ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato served with tartar sauce), an open-faced turkey sandwich and the Hot Mess (layers of home fries, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, gravy and cheese). The Echo has weekly specials and always serves up homemade pie. $4.50-$11. 3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-2816,


The old-fashioned flavors of the soda fountain are found at Hathaway’s, including the best darn chocolate shake in town. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped through a time portal to the 1950s. Get a plate lunch or a burger, but if you’re there for breakfast (and when isn’t it time for breakfast food?) don’t miss the French toast and goetta. Hathaway’s does them both exactly right. $4-$12. 441 Vine

St., Carew Tower, Downtown, 513-621-1332, hathawaysdiner.

J&J Restaurant

This old-school diner serves huge double-decker sandwiches, good chili, cheese coneys and all-day breakfast at a great price. Tucked into a strip mall, this is a no-frills neighborhood staple with lots of regulars and quick service. $5-$8. 6159 Glenway Ave., Westwood, 513-661-2260.

Pepper Pod

Open 24 hours a day so you can get your fried-pickle fix whenever the craving hits — and once you have the Pepper Pod’s fried pickles, the hankering will hit you often. The meatloaf goes very quickly in the evening, so get there early. Greasy spoon dining at its best, the Pepper Pod is a Newport legend. $3-$10. 703 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-431-7455.

Pleasant Ridge Chili

A local chili joint that just celebrated 50 years. Offers chili to-go and late-night eats. $3-$9. 6032 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513-531-2365,

Price Hill Chili

Generations of West Side patrons have grown up on this iconic, family-owned restaurant’s diverse, fairly priced menu. Having expanded several times over the years, there are now multiple dining areas and a full-service cocktail lounge called Golden Fleece attached. What sets them apart from

other chili joints is the full menu of sandwiches, sides, entrées and even breakfast served all day. $2-$15. 4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, 513-471-9507,

Rima’s Diner

There are old-school diners that try too hard to resurrect the past, and then there are diners that authentically live in the past to the point where you feel like everything is trapped in amber, including yourself. Covington, Ky.’s Rima’s Diner follows the latter logic — in a great way. Elvis paraphernalia exploded inside the restaurant, from knickknacks of Fat Elvis to ephemera of handsome younger Elvis to his vinyl record sleeves hanging on walls. $5-$10. Rima’s Diner, 635 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-261-7800,

H Skyline Chili

A locally based chain of chili parlors founded by Greek immigrants in Cincinnati in 1949. Their Cincinnati-style chili is poured over spaghetti or hot dogs along with chili burritos, fries and baked potatoes. Their vegetarian version is almost as tasty with black beans and rice. $4-$9. Multiple locations including 290 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-221-2142,

Sugar n’ Spice

Huge, fluffy omelets and “wispy-thin” pancakes have made Sugar n’ Spice a bona fide breakfast institution for 75 years. Lunch highlights include third- and half-pound burgers, double-deckers and

fortune noodle house | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

signature sandwiches. $3-$11. 4381 Reading Road, Avondale, 513-242-3521,


Truly an Over-the-Rhine institution (same family since 1946!) and an “everyman” restaurant. Solid, Midwestern staples for hungry, working people. Features a full breakfast menu complete with a variety of omelets, pancakes and egg dishes. Try the Big Tucker, a double-decker burger with cheese and special sauce. Other standbys include biscuits and gravy and the fried cod sandwich. Recently recovered after a kitchen fire closed the restaurant for more than a year. $4-$7. 1637 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook. com/tuckersrestaurantotr.


Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House



China Gourmet

The cuisine comes from eastern Africa, specifically sharing dishes from Ethiopia and Eritrea, which neighbors Ethiopia to the north. Guests can delight in communal platters of meat and vegetable stews, meant to be scooped up with injera flat bread. There are plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians, like the Ahmelti with collard greens and lightly spiced cabbage cooked with onions and pepper. $10-$22. 6063 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513-351-7686,


Family-run restaurant with true Ethiopian dishes and Ethiopian-style coffee ceremony. $7-$15. 5070 Crookshank Road, Westwood, 513-429-4890,


They offer dishes like kebabs with fish or shrimp and whole grilled tilapia, with the head on or off, served with sides of couscous or steamed noodles. It’s a great place to try West African dishes such as Mechoui (stuffed lamb leg with onion sauce) and Charwarma (chicken or beef in a mustard sauce served in flatbread). $5-$10. 8438 Vine St., Hartwell, 513-821-1300,


Banana Leaf Modern Thai

Find all your Thai favorites, like massaman curry, drunken noodles and pad Thai goong. $6-$25. 101 E. Main St., Mason,

China Gourmet has been serving fine Chinese cuisine since 1977. The menu at China Gourmet is not your typical gigantic Chinese menu with hundreds of items. It is divided into sections of classics, what’s new and traditional favorites, each with just a handful of choices. $8-$26. 3340 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-8716612,


“Eat well. Eat fresh. Eat often.” These three sentences serve both as a tagline and as a personal philosophy for local restaurateur Darren Phan, owner of Cilantro Vietnamese Bistro, Clifton’s brothy, herby, vermicelli-filled landmark. A collection of family recipes and flavors brought over from the motherland serve as the heart from which joy and laughter still pump. $5-$9.50. 235 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, 513-2811732,

H Cloud 9 Sushi

An unpretentious sushi joint serving half-price sushi all day, everyday, with a selection of more than 50 different rolls. $5-$20. 1018 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-533-9218,

Fortune Noodle House

You know your carbs are made with love when a restaurant dedicates an entire employee just to their production, but here’s the thing: Everything else at Fortune is delicious, too. Fortune sits

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One genius way to set yourself apart in Cincinnati’s sea of Indian restaurants is by also serving Ethiopian food. Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House boasts a large, double-sided menu — Northern Indian on one side, traditional Ethiopian on the other. But what’s really awesome (besides the 3-7 p.m. daily half-price bottles of wine, which includes organic Ethiopian wine) is the 11 a.m.2:30 p.m. daily lunch buffet. It has both Ethiopian and Indian dishes, so you can sample all you can eat of both country’s cuisines and gorge yourself on naan and injera. $4-$30. 170 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights,


k a ze | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

Two Locations: Mainstrasse Village 603 Main St. • Covington • (859) 916-5209 Over-the-Rhine 1211 Main St. • Cincinnati • (513) 381-3625

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on the corner of Calhoun and Clifton streets, perfectly situated for international students at the University of Cincinnati to get a taste of home and for local students to try something new. They currently have no liquor license, but offer a plentiful selection of flavored and bubble teas. $7-$15. 349 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-281-1800,


H a p py H o u r 3 -6pm

½ price drinks

42  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016



6121 Harrison Ave (Formerly Gran Fiesta) (513) 574-2164

4476 Glen Este-Withamsville Rd (Across from Meijer) (513) 752-9900



6475 E Galbraith Rd (513) 813-3079

4920 Socialville-Foster Rd (513) 229-0595



6601 Terhune Dr (513) 705-0454

11765 Lebanon Rd (513) 733-1310

Fusian’s fast-casual approach, in which you choose your own custom sushi roll, prompted many to coin the restaurant the “Chipotle of sushi.” They offer a diverse selection of non-traditional sushi proteins, including steak, chicken and roasted tofu, but the classic tuna and salmon rolls remain among the most popular. $6-$9. Multiple locations including 600 Vine St., Downtown, 513-4217646,

House of Sun

A great find for Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll love the traditional Chinese Dim Sum, with long, sweet fried breadsticks, small sausage-filled steamed dumplings, the scallion pancake with egg and the most delicious Sesame ShaoBing with beef — all bargain-priced. $6-$11. 11959 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513-769-0888,


Sushi, sashimi and Robotayaki grill (traditional Japanese charcoal grill) offerings abound in the cozy Ichiban dining room. Tapas-style small plates, dishes to tempt carnivores and a

dizzying variety of noodle dishes round out the menu. Belly up to the sushi bar or bring a group and dive into the half-price sushi menu while enjoying a warm sake or Asian-inspired cocktail. $10-$60. 1020 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-3218686,

H Kaze

The old Cincinnati Color building on Vine Street is such a landmark that it would have been dreadful had it been torn down. Thankfully, Japanese gastropub Kaze saved it. With a distinct bar and dining room, favorites are the pork belly buns and kobe sliders, with cucumber pickled kimchi-style and a rich Korean barbecue sauce. The huge patio and attached bar do daily happy hours, with food and drink specials and frequent latenight dance parties. $5-$39. 1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-898-7991,

H KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia

Quaint and comfortable with a huge beer list, AmerAsia might be Covington’s best-kept secret. Offering all the usual Chinese dishes and a list of chef specialties, AmerAsia’s food is anything but the usual. Chef Chu makes it all from scratch. His motto: “Do not take short cuts and do everything with passion and love.” Enjoy it all while taking in the eclectic décor of Kung Fu movie posters and paper lanterns. $7.50-$18. 521 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-261-6121, kungfoodchu.

Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine

Fresh and authentic casual Thai, Lemon Grass is a favorite hidden gem spot. Reasonable priced farm-fresh spring rolls to signature pad Thai. $8-$15. 2666 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-321-2882, lemon­

Le’s Pho and Sandwiches

The menu is simple yet extensive, offering both traditional Vietnamese dishes as well as those that cater to less adventurous palates. The banh mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich, comes complete with your choice of chicken, beef, pork, teriyaki or dac biet (a hearty combination of pork and pâté), topped with pickled carrot, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and just the right amount of mayonnaise. But the dish you will most often find in front of Le’s customers is the pho, with a heaping serving of Vietnamese broth, rice noodles, meat, vegetables and herbs. $4-$6. 3 E. Court St., Downtown, 513-721-9700.

Lulu’s Rice & Noodles

It’s not a Chinese restaurant, it’s a noodle shop! Serving up inexpensive steaming bowls of various Asian rice and noodle dishes garnished with vegetables and seafood or meat. Their soups are great, too. Try the spicy and intense Tom Yum soup with shrimp. $5.50-$9.50. 135 W. Kemper Road, Springdale, 513-671-4949.

Oriental Wok

Transcending the typical Chinese American menu since

singha | PHOTO : jes se fox


1977, Oriental Wok and the Wong family offer upscale, innovative, fresh and delicious chef-prepared cuisine that’s never boring — from five-spice tofu over stir-fried spinach to sea bass with black bean and garlic sauce or a steak with peppercorn sauce. Excellent beer and wine selections. $11$34. 317 Buttermilk Pike, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-331-3000; 2444 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-6888,

H Pho Lang Thang

Located in the heart of Findlay Market, Pho Lang Thang offers dishes like hot pho soup, spring rolls and the ever-popular banh mi sandwiches, which come sprinkled with assorted pickled vegetables and your choice of meat or tofu. They also serve Vietnamese coffee sweetened with condensed milk and brewed right on the table into your glass. $5-$11. 114 W. Elder St., Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, 513-376-9177,

Quan Hapa


For authentic Korean dishes, Riverside Korean Restaurant is an excellent choice. They offer traditional rice-based dolsot bi bim bap with mixed vegetables, a sunny-side up egg and your choice of beef, chicken or tofu. All entrées are served with a delightful selection of traditional side dishes called ban chan. Floor tables available. $12-$36. 512 Madison Ave., Covington, Ky., 859-291-1484,

Shanghai Mama’s

Shanghai Mama’s menu gives you the option of mixing and matching proteins with starches. The noodles are homemade, thick and rustic and very delicious. And Mama’s is very vegetarian-friendly. There are several seitan dishes, including veggie cashew chicken and the Happy Buddha. $6-$25. 216 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-2417777,


In addition to being the name of the most widely known Thai beer, Singha translates as “guardian lion,” a national symbol common throughout Southeast Asia and China. What sets Singha apart from other local Thai restaurants is a section of Thai noodle soups, sushi rolls made with black rice — instead of sticky white rice — and several dishes in a menu section called Singha’s Special Entrée. The Black Pearl roll has a highly unorthodox ingredient: mozzarella cheese. It sounds weird

but totally works. $5-$21. 2912 Wasson Road, Hyde Park, 513351-0123,


Song Long

We’re lucky to have Song Long’s authentic Vietnamese food in town. Family-run, Song Long is often busy enough to have a line out the door on weekday nights. Try the Bahn Xeo crepe stuffed with bean sprouts and shrimp, or the Gui Con with its clear, cool rice paper and blend of fresh cilantro sprigs and vermicelli doused with peanut sauce. Not fancy, just fantastic. Also offers a selection of Chinese specialities. $4-$23. 1737 Section Road, Roselawn, 513-351-7631,


Stone Bowl

Stone Bowl’s somewhat slapdash appearance belies its tasty food. The mostly Korean menu — sometimes there’s sushi — offers up delicious pancakes, noodles and rice dishes; it’s the perfect familyfriendly fare if you can keep small fingers off of the piping-hot stone bowls. $8-$30. 3355 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-533-9600,

Sukhothai Thai Cuisine

Features exotic dishes like mango prawns stir-fried in a tamarind sauce or tamarind crispy duck. There are also familiar options like stir-fry and noodle dishes like pad Thai with your choice of meat and house fried rice. All of the dishes can be made vegetarian-friendly with vegetables or tofu. $6-$18. 8102 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, 513-794-0057,

4335 Glendale-Milford Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45242 (513) 794-1610

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“Hapa” is the word for a mixedrace Asian or Pacific Islander — the perfect nomenclature considering the food is an iteration of the best dishes and spirits from Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Hawaii. Their menu is delineated into sections of small plates, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), noodles and ramen. Dishes are mostly shareable, like the DIY salad rolls and Hapa wings. $4-$13. 1331 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-7826,

H Riverside Korean

Sung Korean Bistro For a break from the ordinary downtown dinner, Sung Korean Bistro hits the spot. Sung serves traditional Korean dishes like hot stone bowl dolsot bibimbap, sizzling with your choice of meat and a spicy chili bean paste served on the side. Try the doeji galbi pork rib dish, which packs a sweetand-spicy flavor combo served with rice. For an appetizer, try the haemul pajun: wheat flour pancake with egg, shrimp, crabmeat, squid, green onion and pepper. They also serve sushi for dinner. $6-$25. 700 Elm St., Downtown, 513-721-7864,

Teak Thai

44  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

With three floors of dining, a full bar and a large outdoor patio area, Teak Thai has the room to accommodate throngs of Thai and sushi lovers. It also has the food to keep them coming back for more. Thai curries, soups, stir-fries, sushi and sashimi all vie for space alongside noodle dishes and house specialties like seafood claypot and crispy duck. $5-$20. 1051 Saint Gregory St., Mount Adams, 513665-9800,

H Thai Express

A favorite stop for inexpensive, good Thai food and friendly service. The tiny, no-frills kitchen puts out some very tasty Thai food. Everything is cooked in one of the two giant iron woks, and nothing on the menu is outside a student’s budget. Most dishes come with your choice of tofu, chicken, pork or shrimp. All-time favorites are pad Thai and the red curry with chicken, spring rolls or the Waterfall beef salad. $5-$11. 213 W. McMillan St., Clifton, 513-651-9000,

Thai Namtip

Located in a strip mall, Thai Namtip has a rather unassuming location, but diners who know good Thai food make regular pilgrimages to this spot. Their specialty is the orange chicken, with breaded chicken breast drenched in a tangy orange sauce with vegetables and cashews. Another specialty is the Seafood Clay Pot. $3-$16. 5461 N. Bend Road, Monfort Heights, 513-481-3360,

Wild Ginger

Many Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes complement the creative sushi menu. A recent

expansion added a Hibachi grill to the mix. Try the Heema Roll, with shrimp tempura, asparagus and avocado, topped with yellowfin tuna and sprinkled with crabmeat and tempura flakes. $10-$22. 3655 Edwards Road, Hyde Park, 513-533-9500,

ribs; Tex-Mex treats like enchiladas and chimichangas; and standard pub grub like hot wings, fries and sandwiches. There is also a menu for the kids and beverages for adults (try the margaritas). $9-$17. 3538 Columbia Parkway, Columbia Tusculum, 513-871-5779,


Dee Felice Café

Caribe Carryout

A Caribbean carryout with dishes like empanadas, stews, coconut chicken, black beans and more. $3-$7.50. 2605 Vine St., Corryville, 513-221-1786,

Island Frydays

This bright-yellow building sitting in the heart of Corryville offers authentic Jamaican delights like jerk chicken, sweet plantains, oxtail and curry goat. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. $7-$15. 2826 Vine St., Corryville, 513-498-0680,

CA JUN/CREOLE Allyn’s Café

The sheer number of menu items you’ll find at Allyn’s will surprise you. There are Cajun specialties like fried gator, jambalaya and red beans and rice; slow-cooked

If you’re looking for more of an experience than just dinner, swing into Dee Felice Café. Along with spicy New Orleansstyle dishes, you’ll enjoy great live Jazz performed on a raised stage behind the bar. The star dish here is the crawfish étouffée, a generous pile of crawfish tails with vegetables and spicy sauce over rice. $15-$37. 529 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859261-2365,

H Knotty Pine on the Bayou

Louisiana cooking featuring alligator, lobster bisque, oysters, fried catfish and frog legs with a mess of sides. Be sure to ask about the nightly special. $8-$30. 6302 Licking Pike, Cold Spring, Ky., 859-781-2200,

Mardi Gras on Madison

Latoya Foster and her husband Randy, originally from Algiers

Point, La., were among the first pioneers to establish a foothold in the Cincinnati food-truck movement with their popular New Orleans to Go eatery. Now they’ve parlayed their mobile success into Mardis Gras on Madison, a café featuring classic Cajun and Creole dishes. Foster invents the menu each morning, serving up items like catfish tacos, black beans and rice, fried okra and shrimp po’ boys from opening until they’re gone. Prices vary. 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, 513-873-9041, mardigrasmad.

Swampwater Grill

Southerners will feel right at home. An ample lineup of classic Louisiana favorites like jambalaya, gumbo, po’ boys and red beans and rice are paired with a selection of hardwoodsmoked ribs, barbecue chicken and pulled pork. $8-$20. 3742 Kellogg Ave., East End, 513-8347067,


Cock & Bull Public House

Cock & Bull serves awardwinning fish and chips and better-than-average pub grub, including excellent crab cakes

and build-your-own burgers. The atmosphere is convivial, and the beer selection is fantastic — 60 beers on tap. $7-$17. Multiple locations including 2645 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-4253; 601 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-581-4253; 275 E. Sharon Road, Glendale, 513-771-4253,

Molly Malone’s

Northern Kentucky’s own Irish Pub, Molly’s has a great mix of Irish and American fare for lunch, brunch and supper, and serves pizza and appetizers until the wee hours. With 28 draft beers, trivia, karaoke and live music seven nights a week, Molly’s will fill your dance card. $7-$15. 112 E. Fourth St., Covington, Ky., 859-491-6659,


For some gastropub food with Scottish influence and a cocktail or two, Nicholson’s is a hot spot to hit. They’re known for their fish and chips, but their new menu offers duck-fat fries and shepherd’s pie. If you’re not hungry, check out one of their 90 singlemalt scotches, craft cocktails or draft beer. $9-$29. 625 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-564-9111,


Jean-Robert de Cavel’s Le Bar a Boeuf (French slang for ‘beef bar’) is set in The Edgecliff high-rise residences in East Walnut Hills, boasting stunning views over Eden Park and the Ohio River. The city’s most beloved restaurateur opened the bar to specialize in ground meat served with potatoes and veggies, with a selection of sauces, cheese and garnishes to dress. The bison topped with goat cheese and ‘forestiere’ mushroom-based sauce is perfect in every way. $9-$25. 2200 Victory Parkway, East Walnut Hills. 513-751-2333,

Jean-Robert’s Table

The casual, upscale menu of French-American cuisine includes foie gras, local chicken with potato croquette and the French Chateau Burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions, tomato and bacon on a fluffy brioche bun. A Duo of Snail & Frog Leg appetizer is also available, served with a crawfish beignet, kale and chablis reduction. For lunch, the four-course $15 French Lunch Tray changes every week and is available only at the bar. $12-$38. 713 Vine St., Downtown, 513-6214777,

H Taste of Belgium

Hot, fresh Belgian waffles make delicious breakfast sandwiches, but there are also healthy fruit-and-yogurt parfaits. The crepe station prepares sweet and savory crepes, like the Nati Crepe with goetta, made fresh to order. At dinner, the sophistication goes up a notch with mussels, steak frites and Belgian specialties. Exclusive selection of Belgian beers. $5-$25. Multiple locations including 1133 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-4607; 2845 Vine St., Corryville, 513394-7105; 3825 Edward Road, Rookwood, Norwood, 513-3965800,

GERMAN H Hofbräuhaus

The first authentic German Hofbräuhaus in America modeled after the legendary Munich location. Traditionally decorated rooms, beer brewed onsite, a huge biergarten and German dishes make this a fun dining option. $4-$16. 200 E. Third St., Newport, Ky., 859-491-7200,

Iron Skillet

Did you even know that there are 10 kinds of schnitzel? The Iron Skillet celebrates

traditional Eastern European cuisine with a schnitzel for every day of the week — and then some. $6-$26. 1020 Ohio Pike, Withamsville, 513-561-6776,

Katharina’s Café-Konditorei

Katharina’s is a family-run operation, with the entire staff hailing from Mainz, a small town in Germany. The traditional German menu is bilingual and offers breakfast and lunch — meat, breads, cheeses and, of course, cake — in an authentic kaffee haus environment. $4-$13. Moving to a new location at Eighth and Washington streets, Newport, Ky. Find updates at

Mecklenburg Gardens

For a taste of Zinzinnati’s German heritage, Mecklenburg Gardens showcases some of the best German cuisine the city has to offer. Their specialty is wiener schnitzel, a tender veal cutlet topped with lemon; it’s served with German fried potatoes and cabbage. They have 16 beers on tap, most of which are German, along with some microbrews. One of the best biergartens in the country, and one of the oldest restaurants in Cincinnati. $8-$20. 302 E.

University Ave., Corryville, 513221-5353,


Wunderbar! is one of those restaurants that’s considered a “hidden gem.” The authentic German-inspired menu features housemade wursts with locally sourced meats, like the restaurant’s super popular currywurst — a peculiar invention of post-World War II Germany. It’s a spiced sausage served with a ketchupWorcestershire-curry sauce. The rotating sausage menu is written on a blackboard behind the bar, but a must-try is the Riesen Brezel, a gigantic, plate-sized pretzel that easily complements any of the bar’s more than 35 beers. $7-$12. 1132 Lee St., Covington, Ky., 859-815-8027, wunderbar.covington.3.

INDIAN Akash India

Authentic Northern Indian cuisine with a lunch buffet and Indian beer. $8-$15. 24 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-723-1300,

H Ambar India

Perhaps the classiest of the Indian restaurants along Ludlow Avenue in Clifton, Ambar touts

a neat and simple dining room with white tablecloths and consistently good service. $8-$20. 350 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513281-7000,

Amma’s Kitchen

Amma’s serves only vegan and vegetarian Indian food, but you won’t miss the meat when the flavors are this complex. Homemade breads include the puffy pillows of cooked dough called batura. They also carry Indo-Chinese dishes. $5-$10. 7633 Reading Road, Roselawn, 513-821-2021,

Baba India

Baba is known for its gentle blending of herbs and spices, featuring authentic cuisine from Northern India. Try the savory tandoori oven dishes, exotic curries, excellent naan and various mango juice beverages. $6-$14. 3120 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-3211600,

Bombay Brazier

Owners G. and Rip, who own the original Bombay Brazier in Lexington, Ky., bring style and class to a cuisine popularized by buffets, Americanized dishes and rushed, overcrowded dining rooms. What’s their philosophy? Northern Indian recipes done

the only way they know: authentically. $12-$28. 7791 Cooper Road, Montgomery, 513-7940000,

Brij Mohan Indian Sweets & Restaurant

Brij Mohan features authentic northern Indian cuisine specializing in desserts and street-food-style dishes. Try the malai kofta, a creamy onion and tomato sauce with mixed vegetable balls, or homemade cheese dishes like spicy chili paneer or saag paneer with spinach. All dishes are vegetarian and made from scratch, including their pastries. $7-$10. 11259 Reading Road, Sharonville, 513-769-4549.

Deep India

Deep India’s simple, cheaper take on takeout is welcome in the Clifton brotherhood of Indian restaurants. Head to the counter to order, and then wait for your giant Styrofoam container of saag to come out. You can either eat in at one of their fast-food-style tables or take your Goliath order home and make a few meals out of it. $7-$10. 211 W. McMillan Ave., Clifton Heights, 513-421-6453,



T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  4 5


Favorite Farmers Markets For the times when you actually feel like cooking for yourself instead of hopping in the car and driving to a restaurant, do like our local chefs do and head to your favorite farmers market. Strolling the stands of fresh produce and locally sourced meat and dairy can lead to unexpected culinary inspiration. Seasonal items lend color and bite to everyday recipes, and creative ingredient combinations can come together before your eyes. Plus there’s the added bonus of supporting local business and agriculture. 3:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays, May-October. Summit Park, 4335 Glendale-Milford Road, Blue Ash,

Covington Farmers Market

9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, May-October. Third and Court streets, Covington, Ky.,

Findlay Market Farmers Market

8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, year-round. 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine,

Findlay Market Farmstands

3-7 p.m. Fridays, year-round. 3820 Westwood Northern Blvd., Cheviot,

Madeira Farmers Market

3:30-7 p.m. Thursdays, May-September. Corner of Dawson Road and Miami Avenue, Madeira. 3:30-7 p.m. Thursdays, October-April. 8000 Miami Ave., Madeira,

Milford Farmers Market

2-5 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays, June-October. 1025 Lila Ave., Milford,

Evanston Farmstand (1614 Hewitt Ave.) 3-6 p.m. Thursdays. Price Hill Farmstand (Price and Grand avenues) 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays. Walnut Hills Farmstand (2609 Kemper Lane) 4-7 p.m. Thursdays.

Northside Farmers Market

Hyde Park Farmers Market

Strauss Troy Market

9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sundays, May-October. Hyde Park Square,

46  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Lettuce Eat Well Farmers Market

4-7 p.m. Wednesdays, May-October. Hoffner Park, 4101 Hamilton Ave., Northside. 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays, OctoberMay. 4222 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays, May-October. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

F I N D L AY M A R K E T | P H O T O : j e s s e f o x

Blue Ash Farmers Market

g r i l l o f i n d i a | P H O T O : a l e x a n d r i a d u po n t

Happy hour at QCR is Monday - Friday FroM 4 PM to 7 PM


Sitting at the bottom of Ludlow Avenue right across from Cincinnati State, Dusmesh is a foodie favorite, offering Northern Indian food made fresh with organic produce. Vegans can substitute coconut milk in any of their dishes. If you want to sample a little bit of everything, check out the lunch buffet. $8-$15. 944 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-2218900,

Grill of India

Amol India, an established Indian restaurant on Ludlow Avenue, has transformed into Grill of India. It is now operated under completely new ownership by the same family that brings North College Hill’s Swad of India to Cincinnati (which is a seal of approval for most Cincinnatians). The restaurant’s daily lunchtime buffet offers not one but two buffet tables and a free ice cream buffet. $7-$15. 354 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-961-3600,


New Krishna

Specializes in a wide variety of North Indian foods. Includes a

Shaan Indian Cuisine

Located in Hyde Park, Shaan Indian Cuisine provides Northern Indian specializing in saag dishes, like the chicken saag and the saag paneer. The Chane Ki Chat is a blend of fruit and vegetables mixed with chickpeas served cold as an appetizer that you don’t normally see, but don’t miss the spicy lamb vindaloo or the ginger lamb. $9-$12. 3880 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-3100,


The former owners of Dusmesh opened this spot that’s friendly to all: gluten-free eaters, vegans, bring-your-own-beer types and those who just love excellent garlic naan. $9-$15. 1810 W. Galbraith Road, North College Hill, 513-522-5900,


Wood-fired pizzas are the centerpiece of this restaurant. The Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas are smallish — about six slices per pizza — and come with toppings like a Black & Blue (tomato sauce, olive tapenade, blue cheese, pepperoni, roasted onion, Kalamata olives) and Harvest (onion and garlic purée, mozzarella, squash, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, basil). The small plates consist of bruschetta, caprese salad and roasted olives, and even three

sandwiches: a veggie, an Italian and a prosciutto. $9-$14. 15 N. Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, Ky., 859-441-0967,

H Adriatico’s

Adriatico’s has a huge draft beer selection and 64-ounce growlers to go, plus spicy, garlicky sauce, oversized pepperonis and the super-thick crust that their pizzas are known for. Good luck finding calzones like theirs, too. It’s “madness” every Monday and Tuesday with specials that the college kids can’t turn down. The Bearcat pizza will feed your entire party. $6-$53. 113 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, 513-281-4344,

H A Tavola

Armed with a pizza oven from Naples, Italy, A Tavola strikes a resounding chord of authenticity while redefining the perfect pie. Their playful selection of signature pizzas — such as the Fig + Prosciutto, Sweet Pea + Bacon or Sausage + Sage — are a blend of the familiar coupled with the exotic. Whet your appetite with their stuffed dates, filled with house sausage, wrapped in smoky bacon and topped with tomato sauce. $5-$20. 1220 Vine St., Overthe-Rhine, 513-246-0192; 7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-2720192,

Bella Luna

Ideal for a lively night out with friends. Features authentic recipes from Italy’s Sicily and Calabria regions — must-haves include the mushroom ravioli

We offer: $5 Boozy Slushies $4 Local drafts $4 Weihenstephaner Beers Cans of High Life, Hudy Delight & PBR are always $2 222 W 12th St • 513.381.0918

T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  4 7

With only a few seats in house and every dish served in a Styrofoam container, it’s no wonder why the emphasis is on the food. Krishna offers budget-friendly Indian fare without compromising the quality. Go in for the lamb biryani or the saag paneer, and add some vegetable samosas to your order. Their food is friendly whether you’re carnivore or herbivore. $7-$10. 313 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-961-2878.

lunch and dinner buffet. $8.50$15.99. 11974 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, 513-769-6266,

forno osteria + Bar | PHOTO : haile y bollinger

2 7 2 4 E riE AvE | CinCinnAti, OH 4520 8 | ( 5 1 3 ) 3 2 1 - 0 5 5 5

Al fiOs-C in C y. COm

stuffed with portobello and topped with sweet pepper sauce and gorgonzola as well as eggplant parmesan. They also offer a gluten-free menu. $9-$26. 4632 Eastern Ave., East End, 513-8715862,

Betta’s Italian Oven

American Craft Bistro Winner of Best Chef Winner of Best Restaurant

Plenty o’ choices here to give any local Italian chain a serious run for its money. Familiar favorites include antipasto, soups, salads and Italian and NYC-style sandwiches, but pizza is the real word. The wood-fired oven produces tasty, thin-crust pies like the Quattro Stagioni with kalamata olives, prosciutto, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, and breadsticks including the spicy pepperoni sticks. There are plenty of regulars filling the tables every night — always a sign of a consistently good meal. $8-$14. 3764 Montgomery Road, Norwood, 513-631-6836,

48  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Buona Vita Pizzeria

Outdoor Patio Y Revolving Craft Taps Y Curated Wine List Southern Stage with Live Music Thursday O Saturday nights! 1960 N Bend Rd., Hebron, KY 41048 • 859-586-0473 •

Lots of Italian restaurants claim to cook “just like Grandma made it,” but few actually use authentic recipes passed down from the motherland. At Buona Vita Pizzeria, the Frommeyers use their family name (Buonavita, “the good life”) and family recipes. Truly a family affair, Joseph Frommeyer runs the front of the house while his brother/ chef Matthew runs the kitchen using recipes handed down from their Nonna. Mamma helps out in the dining room, serving her homemade cookies and other Italian treats to guests; plus cousin Ralph drops off his Dolce Vita Gelato. $5-$18. 441 Sixth

St., Dayton, Ky., 859-261-6792,

H Dewey’s Pizza

A hip neighborhood pizza chain with craft beers, seasonal salads, specialty toppings and a window where kids (and adults) can watch the pizzas being hand-tossed. $9-$22. Multiple locations including 3014 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-731-7755; 7767 Kenwood Road, Kenwood, 513-791-1616; Newport on the Levee, Newport, Ky., 859-4319700,

Fireside Pizza

Since opening a brick-andmortar version of their popular wood-fired pizza cart last year, Fireside Pizza has been able to attract a crowd to the up-andcoming East Walnut Hills neighborhood. With the family-friendly vibe, old school Ms. Pac-Man game and the fact that it’s located inside an actual historic firehouse, Fireside’s appeal transcends its nicely singed wood-fired pizzas. $4-$20. 773 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, 513-751-FIRE,

Forno Osteria + Bar

One of the city’s First Families of Food — the Pietosos of Nicola’s and Via Vite — have brought upscale-casual Italian cooking to the East Side with Forno, serving what they describe as “Italian comfort food.” The restaurant is one large dining room with an open kitchen showcasing the brick ovens and a large bar. In addition to a selection of red- and white-sauced pizzas, the menu lists six pasta plates

and five meat- and fish-based entrées. $11-$30. 3514 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-818-8720,

H Goodfellas Pizzeria

The place to be when you stumble out of the bar at 2 a.m. (or for lunch), Goodfellas makes their dough fresh every morning and their sauce in-house. They also offer subs, calzones and a multitude of delectable dipping sauces. A bourbon bar is upstairs. $5.95$32. 1211 Main St., Over-theRhine, 513-381-3625; 603 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-916-5209,


A chain of local pizzerias that’s been dishing up pies for 60 years, as well as pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. The sauce and crust are both a tiny bit sweet. $5-$25. Multiple locations, 513347-1111,

Mac’s Pizza Pub

It’s kind of a collegiate Chuck E. Cheese. There are games, live music, sports and food — good food with vegan options. Mac’s pizza has won numerous awards, and the rest of its menu ain’t too shabby, either. $3.50-$20. 205 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, 513-241-MACS; 6309 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-MACS; 2920 W. US-22, Maineville, 513-677-MACS; 604 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859431-MACS,

Mellow Mushroom

Choices are endless at this groovy pizza joint. Choose from an extensive list of specialty pizzas including the Holy Shiitake

sot to | PHOTO : provided

Pie or opt to craft your own creation. $5-$25. Multiple locations including 9238 Floer Drive, West Chester, 513-860-0888; 3804 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-2555,

Newport Pizza Company

The pizzas are excellent, of course, and the vegetarian options are much better than average since Newport Pizza roasts most of their veggies themselves. Best thing on the menu, though, is the Antipasti Basket with salami, pepperoni, capicola ham, asiago and fresh mozzarella, manzanella olives, banana peppers, Roma tomato, fresh basil and a big fat head of roasted garlic. $5-$17. 601 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-4900,

Ramundo’s Pizzeria

Try the pizza challenge — two people, 10 minutes, one 24-inch pizza. Winners get their photo on the wall. $3-$36. 3166 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-321-0978,

Red Rose

Avocados are usually associated with Mexican food, but if you crave the green stuff on unconventional dishes, Red Rose Pizza offers it in the form of a fresh guacamole appetizer, broccoli avocado soup, the Goats & Guacamole salad, May’s Funky Chicken grinder and as a pizza topping. $6-$68 (for a 28-inch pizza). 5915 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, 513-620-7673,

Santo Graal

H Pompilios



This restaurant, where the toothpick scene in Rain Man was filmed, has been offering classic family Italian since 1933. Can’t go wrong with any pasta dish. Play a game of bocce ball on the back court or grab a beer-and-burger special in the attached Colonel Pomp’s Tavern. $7-$28. 600 Washington Ave., Newport, Ky., 859-581-3065,

Family-owned for a century, Scotti’s must be doing something right. Their large menu features just about every pasta imaginable and nearly 20 different varieties of veal dishes. Finish off your meal with a bottle of wine and you’ll be full for days. Multi-colored tiles plaster the walls, and candles drip layer upon layer of wax on Chianti bottles at every table, providing

H Sotto

Located under Boca restaurant, the Tuscan-inspired Sotto offers a more approachable atmosphere and price point than its upstairs neighbor. With multiple dining rooms, the kitchen is open to view, including the custom-made wood-fire grill in front and a fresh-pasta room in the back hallway. Menu items include handmade pasta, house-cured salami and big-ticket items like Bistecca Fiorentina, a grilled creekstone porterhouse steak with daily sides. Sotto sources their bread from Blue Oven and also grows their own herbs and vegetables. Now serving lunch during the week. $7-$75. 118 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-977-6886,

Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria

Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria is not just another pizza joint. The dough is thin, with beautiful crisp air pockets that bulge out of the pizza. It is golden, charred and chewy. The toppings are tossed on top deliberately but asymmetrically — rustic in every sense. $9-$18. 336 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-291-6836,


In Italian, “Taglio” means “pizza by the slice” and the restaurant focuses on large slices of gas-fired New York-style pizza (hand-tossed, thin crust, real

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A make-your-own pizza place with toppings ranging from sausage and pepperoni to artichoke and gorgonzola cheese. $4-$8. 128 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, 513-221-1300,

Santo Graal fills a niche at The Banks for an affordably priced restaurant that gives sports fans and concertgoers a respite from the crowds. The food is familiar, mainstream Cincinnati Italian, and you can get a decent bottle of wine. $10-$15. 180 E. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, 513721-7222,

a little light to the otherwise dimly lit dining room. $18-$31. 919 Vine St., Downtown, 513721-9484,


g o m e z s a l s a | P H O T O : l i n d s ay m c c a r t y

Ché | PHOTO : jes se fox

cheese). The concept is simple: walk up to the counter, order a slice or a whole pizza, grab a six-pack or a bottle (or two) of wine from their booze wall, go home and stuff your face. They make all of their meats in-house but import the ricotta and mozzarella from Italy. $3 slice; $14-$26 pizza. 3531 Columbia Parkway, Columbia Tusculum, 513-321-0454,


A beverage drive-thru with above-average pizza, including the Lotta Trotta big-ass pizza. $6-$35. 3501 Werk Road, Westwood, 513-451-5555,

50  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

Via Vite

Via Vite showcases chef Cristian Pietoso’s casual take on Northern Italian cuisine. Crispy, wood-fired pizzas and hearty pastas hearken to the motherland, while entrées of braised lamb shank and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin smothered in grandma’s peperonata lead the diner on a classic Italian journey. $10-$38. 520 Vine St., Fountain Square, Downtown, 513-7218483,


The Mediterranean-inspired menu of small plates revels in Italian, Spanish, Turkish and Greek influences, with unique twists only chef Daniel Wright (winner of Food & Wine’s 2012 People’s Best New Chef: Great Lakes Region) could pull off — chorizo-stuffed dates, grilled

octopus, batata and more. Wines are available on tap, by the bottle or the glass. $5-$16. 1214 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-4040,

Ali Baba

Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill is a tiny hole-in-the-wall serving up gargantuan falafel and gyro platters that won’t break the bank. Stock your plate with a variety of fresh toppings doled out by a friendly server, then sit down to watch Persian singer Mansour and others belt out hits in music videos hearkening back to MTV’s glory days. $5-$10. 4793 Red Bank Road, Madisonville, 513-271-0706.

H Andy’s Mediterranean Grille

Expect maximum Mediterranean flavor at Andy’s, from the signature Shish Tawook, a marinated chicken kabob, to authentic stuffed grape leaves and many varieties of baklava and Turkish coffee. $6-$35. 906 Nassau St., Walnut Hills, 513-281-9791,

Kinneret Café

This veg-friendly, Kosher spot combines cultures and dishes from around the Mediterranean, specializing in Israeli food. Everything is made in-house and the only meat on the menu is fish. $5.50-$16. 8316 Plainfield Road, Deer Park, 513-791-1777,

Marrakech Moroccan Café & Grill

The chefs, who hail from Marrakech, serve up Mediterranean staples, plus a variety of tajines,

flavorful stews slow-cooked in a conical earthenware pot, and bastilla, a sweet-andsavory chicken pie layered with scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, caramelized onions, ground almonds, confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Don’t miss out on the Moroccan mint tea. $5-$12. 341 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-442-2233, facebook. com/cliftonmoroccancafe.

Mirage Mediterranean

Owned by two Armenian-American brothers, Mirage features authentic family recipes that have been passed from generation to generation. Most dishes hail from around the Black Sea, including kebabs, Russian borscht, khinkali dumplings and Mikado cake. $5-$20. 11381 Montgomery Road, Mongtomery, 513-469-0089,

Phoenician Taverna

A hidden gem in a Mason stripmall, Phoenician Taverna specializes in Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine, all made in-house — from the pita bread to the sausage stuffed in natural casings. For entrées, find shawarma, mouzat (braised lamb shank in tomato sauce), mashawi and ouzi (braised met over rice). Plenty of hot and cold vegetarian mezza (appetizers) abound. $10-$23. 7994 Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, 513-770-0027,


Serving as a West Side staple for more than 38 years, Sebastian’s family-owned

restaurant is a Greek treasure. With mouth-watering baklava, flaky spanakopita and the hands-down best gyro in town, it’s no wonder why customers keep coming back for more. $4-$10.50. 5209 Glenway Ave., West Price Hill, 513-471-2100,

gourmet tacos (pollo rojo, pastor, huitlacoche, etc.), quality tequilas and whiskeys and handcrafted margaritas made the old fashioned way — not from a premade mix. $3-$9. 1213 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-579-0446,


Calle means “street” and cantina means “bar,” and that’s exactly what you’re getting: a no-frills watering hole/streetfood restaurant that feels like a worldly destination you’d come across on your travels. They have a sparse menu: fresh veggie, chicken or carnitas tacos; tostados; loaded nachos; and chips and salas or guac. On a given day, Calle offers about three kinds of seasonal margs, along with red or white housemade sangria. $3-$12. 950 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, 513721-6977,

Authentic Mediterranean cuisine. Owner and executive chef Mustafa Koylu prepares a wide selection of excellent kebabs, and the menu also reflects Ottoman specialties and traditional appetizers (grape leaves, hummus, cacik), along with plenty of vegetarian entrees. $7-$35. 7305 Tyler’s Corner Drive, West Chester, 513-847-1535,


Owner and chef Isis ArrietaDennis and her husband make everything from scratch using an arepa recipe passed down from Isis’ mother, who owns her own restaurant in Cartagena, Colombia. The grill has six different arepas, stuffed with cheese, beans and plantains, and then your choice of beef, chicken or both, sourced from Findlay’s Mackie Quality Meats. The grill is currently open at Findlay Market during the weekend. $5-$10. 1801 Race St., Findlay Market, Over-the-Rhine, thearepaplacelatingrill.

H Bakersfield OTR

Part bar, part taco joint, all classy. Bakersfield specializes in

Calle Cantina


This Mexican restaurant attached to Western Bowl bowling alley is an area favorite. Prices vary. Multiple locations including 6385 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513-574-1639,


Cazadores is one of the city’s most underrated restaurants. It’s locally owned, boasting four decent-sized, clean and rarely crowded restaurants in the Greater Cincinnati area. They even recently started sending a guy around to the tables with a cart to make fresh guacamole. $6.50-$15. Multiple locations including 750 Ohio 28, Milford,



Located just a hair off the beaten path in Over-the-Rhine, Ché is nestled on Walnut Street, down a block from 16 Bit Bar+Arcade. The three “cheese” empanadas are basically quesadillas with an additional ingredient: de espinaca features baby spinach, queso y cebolla has sautéed onion and jamon y queso comes with classic ham and cheese. Then there are the meat-centric ’nadas. The de carne has cuminand paprika-spiced beef and the spicy smoked pork belly also features caramelized onion and cheese. The real surprises are the shrimp scampi, the Buffalo chicken and the Breakfast, with country-style sausage, scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. $3-$9. 1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-978-1706,

The Comet

A neighborhood bar with tons of bottled beer options and a limited Mexican-inspired menu available from 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Choose chicken, beef or jerked tofu for your burrito or have the same in a quesadilla, nachos or tacos. $4-$8. 4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-541-8900,

Django Western Taco

The al pastor pork pairs with tequila-soaked, grilled pineapple and fragrant chopped mint. Vegetarians can enjoy a delicious veggie taco. Seafood stew features a mix of yellow fin tune, mussels, clams and

m i ta’ s | P H O T O : j e s s e f o x

shrimp in a garlic tomato broth with okra and cotija cheese. Django’s take on guac boasts pistachio, Serrano pepper and cotija cheese. $6-$18. 4046 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513542-3664,

El Camino

Co-owner Sean Morgan and chef Brad Johnson’s Puerto Rican and Cuban street-food-inspired eatery serves up easy Latin American dishes. El Camino’s tostones, which are deep-fried plantains, come with a side of garlic ketchup. They’re crisp, crunchy and, miraculously, not at all greasy. The Cubano sandwich is delicious, standard and comforting. Their huge empanadas have rotating fillings. And the flan is silky, with smoky caramel. $3.50-$8. 1004 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-376-8328,

El Rancho Grande

One of the largest local Mexican chains. $2-$10. Multiple locations including 6475 E. Galbraith Road, Kenwood,

Frida 602

H Gomez Salsa

Open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, Gomez’s walk-up taco window has it all: mahi-mahi tacos with slaw and Baja sauce, chips with pineapple salsa, taco salad bowls and owner Andrew Gomez’s greatest invention, the Turtle Shell. Take a tortilla, stuff it with rice, beans, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, meat, veggies and cheese, layer in a tostado for crunch, put some cheese on the top and then brown it. It’s a fat little crunchy burrito envelope, a walking taco. And the Turtle tastes even better if you stumble over after imbibing at the adjacent HalfCut, a craft beer café of sorts. Now open for lunch and brunch. $3-$9. 107 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513381-1596,


Cincinnati’s original foil-wrapped Latin fare. Habañero opened in 1999, before most of us had even heard of that national burrito chain. Known for their more creative burrito options like the Mad Max (with fried tilapia) and the Calypso Chicken (with adobo-glazed chicken breast and pineapple salsa), along with various quesadillas and signature salsas. $2.50-$8. 358 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-9616800,

La Mexicana

Home of some of the city’s best tacos: tacos al pastor with

delicious marinated pork shoulder, barbacoa, carne asada, lengua (tongue) and sesos (brains; they wash down perfectly with a cerveza). For vegetarians, wide-ranging fillings include seasoned pumpkin flower, corn truffle, hongos, beans and queso fresco. This inexpensive and authentic menu has been known to incite cravings after as little as one visit. $3-$10. 642 Monmouth St., Newport, Ky., 859-261-6112.

H Mazunte

Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup with pork, chicken, hominy, red radish, onions, avocados, cilantro, limes, Mexican oregano and tostadas. And a steamy bowl of pozole from Mazunte is like a soft kiss of authenticity from Oaxaca, Mexico. Owner Josh Wamsley wanted to create a dining experience to match those he had as a hungry English professor in that Mexican state, a place he calls the “unofficial mecca of Mexican cuisine.” It’s a refreshing and authentic culinary surprise, considering the restaurant’s location in a Madisonville strip mall. $7.25$9.25. 5207 Madison Road, Madisonville, 513-785-0000,


Chef Jose Salazar is a continent away from his mamita and the hand-cranked mill she still uses to grind corn for arepas and empanadas, but his restaurant, Mita’s, is a tribute to her spirit and to Spanish and Latin American food. Some of the more intriguing dishes at Mita’s use familiar ingredients in

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The restaurant, named after the legendary painter Frida Kahlo, has Kahlo’s portrait and famous unibrow emblazoned all over the place. The cocktail list is divided into margaritas and house cocktails made with either tequila or mezcal, and they offer both in a flight, served in copitas (small clay cups). The menu is categorized into antojitos of chips and salsas, salads, nachos and several kinds of tacos. The vegetarian chickpea and Brussels

sprout tacos are the best. Also a must: the queso dip. $8-$14. 602 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-815-8736, frida602.

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new ways. The fresh emeraldgreen sauce for the short-rib empanadas is unexpectedly minty, and the beef is tucked into cornmeal crusts so light and crisp that it lifts the dish to the sublime. The bar at Mita’s is a great place to get familiar with mezcal, the underexplored spirit-of-the-moment — the Mezcal Manhattan is getting lots of buzz. $7-$39. 501 Race St., Downtown, 513-421-6482,


Friendly service and fresh, affordable food have kept Montoya’s a neighborhood staple for more than 20 years. Patrons rave about their authentic Mexican dishes like chilaquiles, their signature spicy Pirata Plate and anything with mole. Great margaritas are the cherry on top. $2.25-$11. 2507 Chelsea Drive, Fort Mitchell, Ky., 859-341-0707.


Modern Mexican. Outstanding guacamole tops beer-batterfried hake on crisp, Baja-style tacos. The ceviche zings with notes of orange and chipotle. Churros, classic fried dough with cinnamon and sugar, are a sweet way to wrap it up. Great location next to the Aronoff Center downtown, and the patio is a big attraction when nice weather beckons. $6-$22. 600 Walnut St., Downtown. 513-721-6232,

Rio Grande

Serves up good strip-mall Mexican, with the giant portions and plentiful margaritas you’d expect. $2-$10. 34

Carothers Road, Newport, Ky., 859-292-8750.


Taqueria Mercado

Italian for “good food,” the restaurant aims to wed Italian and Argentinian cuisine. The menu is dotted with Italian (baked ravioli, bruschetta) and Argentinian (empanadas, grilled lamb) dishes, but steers more toward the former. And, as both countries are located on coasts, there’s always fresh seafood. $7-$33. 2724 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-0555,

Fajitas come with your choice of grilled steak, chicken or shrimp. Go in Sunday morning for a not-so-typical American brunch; get their spicy chilaquiles with chorizo and pair it with their Michelada — it’s like a bloody mary, but with your choice of light or dark beer mixed with tomato juice, lime juice and hot sauce. $3-$15. 100 E. Eighth St., Downtown, 513-381-0678; 6507 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-9424943,

Taqueria Yolandita

Taqueria Yolandita is a tiny taco trailer. The menu is brief, but you’ve still got a tough choice — you’ll want to try everything. Overstuffed tacos, priced at three for $6; burritos, quesadillas and tortas, all $7 each. An order of three is a sit-down, eat-with-a-fork feast, heaped high with braised meat, fresh avocado, chopped onions and cilantro, quartered lemons — not limes — and slices of crisp radish. $5-$7. 1881 Westwood Ave., Price Hill, 513-551-0828.

RUSSIAN Oasis Russian Fusion

A Russian restaurant that holds back a little on the traditional fattening ingredients Russian meals are known for. Find beef stroganoff, Georgian chicken tabaka, goulash, dumplings and pastry appetizers. $8-$18. 8697 Fields Ertel Road, Symmes, 513-247-9755,

Alfio’s Buon Cibo

Boi Na Braza

Brazilian Steakhouse with a lot of fancy meat on sticks delivered tableside by gauchos, plus a salad bar. $48.95. 441 Vine St., Downtown, 513-421-7111,


A trip to chef David Falk’s Italian/French gemstone is an experience to be savored as much as the food itself. Take your time, invest a few hours and allow him and his attentive, knowledgeable staff to unfold an epic tale of two or three courses, plus dessert. $15-$60. 114 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-542-2022,

The Celestial

Whet your appetite on drunken mussels with applewoodsmoked bacon, Blue Moon beer and orange zest or delectable crab cakes with chili pasilla aioli. Whether you choose the Celestial Oscar, crowned with lump crabmeat, or the roasted Cornish game hen, you will

the anchor- otr | PHOTO : jes se fox

not be disappointed. Desserts include a classic crème brulee and chocolate-crusted cheesecake. $8-$60. 1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams, 513-2414455,


Jean-Robert de Cavel and Richard Brown have teamed up to revive classic fine dining with elevated cuisine, impeccable service and refined decor. Housed inside Great American Tower, the restaurant serves seasonally inspired French cuisine with “Parisian flair, a little New York attitude, and an abundance of Cincinnati charm.” Chose from three- or sevencourse high-end tasting menus. $89-$190. 221 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-760-5525,


Nicola’s Restaurant

A celeb-spotting treasure, Nicola’s renown is undeniable. One of Cincinnati’s top, Zagat-rated restaurants, its menu of housemade pastas and secondi piatti — branzino, bistecca and scallop piccata — are among some of the thoughtfully conceived

Orchids at Palm Court

Nestled inside Carew Tower’s historic Art Deco Hilton hotel, Orchids hosts a breathtaking feast for the eyes — a perfect backdrop for weekly seasonal menus of refined elegance made with local ingredients, including some from the hotel’s rooftop beehive and herb garden. Chef Todd Kelly’s AAA five-diamond menu features creative, fresh cuisine paired with an awardwinning wine list and delicious desserts by pastry chef Megan Ketover. $9-$60 (for the chef’s tasting prix fixe platters). 35 W. Fifth St., Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel, Downtown, 513-421-9100,

The Palace Restaurant

Seasonal menus of fine, upscale fare at a four-diamond restaurant — including a menu just for vegetarians and vegans. $75 for five courses; $95 for nine, with a la carte pricing in between. 601 Vine St., The Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown, 513-381-3000,


With a breathtaking city view, Primavista wins frequent reader’s choice and magazine awards such as “most romantic,” “best date spot” and “best dining with a view.” They offer fine Italian dishes from all regions,

specializing in veal and fish, with sauces made in-house. The gnocchi sautéed in sage butter with pancetta melts in your mouth, and the bread pudding is excellent. Includes special menus for vegans, vegetarians and those with a gluten intolerance. $7-$39. 810 Matson Place, Price Hill, 513-251-6467,


Get in line at the Alabama Fish Bar and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best fried fish in the city: a choice of whiting, perch or cod served atop a pile of fries resting on a bed of white bread. A side of sautéed peppers and onions and hot sauce make it a spicy, lip-smacking experience. $7-$8. 1601 Race St., Over-theRhine, 513-241-2255,

H The Anchor-OTR

Located in a historic building at the corner of Washington Park, Anchor OTR offers impressivequality seafood. The raw bar selections are tempting, and they also offer interesting starters: crawfish beignets, grilled calamari and deviled eggs with smoked salmon. Beachside classics like hush puppies and lobster rolls will transport you to the coast. The salads change seasonally and the Longshoreman’s Bloody Mary gets a lot of local attention — a bloody mary with vodka, housemade pickles and your choice of shrimp, oyster or lobster claw. $6-$32. 1401 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513421-8111,

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Meritage offers upscale classic American cuisine, ranging from pan-seared scallops with lemon butter and Thai-glazed salmon to a Cajun goat cheese-crusted filet. Don’t miss the bone-in pork chop served with bourbon cream sauce. Meritage also boasts an extensive wine cellar and signature cocktails. $10-$40. 40 Village Square., Glendale, 513-376-8134,

dishes transporting patrons to the heart of Italy. Indulge in wine-paired tasting menus, or cap off your meal with a dessert of panna cotta with strawberry or tiramisu. $12-$40. 1420 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-6200,

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An upscale chain of prime-aged steak and seafood. House recommendations include a romaine Waldorf salad with maple apple-cider vinaigrette, sesame calamari, chateaubriand for two and a bone-in filet. $8-$95. 10808 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-4891212,

Eddie Merlot’s

sushi or the raw bar to start, followed by a West Chester Chop salad (with bacon, egg, cheddar, tomato, cucumber and onion) or signature entrées, like the black truffle filet, chateaubriand for two or vegetarian portabellos with goat cheese and tomato. $9-$99. 5980 West Chester Blvd., West Chester, 513-8605353,

a regular on your first visit. The extensive menu consists of all the classic steakhouse options: tender, juicy steaks, seafood and chicken cooked just right, plus pasta, sandwiches, soups and salads. Look for the steer drinking a martini on the sign. $8-$31. 3908 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, 513-662-2683,


Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

Pelican’s Reef

There is a seemingly endless variety of Thai/sushi/Asian restaurants in our city. How about a steakhouse/sushi joint? That’s what you’ll find in Embers. Steaks are aged 28 days and are served with housemade compound butter or a variety of “extras” like truffle sauce or caramelized onions. Try the pickled veggie sushi or crunchy eel sushi to start, and then dig into some Vietnamese-style baby-back ribs. $17-$63. 8170 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, 513-984-8090,

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Wood-fired steak and seafood restaurant. Find aged ribeye, New York strip, slow-roasted prime rib, coconut shrimp and pecan-crusted trout, along with signature salads, appetizers and burgers. $11-$45. 5075 Deerfield Blvd., Mason, 513234-9032,

Jag’s Steak and Seafood

This upscale steakhouse and piano bar does everything from innovative meals to craft cocktails and extensive wine choices to live music. For dinner, opt for

Modeled after a 1940s New York Art Deco steakhouse. If you love steak you have about a zero-percent chance of being let down with one of Ruby’s — they dry-age their own. There are several non-steak options on the menu, including good seafood dishes, but the cow is king (queen?) at Ruby’s. $7-$80. 700 Walnut St., Downtown, 513784-1200,

Lisse Steakhuis

A Dutch-inspired steakhuis. Start with smoked whitefish pate or bitterballen, a mixture of ground meat, rolled in panko breadcrumbs and then deep fried. For dinner, move to the coast with Faroe Island salmon, or the farm, with a Dutch filet — a barrel-cut filet grilled a la plancha, seasoned with salt and pepper and served over hutspot cake (mashed potatoes, carrots and onion). $10-$72. 530 Main St., Covington, Ky., 859-3607008,

Maury’s Tiny Cove

Maury’s has been packed full of flavor and West Side tradition since 1949. The dimly lit 1940s supper-club vibe will have you feeling like

For 20 years, the laid-back island oasis Pelican’s Reef has been serving up super-fresh seafood in Anderson. While much of the expansive menu features breaded and fried items with plenty of tartar sauce — choices like fried oyster po’boys or broiled grouper stuffed with crab meat, wild rice and cornbread stuffing — none of the restaurant’s diehard fans are complaining. $6-$24. 7261 Beechmont Ave., Anderson, 513232-2526,

H The Precinct

You can always rely on a Jeff Ruby restaurant for a big, rare steak and platters of seafood. The Precinct, housed in a historical Romanesque-style former police precinct, was the first in a long line of Ruby steakhouses. You can’t go wrong with a sirloin or porterhouse, named after current and past Cincinnati baseball greats. But there are other options, like blackened diver scallops or something from the tableside service menu like seafood fettuccine alfredo for two. $14-$82. 311 Delta Ave., Columbia Tusculum, 513-3215454,

brown be ar bakery | PHOTO : jes se fox

rooted juicery | PHOTO : jes se fox

Tony’s of Cincinnati

A luxury steakhouse operated by Tony Ricci, former GM of Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct, serving USDA prime meats with all the toppings you could want — Oscar, au poivre, sauce béarnaise. Also features a raw bar, indulgent pastas, non-steak entrées and classic steakhouse sides. $10$67. 12110 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-677-1993,

Washington Platform

Established in 1875 (and reestablished in 1986), the saloon is home to an annual oyster festival, lobstapalooza and crab carnival. $4-$32. 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110,


the pork is antibiotic free and the restaurant itself focuses on environmentally processes and products. They also serve Jeni’s Splendid ice cream. $5-$15. 3543 Columbia Parkway, Columbia Tusculum, 513-321-8777,

Happy Chicks Bakery

The Northside café and bakery offers cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and more, all with fresh, seasonal flavors, and light lunch options, including sandwiches, salads and soups that are all freshly prepared from nonprocessed foods and are free from preservatives and animal products $4-$7. 4035 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-386-7990,

Loving Hut

H Green Dog Café

H Melt Eclectic Café

The Elusive Cow

Sustainable, organic and stylish. Many selections are Mexican- or Mediterranean-inspired, others are unique vegetarian or vegetarian-capable wraps, bowls and sandwiches. The poultry is locally pastured, the fish is organic and sustainably sourced,

Vegan, vegetarian and glutenfree diners aren’t an afterthought at Melt. But no worries, the carnivorous can feast, too. A plethora of sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads tempt every palate. Sandwiches include items like the veggie

H Off The Vine Juice Bar

We’re not talking smoothies — we’re talking nutrient-dense, cold-pressed juice funneled into a pint-sized glass container. Juice heads can stop by and purchase an 8-ounce juice or 16-ounce juice in a reusable glass bottle that can be returned and recycled. Customers also will be able to purchase a set of juices and homemade nut milks for a one, three or five-day juice cleanse. $6-$10. 1218 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-305-6020, otvcincy.

Park + Vine

A vegan lunch counter with items like smoky potato salad, fresh kale and barbecue sliders, alongside local favorites Blue Oven Bakery and Shadeau Breads. All items are available gluten-free. $5-$8. 1202 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-7217275,

Rooted Juicery + Kitchen

From coolers housing a rainbow display of juices to vegan meal bowls to a mini bakery, Rooted is out to prove that plant-based eating offers a vast variety of flavors and quality options. The Mexican grain bowl (quinoa, black beans, guacamole, walnut crumble, cashew cheese) is a

favorite in the bowl category. Everything is as locally sourced as possible. $4-$12. 3010 Madison Road, Oakley, 513351-2900; 6844 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, 513-271-0432,

The Weekly Juicery

The juicery boasts an almost entirely gluten-free and vegan menu, and the staff is sensitive to just about every allergy imaginable. Their weekly juicing programs offer three, four and five-day juicing regimens in the $27 to $54 price range. 2727 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-3210680,

DESSERTS H Abby Girl Sweets

A from-scratch cupcakery with two locations and special, seasonal flavors. Prices vary. 4773 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, 513-335-0898; 41 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-335-0898,

H Aglamesis Brothers

A classic 1900s ice cream parlor at its best, wooing foodie visitors from all around the country with its unblemished reputation for quality. The Raspberry Hot Fudge and the Banana Classique shakes are chart-toppers. Prices vary. Multiple locations including 3046 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-531-5196; 9899 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-791-7082,

Bluebird Bakery

Twin Peaks’ Agent Dale Cooper was onto something with his interest in pairing a cup of coffee with a slice of pie. And

at Bluebird Bakery in historic Glendale’s quaint village square, their from-scratch seasonal pies, made with farm-fresh eggs, sweet butter and real gardenfresh fruit, are as authentic as it gets. Prices vary. 29 Village Square, Glendale, 513-7725633,

H The BonBonerie

Have your cake and eat it too as the BonBonerie crew shows off their savory skills. Scones, coffee and quiche adorn the breakfast menu, but the real treat is for those with a sweet tooth. The dessert menu features tortes, cakes, pastries and old-fashioned cookies to please everyone. $5.50-$15. 2030 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-321-3399,

Brown Bear Bakery

Cincinnati pastry artist Blair Fornshell does not have her own storefront yet. Unlike a lot of commercial bakeries in the city, Blair uses all-natural ingredients to create so-beautiful-youalmost-feel-bad-about-eatingthem desserts, such as vanilla bean scones, oat flour salty chocolate chip cookies, cacao nib rochers and brown butter cranberry almond streusel muffins. Prices vary.

Buona Terra

European-style street food and gelato. Savory crepes — with fillings like pesto, turkey, fontina and spinach — are made with buckwheat-based batter and sweet crepes — with fillings like lemon curd, Nutella, pastry cream and brown sugar — are

made with something similar to pancake batter. They also serve colorful French macarons. $3-$8. 1028 Delta Ave., Mount Lookout, 513-386-9356,

Busken Bakery

Busken Bakery opened in 1928 and quickly became a Cincinnati staple with bakery counters in grocery stores, 24-hour drive-in bakeries and delicious donuts, bread and apple pies. Their award-winning baked goods can be found in Remke-Bigg’s stores, UDF locations and 10 bakeries around the city. Hyde Park location open 24/7. $2-$6. Multiple locations including 2675 Madison Road, Hyde Park, 513-871-2114,

H Dojo Gelato

Authentic Italian-style gelato. Dojo Gelato loves to create unexpected flavor profiles — guacamole, bellini, honey lavender, Vietnamese coffee, etc. And they use fresh, seasonal ingredients in their creations. $2-$8. Findlay Market, 137 Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-328-9000,

H Graeter’s Ice Cream

Since its founding in 1870, Graeter’s French Pot Ice Cream, handmade chocolate confections and fresh-baked goods have become traditions in the Queen City. Today, the Graeter family still faithfully uses century-old recipes and methods of production. $2.75-$5.75. Multiple locations including 511 Walnut St., Fountain Square, Downtown, 513-381-4191,

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The owner of The Elusive Cow, Jim Fisher, wanted to create a space where eaters of every kind can sit down and enjoy something off the menu. Focused on sustainable and organic farms, the food supports the omnivore in us all, including dishes with bison, tofu, fish and, of course, hamburgers. $6.95-$12. 519 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Ky., 859-291-0269,

The mission behind Loving Hut is to offer affordable, healthy, vegan cuisine. The restaurant’s environment was created using many found, reclaimed and reused materials. For disposable goods like containers, cups and utensils, they choose biodegradable and/or recyclable products. Tons of paninis, wraps, sandwiches and burgers to choose from. $5.50$8. 6227 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513-731-2233,

cheesesteak made with seitan and The Rachel, a smoked turkey sandwich with red cabbage, apple sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. $4-$10. 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside, 513-681-6358; relocating in 2017 to The Gantry, 1580 Blue Rock St., Northside,

otr candy bar | PHOTO : jes se fox

Hello Honey

Everything is homemade and handcrafted from scratch at this hidden-gem ice cream parlor downtown. Rotating creative and decadent flavors — like chocolate cayenne, honey lavender, pistachio, espresso brittle and salted caramel — are also free from artificial ingredients. That means they’re healthy, right? 633 Vine St., Downtown, 513-977-0300, hellohoneyicecream.

H Holtman’s Donuts

►Lunch: Wed - Fri 11:30-2:30 ►Dinner: Sun - Thurs 4:30-9:00, Fri & Sat 4:30-10:00 ►Brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30 - 2:30

56  •  THE DINING GUIDE 2016

15 N Ft Thomas Ave Ft Thomas, KY 41075 859-441-0967

Mention this ad and get a free pizza with the purchase of one of equal or greater value

In September 2013, the Loveland-based Holtman’s Donuts finally opened an OTR location, replete with a window you can peer through and watch them make donuts, like the sensational maple bacon. Homer Simpson would be so proud... and hungry. Prices vary. 1332 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513381-0903; 1399 State Route 28, Loveland, 513-575-1077,

Macaron Bar

In the past, the closest thing Cincinnati had to Paris was the Eiffel Tower replica at Kings Island. Now we have Macaron Bar, the only local bakery and coffee shop specializing in the brightly colored French pastry, which offers traditional and seasonal macarons, with flavors like salted caramel, Earl Grey tea and pistachio. They’ve recently expanded into multiple storefronts in town, and into Kentucky. Prices vary. Multiple locations including 1206 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Maverick Chocolate

A bean-to-bar chocolatier in Findlay Market, made with ethically sourced cocoa beans. Prices vary. 129 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, maverickchocolate.

OTR Candy Bar

The shop feels a bit like the candy store from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, chock full of sticky sweets, an entire table devoted to out-of-thebox candies. Then there’s an actual bar upon which a sharply dressed candy barista will make you a float using the vintage soda of your choice, dressed with a piece of old-fashioned stick candy. $2-$10. 1735 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-3812765,

Schneider’s Sweet Shop

An old-time corner candy and ice cream store serving the area since 1939. Prices vary. 420 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Ky., 859-431-3545,

H Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

Fourth-generation family bakery, started by great-grandfather George in Muenster, Germany. Known for their pastries, desserts and especially for their soft pretzels, which you can get in all sizes from six ounces to three pounds. $2-$8. Multiple locations including 511 Walnut St., Fountain Square, Downtown, 513-421-2253,


Grown-up ice pops made from unique combinations of fresh

ingredients and unexpected flavors, like papaya rosemary, Thai basil lime, peach Sriracha and many more. $3. 1437 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 3096 Madison Road, Oakley,

Sweet Petit Desserts

Taren Kinebrew specializes in tiny treats at her aptly named shop, Sweet Petit Desserts — macarons, chocolate-covered strawberries, petit fours, even layered cake push-pops. And while the third-generation baker and her team whip up sweets for the shop and special events, they can also teach you how to do it. Call to sign up for the next scheduled class or grab a group and book a private class for up to six people. After learning all her baking secrets, they send you home with a kit so you can recreate the miniature magic. Prices vary. 1426 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-443-5094,


Race, Religion and Nation From Black Power to Black Lives Matter



Cuban Mondays Two Taco Tuesdays Add a fountain drink and homemade chips for $1 Every week in October and November

Jan. 9-13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. MTSO offers a timely and compelling graduate-level class at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Tuition and fees for 3 credit hours: $2,198. Non-credit auditing: $200 ($75 for ages 60 and up). Space is limited. For more information and to register, contact Benjamin Hall at 800-333-6876 or

133 E. Court St. Cincinnati, OH Methodist Theological Methodist School Theological in OhioSchool in Ohio

T H E D I N I N G G U I D E 2 0 1 6   •  5 7

Offered through a cooperative relationship between MTSO and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, promoting justice and theologies of freedom.

1964 the Tribute 50th Anniversary of The Beatles at Crosley Field

TickeTs: $45, $40

TickeTs: $45, $40

Annie Moses Band Christmas Celebration

Saturday Nov. 26 | 7:30 PM McAuley Performing Arts Center

Saturday, October 29 | 7:30 PM Mount St. Joseph University

For Tickets Call 513-570-0652 or visit

Lecture and Visiting Artist Series, FotoFocus Biennial 2016



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Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7pm Fath Auditorium, Cincinnati Art Museum 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Reservations are not required, but early arrival is recommended. Parking is free for Cincinnati Art Museum Members, $4 for non-members. RECEPTION

A public reception will immediately follow the panel discussion in the Great Hall. ABOUT THE EVENT

This panel discussion, convened to mark the exhibition Kentucky Renaissance, involves three curators who have studied regional artistic communities in America led by photographers. Participants will include Brian Sholis, Cincinnati Art Museum; Elizabeth Siegel, Art Institute of Chicago; and Jessica S. McDonald, Harry Ransom Center. Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Untitled, 1964. Gelatin silver print, 7¼ x 7⅜ inches. © The Estate of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Courtesy of Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and DC Moore Gallery, New York





to do

Staff Recommendations

p h o t o : T o n y Wa l s h , C o u r t e s y C A C


ONSTAGE: Cincy Shakes’ affecting production of THE ELEPHANT MAN explores the evolution of Joseph Merrick’s life from a Victorian carnival freak to a respected citizen in 19th-century London. See review on page 65.

MUSIC: BEACH SLANG Philadelphia’s Beach Slang has released two of the best Rock albums of the past two years — last year’s debut, The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, and this year’s A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings. As those titles suggest, the band’s output is dripping with unabashed passion and emotion, both in the lyrics and the grinding Rock & Roll whir of the music. Before the band kicked off its tour with the equally excellent Bleached, a statement was released regarding the dismissal of guitarist Ruben Gallego, who is facing allegations of sexual assault. Both the group’s and Gallego’s statements were empathetic examples of how to respond to such allegations, with each making a point of not blaming the victim and making it clear that they feel anyone who’s suffered such an assault should be heard. As a result of Gallego’s dismissal, singer/ songwriter/guitarist James Alex is doing the current tour solo. Though he referred to it as “Quiet Slang,” don’t expect an acousticguitar/stool setup — James is performing with a plugged-in electric, and members of the audience have occasionally joined him on stage to flesh things out on drums or bass. 8:30 p.m. Thursday. $15. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., — MIKE BREEN

COMEDY: JON LOVITZ Many Saturday Night Live cast members have said they always dreamed of being on the show some day. Not Jon Lovitz. “It never

ART: ANNE THOMPSON ARTIST TALK Visual artist, writer and curator Anne Thompson will discuss her current collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Center and the Columbus Museum of Art, The I-71 Project, which features billboards, flashing LED signs, bumper stickers and campaign pins in the context of the 2016 election year. Thompson will address the thinking behind installations by participating artists such as Lisa Anne Auerbach, Mel Bochner, Glenn Ligon and Kay Rosen that take up “the literal and metaphorical political landscape of a key battleground state” here in Ohio. The conceptual archive of Thompson’s previous billboard-based artworks exhibition, The I-70 Sign Show, will be on view in the CAC’s lower level lobby until November 13. 6-7 p.m. Thursday. Free. Contemporary Arts Center Black Box Theatre, 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, — MARIA SEDA-REEDER

crossed my mind, honestly,” he says. This was true even while he was in the famous Groundlings improv company in the early 1980s. “I never went to the Groundlings thinking, ‘This will help get me on Saturday Night Live.’ ” Originally hired by SNL for his sketch and improv work, Lovitz didn’t start doing stand-up until about 12 years ago. “I don’t do my characters because I tried doing that at the beginning and it just didn’t work,” he says. “I make fun of myself, relationships, men and women, and I tell jokes. I also play the piano and sing.” Showtimes ThursdaySaturday. $30. Liberty Funny Bone, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township, — P.F. WILSON


MUSIC: The Hip Hop/EDM extravaganza UBAHN FEST takes over the Riverfront

Transit Center with headliners Nas, Atmosphere, Girl Talk and more. See Sound Advice on page 74 and an interview with Atmosphere on page 72.


MUSIC: Jazz/Soul sextet HUNTERTONES heads to MOTR Pub. See Sound Advice on page 74. EVENT: PROOF COCKTAILS & SPIRITS FESTIVAL At the Proof Cocktails & Spirits Festival, you can prove you have what it takes to drink (responsibly) all night while sipping spirit samples and cocktails from participating pourers like Wellmann’s Brands, Second Sight Spirits, Northside Yacht Club and more. The festival features six themed pop-up bars, including a Tiki Bar to keep the summer alive; a Log Cabin with a fireplace,

mountainside drinks and mac and cheese from 4EG; and a VIP Speakeasy from Wiseguy Lounge. From the people who produce Cincy Winter Beerfest, Proof provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate all things alcohol. 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday. $65-$95; $35 designated driver. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, — MADISON ASHLEY HALLOWEEN: TRICKS OR TREATS WEEKEND AT THE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL Prepare thyselves for medieval mischief during the Renaissance Festival’s final hurrah of the season. The fest celebrates All Hallows’ Eve with two days of costume contests and trick-or-treating throughout the recreated 16th-century English village, plus pumpkin CONTINUES ON PAGE 60

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ONSTAGE: A CHORUS LINE One singular sensation: That sums up this Tony Award-winning hit about 17 dancers competing to be nameless performers in the chorus of a hit Broadway show. It’s a backstage story, but also a tale of people striving to follow their passions — narratives everyone can relate to. The genuine nature of the show (real Broadway “gypsies” were interviewed and synthesized into A Chorus Line’s characters) made this into one of the longest-running shows ever. It did something unusual for a musical: It also won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. At the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, it’s sure to be a compelling blend of dance, song and drama. Through Oct. 30. $18-$35. Patricia Corbett Theater, University of Cincinnati, Clifton, 513-556-4183, boxoffice. — RICK PENDER


p h o t o : A A R O N C O N WAY

Swad Indian Restaurant

1810 W. Galbraith Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45239 513-522-5900 ORDER ONLINE AT WWW.SWADTASTYOH.COM



parking lot in back & street parking LUNCh bUffEt $ 1 Off PERSON $3 Off 2 PERSON

2Nd dINNER ENtREE $6 Off CARRy-OUt $7 Off dINE-IN


DANCE: COPPÉLIA For the first time since 2001, the Cincinnati Ballet presents treasured comedy Coppélia, which tells the story of Dr. Coppélius’ dream come true: His latest doll creation has come to life. Little does he know that this doll, named Coppélia, is ready to shake things up. Hilarity ensues over mistaken identities, infatuation and love throughout the village. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra will perform the music of Léo Delibes live, while Kirk Peterson’s choreography brings the story to life on stage. And if you’re worried about the “creepy doll coming to life” storyline, keep in mind that this production is a comedy — the humor and musicality of Coppélia are nothing to be afraid of. 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. $32-$113. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, — MAGGIE FULMER

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decorating for little lords and ladies. The 30-acre event also features 100 shows daily, more than 135 arts and crafts shops and oldfashioned games and activities like archery, axe throws and darts. When the sun sets on Sunday, the fun bids farewell until 2017, so make sure to savor the greatest treat of all — a giant, juicy turkey leg — one final time. 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $21.95 adults; $19.95 seniors; $9.95 kids 5-12. 10542 E. State Route 73, Waynesville, — EMILY BEGLEY EVENT: BEER BARON BALL Slip into a cocktail dress, fasten your cuff links or don your dirndl before you embark on an adventure at the Beer Baron Ball for

an evening of glamour, catered dinner and local beer to celebrate Cincinnati’s brewing heritage (it’s black tie optional, so why not opt; Bockfest costumes and other entertaining attire also welcome). This ball supports the development of the Brewing Heritage Trail, which seeks to create an interactive tour in the city’s historic Brewing District. The night begins with the tapping of a ceremonial keg, followed by live music, the launch of the Brewing Heritage Trail app and an open craft beer bar to keep you entertained before dinner. Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $150. JACK Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton, — MADISON ASHLEY EVENT: THE BIG WHISKER REVIVAL 3 Some men wait until no-shave November to

photo : jes se fox


SPORTS: PRINCESS NIGHT AT THE CINCINNATI CYCLONES This Saturday, the Cincinnati Cyclones take on the Wheeling Nailers at U.S. Bank Arena. However, that’s not the only exciting part of the night — it’s also princess night. Join all of your favorite princesses — Anna, Elsa, etc. — as you sit with royalty and watch sweaty men beat each other up on the ice. A $131 “Princess 4 Pack” of tickets will be available, which includes four tickets to the Cyclones Princess Night, four tickets to Disney’s “Dare to Dream” on ice (Oct. 27-30 at U.S. Bank Arena) and four light-up crowns. Doors open 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets start at $15. U.S. Bank Arena, 100 Broadway St., Downtown, — KYLER DAVIS


TV: HBO’s sci-fi cowboy-meets-robot fantasy WESTWORLD is a sinister and satisfying thriller. See TV on page 67.

HALLOWEEN: MAINSTRASSE VILLAGE DOG PAWRADE Costume-clad canines are invited to parade along MainStrasse’s Sixth Street Promenade. This year’s theme is “fairy tale favorite,” and

three prestigious pooches will take home a prize for their impeccable Halloween fashion senses in three categories: Best Original Costume, Best Store-Bought Costume and Best Theme Costume. Stick around to browse pet-friendly vendors and to trickor-treat at MainStrasse businesses. Proof of vaccination required. 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday; 2:30 p.m. parade. $5 entry. MainStrasse Village, Sixth St., Covington, Ky., — EMILY BEGLEY


COMEDY: CHRISTINA PAZSITZKY talks philosophy and comedy at Go Bananas. See interview on page 64.


MUSIC: Thrash Metal overlords RINGWORM play Northside Yacht Club with Exalt, Grim State, The Jig and Abraxas. See Sound Advice on page 75.

ONGOING VISUAL ART Kentucky Renaissance Cincinnati Art Museum, Mount Adams (through Jan. 1, 2017)

Over-the-Rhine +

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let their faces get fuzzy. However, other men welcome their self-growing facial accessories (or are deathly afraid of razors) and are proud of their hairy chin-fur. For them, the Cincinnati Beard Barons present The Big Whisker Revival: a yearly facial hair competition. This Saturday, beardsmen from across the Tristate will compete to prove who has the best facial follicles. Better still, money will be raised to support One Way Farm Children’s Home in Fairfield. Not a beard grower? Don’t fret! Vendors from the Cincinnati area will be selling handcrafted goods, arts and crafts, soaps, oils and other grooming products for those with or without. Includes live music by Moonshine and Wine. 5 p.m. Saturday; competition begins at 8 p.m. $10 early bird; $15 day of. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., beardbarons. com/revival. — KYLER DAVIS

arts & culture

Making Space for Art in Northside

As PAR-Projects stages the first exhibit in its scruffy new home, Jonathan Sears hopes for bigger things BY KATHY SCHWARTZ

PHOTO : haile y bollinger

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warms,” the first installation in PARProjects’ new home on Northside’s Hoffner Street, is a slow-motion swirl of activity and connectivity — sort of a metaphor for PAR-Projects itself. Kinetic sculptures by Michigan artist Lisa Walcott resemble clouds of insects, yet they barely create a buzz as they circle in near-darkness. You can’t make out everything that’s going on in this space, but you sense that you don’t want to disturb this delicate dance. After all, Professional Artistic Research Projects has operated in a series of fits and starts since its creation in 2010. The group was uprooted from two other Northside sites. Now, finally, executive director Jonathan Sears is able to celebrate opening the first part of PAR-Projects’ first permanent home. The question is what’s next. Since mid-2012, when co-founder Chris Hoeting left for the Emery Theatre, Sears has led a team of volunteers by himself. Working with what Sears calls a shoestring budget, the nonprofit has produced the Makers Mobile traveling gallery, as well as collaborations with Northside neighbors, Kennedy Heights Arts Center and others. But all the while, Sears has touted a vision of an outdoor movie theater, exhibit space and arts education center built out of shipping containers. And that’s still the plan, he says. Things are moving at PAR-Projects, but quietly and gradually, much like those sculptures. Walcott’s entire exhibit is called Making Space. PAR-Projects could also call it Making a Dream Come True, even though Sears says that getting this far has been “nightmarish.” Not long after Sears and Hoeting started their first gallery, Northside House, they were evicted following a dispute with their third partner, who was the building’s owner. Then PAR-Projects had to move from its makeshift spot near the American Can Building to make way for the Gantry apartments. “A 30-year lease died so quickly,” Sears says — PAR-Projects’ 2011 Factory Square Fine Arts Festival there had the unintended effect of attracting developers to the property. Through it all, Northside’s diverse community has had PAR-Projects’ back. “They stepped up and said, ‘Don’t leave,’ ” Sears says. The Makers Mobile idea was born as the team looked for a new site. Now PAR-Projects has its own land. “We own it and can’t lose it,” Sears says. But it’s presented a new set of challenges. The triangular lot on Hoffner Street, which Sears and his board purchased in 2014 for $30,000, still could be mistaken for a vacant industrial site. There’s no signage.

Jonathan Sears inside the work-in-progress that is his art group’s first permanent home. Small piles of brush and debris line the chain-link fence. Weeds pop through the faded asphalt. And then there’s the long two-story building, partially boarded up with plywood, that sits at the back of the lot. One face of the century-old, 6,000-squarefoot structure is open, owing to its former use as a lumber-drying facility. Sears and the board originally planned to demolish the structure. But despite decades of overgrowth and neglect, the warehouse’s massive wooden skeleton was built to last. “The engineer said it was more structurally sound than anybody ever imagined,” Sears says. Once they realized they could fix the crumbling roof, Sears and PAR-Projects modified their vision. “We decided to choose a chunk of the building and get the engine turning,” Sears says. A 1,110-square-foot space called The Nook is ready for visitors. But as a recent invite to the barn-like gallery suggested, leave the fancy shoes at home. Six hours before Walcott’s installation opened Oct. 1, stairs to the space were still being laid. A gas-fueled generator operated “Swarms” during its first showings. The Nook’s electrical system should be installed by month’s end, Sears says. He wants to curate four or five installations there annually.

Moving to an existing storefront wouldn’t have posed so many construction issues for PAR-Projects, but there would have been more rules to follow — not to mention a lease that could be canceled — and limited room. “I believe artists need space to play,” Sears says. Here they’ll have the 6,000-square-foot building and, if plans work out, the shipping container facility and a 3,000-square-foot courtyard. Right now the proposed courtyard is the crumbling lot, where the Makers Mobile shipping container and another unit sit. “Makers Mobile is now Makers Landed,” Sears says. “It was always designed to be the first piece in the building.” Currently, the bright container houses illustrations that Walcott titled “The Kitchen Table Series.” The colorful and fluid scenes, which were inspired by the artist’s visits to Northside over the years, look like daydreams drawn on a napkin. A few resemble PAR-Projects’ own sketches for its build-out. Phase 1 will cost under $50,000 and could be realized in a year, Sears believes. “We did the hard part with the roof,” he says. The group has made it this far with funding from grants and donors. In a few months, he says, workers will stack the two existing containers to create

the outdoor theater screen. Sears believes showing movies starting this spring will help generate additional funding and interest from people who might otherwise be uncomfortable visiting a gallery. He then wants to add two more containers to create the first classrooms for media arts, which would bring in more income. “We paid off the mortgage in January,” Sears says. “Now we need to continue the progress and get people accustomed to walking our way.” About 50 people came by on opening night, he says, and half the faces were new to him. Sears says he’s building a core of supporters committed to annual giving, and that trust in PAR-Projects is growing. Sears, a designer and curator whose background is in fine art and digital media, has put his own artmaking mostly on hold. Still, “everything here informs my practice,” he says. “Is what I’m doing not art?” he muses. “I’m activating a community, meeting random people, having conversations I was not expecting. And they lead to the next thing.” PAR-PROJECTS, located at 1662 Hoffner St., hosts another Making Space reception 6-9 p.m. Nov. 12. Other times by appointment through Nov. 27. More info:

a&c the big picture

John Divola Scores a Hit at FotoFocus BY STEVEN ROSEN

like a Calder mobile turned into a dust devil, around the floor-level corner of a room. “The license photography gives you is distance,” Divola said about his work in general. “I could make a lot of awkward, stupid marks on a wall, but make a very interesting photograph of them.”


Sirui Liu & Oğulcan Borova; photography Aaron M. Conway

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Through it all, I thought Divola was expressing optimism about the need for risk and change in photography — although you can never be sure if it will be understood. And while he didn’t specifically refer to it, his comments had more impact on me because he spoke the day after the opening of Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor, the retrospective of the photographer that FotoFocus artistic director Kevin Moore organized at the Contemporary Arts Center. It’s the first U.S. solo museum show for Ethridge. Ethridge has won acclaim — he’s been in the Whitney Biennial — for the way he recombines and repositions his glossy commercial photographs to make them relevant as fine art. Some find them subversively post-modernist; others pretentious. I thought I saw compelling subtext in them, but also wondered whether I really was responding to the slick commercial imagery and then trying to find an art-respectable meaning. So I had been doubting that show as I attended the Oct. 8 discussions. But after hearing Divola (who for all I know may not even like Ethridge’s work), I’m keeping my eyes and mind open. I’m also ready to see a retrospective of Divola’s work, wherever it may be. It was good to get to hear him at FotoFocus 2016. CONTACT STEVEN ROSEN:

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Film and music festivals often have “sleeper hits” — someone or something relatively unheralded in advance that turns out to be enormously relevant and memorable. My pick for a FotoFocus Biennial sleeper hit isn’t an exhibition or even a solo lecturer. It’s a photographer, John Divola, who has work in two different FotoFocus shows and was enormously, eloquently thoughtprovoking during two Oct. 8 panel discussions at 21c Museum Hotel based on those shows — After Industry at the Weston Art Gallery and The Sun Placed in the Abyss at the Columbus Museum of Art. Without being pontifical, he affably expressed his insights into photography — in a way that resonated with wisdom learned first-hand rather than received. And also he spoke like he had just thought of it on the spur, rather than spending a lifetime shaping and honing his ideas. For instance, there was this comment about when images become clichés: “A cliché is an exhausted metaphor. You recognize it; you don’t feel it.” And there was this confession, really, about how he teaches photography to his University of California, Riverside students in an age when social media is steamrolling us with millions of images everyday — every minute, actually: “I show them a lot of art that I think is good. But that’s really a problem for me, because the last thing I want to do is tell them to make more stuff like that.” Divola, who is 67, is a life lesson in originality. Raised and educated in southern California, he was still pretty new when he made his 1977-78 color Zuma series — photos of a seemingly ravaged and abandoned lifeguard quarters along Malibu’s Zuma beach. It presaged much of today’s fascination with imagery of wrecked and ruined Americana that, in and of itself, has become a cliché. But Divola’s motivation, he explained, was different. To him, the series was more conceptual than a “great American statement”: What the eye finds appealing can be as much about the photographer’s choices as the subject matter. Part of the process of the Zuma series — of which there are three examples in the Columbus exhibition — involved Divola searching for an abandoned building that he could paint and mark up with graffiti. He could then photograph how that looked from the inside, his messy but vibrant colors contrasting with the soot and ash from intentionally set fires, and with the sunsets seen through the window frames. It was an approach he already had been exploring earlier, in 1974, and in black-andwhite in his Vandalism series. Four of those gelatin silver prints are included in the Weston Art Gallery’s After Industry exhibit, and they are extraordinary. I thought one, “Vandalism (74V01),” was hologramatic — small, dark circles seem to float in the air,


Christina Pazsitzky Explores Farts and Philosophy BY TONY JOHNSON

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Some of us are lazy. Some of us are workaholics. And then there’s the prolific Christina Pazsitzky, who brings her stand-up set to Montgomery’s Go Bananas Comedy Club on Monday. She hosts the popular Your Mom’s House podcast series with her husband and fellow stand-up comic, Tom Segura; she has written for and appeared on Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately E!-network talk show; she has two comedy albums available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music; and she performs stand-up material at the Comedy Store in Hollywood nearly every weekend. What makes her comedy work is how genuine she sounds. “I have no tolerance for a fake act,” she says via telephone. “It makes my asshole pucker.” This statement may sum her up perfectly — it shows her disdain for superficial comedy and a dedication to her craft while referencing her own private parts. Her respect for the art of stand-up is as intense. “I feel like stand-up comics are the Marines of show business. We’re specialops,” she says. “And sometimes we get looked down on and I just want to say, ‘Why don’t you hand Gwyneth Paltrow a microphone for a full set and see what that bitch does for an hour? Good luck with that.’” (Pazsitzky, however, does acknowledge that she might not be able to act as well in movies as Paltrow does.) In other words, Pazsitzky loves comics who are truth-tellers — their act is their life rather than a studied, affected performance. That matters to her. “I want a comic to grab you by the balls, say the shit they were thinking and have it feel meaningful,” she says. “Make a connection or there isn’t a point.” She cites Janeane Garofalo, Roseanne Barr and Howard Stern as influences. She describes them as “people that didn’t seem like they were talking over you” and she absolutely fits the mold of her idols, profanities and all. But this rapid-fire expletivespitting comic doesn’t have the rough-edged background you might expect: She graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. Although the philosophy-to-comedy pipeline may seem unusual, Pazsitzky doesn’t see it that way. “I think life is horribly tragic,” she says. “And if you’re not enjoying the farts and the burps and all the dumb stuff along the way, then what’s the point? You have to be deep and stupid at the same time. I think that’s the only way to be.” The idea that comedy can soften the tragic aspects of life is something that Pazsitzky is passionate about to the point

that she narrated a recent documentary titled Can We Take a Joke?. The film tackles the ways in which the rise of political correctness may be harming our capacity to laugh at ourselves and, furthermore, inhibiting our ability to talk to one another about things that we don’t understand. “There’s so much to be cognizant about now that it’s hard to have a good time,” she

Comedians should be “truth-tellers,” Christina Pazsitzky says. PHOTO : provided

says. “I think it’s muting a frank social conversation. I think it is killing free debate. People aren’t even listening to what (other) people are saying and are jumping to conclusions. It’s stupid.” But her anxieties about the ways our society is evolving don’t end there. As a new mother, Pazsitzky uses her stand-up sets to explore her worries about the world in which she will have to raise her daughter. “My life has changed a lot, so we’ll be talking about that,” she says of her upcoming Cincinnati performance. “I just had a kid. I think the world is absurd now.” Despite her strong feelings on the changing landscape that she lives in, the philosophy major in her keeps her instincts in check. She doesn’t claim her own beliefs are indisputable and that grounds her as a comic, a person and a new mother. “As a 40-year old, I almost don’t recognize the world I grew up in,” she says. “Maybe that’s just a function of age.” And she’s dedicated to keeping it up. “What else am I going to do?” Pazsitzky asks. “This is my only duty in life — to put out fart content and philosophical content.” CHRISTINA PAZSITZKY performs at Go Bananas at 8 p.m. Monday. More info:

a&c onstage

Shape-Shifting: ‘The Elephant Man’ at Cincy Shakes BY RICK PENDER


A CHORUS LINE Conceived and originally directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett Book by James Kirkwood & Nicholas Dante Music by Marvin Hamlisch Lyrics by Edward Kleban Co-choreographed by Bob Avian Original Broadway production produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, Joseph Papp, Producer, in association with Plum Productions, Inc.


OCT. 20-30, 2016

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Bernard Pomerance’s 1979 Tony Awardwonders whether he has truly helped Merwinning play The Elephant Man has been rick. Treves’ life seems less and less stable around long enough to be considered a clasand, as it spirals away from him, Merrick sic. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company right demonstrates greater clarity and religious now is proving the truth of that designation faith. It’s evident fragile health will cut short with a sterling production that portrays a his time, but he is a romantic who believes severely disfigured Victorian man whose his head is so big because it is full of dreams. body made him an object of scorn and morIn a desperate effort to help Merrick bid fascination in 1880s London. expand his contact with humanity, Treves Playing Joseph Merrick is no easy task. In recruits a stage actress, Mrs. Kendal, to visit. Pomerance’s conceit for the show, the actor Kelly Mengelkoch gives the role a delightis not made up or fitted with any prosthetics fully matter-of-fact demeanor, a woman to simulate the character’s physicality. Instead, an ambitious and self-assured physician clinically describes Merrick, using photos as he speaks about the man’s oversized head, misshapen arm, deformed body and his painful, limping gait. As the doctor speaks, the actor slowly changes his stance, contorts H his face and cranks his CRITIC’S torso in a way that’s hard to imagine doing momentarily, H let alone sustaining it for the duration of a two-hour play. (In the script, the playwright Giles Davies is “astonishing” as Joseph Merrick in Elephant Man. warns, “No one with any hisPHOTO : MIKKI SCHAFFNER PHOTOGRAPHY tory of back trouble should attempt the part of Merrick supremely confident with her own femininas contorted.”) It takes a remarkable actor to fulfill this ity who recognizes Merrick’s noble nature role. In 2014, movie star Bradley Cooper was and his desire to live normally. She tweaks praised for his performance as Merrick in a Treves’ amateurish coaching of how to speak Tony-nominated Broadway revival. Lucky to Merrick, but when she meets him, she is for Cincinnati audiences, veteran performer charmed and responds genuinely. She urges Giles Davies, in his 17th season with Cincy London notables to pay visits, which actually Shakes, was available for this production. It’s feel like a high-class repetition of the freak quite astonishing to watch this extremely show he escaped. But they are also a comphysical actor become Merrick. Not only ment on society, as guests perceive their own does he embody those afflictions, he employs qualities in this deformed man. a voice that seems to emerge from within the The Elephant Man is inventively staged tortured body, at first muffled and hard to (scenic design by Shannon Moore; lighting decipher but increasingly clear and insightful. by Justen N. Locke) with the action set in In fact, as Merrick’s life evolves from a sad an operating theater in the Royal London existence as a carnival freak to a respected Hospital from the 1880s, with a surroundman visited by the royalty of 19th-century ing balcony for observers. (Some audience London, he becomes more and more members, dressed in lab coats, get to skeptical about the ways of the world and observe the performance from this level.) how “proper” people are expected to behave. There is a central projection screen on Davies conveys Merrick’s bemused observawhich scene descriptions — “Who has seen tions with both innocence and wry wit. the like of this!”; “Police side with imbecile Merrick’s “savior,” Dr. Frederick Treves against the crowd.” — are shown in flowing (Brent Vimtrup), finds his life headed in an script (projections and sound design for the unexpectedly opposite direction. Caring but show are by Nathan Davis). patronizing — he insists that Merrick repeat Brian Isaac Phillips’ taut direction of moralizing dictums —Treves finds himself The Elephant Man with an able cast yields unable to answer Merrick’s piercing, comthe most affecting production I have seen mon-sense queries regarding the rationale onstage this season. for straitlaced decorum in Victorian England. THE ELEPHANT MAN, presented by Cincinnati Vimtrup initially plays Treves as a confiShakespeare Company, continues through Nov. 5. dent man with a firm grip on success in his More info: profession and life. But as time passes, he


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a&c film

Curmudgeon Learns to Care in ‘Man Called Ove’ BY T T STERN-ENZI

Netflix Debuts ‘The 13th’

Audiences who settle down for the Swedthis ragtag brood. A few days later, he ish film A Man Called Ove should forgive has rigged a hose from his car exhaust themselves for thinking early on that they so that he can asphyxiate himself, but have seen this one before. They may think Parvaneh knocks on the garage, in need of that the man who is indeed called Ove assistance. Slowly, Ove comes to appreci(Rolf Lassgård) seems terribly familiar. He ate that maybe he has a task or two that is a type that lurks on the margins of our he needs to complete before he will be culture — the crusty curmudgeon. granted his wish to be with Sonja. As the head of his community council, Holm’s film departs from the Gran Ove gets up each morning and conducts Torino blueprint. Rather than locking his rounds — checking the gates, barking us into the present, A Man Called Ove out regulations at the residents walking weaves its way into Ove’s past, allowing us their pets (which are either forbidden or strictly discouraged) and generally causing passersby to give him the widest berth possible. Even when buying flowers on his way to visit his wife’s grave, Ove winds up bickering with a salesperson over the price. And when he gets to work at the train depot where he has been employed for more than 40 years, his domineering style continues. In most cases, Ove is not obnoxiously coarse, just officious to a fault. He is a Rolf Lassgård finds new purpose in living in A Man Called Ove. man who lives by the rules, PHOTO : Courtesy of music box films wondering why everyone else seems to have such a difficult time doing the same. glimpses into the moments that shaped him Writer-director Hannes Holm, working into the man he now is. We see the young from a novel by Fredrik Backman, has fashboy who lost his mother and was raised by ioned a figure cut from the same pattern a loving and devoted father whose subseused by Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. quent death helped seal Ove’s fate, locking There, Eastwood breathed his own brand him into a life that might not have been of life into Walt Kowalski, a disgruntled of his choosing. We watch as Ove has his Korean War veteran in withdrawal after the first encounter with “the white shirts,” the death of his wife, but forced to engage with arbitrary makers of oppressive rules. an immigrant teen neighbor who attempts And we have the privilege of being close to steal his 1972 Gran Torino. Seething with to him when he meets Sonja, woos and anger, Walt at first can’t believe his wife left wins her and then starts what he dreams him to deal with this world. It seems, in film, will be a fantastic new life with her. there truly is no country for old men. Yet, he’s not a creature of pure fantasy Ove soon finds himself in his own verlike the protagonist in The 100 Year-Old sion of Kowalski’s hell on Earth. One fine Man Who Climbed Out the Window and morning, he quits his job and begins to Disappeared, another recent Swedish prepare to join his wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll) film. That tapped into a Forrest Gump-like in death. It is plain that his decision isn’t brand of whimsy. A certain measure of quite as sad and desperate as we might humor informs A Man Called Ove, but it is imagine. He simply wants to move on, with not hokey or nostalgic. Instead, this film finality, on his own terms. cherishes a knowing wisdom that leaves But life won’t let him. The primary us with a wistful smile. (Opens Friday at catalyst for change arrives in the form of Esquire Theatre) (PG-13) Grade: B+ Parvaneh (Bahar Pars), a pregnant Middle Eastern immigrant who moves in next door to Ove with her two daughters. She slowly chips away at his quiet resolve. On the morning she and her family appear, Ove has dressed, surveyed the block and secured a noose to a hook in his living room. He’s about to kick the stool from under his feet when he catches sight of


Also Opening This Week Boo! A Madea Halloween // Denial // Jack Reacher: Never Go Back // Keeping Up with the Joneses // Miss Hokusai // Ouija: Origin of Evil CONTACT TT STERN-ENZI: letters@


The 54th-annual New York Film Festival, sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, opened this year with The 13th, a documentary by Ava DuVernay (Selma) on the twisted and complex impact of the constitutional amendment that was supposed to end slavery but instead, by its too careful and even insidious wording, paved the way for the incarceration system that continues to exploit people and communities of color in the United States. The film made the immediate jump from being the first documentary feature to claim the coveted opening spot at the festival to achieving immediate and complete audience exposure by premiering on Netflix rather than making a standard theatrical run. The timing of this decision reflects a desire by DuVernay to have the issues raised by the film matter in the upcoming election. Throughout the documentary, interviewees address the idea that we cannot debate questions of police-community relations, economics and public policy without invoking race. In less than two hours, DuVernay makes an astonishing case for the 13th Amendment as a foundation for the currently fractured political landscape. Conservatives might be quick to dismiss The 13th as just more progressive propaganda intent on painting a vicious portrait of the political right as cartoonish villains. But the film is not blind to the culpability of liberal politics in creating and/or maintaining this imbalanced system. The legislative thinking behind three strikes, mandatory minimum sentencing and the militarization of police forces arose during the Clinton presidential years of the 1990s. The film recites reams and reams of numbers that tell a gruesome tale, but it is the images that raise far greater alarm. We watch old footage from the Civil Rights era, where racists push and beat non-violent black citizens and police assault pro-civil-rights protesters. We hear how activists back in the day sought to use the power of the media as a weapon, to lay bare these injustices to the world. And then we see the same situations replayed on smartphones and body cameras now, and somehow we still hold onto the same delusion that these images will lead to change. I suppose we will wait and see. The 13th is currently streaming on Netflix.

a&c television

Wild, Wild ‘Westworld’ BY JAC KERN

Picks of the Week

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Michael Crichton had a knack for envisioning sinister theme parks. Most American Horror Story (10 p.m. Wednesare familiar with the dystopian dinosaur day, FX) – Everything we think we know dreamland Jurassic Park, which he about this season is about to change… Or wrote. But he’s also the author behind so the showrunners tease. Westworld (9 p.m. Sundays), HBO’s latest big-name, jam-packed drama set in a The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s visual playground. Do the Time Warp Again (8 p.m. Thursday, The themes and characters explored Fox) – This campy cult classic gets the (prein Westworld are as vast as the expansive, recorded) TV musical treatment, in an interimmersive titular theme park. Before the pretation that’s perhaps a little too squeaky guests arrive, they’re outfitted in authenticclean, considering the source material. looking 19th-century Wild West garb, down to their choice of weapon (which can only “kill” hosts — the artificial intelligent beings that populate the park — rather than other humans). They then arrive via an old-timey train to a dusty and bustling main street, where it’s next to impossible to identify the other human guests from the hosts. From cowboys to Indians to barmaids to bank robbers, along with their horses and James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld other animals, they’re all P H O T O : j oh n P. Joh n s o n / H B O made to look and act real. Inevitably, the line between human and manBlack Mirror (Season Premiere, Friday, made creatures is blurred — so much so Netflix) – This buzzed-about British antholthat you can’t help but wonder if some of ogy series, which explores the underbelly the assumed human characters are actuof near-future technology, makes the move ally A.I., or vice versa. to Netflix for its third season. Six episodes Can something created to look and think premiere now, with more to come. Expect like a real person — up to a point — reach a dark look at social media, virtual reality a consciousness level high enough to and even an episode set in the ’80s, when be considered a human? And can a man tech was very different but already held descend into such evil that he loses some scary implications. Prepare to binge on all of his humanity? six, then catch up on any other episodes you And what kind of visitor would you be in may have missed — previous seasons are such an environment? Would you unplug also available on the streaming platform. for a weekend, explore the beautiful natural surroundings, go horseback riding and Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m. Sat­ hunt for gold? Or would you veer toward urday, NBC) – Tom Hanks hosts; Lady the more sinister activities in the brothels Gaga performs. and on the battlefields? The Walking Dead (Season 7 Premiere, 9 Westworld offers more questions than p.m. Sunday, AMC) – Which major character answers. is on the receiving end of Negan’s bat? So This week’s episode explores the idea much focus has been on what will follow that of a mysterious maze within Westworld. final fateful moment of last season’s finale — Its head of programming Bernard (Jeffrey when an unidentified member of the group Wright) continues his secret meetings with fell victim after a most disturbing game of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), this time “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” — that little thought introducing the maze concept to her, as has been given to how this season will the Man in Black (Ed Harris) continues his move the story along. Reportedly multiple own search. Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins), Westworld’s mastermind and creative characters meet their ends in this season director, and Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudopener, at the hands of new baddie Negan sen), who maintains the park’s standards and elsewhere. But how the survivors move and safety, discuss the future of Westworld. on will determine the rest of the season. Ford appears to be introducing a religious CONTACT JAC KERN: @jackern component to the attraction.

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Oct. 25, 2016 • Jan. 24, 2017 • March 10, 2017

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Pinot and Paninis in Price Hill

The Incline District’s Somm Wine Bar is a sophisticated lounge for sips, snacks and city views REVIEW BY MCKENZIE GRAHAM

PHOTO : Haile y Bollinger


Light bites and wine pairings are the stock-in-trade of East Price Hill’s Somm Wine Bar. paninis. My partner got the steak and blue cheese panini ($12), like a grown-up grilled cheese. It was delicious — the steak was tender and juicy and the cheese was high quality — but don’t skip lunch in anticipation of an evening spent at Somm. The food is more reasonably portioned than our American stomachs are used to, but that allowed us to order from each and every section of the menu. Although it’s pricier ($11-$28), the meats and cheese segment of the menu is possibly the most exciting. There are sheep, goat and cow cheeses from Italy and cow cheese from Wisconsin and the Netherlands, along with a list of five Italian porks from which to choose. The small plate (choose two items) is $11, the medium (choose four) is $20 and the large (choose six) is $28. Plates are served with crostini and daily house accompaniments. The variety of prosciutto, capicola, percorino and more offers a lovely parallel to a sampling of half pours of red and white wine — each combination and pairing will create something new. If you’re not into the whole half-glass attitude (half-glasses run from $4 to $7), you can also order wine by the full glass or bottle, and Somm does offer official “flights”

the final Wednesday of every month, which have themes like “The South of France” or “Spain” — perfect for a midweek boost. If you’ve been pulled into Somm and wine just isn’t your cuppa, the bar offers a list of cocktails, and they’re not consolation prizes — they’re delicious in their own right. For Whom the Bell Tolls is a rum and lime drink; Miles a Wayne features vodka, elderflower liquor and grapefruit; the Bee’s Knees is a gin drink with honey and lemon; and the Boulevardier has bourbon, Campari, Cocchi (a wine) and vermouth. There’s also a list of beer, including local favorites and some more popular choices. The entire menu can be enjoyed in Somm’s modern interior or out back on the patio. The restaurant has had complications with licensing, but eventually there will be fire pits, string lights and regular music

outside. Right now, there are couch-style loungers and tables and a water feature that provides a subtle background of white noise. It’s a wonderful place to spend a relaxing night, but the fire pits will soon be a welcome addition during fall’s chilly evenings. The Incline District is rapidly becoming more of a destination, and Somm Wine Bar joins the ranks of other, more well-established local haunts — like Primavista and the Incline Public House — and injects some new blood into the mix. For a fun night out, you could take in dinner at the Public House, catch a play at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater and enjoy a postshow critical discussion over wine. Or, you could simply do like the Europeans do and spend the evening sampling snacks and sipping wine at Somm.

Somm Wine Bar Go: 3105 Price Ave., Price Hill; Call: 513-244-5843; Internet:; Hours: 4-11 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.

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omm Wine Bar makes it perilously easy to have a fun weeknight out. For one, they serve half glasses of wine (half full, that is), perfect if you’re indecisive, sampling or pretending not to drink very much. For another, the inviting back patio conjures up words like “sophisticated” and “adulting.” And finally, before you know it, the bowl of citrus-marinated olives you ordered has disappeared and you’re selecting another easily nibbled bite from the “snacks” section on the menu. Somm’s snacks range from marinated olives, mixed nuts and pickled vegetables to bondookies. I’m sure you know what to look for in a delicious bondookie. No? Google’s not sure either. However, general manager Kevin Armon is: “Bondookies are Lithuanian yeast rolls filled with crispy bacon and caramelized onions,” he says. And don’t be afraid to ask which wine from Somm’s selection should be paired with your bondookie (or olives or pickles). That’s the bar’s stock in trade — excellent pairing wines with approachable menu descriptions so you can choose what drink goes with which dish or ask your server, who will undoubtedly have an excellent suggestion. After snacks, you can check out the appetizers. If you’re confused as to why the menu offers snacks and appetizers separately, you’re not the only one, but the snacks really are bite-sized and a more European-style accompaniment for a drink sans dinner. The aforementioned citrus olives ($4) are briny, but not too salty, and infused with lemon. I preferred the fruity, mild green olives, but the smaller, slightly bitter black olives were the majority of the dish. The appetizers are more substantial and the offerings include roasted red pepper hummus, roasted red and golden beets, Maryland crab cakes and escargots de Bourgogne. The next time I’m there, I plan to order the crab cakes ($13) — our server said they’re exceptional. The main ingredient is pure, unadulterated crab, not mayo, as is so often the case. Instead, I got a fennel and grapefruit salad ($9) with arugula and shaved Parmesan; the cheese was a perfectly creamy antidote to the strong anise and bitter flavors of the fennel and grapefruit. The whole thing was tossed with a basic olive oil dressing, again perfect for cutting through the strong acidity and tartness of the other ingredients. Although simple, the refreshing salad seemed like a natural fit with the dry white wine I ordered. Somm also makes mozzarella cheese in-house, showcased in a caprese salad, and there are several other salads available, plus a meat and cheese board and a list of


Japp’s Unveils Craft Bites Menu

Where the locals come to eat, drink and have fun


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Molly Wellmann is arguably one of is just down the street and sold gluten-free Cincinnati’s most well-known mixologists, crackers to save the day. business owners and overall pillars of the First up was the pickled shrimp. They community. You have probably seen her came in a small, lidded mason jar. We dug sweet, winning smile on signage for the into the cloudy liquid, peppered with bright forthcoming expanded Northside location flecks of green and red, to pull out rather of eatery Melt — which her parent comsizable whole shrimp. They were a bit pany Wellmann’s Brands recently acquired chewy but quite flavorful. They tasted more — or maybe in person at one of her many or less like a pickle with a zesty kick from public appearances. the Serrano peppers. As proprietor of the Main Street fine The blue cheese came in a massive cocktail staple Japp’s (she also has a hand in wedge with a dollop of what we concluded Neons, Myrtle’s Punch House and the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar), Wellmann recently elevated the local cocktail game once again by offering small bites alongside her menu of well-established spirits. The elevated light fare is a perfect match for the former wig shop turned regal bar. The snacks come from another one of Wellmann’s Brands’ establishments, a more recent venture on Republic Street called Bottle & Basket — formerly Picnic & Pantry and an extension Japp’s new curated snacks menu is prepared by Bottle & Basket. of Melt, which offers freshly PHOTO : Haile y Bollinger prepared grab-and-go food and essential groceries. to be applesauce and fig jam. The blue On a recent Tuesday afternoon, my boyfriend Brian and I stopped into Japp’s for cheese was not for the faint of heart or a couple cocktails and snacks. The setting nose — it had a strong flavor and a creamy, sun cast long shadows on the floor; the doors crumbly texture. were open, letting in a light fall breeze; and My favorite of the selections was the the faint ringing of the streetcar bell filled deviled egg yolk mousse. It also came in our hearts with pride for our growing city a small mason jar but was a rather large every time it rolled past — Japp’s is the kind portion, even for two people. The whipped of place that does that to a local. egg yolk was light and fluffy with a strong The first order of business was drinks. mustard flavor and topped with a pimento I ordered from the chalkboard menu of relish, tasting subtly of fennel. It was akin featured cocktails. The Pirouette ($7), to eating the insides of a deviled egg on its with gin, suze, génépy, egg white, lime and own but with a lighter texture. While the simple syrup, was sweet and a bit sour but dip was great on a cracker, my mind started balanced by the egg white froth floating wandering to the sandwich potential it held. on top — I love a good egg white cocktail. The last food we tried was the dark Brian ordered a classic Manhattan ($7), chocolate truffles. Slightly lopsided spheres which didn’t disappoint. that looked to be made with love, they The food offerings, as described by the featured a dusting of cocoa on the outside, menu, are comprised of small “contempoa soft chocolate layer and an even softer, rary bites.” Perhaps this isn’t a phrase often creamier and richer center. The perfect way used for what one might call “bar food,” but to cap off the night. referring to the tasty offerings just as pub There were some other items on the grub doesn’t do them justice. food menu that intrigued us that we vowed Most selections are dips served with herto try on our next visit: the corn nuts and bed wafer crackers. We ordered the deviled roasted kale dust ($4) for one. There were egg yolk mousse with fennel pimento relish also a couple of other cheese options plus ($5), bay blue cheese and pear jam ($6), a jar of Avril’s andouille, bean and smoked citrus-Serrano pickled shrimp ($7) and dark tomato ($7). chocolate truffles ($6). JAPP’S is open Tuesday through Saturday, The crackers served on the side were with food available every day. More info: made with wheat flour, and Brian has a ten allergy. But, conveniently, Park and Vine

FOOD & DRINK classes & events Most classes and events require registration; classes frequently sell out.



Girls Pint Out — Head to Bad Tom Smith for a Legend Series beer flight and pint, barbecue from Pit to Plate and prizes. Benefits HART Cincinnati animal rescue. Dog-friendly. 5-10 p.m. $20 advance; $25 door. Bad Tom Smith, 4720 Eastern Ave., Linwood,

Halloween “Spook”tacular for Kids — For ages 6-10. Kids will learn to create their own fun and spooky snacks. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $35. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harpers Point,

Crab Carnival — Soft-shelled, Alaskan King, Dungeness and more — crabs of all shapes and sizes will be available to eat at the 17th-annual Washington Platform Crab Carnival. Through Nov. 12. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown,

Moerlein Lager House Beer Dinner — A special dinner menu paired with Southern Tier craft brews. 6 p.m. $55. Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, Champagnes of Pol Roger — Four-course meal paired with champagne. Includes live music from The French Axe. 6:30 p.m. $150. Jean-Robert’s Table, 713 Vine St., Downtown, Italian Wine Tour Dinner — Five courses paired with Italian wines. 7 p.m. $95. La Petite Pierre, 7800 Camargo Road, Madeira,


Woodburn Brewery Distribution Launch Party — Woodburn Brewery celebrates their distribution launch with a three-tap takeover, special limited-release beers and live music. 6 p.m. Free admission. Arnold’s Bar & Grill, 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown,

Hidden: An Interactive Dinner Show — A mini-vacation among friends helps create a best-selling book through “hidden” fantasies and mysteries. Contains adult humor. 7-10 p.m. Friday; 7-10 p.m. Saturday. $36. The Schoolhouse Restaurant upstairs auditorium, 8031 Glendale-Milford Road, Camp Dennison,

Heritage and Hops Brewery District and Craft Brewery Tour — Two tours in one day. Visit the Brewing Heritage Trail to see historic breweries and underground lagering cellars and then visit three modern, local breweries for tours and tastings. 10:30 a.m. $75. Christian Moerlein Brewery and Malthouse, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine,

Diamond Cocktail Party for Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio — The preshow for the Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Diamond Award Gala happening the same night. Party features all-you-caneat heavy hors d’oeuvres, open bar, silent auction, raffles and photobooth to benefit PPSWO. The night’s official after-party will be held at 16-Bit in OTR. 5-7 p.m. $40; $50 at the door; gala sold out. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., Downtown, Gabriel’s Place Harvest Day Festival — A family-friendly fest to benefit Gabriel’s Place. Includes family activities, live music, arts and crafts stations, a chili cook-off, raffles and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. Gabriel’s Place, 3618 Reading Road, Avondale, Proof: The Cincinnati Cocktail & Spirits Festival — From the people that brought you Cincy Winter Beerfest. Drink in a night of spirit samples, small cocktails and VIP speakeasy tickets. 7-10:30 p.m. $75; $95 VIP. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown,


Cincy Brunch Bus — Start your morning at Taft’s Ale House with some pints and pork. Then hop aboard the Cincy Brew Bus for stops at Rhinegeist and MadTree. 11 a.m. $52. Taft’s Ale House, 1429 Race St., Overthe-Rhine,


Chocolate Gift Ideas for the Holidays — Lisa Cooper-Holmes of Haute Chocolate will show you how to wow friends and family with homemade holiday treats. 6:30-9 p.m. $50. Cooks’Wares, 11344 Montgomery Road, Harpers Point,

Great Beginnings Start with a BonBonerie Wedding Cake


Specialty Burger Night


Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas


Build Your Own Antipasti


1/2 Priced Appetizers

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History of Kimchi with Savannah Sullivan — Learn the basics of how to naturally ferment vegetables, plus the science, nutrition and culture of kimchi. 6:30-8:30 p.m. $45. Turner Farm, 7400 Given Road, Indian hill,

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Murder Mystery Dinner Train — Take a ride on the historic Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad as a mystery plays out before your eyes. The crime will be solved during dinner at The Golden Lamb. 6:30 p.m.; additional events 6:30 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29. $89.95. Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, 127 S. Mechanic St., Lebanon,

Beer Baron Ball — The fourth-annual Beer Baron Ball features dining, dancing, a silent auction and craft beer. The event benefits the Cincinnati Brewing Heritage Trail, and will include the first “virtual” phase of the trail. 6 p.m. $125. JACK Casino, 1000 Broadway, Pendleton,


Atmospheric Pleasure

With Fishing Blues, Atmosphere aimed to lighten up and not take itself so seriously BY JASON GARGANO

PHOTO : provided


ew Hip Hop collaborations have lasted as long or been as creatively fruitful as the one between rapper Sean Daley (aka Slug) and DJ/beatmaster/ producer Anthony Davis (aka Ant), the duo otherwise known as Atmosphere. The pair rose up out of Minneapolis’ Rhymesayers Hip Hop collective of the late 1990s, over the years tweaking an aesthetic rare for its melding of samples with live instrumentation and for a lyrical approach as introspective as it is dexterous. Atmosphere’s ninth full-length album, Fishing Blues, dropped in August, and it’s both a continuation of and a slight departure from the duo’s modus operandi — a sprawling, 18-song record that shifts moods and lyrical concerns from one song to the next. CityBeat recently tracked down Daley — who, when reached by cell phone, was trying to figure out how to work a dryer at a laundromat in Minneapolis — to discuss everything from working in music’s streaming age to Kool Keith’s show-stealing “coup” on the new album.

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CityBeat: I was re-listening to the new record today in preparation for our conversation and I forgot that it is more than 70 minutes long… Sean Daley: What’s wrong with you guys? Seventy minutes used to be standard for a Rap record. (Laughs.) Now everybody is like, “I want my Rap record to be 34 minutes long!” Get the fuck out of here — that’s an EP! CB: Well, it’s interesting, because I listened to it via digital stream, which is a format that is seemingly limitless in terms of length or the amount of songs you can include on a single album. How do you think the rise of digitized music has impacted what you do? SD: When you had to actually purchase the physical thing and have it in your house as another item taking up space, I think we were more careful about what we bought and what we listened to. Whereas now you can listen to it on a subscription for free or you can buy the digital version. I think we’re a lot less careful about what we consume. We consume tons of stuff that we wouldn’t have consumed if we had to actually purchase it and have take up space. Nowadays it’s all about getting you to come to the show. And if I can get you to come to the show, then I’m convincing you to buy my book or my T-shirt or my used car. In a way the music has become a promotional item, and I like that. I’m not mad at that. As a businessman, I appreciate the digital age because it makes it easier to get my music into the ears of people.

Minneapolis duo Atmosphere is one of the headliners of this weekend’s Ubahn Fest. CB: Did you have a theme in mind when you started writing Fishing Blues? SD: When I started this record, my theme was “recreational usage.” In the past we’ve been guilty of making music that takes itself very seriously, and I wanted to make some music that didn’t necessarily take itself too seriously. I didn’t want to sacrifice who I was in order to do that, I just wanted to show some of the sides of myself that I might not have been showing since (2008’s When Life Give You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold). Now that I’m in my forties, I’m starting to let my hair down and not have everything be so thick and serious and so self-aware and just have some fun. At least this time. Who knows what will happen next time? I had a couple more kids. Ant had a kid. We’re experiencing life through the eyes of these children, and I think it’s lightening us up a little bit. It’s making things a little less heavy. CB: As a big Kool Keith fan, I was happy to see him make an appearance on “When the Lights Go Out” (which also features MF Doom). And, as expected, his contribution, especially that whole riff on Joan Rivers, was both spot-on and hilarious... SD: He fucking blew my mind. When he sent back his stuff I was like, “Holy shit, you just

stole the show.” I’m not gonna say I’m one of the best or nothing, but I’m no slouch. And we all know who MF Doom is, so if you can come in and steal the show from me and Doom without ever even dropping a rhyme, that’s amazing. We don’t really use a lot of guests on Atmosphere records, so I thought to have Keith and Doom on one song was the last thing our audience would be expecting. That’s a left turn. And it was a coup. CB: On “Pure Evil” you seem to be writing from the point of view of a police officer who is conflicted about his profession, but you can actually read it multiple ways. SD: I wanted to make a song about the corruption of power that comes along with being in the police force, but I didn’t want it to be preachy, and so I had to think out a way to make that song without just being like, “Yeah, cops are bad” or “Fuck the police.” And, for better or for worse, that was the best I could come up with. I’ve always had this anxiety about making preachy music. I grew up on a lot of preachy music, and I love it, but I just never felt confident being that preacher myself. I’ve always felt more like I wanted to come up with ways to make the music more available or more open (for interpretation) to the listener.

CB: You guys have been making music together for almost 20 years. How do you keep things interesting for yourselves? SD: With Ant it’s been relatively easy for me because he is always striving and pushing to find new sounds and new directions. He’s never been one to follow trends. He creates this landscape or mountain for himself and then figures out how to climb it. Having a guy like that in such close proximity, or at least working with you, is contagious. If you look at my first couple of records, I wrote the same three songs over and over and over. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to expand that. Now it’s like the same seven songs over and over. (Laughs.) Your palette becomes wider, and I think a lot of that I owe to Anthony. But it’s also about aging and still being allowed to make this music. When we were younger, we didn’t allow 44-year-old rappers to exist, but if we had, who knows what kind of music we would have had. Now that we’re reaching that place where we allow people like me to still exist, it also opens it up to allow for us to make songs that have never existed within this music, within this genre. ATMOSPHERE headlines the Ubahn Festival Saturday night. Tickets/more info:

music spill it

Locals Join Legends and Hit-Makers at Ubahn Fest BY MIKE BREEN

Ohio Knife Slashes and Slow-Burns on Debut Cincinnati’s Rock trio Ohio Knife is back from an extensive U.S. tour and ready to celebrate this Friday’s release of its debut album, Scalp or Be Scalped. The band

presents a release party Friday night at the Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, Honeyspiders and Dinge open the 9 p.m. show. There is no admission charge. Ohio Knife, which features longtime local musicians Jason Snell (vocals/guitar), Joe Suer (drums) and Scotty Wood (bass/

Space Invadaz perform Friday at Ubahn Fest. PHOTO : Jes se Fox

vocals), makes dynamic, no-nonsense Rock & Roll that pulsates with a buzz-saw drive and a dark, raucous soulfulness (longtime collaborator Andrew Higley plays keys on the album, adding an extra layer of richness to the proceedings). Scalp or Be Scalped kicks off with the one-two punch of “Wish I Knew” and “Day and Night” before letting up on the gas pedal for the smoldering “I Found Out” and the cavernous Grunge of “Be the Dark” and “WWP,” which recalls The Afghan Whigs at their moodiest. Elsewhere, “Special Plans” sounds like a lost early KISS B-side, while the late-night twinkle of “Tonight We Ride” puts off a late ’60s/early ’70s Classic Rock anthem/ballad vibe. Ohio Knife is gifted and tight but not overly clinical, allowing the music to flow with an organic grace (closing track “Indian Summer” is one of the best examples of this). Snell’s voice has long been one of the best in Cincinnati’s music scene (he previously fronted bands like Readymaid and The Chocolate Horse) and his soul-dripping rasp is perfect for Ohio Knife’s dark corners and howl-at-the-moon intensity. For more on the Ohio Knife, go to CONTACT MIKE BREEN:

1345 main st

BY mike breen

God Bless Americana Artists in the admittedly widenet music genre “Americana” recently charted better than those on Billboard’s Country charts for the first time since Billboard renamed the Folk chart “Americana/Folk.” Thanks to albums by DriveBy Truckers, Van Morrison, Bob Weir and Bon Iver, the most recent Billboard charts indicate Americana releases outsold albums from all other genres except Rock (which also encompasses a wide range of acts, including the four aforementioned performers). Rock Hall Noms Announced While history has shown that there will inevitably be numerous complaints, the recently announced nominees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2017 induction class is a diverse bunch. First-time nominees range from AltRock icons Jane’s Addiction and Pearl Jam (which is all but a done deal given Eddie Vedder’s frequent appearances at past Hall of Fame ceremonies) and Punk pioneers Bad Brains to Classic Rock institutions ELO, Steppenwolf and Journey, Synth Pop heroes Depeche Mode, Hip Hop martyr Tupac Shakur and Folk trailblazer Joan Baez. Returning to the nominee pool are Yes, The Zombies, The Cars, MC5, Kraftwerk, Joe Tex, Chaka Kahn, Janet Jackson, The J. Geils Band and Chic, the Susan Lucci of Rock Hall nominees (it’s the Disco group’s record 11th time on the long-list ballot). The inductees will be announced in December. Prodigious Postmortem Paycheck Forbes’ most recent list of the highest-earning deceased celebrities was topped by Michael Jackson, whose estimated income for 2016 also bests all living musicians and celebrities … ever. Jackson’s publishing holdings sold for $750 million, pushing his overall yearly income to a recordsetting $825 million, the most a celebrity has ever earned in one year. Prince came in fifth in the late-celebrity-income rankings (with $25 million), while fellow 2016 David Bowie entered the list at No. 11 (with $10.5 million).

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the huntertones

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b.c. Duo

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writer’s night w/ lucas worD of mouth: open poetry free live music now open for lunch

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This weekend’s Ubahn Fest, taking place Friday and Saturday (starting at 6 p.m. each day) under the Second Street overpass between Third Street and Pete Rose Way at the Riverfront Transit Center (220 Central Ave., Downtown), features the best lineup yet in the event’s short history. Besides superstars and big draws like Nas, Atmosphere and Desiigner, the literally “underground” Ubahn also features a healthy dose of artists with ties to Cincinnati’s Hip Hop scene. On Friday, Jayal (formerly of Those Guys) and New York-born/Middletown, Ohio-raised JayDaReal kick of Ubahn on the Graff Stage at 6 p.m. Buggs Tha Rocka and Donte (from Cincy Hip Hop legends Mood) bring their duo project Space Invadaz (which recently released a new track, the Hi-Tek-produced “Wait,” and an accompanying music video) to the NextGen Climate Stage on Friday at 7 p.m. Ill Poetic, a former Cincinnati Hip Hop artist now based in San Diego, plays the Graff Stage with a full band Friday at 7:45 p.m., on the heels of releasing a great new single, “By Any Memes Necessary.” Trademark Aaron (with drummer Aaron Roy of Rock band The Upset Victory) follows on the Graff Stage at 9 p.m., while Lantana, who made a national splash a couple of years ago with his “All Hustle, No Luck” single and more recently released his More to Go album, takes over the Graff Stage at midnight, just before Nas’ closing 12:30 a.m. set. Veteran, award-winning DJ crew Animal Crackers performs Saturday on the NextGen Climate stage at 7 p.m. The duo of Audley & Ronin performs on the Graff Stage Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Comedian/Hip Hop MC Yates Bruh, a Cincinnati native now based in Los Angeles, hits the Graff Stage at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Renowned, innovative DJ and Cincy Hip Hop legend Mr. Dibbs takes over the Graff Stage at Midnight Saturday, followed by Atmosphere’s 12:30 a.m. headlining set. To whet your appetite for the local flavor of Ubahn, check out the recent video clip of a Cincy-centric Nas/”Made You Look” cypher on YouTube, featuring verses from fest participants Trademark Aaron, Jayal, Audley, Ronin and Lantana. Ubahn tickets are available in advance through Ticketmaster; single-day tickets are $49, while two-day passes are $89.



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10/19 the Grahams 10/20 beach slanG, bleached; matt hires; speyside performs jimmy eat world’s “bleed american” 10/21 the steppin stones, joe robinson; calumet, my empty phantom, umin; vibrant troubadours, scarecrow sideshow 10/22 the biG whisker revival 3: a beard & mustache competition; freiGht train rabbit killer, flyinG underGround, chalk eye; mudpies 10/23 korbee 10/24 mewithoutyou: 15 years; into it. over it., needle points; jims 10/25 the hooten hallers, mike oberst

OctOber 21

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w/ Steepwater Band, 90 PROOF TWANG OctOber 23


OctOber 27

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YELAWOLF, Bubba Sparxxx, Struggle Jennings, Jelly Roll OctOber 28 ESSENTIAL PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS:

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THE JAYHAwKS w/ Folk Uke


JOHN KiNg w/ Maddy Rose Band

OctOber 22





ALEX ANgELO madisontheateronline

Ubahn Fest with Nas, Atmosphere, Machine Gun Kelly, Girl Talk and More Friday and Saturday • Riverfront Transit Center The unique location of Cincinnati’s Ubahn Fest — an underground “tunnel” between Pete Rose Way and Third Street, near Paul Brown Stadium — instantly makes it one of the cooler musical events in Cincinnati. But previous year’s bookings — featuring a mix of established and up-and-coming Hip Hop and Electronic artists (including a hefty dose of local performers) — have helped make Ubahn a crucial destination festival for young regional music lovers. This year’s lineup has upped the ante, turning it into an event that could develop a national reputation on par with the legendary Cincinnati Hip Hop event Scribble Jam. The Hip Hop acts alone at Ubahn make it a must-attend fest for fans. The biggest name — Nas — is a Hip Hop legend. Nas’ 1994 debut album, Murs Illmatic, is inarguPHOTO : Provided ably a classic of the genre, establishing the MC as one of the best (lyrically and delivery-wise) in the game from the get-go. Though he famously hasn’t released an album in five years, Nas has remained a relevant artist since his first release — in the weeks leading Huntertones up to his Cincinnati P H O T O : J o s h S m i th appearance, he’s been promoting his collaboration with Erykah Badu, “This Bitter Land,” from the soundtrack for the film The Land, while also drawing headlines for collaborations with DJ Khaled and Robin Thicke, his casting in an upcoming Jennifer Hudson film and his successful tech/business investment company. Nas heads up Ubahn’s Friday night lineup, which also features poet/activist Malcolm London and respected Cleveland, Ohio MC Machine Gun Kelly. Meanwhile, on Saturday, DIY Hip Hop legends Atmosphere headline a night that also features the genius Murs (who just set a world record for longest rap session by rapping for more than 24 hours straight) and current hit-maker Desiigner, who hit the top of Billboard’s singles chart earlier this year with the track “Panda.” While this year’s Ubahn Fest is more Hip Hop-heavy than years past, there are a

couple of interesting non-Hip Hop (though certainly Hip Hop-related) artists topping Saturday’s lineup. Jon Bellion is a Pop star in waiting. Currently riding high on the release of his debut album for Capitol Records, The Human Condition (featuring the hit “All Time Low”), and prepping for a high-profile arena tour opening for Twenty One Pilots, Bellion (who produces, sings and raps) has a huge following and made his name as a songwriter — he’s the one behind Rihanna’s hook on Emenim’s “Monster” and also wrote Jason Derulo’s hit song “Trumpets.” The other big act Saturday night is Girl Talk aka Pittsburgh-bred mash-up mastermind Gregg Gillis, who — like Danger Mouse did with his Jay-Z/Beatles blend, The Grey Album — has shown the artistry of meshing disparate tracks together. Like Nas, Girl Talk hasn’t released an album in more than five years, making his appearance at Ubahn a huge deal for fans craving more of his singular mixes. Visit ubahnfest. com for the full Ubahn lineup, and check out Spill It for info on the stellar local acts playing the fest. (Mike Breen) Huntertones Saturday • MOTR Pub If you attended Cincinnati’s MidPoint Music Festival last month and your appetite for brilliantly conceived and executed horn music was whetted with the appearances of The Budos Band and Lucky Chops, create a phone reminder, put a Post-It on your computer, write yourself a note and stick it to the refrigerator with the Charlie Brown magnet you got in second grade — Huntertones are coming. The gifted sextet, formed at Ohio State University but now based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has become one of the premier Jazz/ Soul outfits, able to rearrange John Williams’ theme from Jurassic Park into a syncopated swingathon that sounds like an inventive original composition, a talent that comes in handy when the group’s collective musical mind focuses its attention on writing its own songs. Huntertones first coalesced as a group of OSU students in 2010 and immediately

attracted local attention with their genrebending blend of Jazz, R&B, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop, Rock and Pop. Over the past six years, the band itself has become a fixture at festivals and an in-demand act at clubs around the country, taking time to record a pair of full lengths — 2014’s Your Song and 2015’s Huntertones, as well as a live document, 2015’s Camptown Races. As individual players, the rotating cast of Huntertones has amassed an amazing set of credentials, sitting in with some of the biggest names in Pop and Jazz, including Ed Sheeran, Allen Stone, O.A.R., Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Phillip Phillips and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey among others. Although Huntertones’ sound is rooted in Jazz, saxophonist Dan White has stressed in interviews that potential fans shouldn’t be intimidated by that weighty genre designation, insisting that the band’s combination of technical proficiency and improvisational intuition is applied to a high power live Ringworm presentation that is P H O T O : R e l a p s e R ec or d s anything but a sedate Jazz experience. Dancing shoes, a breathable outfit and antiperspirant are strongly encouraged — Huntertones absolutely guarantees a good time. (Brian Baker)

FUTURE SOUNDS PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS – Oct. 26, Northside Yacht Club YELAWOLF – Oct. 27, Madison Theater KANSAS – Oct. 30, Taft Theatre THE JAYHAWKS – Nov. 1, Madison Theater COWBOY MOUTH – Nov. 2, Southgate House Revival TIMEFLIES – Nov. 3, Taft Theatre RECKLESS KELLY – Nov. 4, Madison Theater


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LISA LOEB – Nov. 4, Live! at the Ludlow Garage WILD BELLE – Nov. 8, Woodward Theater YEASAYER – Nov. 8, 20th Century Theater GEMMA RAY – Nov. 9, MOTR Pub PORTUGAL. THE MAN – Nov. 10, Madison Theater KANSAS BIBLE COMPANY – Nov. 11, MOTR Pub LECRAE – Nov. 13, Bogart’s GRIZ – Nov. 15, Bogart’s

THE 1975 – Nov. 17, BB&T Arena

December 22nD

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all shows are on-sale FrIDay, OctOber 21 at 10:00am!


CRYSTAL BOWERSOX – Nov. 17, Taft Theatre THE DICKIES/THE QUEERS – Nov. 20, Southgate House Revival FITZ & THE TANTRUMS – Nov. 20, Madison Theater CAL SCRUBY – Nov. 23, Bogart’s


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Ringworm with Exalt, Grim State, The Jig and Abraxas Tuesday • Northside Yacht Club There are varying timelines and accounts of when and how Ringworm erupted from Cleveland’s underground Metal scene, but the fact everyone can agree on is that the quintet has been finding the commonality between Hardcore, Thrash Metal and melodic Hard Rock for the better part of the past quarter century. Although Ringworm has been through more than a dozen and a half personnel shifts in that time and even taken a lengthy hiatus, the band has still managed to record several splits, demos and EPs, as well as eight studio albums, including their recently released and brutally powerful Snake Church. The one constant in Ringworm’s rotating cast has been lead vocalist and gifted tattoo artist James Bulloch, better known as Human Furnace. It’s an apt nickname for the frontman; his brimstone bellow has a scorch radius similar to a military grade flamethrower. The band (which got its name from Vincent Price’s horror classic The Conqueror Worm) self- or indie-released much of its early work, including its 1993 full-length debut, The Promise, which perfectly set the stage for Ringworm’s

triumphant assault on Thrash Metal madness. The album was reissued in 2003. After a 10-year, four-album run with Victory Records, Ringworm released its first live album, the frenetic Stigmatas in the Flesh, in 2012. The following year, the band signed with Relapse; that labels’ devotion to the genre and distribution reach are perfect fits for the relentlessly touring outfit. Over the years, Ringworm has hit the national club circuit with boundless energy while opening for the likes of Eyehategod, Napalm Death, Goatwhore, Voivod and Converge, among many others. The band’s full-length Relapse debut, 2014’s Hammer of the Witch, was a breakthrough release, earning rave reviews from a variety of Metal-centric and mainstream outlets. The brief but potent Snake Church, released last July, has been greeted with an equally ecstatic response, making the last three years among the most successful in the band’s long, dark history. Now is the best time to catch a virulent dose of Ringworm. (BB)

music listings Wednesday 19

20th Century Theater - Nick H Lowe with Josh Rouse. 8 p.m. Acoustic. $30-$35. Arnold’s Bar and Grill - Todd Hepburn. 7 p.m. Blues/Jazz/Various. Free. Bella Luna - RMS Band. 7 p.m. Soft Rock/Jazz. Free. Century Inn Restaurant - Paul Lake. 7 p.m. Pop/Rock/Jazz/Oldies/Various. Free. Esquire Theatre - Live ’N Local with Burning Caravan. 7 p.m. Gypsy Jazz. $5. Folk School Coffee Parlor Hoot and Holler. 6:30 p.m. Americana.


The Greenwich - Brian Charette and the Brad Myers Organ Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. $7.


Jag’s Steak and Seafood - Steve Thomas. 6 p.m. Sax/Piano/Vocals. Free. Knotty Pine - Mitch and Steve. 10 p.m. Blues/Pop/Rock/Various. Free. The Listing Loon - Ricky Nye. 9 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. Free. Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Tim Reynolds. 8 p.m. Rock. $20-$45. Mansion Hill Tavern - Losing Lucky. 8 p.m. Roots. Free. Marty’s Hops & Vines - Mike Biere. 7 p.m. Acoustic Rock. Free. Mic’s Pub - Karaoke with A Sound Sensation/DJ Heather. 8:30 p.m. Various. Free. Miller’s Fill Inn - Karaoke with A Mystical Sound Sensation DJ Rob. 9 p.m. Various. Free.

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MOTR Pub - Elephant Stone H with Clear Plastic Masks. 10 p.m. Psych Rock. Free.

Ft. Mitchell Sports Bar - Karaoke with A Sound Sensation/DJ Heather. 9:30 p.m. Various. Free.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood - The Company. 9:30 p.m. Pop/Dance/ Various. Cover.

Knotty Pine - Kenny Cowden. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

Jim and Jack’s on the River - Amy Sailor Band. 9 p.m. Country. Free.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage H Les Nubians. 8 p.m. R&B/ Soul/Various. $25-$65.

Knotty Pine - The Kevin McCoy Band. 10 p.m. Country. Cover.

Madison Theater - Q102 Bosom Ball with Johnny Rzeznik, Ben Rector, Ruth B, Shawn Hook and Leon. 8 p.m. Pop/Various. $35.


MOTR Pub - Wonky Tonk with H Billy Prine. 10 p.m. Indie/Folk/ Rock/Various. Free. Northside Yacht Club - Kamikaze Girls with The Raging Nathans. 8 p.m. Rock/Punk Plain Folk Cafe - Open Mic with Paul Roark. 7 p.m. Various. Free. Southgate House Revival H (Lounge) - Speyside (performing Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed

20th Century Theater - Bear Hands with Savoir Adore. 8 p.m. Indie Rock. $15.


Arnold’s Bar and Grill - Dottie Warner and Wayne Shannon. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. Free. Crow’s Nest - The Newbees. 9 p.m. Pop/Rock/Various. Free.

Marty’s Hops & Vines - Kick the Blue Drum. 9 p.m. Blues/Rock. Free. MOTR Pub - Vacation with H Sonic Avenues. 10 p.m. Rock/ Punk/Pop/Various. Free.

Northside Tavern - Founding H Fathers (release show) with Black Signal and Fluffer. 9 p.m. Alt/

Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - Bleached and Beach Slang’s James Alex with Hunny. 8:30 p.m. Rock. $15.

Oxford Community Arts H Center - Ricky Nye Inc. 8 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. $10.


Urban Artifact - W.A.T.E.R. Hip Hop/R&B Showcase. 8 p.m. Hip Hop/R&B. Free. U.S. Bank Arena - Carrie Underwood with Easton Corbin and The Swon Brothers. 7 p.m. Country. $46-$76.

Friday 21

Arnold’s Bar and Grill - Root Cellar eXpress. 9 p.m. Folk Rock. Free.

Blind Lemon - Charlie Millikin and Kyle Hackett. 6 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

Thursday 20

Mansion Hill Tavern - Doug Hart Band. 9 p.m. Blues. $4.

Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Matt Hires with Volunteer. 9 p.m. Indie/Rock/Pop/Various. $8, $10 day of show.

Pit to Plate - Bluegrass Night with Vernon McIntyre’s Appalachian Grass. 7 p.m. Bluegrass. $2.

Stanley’s Pub - Open Mic Night with Nick Sudbury. 9 p.m. Various. Free.

Madison Theater - Madrigal and Aja. 8 p.m. Santana tribute/Steely Dan tribute. $20, $25 day of show.

MVP Bar & Grille - Chakras, War Curse and Lift the Medium. 9 p.m. Hard Rock/Metal. $10.

Bella Luna - Blue Birds Trio. 7 p.m. Classic Rock/Jazz. Free.

Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - The Grahams. 8 p.m. Americana. Free.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Brian Culbertson. 8 p.m. Jazz/R&B/Funk. $45-$75.

America) with The Z.G.’s (performing Bouncing Soul’s Gold Record). 9:30 p.m. Punk/Pop/Rock. Free.

Northside Tavern - Shiny Old Soul. 10 p.m. Roots/Rock/Various. Free.

Silverton Cafe - Bob Cushing. 8 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

Legends Nightclub - SwingTime Big Band. 8:30 p.m. Swing/Jazz. $15.

Blue Note Harrison - Southern Saviour. 10 p.m. Country/Rock/Pop. Bogart’s - Pink Droyd. 8 p.m. Pink Floyd tribute. $12.50. Century Inn Restaurant - Jim Teepen. 8 p.m. Acoustic. Free. Cock & Bull Public House - Glendale - Jeff Vs. Luke. 8 p.m. Various. Free. The Comet - Joey Sprinkles. 10 p.m. Pop/Punk/Rock. Free. Crow’s Nest - Willow Tree Carolers and Freight Train Rabbit Killer. 9:30 p.m. Folk/Americana. Free. Eastgate Brew & View - Encore Duo. 6:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free. The Greenwich - William Menefield. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10.

Pop/Electronic/Dance/Various. Free.

Plain Folk Cafe - Joe Rollin Porter. 7:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free. The Redmoor - Soul Pocket. 9 p.m. R&B/Pop/Dance. $10. Rick’s Tavern - My Sister Sarah. 9:30 p.m. Pop/Dance/Various. $5. Riverfront Transit Center H Ubahn Fest with Nas, Machine Gun Kelly, Mod Sun, Prof, Space

Invadaz, Lantana, Malcolm London, Ill Poetic, Jayal & Perez and Trademark Aaron. 6 p.m. Hip Hop. $49 (two-day pass: $89). Silverton Cafe - DJ Dave. 8 p.m. Dance/DJ. Free. Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Vibrant Troubadours with Filthy Beast and Scarecrow Sideshow. 9:30 p.m. Rock. Free.

Southgate House Revival H (Revival Room) - Calumet with My Empty Phantom and umin. 9 p.m. Rock/Roots/Various. $5.

Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - The Stepping Stones with Joe Robinson. 8 p.m. Rock/Various. $10, $12 day of show. Stanley’s Pub - Cymatic Grooves with Rehugnant. 10 p.m. Jam/Jazz/ Fusion. $5. Trinity Gastro Pub - Bob Cushing. 8:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free. Urban Artifact - Nellie Pearl, Jim Trace and the Makers and Wild Mountain Berries. 8 p.m. Americana/ Roots/Rock/Various. Free.

CityBeat’s music listings are free. Send info to MIKE BREEN via email at Listings are subject to change. See for full music listings and all club locations. H is CityBeat staff’s stamp of approval.

Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant - Papa Loves Mambo. 9 p.m. Latin Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

The Mockbee - OG Maco with Lamb$, A$ton Matthew$, Poindexter and Dee Day. 9 p.m. Hip Hop. $10-$15.

Urban Artifact - Lando Chill, VibeOne, AC the Entity, Brandon Lee, STO The Last and Selectas Choice. 8 p.m. Hip Hop. Free.

Woodward Theater - Ohio H Knife (album release show) with Honeyspiders and Dinge. 9

MOTR Pub - Huntertones. 10 Hp.m. Jazz/Soul/Various. Free.

Monday 24

p.m. Rock. Free.

Plain Folk Cafe - China Catz. 7:30 p.m. Grateful Dead tribute. Free.

Saturday 22

Rick’s Tavern - The Whammies. 10 p.m. ’80s Pop/Rock/Various. $5.

Arnold’s Bar and Grill - Elk Creek and The New Old-Fashioned. 9 p.m. Americana/Folk/Rock/Blues/ Alt. Free.

Aronoff Center for the Arts - The Guthrie Brothers Present Scarborough Fair: A Simon & Garfunkel Experience. 8 p.m. Simon & Garfunkel tribute. $32.75-$37.75.

Riverfront Transit Center - Ubahn Fest with Atmosphere, Mr. Dibbs, Girl Talk, Yates Bruh, Jon Bellion, Desiigner, Aubley & Ronin, Murs, Ghost Gun Collective, Animal Collective and Sarob & Mike Dow. 6 p.m. Hip Hop/DJ/Dance/Pop/Various. $49 (two-day pass: $89).

Bogart’s - Saint Motel with H Hippo Campus and Weathers. 8 p.m. Indie Pop/Various. $22. The Celestial - Tom Schneider. 6 p.m. Piano. Free. Knotty Pine - Open Mic. 8 p.m. Various. Free. McCauly’s Pub - Sonny Moorman. 7 p.m. Blues. Free. MOTR Pub - B.C. Duo. 10 p.m. H Funk/Jazz/Various. Free.

Bella Luna - Blue Birds Trio. 7 p.m. Classic Rock/Jazz. Free.

Sharonville Convention Center John Waite. 6:30 p.m. Pop/Rock. $45-$75.

Blind Lemon - Michael J and Tom Roll. 6 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

Silverton Cafe - Unmarked Cars. 8 p.m. Rock. Free.

Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - JIMS. 9:30 p.m. Rock. Free.

Blue Note Harrison - The Belairs, Final Order and East of Austin. 7 p.m. Rock/Country/Various.

Southgate House Revival (Lounge) - Mudpies. 9:30 p.m. Rock/Blues/Various. Free.

Southgate House Revival H (Sanctuary) - MewithoutYou with Into It. Over It. and Needle

Bogart’s - Beats Antique. 9 p.m. H Electronic/World/Various. $25.

Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - Freight Train Rabbit Killer with Flying Underground and Chalk Eye. 9 p.m. Rock/Roots/Various. $5, $8 day of show.

The Comet - Amanda’s Scanner, Zohair Hussein, Lipstick Fiction, Cvnt Storm and Riley Pinkerton. 9:30 p.m. Various. Free. The Cricket Lounge at The Cincinnatian Hotel - Phillip Paul Trio. 6 p.m. Jazz. Free. Crow’s Nest - Wood and Sean Whiting. 9:30 p.m. Folk/Americana. Free. Froggy’s - Pandora Effect. 9:30 p.m. Rock. Cover. Ft. Mitchell Sports Bar - Karaoke with A Sound Sensation/DJ Heather. 9:30 p.m. Various. Free. The Greenwich - B.J. Jansen & Chef B’s Jazz N’ Wings featuring Duane Eubanks. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10. Jag’s Steak and Seafood - My Sister Sarah. 9:30 p.m. Pop/Dance/ Various. Cover.

Stanley’s Pub - Honey & Houston with Two Idiots. 9:30 p.m. Americana. $5.


The Underground - Cody Lutz, Flying Pigs, Saving Escape and Ephesus. 7 p.m. Pop/Rock/Various. Cover. Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant - Ron Jones. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).

Sunday 23

Tuesday 25

Arnold’s Bar and Grill - Diamond Jim Dews. 7 p.m. Blues. Free.

Mansion Hill Tavern - Open Blues Jam with Uncle Woody & the Blue Bandits. 7 p.m. Blues. Free. Miller’s Fill Inn - Karaoke with A Mystical Sound Sensation DJ Rob. 9 p.m. Various. Free. MOTR Pub - J&L Defer. 10 p.m. Experimental Pop/Rock. Free. Northside Tavern - Know Prisoners. 9 p.m. Reggae/Soul/Various. Free.

Mansion Hill Tavern - Noah Wotherspoon. 9 p.m. Blues. $4.

Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary) - Korbee. 8 p.m. Pop/Folk. $12, $15 day of show.

Marty’s Hops & Vines - Greg Hines. 9 p.m. Various. Free.

Stanley’s Pub - Open Jam. 10 p.m. Various. Free.

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Blind Lemon - Nick Tuttle. 8 p.m. Acoustic. Free. Bogart’s - Rittz with Jarren Benton and Mix Fox. 8 p.m. Hip Hop. $17.50.

Northside Yacht Club - RingH worm with Exalt, Grim State, The Jib and Abraxas. 9:30 p.m. Progressive Metal/Various. $10, $12 day of show.

Shaker’s - Open Mic/Open Jam with TC and Company. 7:30 p.m. R&B/Funk/Jazz. Free. Southgate House Revival (Revival Room) - The Hooten Hallers with Mike Oberst. 9 p.m. Blues/Soul/ Rock/Americana. $8, $10 day of show. Stanley’s Pub - Trashgrass Night with members of Rumpke Mountain Boys. 9 p.m. Jamgrass/Bluegrass/ Jamgrass/Various. Cover. Woodward Theater - Onry OzzH born and Rob Sonic with with Upgrade, Rafael Vigilantics, Raised x Wolves and Satyr Circle. 7 p.m. Hip Hop. $10, $12 day of show.

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ous. $10, $12 day of show.

Jag’s Steak and Seafood - Zack Shelly and Chon Buckley. 6 p.m. Piano/Vocals. Free.

Madison Theater - Twiztid with Mac Lethal, Zodiac Mprint, Lex the Hex Master and more. 7 p.m. Rap. $20, $25 day of show.

Madison Theater - Blackberry Smoke with Steepwater Band and 90 Proof Twang. 7 p.m. Rock/ Country/Southern Rock. $30, $35 day of show.

Urban Artifact - Hedalgo H Negro with Jennifer Simone. 8 p.m. Indie/Dance/Pop/Rock/Vari-

The Comet - Comet Bluegrass AllStars. 7:30 p.m. Bluegrass. Free.

Knotty Pine - Wayward Son. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover.

Madison Live - Southern Drawl Band. 11 p.m. Country. $15, $20 day of show.

Stanley’s Pub - Stanley’s Live Jazz. 9 p.m. Jazz. Free.

The Comet - Abiyah and friends. 10 p.m. Hip Hop/Electronic/Various. Free.

Knotty Pine - Randy Peak. 10 p.m. Acoustic. Free

Macadu’s - Ambush. 9 p.m. Rock. Free.

Points. 7:30 p.m. Rock. $17, $20 day of show.

20th Century Theater - Dalton with School of Rock. 7 p.m. Rock. $18, $25 day of show.

Jim and Jack’s on the River - Dan Varner. 9 p.m. Country. Free.

Live! at the Ludlow Garage - Joan Osborne Acoustic Trio. 8 p.m. Acoustic. $25-$60.

Northside Tavern - Northside Jazz Ensemble. 10 p.m. Jazz. Free.


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Seamless integration of the best digital gear and classics from the analog era including 2” 24 track. Wide variety of classic microphones, mic pre-amps, hardware effects and dynamics, many popular plug-ins and accurate synchronization between DAW and 2” 24 track. Large live room and 3 isolation rooms. All for an unbelievable rate. Event/Show sound, lighting and video production services available as well. Call or email Steve for additional info and gear list; (513) 368-7770 or (513) 729-2786 or

contractors NEEDED to deliver CityBeat

CityBeat needs contractors to deliver CityBeat every Wednesday between 9am and 3pm. Qualified candidates must have appropriate vehicle, insurance for that vehicle and understand that they are contracted to deliver that route every Wednesday. CityBeat drivers are paid per stop and make $14.00 to $16.00 per hr. after fuel expense. Please reply by email and leave your day and evening phone numbers. Please reply by email only. Phone calls will not be accepted.







*9AM-11AM for 12 & younger only

One Of the largest antique malls in OhiO.

8 0   •   C I T Y B E A T . C O M   •   O C T . 1 9  –  2 5 , 2 0 1 6

All kinds of high quality antiques, vintages, collectibles and more.


Dissolution: An amicable end to marriage. Easier on your heart. Easier on your wallet. Starting at $500 plus court costs. 12 Hour Turnaround.

810 Sycamore St. 4th Fl, Cincinnati, OH 45202




Open 7 days a week from 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM 4924 Union Centre Pavilion Dr. West Chester, OH 45069 (513)486-2098

513.784.0403 Inner Peace Holistic Center


Profile for Cincinnati CityBeat

CityBeat Oct. 19, 2016  

2016 Dining Guide

CityBeat Oct. 19, 2016  

2016 Dining Guide