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TH E L O CA LS BE HI N D L ORD ST OWN M O T O R S

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CAN T H E ENNEAG RAM HE LP AT WO R K?

by LEYL A SHOKOOHE

ENO TE CA EM ILIA MA K E S A D ELICIOUS C O M EB AC K

by AKSHAY AHUJA


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F E AT U R E S N OV E M B E R 2 02 0

P.

34

BOOK SMART Embrace the city’s literary side with this inside guide to public and private libraries, bookstores, authors, writing clubs, and one of our oldest (and most secretive) societies.

THE ENNEAGRAM GOES TO WORK P. 48

LORDSTOWN’S NEW ELECTRIC KOOL-AID ACID TEST P. 52

BY LEYLA SHOKOOHE

BY JIM DEBROSSE

Can you retrain your brain and make yourself better, personally and professionally? Some people believe the Enneagram can help you better understand yourself, and some companies are beginning to use it in the business world.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS VON HOLLE

Cincinnati’s Steve Burns wants to build the world’s best electric pickup truck. President Trump, General Motors, big-time investors, and Loveland startup friends are with him, while Tesla, Amazon, Ford, and (yes) General Motors are trying to beat him to market. What could go wrong?

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 5


D E PA R T M E N T S N OV E M B E R 2 02 0 ON OUR SITE

12 / CONTRIBUTORS 12 / LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

FRONTLINES

COVID-19 openings, closings, and pivots.

Freestore Foodbank preps for pandemic holidays

16 / SPEAK EASY The Public Library’s writer-in-residence, Dani McClain

16 / PLANNING UC’s School of Planning makes The Case for Cities

18 / STYLE COUNSEL

COLUMNS

Journalist Michael Monks dresses for success

28 / WELCOME TO MIDDLEHOOD

22 / STOREFRONT

Connecting through a Little Free Library

Brick Pop Up Shops, Over-the-Rhine

24 / REAL ESTATE Restoring a Newport mansion to its former glory

26 / DR. KNOW Your QC questions answered

BY JUDI KETTELER

84 / FOODOGRAPHY Bowman & Landes Turkey Farm, New Carlisle

87 / DINING GUIDE Greater Cincinnati restaurants: A selective list

CITY NEWS

Decoding our civic DNA, from history to politics to personalities.

96 / CINCY OBSCURA Henry Farny Park, Covington BY KATIE COBURN

ON THE COVER

Enoteca Emilia, Loveland

photograph by CHRIS VON HOLLE book illustration by JIM TIERNEY model courtesy HEYMAN TALENT ARTISTS AGENCY

80 / HOT PLATE

FOLLOW US

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78 / DINING OUT

Tasty Pho & Crawfish Bar, West Chester

80 / TABLESIDE WITH…

HOME + LIFE

Tracking what’s new in local real estate, artisans, and storefronts.

@CincinnatiMag Cincinnati Magazine @Cincinnatimagazine

Sydney Fisher of Copper & Flame

SPORTS

82 / HOME COOKING

On and off the field with the Bengals and FC Cincinnati.

Megan Ketover of Khora makes a pear tart

CINCINNATIMAGAZINE.COM PODCAST

LISTEN TO LEARN MORE On this month’s episode, we dive behind the scenes with Cincinnati’s literary lions, plus other stories we’re excited to share. Subscribe and listen on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher. It’s free!

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 5 7

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N OV E M B E R 2 02 0

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John Fox DESIGN DIRECTOR Brittany Dexter

DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL OPERATIONS

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Kathleen Doane, Jene Galvin, Jay Gilbert, Alyssa Konermann, Polk Laffoon IV, Lisa Murtha, Kevin Schultz, John Stowell, Linda Vaccariello, Kathy Y. Wilson, Jenny Wohlfarth, J. Kevin Wolfe EDITORIAL INTERNS Madison DiBattista, Tyler Kitts, Sami Reed, David Rees, Aaron Sary DIGITAL INTERNS Madelon Basil,

Haley Parnell, Avery Samuels

SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Emi Villavicencio ART DIRECTORS Zachary Ghaderi, Jen Kawanari ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Stephanie Youngquist JUNIOR DESIGNERS Carlie Burton, Paisley Stone

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L E T T E R F R O M T H E E D I TO R N OV E M B E R 2 02 0

I

CONTRIBUTORS

LEYLA SHOKOOHE

I LOVE THE IDEA THAT READING MIGHT BE A SOLITARY ACT BUT BEING A READER is a shared experience. I came across it while researching out-of-the-library options for this month’s “Book Smart” (page 34). The same can certainly be said of writing. Reading is a solo act for the most part—unless you’re reading aloud to someone else—that allows us to escape from the world for a while. It’s also more active than letting TV or music wash over us, and encourages our imaginations to fill the spaces between words with internal images and sounds. Writing starts out in solitude, just you and your thoughts, but rarely does good writing reach a reader without a group effort. Believe me when I say a writer’s best friends are an editor and a proofreader. Lots of writers also benefit from feedback and instruction gained in classes, workshops, and writing circles. Throughout my journalism career, I’ve always preached to colleagues (and to myself) that while you might never be a great writer, you can always be a better writer. Reading is a group effort at times too, especially for book club members and those who love to wander around book shops aimlessly peeking and poking, chatting with staff and strangers about favorite authors. Does anyone else spend time in the public library reading out-of-town newspapers and strange magazines? Just asking for a friend. Honestly, if I could create my favorite moment in an instant, it would be sitting on a beach with my wife, children, siblings, in-laws, aunts, and uncles—a dozen or more of us gathered in a circle reading, sipping drinks, and listening to the waves crash and seagulls call. Talk about being alone together. It’s heaven. We’ve all done a lot of being alone together during the pandemic, staying apart physically while trying to stay connected as best we can. More of us are reading and writing these days to fill the time and chase the loneliness, and maybe we’ve rediscovered a love of words as a result. If so, we’re happy to share this month’s guide to our literary city.

J O H N F OX

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

1 2 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

ILLUSTR ATIO N BY L A R S LEE TA RU

If using personality tests in the workplace sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, think again. In “The Enneagram Goes to Work” (page 48), Leyla Shokoohe decided to give the wildly popular Enneagram a shot. She found that the results not only led to greater productivity, but also had other benefits. “I understand more about myself now and am more aware of why I do the things I do,” she says. “It’s not like Myers-Briggs tests. It’s a day-to-day thing of making yourself a better, well-rounded person.”

ALESSANDRO GIORGINI For Italian artist Alessandro Giorgini, illustration is all about well-balanced contrast. He harmonizes the “crazy world of color” with carefully crafted curves to make an illusion that becomes more complex the longer you observe it. Giorgini, who studied architecture, says he treated the illustrations in “The Enneagram Goes to Work” (page 48) as he does most of his works—like buildings that need to stay up.

KEVIN SCHULTZ Rooted in the journalism community since his college days, Kevin Schultz knows firsthand how heavily environment influences style. Whether a normal day means office work or an interview in the forest, Schultz says “your style can be very useful” in establishing credibility. In this month’s Style Counsel (page 18), he explores the unique fashion sense of fellow journalist Michael Monks, who uses his strategic style to help shape his outlook.


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ACTIVIST IN RESIDENCE P. 16

THE CASE FOR CITIES P. 16

POP-UP SHOPS P. 22

A NEWPORT MANSION RETURNS P. 24

CRISIS MODE AT THANKSGIVING This pandemic holiday season might be the Freestore Foodbank’s most challenging yet.

AIESHA D. LITTLE

F

OOD INSECURIT Y IS A MAJOR CON-

cern in “normal” times, but in a year like this one when COVID-19 has upended every facet of life? Well, let’s just say the Freestore Foodbank has its work cut out for it this Thanksgiving and Christmas. In an average year, the organization sees more than 9,000 households during its four holiday food distribution days—those households represent a total of about 25,000 individuals—in addition to the 200 or so daily visits the organization gets at its Liberty Street Market location in the months of November and December. This year, planning has ramped up to distribute more than 14,000 meal boxes during the holidays and to reach out to families who have not used its services before. “Freestore’s work to feed our neighbors at this time of year allows families who are impacted by food insecurity to have a holiday experience,” says Freestore Foodbank President and CEO Kurt Reiber. “It’s critically important work that’s all the more important this CONTINUED ON P. 16

ILLUSTR ATIO N BY NIEN - K EN ALEC LU

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 1 5


DISPATCH

PLANNING

CITY COUNSEL

UC’s School of Planning is making The Case for Cities in a free monthly conversation series with national and local experts, broadcast from the Mercantile Library. October 28 focuses on the role of public spaces, while November 18 deals with health equity. DAAP.UC.EDU/NEWS-EVENTS/THE-CASE-FOR-CITIES

1 6 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N AU OG VU EM S TB E2 R0 1230 2 0

SPEAK EASY

ACTIVIST IN RESIDENCE X Cincinnati native Dani McClain has dedicated her career to educating the public on racial, parenting, and reproductive health issues. Author of We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood, she’s spent the past few months promoting the power of the written word and activism as the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s 2020 Writerin-Residence. What has it meant to you to be the Writer-in-Residence this year? At a moment when public trust in institutions is eroding, I think we still collectively understand the value in public libraries and their role in giving everyone access to ideas and information. It’s been an honor to work with the people who have come to my events and to build relationships with our library system and its staff. What are some projects and events you’ve worked on this year? I host monthly office hours, which are hour-long roundtables during which anyone can come and bring questions about writing. I also host a podcast,

Inside the Writer’s Head, and write for the library’s blog. How have you been involved with the recent Black Lives Matter movements? I started covering BLM organizing in 2013 after George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Since this summer’s uprisings began, I’ve written about how skilled educators talk to young children about systemic racism and police for The Atlantic and spoke on a panel in San Francisco about police brutality and state violence. What impact do you hope to make with your writing? I hope I make writing and building a life as a professional writer feel possible for more people. I hope I lift up the work of other lovers of books, libraries, and news who live here in our communities. I also hope I demystify the work I do. So many people seem to mistrust journalists these days, which I think is a lack of understanding what the job entails. —GRACE DEARING READ A LONGER INTERVIEW WITH DANI AT CINCINNATIMAGAZINE. COM.

PH OTO G R A PH S BY J O N ATH A N W I LLI S

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year as we search for some sense stores—both prime sources in normal of normalcy with the pandemic. times—and Freestore has had to purchase more food than usual. Just like with Our holiday operation brings our team, our customers, our donors, and our volretail grocery stores, there have been unteers together to share the holiday significant delays in getting timely food spirit.” shipments, so the organization placed According to Feeding America, food orders early where they could to ensure insecurity in general has increased by 10 delivery for the Thanksgiving rush. percent nationally because of the panFor the upcoming holiday events, the organization will continue to use its demic, says Trisha Rayner, Freestore’s no-touch distribution model—packing chief development officer. “Since COVID began, we have distributed 50 perboxes of food and giving clients “drive cent more food in our network of panthrough” or “pick up” options to limit the amount of contact between tries across the 20-county service area. Three-quarters of them and workers and/or the people we’ve seen in these volunteers. Reiber notes that recent months have never utithey’re trying to maintain GIVE THANKS lized our services before.” connections while being so To host your own Reiber says the food bank virtual food drive for disconnected physically. “We hasn’t experienced these types Freestore Foodbank, may need to be socially disvisit freestorefood of increases since 2008–2009. tant to reduce the potential of bank.org/host-a“During the recession, we knew COVID spread, but we share a canned-food-drive. that the economy would evencommon connection through tually recover and things would get back the support we provide to our neighbors to normal,” he says. “Our clients, commuin need,” he says. nity partners, and volunteers knew that Indeed, Cincinnatians have found Freestore would bridge the gap and that virtual ways to continue to help the orthere would be an end. We don’t know ganization along with monetary donawhen the pandemic will end, which cretions. So far this year, individuals and ates more uncertainty. And coupling that companies have held more than 100 uncertainty with the struggling econovirtual food drives ranging from $200 my, we have a perfect storm of unparalto $20,000 in donation size. And for its leled proportion.” annual Labor Day weekend event, the At the same time demand is up, food Rubber Duck Regatta, the organization donations are down significantly. Rayner sold a record-setting 200,000 ducks says that due to the pandemic-related online; each one purchased represented economic downturn, fewer food service the equivalent of 15 meals. “The comcompanies are donating and there is munity’s generosity has been astoundless rescued food available from grocery ing and humbling,” says Rayner.


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STYLE COUNSEL



Michael Monks OCCUPATION: Editor and Publisher of River City News; Host of Cincinnati Edition at WVXU STYLE: Dressed for success You’re very involved in the local journalism industry. How does that influence your style? I don’t want to throw shade at my fellow journalists, but I don’t think we are known for our sartorial proclivities. But for me, it’s been different; I’ve always enjoyed clothes. When I first started working on my own, I looked like somebody who was working on their own—I looked like a slob. And when the business became more professionalized, I realized that I needed to be more professionalized, and so that was probably the first time that style was a choice, beyond fashion, that it was strategy. Explain. If I’m coming at someone with a promise that I’m writing about what I just witnessed, there is a better chance they’ll trust me more if I look like somebody worth trusting. So that’s something I take into consideration. My strategy is to dress for what I want to accomplish that day. Has that changed now that you’re on the radio and we’re in the midst of this global pandemic? I was a TV news producer working at Channel 19 for most of the 2000s. And I got placed in a time slot of death. It was Saturday night, and Saturday nights, I learned very quickly, are different than weeknights: People wear jeans and T-shirts, looking like hell. But during the week, I always dressed nicely with a tie and a sweater. I maintained that and found I got more accomplished that way. Why is style important to you? I think the way you dress shapes your attitude, and it’s such an easy way to get in the right mood for whatever you have to accomplish. I love the way a pair of dress shoes sounds when you’re walking across the floor—you know that clip-clop sound. I think, I’m gonna get some business done today in these shoes. — K E V I N S C H U LT Z Read a longer conversation with Michael at cincinnatimagazine.com

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PHOTOGRAPH BY MARLENE ROUNDS


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TOGETHER, WE CAN HELP SLOW THE SPREAD. Learn more at coronavirus.gov


STOREFRONT

LAUNCH PAD BRICK POP UP SHOPS HELPS NEW AND EXPANDING BUSINESSES TEST THEIR CONCEPTS. — C H L O E R O S E N B E R G E R

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THE IMPERMANENCE OF A POP-UP SHOP

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makes visiting one feel more like an event than a shopping trip. There’s the thrill of buying a product that can’t be found anywhere else; the joy of taking a selfie in front of a DIY storefront and sharing it with your friends, encouraging them to get to the location before it’s gone. Behind the scenes, entrepreneurs are hungry for this type of reaction. They’re hoping the format will generate feedback on new goods and services. Maybe they’re looking to expand their brand or build their customer base. Whatever the case, launching a business as a pop-up shop is a valuable opportunity to work out some kinks before committing to a permanent space. Cue Brick Pop Up Shops, which exists to help entrepreneurs do just that. The company is an extension of MORTAR, the entrepreneurship incubator that offers management courses with a focus on

minority- and women-owned businesses. After completing the program, participants graduate to an alumni network that provides additional resources, tools, and support. For many alumni, turning their

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concepts into a pop-up shop is the next logical step. “The businesses in [the MORTAR] program don’t always have the capital to get their own brick and mortar space,” says Shannon Hooten, who has managed Brick Pop Up Shops for two years. She helps businesses get into temporary rental spaces equipped with TVs, display racks, and a point-of-sale system. “Some of these businesses are just starting out and don’t have anything, so they ask for help with setting up and promotion— generally learning what the feel of a retail space should be.” Brick Pop Up Shops has four rental locations. Two are on Vine Street in Overthe-Rhine, which Hooten says are prime spots because of the shopping district’s 1: Interior of Brick Pop Up heavy foot traffic. Shop. 2: MORTAR Founders There’s also one in (from left) Allen Woods, William Thomas II, and Walnut Hills, and a Derrick Braziel. 3: amPM Exchange pop up. long-term rental space on Short Vine in Corryville, which currently houses a year-long pop-up called Pause that’s headed by four MORTAR alumni and offers florals, juices, massages, and other feel-good services. Ultimately, Hooten says the biggest draw to Brick Pop Up Shops is affordability. “We only charge $300 to $400 for a weekend or $1,250 for a month, which is probably a third of what a normal pop-up charges,” she says. “The businesses we work with are small or just starting out, so we want to keep our rates low because the whole purpose is to give them a chance to grow.” BRICK POP UP SHOPS OTR, 1327 + 1329 VINE ST., OVER-THE-RHINE, BRICKPOPUPSHOPS.COM

( T O P) P H O T O G R A P H BY R I C H V I S U A L S / (M I D D L E ) P H O T O G R A P H CO U R T E S Y M O R TA R / (B O T T O M) P H O T O G R A P H BY A A R O N M . CO N WAY

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PRESENTS

A N IN N OVAT IV E O N LIN E FU N D RA IS IN G CHA LLEN GE

designed to raise awareness and funds for philanthropic organizations in Cincinnati

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REGISTER AT CINCINNATIGIVES.ORG Registration ends November 23rd at 5 p.m. ET.

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NOV. 30–DEC. 10, 2020

YOUR SUPP

VIEW CINCINNATIGIVES.ORG TO DONATE TO CINCINNATI CHARITIES IN NEED


ON THE MARKET

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ADDRESS: 301 OVERTON ST., NEWPORT LISTING PRICE: $1,149,900

HEART OF GLASS

IN 1889, THOMAS MCILVAIN WAS A BONA FIDE CAPTAIN OF INDUSTRY.

His downtown firm, McIlvain & Spiegel Boiler & Tank Co., was part of the manufacturing boom that propelled the city into a new century (they outfitted Cincinnati’s famous Queen of the West steamboat). But it was across the river in Newport where McIlvain decided to build his magnificent six-bedroom home. The Queen Anne–style house was a testament to McIlvain’s life and work, and it’s also where he embedded a permanent tribute to his wife and daughter in a set of stained-glass window portraits. From the street, you can clearly see Mrs. Ann McIlvain’s portrait in the center of the drawing room’s half-circle stained-glass window. And the McIlvains’s daughter, then-17year-old Clara, is in the twin foyer window dressed as Little Red Riding Hood. The pair were the first women to live in the home, and their enigmatic portraits set the property apart among Newport’s stock of remarkable historic homes. Ann McIlvain died in 1895. Thomas remarried and relocated to Florida, where he 2 4 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0

died two years later. After his death, there was a sensational estate fracas involving the validity of his marriage to new wife Catherine (who was his sister’s daughter). Thanks to state incest laws, Catherine’s claim to the estate was caught up in court for some 20 years before it was finally denied. The home, grand as it was, had begun a steady fall from grace. It became a boarding house, was subdivided into apartments, and ultimately descended into complete disrepair. By the time current owner Jim Price bought it in 2014, there were animals living on the third floor and four-foot maple trees growing out of the gutter. “It was in very bad condition,” Price recalls. “Squirrels had eaten through the door.” And those portrait windows that gave the home such a vivid personality? They had been sold away. But Price, a professional contractor, was determined to restore the home to its former glory. He tracked down the windows in Portland, Oregon, by way of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and returned them to their original places so that Ann and Clara McIlvain could once again hold court on Overton Street.

P H OTO G R A P H S CO U R T E S Y C L IN T CO P EN H AV ER , R O B IN S O N S OT H EBY ’ S IN T ER N AT I O N A L R E A LT Y

A 19TH CENTURY NEWPORT MANSION ROARS BACK FROM SCANDAL AND OBSCURITY. — A M Y B R O W N L E E


Check out these listings from Ryan’s real estate partners!

Updated Two Family, 4311 28th Street, Oakley Great opportunity for owner-occupant or investor. Two new HVAC systems in 2015. Renovations include new subfloors, vinyl plank flooring, padding/ carpet, drywall, trim, baseboards & paint. Replacement windows. Driveway with off-street parking and convenient two car garage. Price: $329,900. Contact Danny Baron, The Baron Group, Keller Williams Advisors, (513) 600-4117

Ryan Kiefer, PrimeLending Is buying, refinancing, or renovating a home in your future? Let me help you achieve your home ownership goals through our simple and hasslefree home loan process. I am a 22-year veteran of the mortgage business and the Branch Manager for PrimeLending in Greater Cincinnati and the state of Kentucky. I’ve appeared on Lifetime’s TV show “Designing Spaces” as a home renovation loan expert. Plus, catch me locally as the host of “Cincy’s Hottest Properties” every Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on Local12 WKRC-TV. I also nationally co-host CNBC’s “Financing the American Dream” at 9:30 a.m. each Saturday. As your local go-to resource, I’ll be by your side delivering personalized service, professional guidance, and timely results on the way to your ideal home loan.

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Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, weekday afternoon deejay on 92.5 FM The Fox. Submit your questions about the city’s peculiarities at drknow@cincinnati magazine.com

 DR. KNOW

Today’s mature phone numbers looked a lot slimmer in their youth. For instance, let’s pretend you’re calling (513) 621-0717. In the 1950s you would have just dialed MA1-0717 (as in MAin). It was simply Main 717 in the 1920s, and before that you’d ask an operator to contact 717. By the way, thanks for calling The Mercantile Library on Walnut Street. That venerable Cincinnati institution has had that very phone number since at least 1896, the longest-lasting one we could find. Don’t tell your dad. Perhaps an even older number survives? Any Cincinnati family or business still using a pre-1896 telephone number— with documented evidence—is hereby challenged to contact the Doctor’s e-mail address and claim no prize whatsoever. And please, no phone calls.

Q+ A

On the roof of the Gwynne Building, Procter & Gamble’s original headquarters at East Sixth and Main downtown, there is a little tower sticking up on one corner. It looks like a place where a war widow gazes out for her never-to-return soldier. What’s it about? —BABE ROOF DEAR BABE:

When my father bought my grandparents’ College Hill house in the 1970s, he kept the telephone number he’d grown up with. I grew up with it, too. Now he and Mom have moved to Florida, finally retiring the number. It’s made me wonder: What is Cincinnati’s oldest consistent landline number? —HUNG UP

DEAR HUNG:

A note for our younger readers: In ye olden days, a home or business phone number changed with almost every move, requiring a notification to all persons you weren’t actively avoiding. And so the question is: Over time, has any landline stayed with one customer for the long haul? What an utterly pointless—and perfect—quest for the Doctor.

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Please don’t squeeze the facts. P&G’s 1837 headquarters was on that corner, but construction of the Gwynne Building in 1913 ended that era. As for your war-widow theory: You may think it floats, but no. The building’s dawn began with Alice Claypoole Gwynne, whose career was strong enough for a man. Despite being no cover girl, this Cincinnati native married super-wealthy Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the best a woman can get. With his bounty, she played a bold role designing several noteworthy American buildings. But Gwynne was choosy. Grandiose skyscrapers that towered head & shoulders above older buildings gave her no joy, so she insisted that this icon to cheer her family name should limit its scope to only 13 floors. The “little tower” that puffs above the building’s northwest crest? Well, 99.44 percent of us would assume it was a lavish ILLUSTR ATIO N S BY L A R S LEE TA RU


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apartment to safeguard and pamper guests, but the Doctor is told that it’s a tiny and “underwhelming” room. One must also bounce and dash like a comet across the roof to access it. The tower’s original purpose, then, seems lost in the tide and cascade of time, remaining a secret, always.

The 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder is coming up. I remember feeling total outrage toward a Cincinnati Enquirer columnist who all but cheered his death! He hated rock music and blamed Lennon for the drug culture. Who was that jerk, and what became of him? —SITTING IN HIS NOWHERE LAND

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DEAR SITTING:

Imagine there’s no mercy. After John Lennon was shot, Bob Brumfield took a sad song and made it worse—his standard attitude toward most everything. Brumfield was a lucky man who made the grade, turning his copy editor job at The Cincinnati Enquirer into an almost-daily column during the 1970s. And though the news was rather sad when Lennon died, Brumfield claimed it was nothing to get hung about: “The Beatles were not of my generation. To be quite frank about it, I am glad that they were not. [My music heroes] didn’t spawn a drug culture or a legion of rebellious, young, semiliterate punks, [or] publicize their drug habits, or try to get their fans hooked.” Would you stand up and walk out on him? Brumfield’s columns may have been curmudgeonly, but they were popular. If it’s any solace, he died suddenly less than one year after his Lennon-bashing column. He considered The Beatles and Lennon as just passing fads destined to be forgotten, but now it looks as though they’re here to stay. He’s a loser.

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WE LCO ME TO MIDDLEHOOD BY JUDI KETTELER

Houses for Books

HOW MY FRONT-YARD LITTLE FREE LIBRARY HELPED ME BECOME A BETTER NEIGHBOR. LAST DECEMBER, ALL I WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS WAS A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY. SPECIFIcally, I wanted my husband to build one for me. In case you aren’t familiar, a Little Free Library is, well, a little library that’s free. It’s sometimes called a book box. You’ve probably seen them in people’s yards (usually near the sidewalk) or in parks or other public places. A friend of mine calls them giant birdhouses. But birds don’t live in them. Books do. Little Free Library is a now a full-fledged nonprofit organization, but it started about 10 years ago with a guy in Wisconsin building a box and putting out free books, encouraging people to take a book and leave a book. Now there are 100,000 Little Free Libraries in 100 countries, but the idea is still the same: Take a book, leave a book. I learned about Little Free Libraries from Margret Aldrich, the woman who literally 2 8 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

wrote the book on them, appropriately called The Little Free Library Book, and who now works for the organization. But before she wrote that book or had that job, Aldrich was my editor. In 2010, she worked on my first book, Sew Retro, published by Minneapolis-based publisher Voyageur Press. Because we’re roughly the same age and had many of the same interests, we hit it off and stayed in touch even after she left the publishing house. When I was in Minneapolis for a conference in 2014, I asked Aldrich if she wanted to get together. As we sipped our drinks, she told me about this fun book she was writing about the little library boxes people have in their yards. The way she described Little Free Libraries was enchanting. Granted, I was a pretty easy mark, because my history of loving libraries dates back to the early 1980s, when my mom would take me to the Covington library. I’d climb the stairs to the children’s section, anticipating the crinkling sound the library-standard clear plastic book dust jacket makes. When I was about 8, I somehow got a hold of a stack of old checkout cards—I think from a neighbor who was a teacher—and spent afternoons playing library. So when my former editor told me that it was a thing to have a library in your yard, I wanted one immediately. I came back home from the conference, got back to my life, and mostly forgot the conversation. Mostly forgot is how I sometimes think about the 10-year period between about 2008 and 2018, or the time between when I started having kids and when my oldest turned 10. Something good happens when your children are around 10. You emerge from the parenting dungeon, look out, and remember that there are other things in the world. Pursuits you can do simply because you want to, in service of no one else’s desires but your own. Some parents do things like brew beer or learn calligraphy. I started thinking about libraries. The catalyst may have been reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean, which is a book about libraries by way of telling the story of the catastrophic 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library (this sounds boring, but I’m not kidding when I say I couldn’t put it down). With libraries on the brain, I started noticing the little ones all around town. I saw one at Summit ILLUSTR ATIO N BY J U LI A Y E LLOW


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WELCOME TO MIDDLEHOOD Park in Blue Ash when I took the kids there last summer. I browsed the book selection in the one near the path to Madeira High School on the way to a football game last fall. And then I started picturing my own, calling to people from the sidewalk. ON A FROSTY SATURDAY MORNING IN January, my husband and I scoured the web for library inspiration. He found a plan in his skill set and worked on building it through February, finishing construction the first week in March. I knew I wanted to paint it aqua and yellow (if you know me, you know there would be no other choice). I walked to my neighborhood hardware store to choose the exact shades the same afternoon that Governor DeWine announced the closure of Ohio schools because of

course), and installed it—a dazzling aqua and yellow book house, perched buoyantly in the shade of a craggy old Norway spruce. I officially opened my Little Free Library, Charter No. 98770, on Friday, June 5, stocking it with books I’d bought as well as books from my collection and my kids’ bookshelves that we were ready to share. I designated the top shelf for adults and the bottom shelf for kids. We had Louise Erdrich and Liane Moriarty. Sharon Draper and Captain Underpants. Isabel Allende and David Sedaris. Paddington Bear and C.S. Lewis. Judy Blume and Judi Ketteler (yes, I put copies of the books I wrote in there). The entire kids’ section turned over within days, children excitedly taking books and leaving books. The adorable kiddos next door came at least 10 times

THE NUMBER OF CONVERSATIONS I HAD WITH NEIGHBORS IN THE WEEKS AFTER WE PUT UP OUR LITTLE FREE LIBRARY WAS MORE THAN IN MY 14 YEARS LIVING ON MY STREET. COVID-19. I didn’t realize until I got back from my walk, paint chips in hand, that it was possibly unsafe to put up our library when the world was locking down. So we put it in the shed. I thought about it out there, bookless and unloved, for the next two months. People everywhere were grieving so much that pointing out this little sadness to anyone seemed ridiculous. And then in late May, as things began to re-open just a bit, the library started to seem less dangerous. After all, I could wipe down the handles and people could wipe down their books, right? I asked my most cautious friends what they thought, and they all agreed it was low risk, especially as we’d learned more about how the virus usually spreads (and how it usually doesn’t). Plus, seeing as how the Madeira branch library would remain closed for remodeling for a few more months, it seemed more important than ever to make books available in my neighborhood. So my husband painted it, dug the post hole near the edge of our yard (calling to check on buried utility lines first, of

that weekend. Every time I peeked out my front window, I saw someone else at the library. Families with strollers. Kids on bikes. Friends walking dogs. People were safe. Strangers didn’t congregate. But there was a buzz around it. Books are cerebral things, but the street felt physically energized. So did I, which was really lovely after months of bleariness and weariness. I loved the fact that people were engaging with books, swapping out one to take home and enjoy with one they wanted to share. But it wasn’t just about what was happening inside the tiny library. It was about the conversations outside the library. ACCORDING TO THE LITTLE FREE LIbrary organization, 73 percent of people say they’ve met more neighbors because of a Little Free Library. The organization is transparent about that statistic: It comes from a survey of 3,000 Little Free Library stewards and fans. As a steward, this is absolutely true for me. In fact, the number of conversations I had with neighbors just in the few weeks after we put up the library was more than

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the sum total of conversations I had with neighbors in my 14 years living on my street. And I think I know why. Do you know that moment of awkwardness you have when you see someone you kind of recognize but don’t actually know? Or someone you do know but are never sure what to say to them? There’s a weird game of social chicken that often happens. Will they say hi? Should I say hi? Who will make eye contact first? Is a nod sufficient? Should I mention the weather? Will they think I’m strange if I speak? Will they think I’m strange if I don’t? What is the matter with me? If you have no actual idea what I’m talking about, please continue living your extroverted life and enjoy being perfectly comfortable having all manner of human interactions. But if you know what I’m talking about—and I bet a lot of you book lovers do—then you know that you can be the friendliest person in the world in your head and still struggle to engage with the people who walk their dogs by your house every day, the other parents you see at school functions, or the neighbor across the street who waters her plants at the same time as you. More than anything, my little library has been the elixir that’s made a bunch of that awkwardness go away. Almost like a cute baby everyone passes around. Oh, a little house for books! Look at its shingles! It’s abundantly easy to talk about, to smile about, and to enjoy together with people who are no longer strangers. In fact, I know far more of my neighbors’ names and the things we have in common than I did before. The way I see it, building more Little Free Libraries means more books would be shared and more people would talk to each other. We have Super Big And Terrible Problems right now related to divisiveness. We need bigger solutions than books and conversation, but I don’t think either of these things could hurt. I also know that, in my neighborhood, you can’t go more than a few driveways without seeing a small house being torn down to make way for a larger one. People need to live somewhere, so who I am to say anything about it. Except maybe this: Let’s build more houses for books, too. It’s a lot cheaper, and instead of keeping people out, it invites them in.


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What goes on every Monday evening at The Literary Club is a quintessential Cincinnati story of reading, fellowship, and male bonding. BY POLK LAFFOON IV

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nderstand that what I say here isn’t going to be objective. As a member of The Literary Club since 2008, I am inevitably captive to its charms, traditions, foibles, and finer moments. I know which of my fellow “Literarians” (as we sometimes call ourselves) takes more than two cookies in the refreshment line following each week’s reading. I can anticipate with reasonable confidence whose delivery will delight and whose may not. Every Monday evening I look forward (as do most members) to the 40 minutes or so of fellowship and drinks preceding the evening’s presentation. I revere the black-tie anniversary dinner every October; the Christmas celebration with music, carols, and a big turkey dinner; and the June outing when we gather in an outdoor setting

Author! Author! These 19 writers have local ties. –EILEEN BUNCH Nnedi Okorafor, Cincinnati native and author, Binti trilogy and Marvel Comics’ Wakanda Forever

Curtis Sittenfeld, Graeter’s enthusiast and bestselling author of American Wife, Eligible, and Rodham

Christopher Bollen, St. X

alum and novelist, Lightning People, The Destroyers, A Beautiful Crime

P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y C I N C I N N A T I & H A M I LT O N C O U N T Y P U B L I C L I B R A R Y


for dinner and a reading of the season’s final paper. The Literary Club is a Cincinnati institution that stretches back to 1849, founded by a group of mostly young men with an interest in the written word, the day’s issues, and a forum for discussion. Over the years, it became a gathering place for some of the city’s more prominent citizens. Two presidents, Rutherford Hayes and William Howard Taft, were members, as were such notables as Salmon P. Chase, Murray Seasongood, Robert A. Taft Jr., and artists Henry Farny and Frank Duveneck. Through the years, various trustees and heads of the region’s law firms, corporations, newspapers, and cultural, educational, and medical institutions have been members. The format is simple. The Club opens its doors about 7 p.m. on Mondays. Of the approximately 100 members, all men, between 50 and 70 will likely drift in over the next hour and enjoy drinks together (served by the stalwart and cherished Nico Ranieri, who lives upstairs) until the president calls the meeting to order at 8 o’clock sharp. He stands at a podium on a small stage beneath the Club’s fabled slogan, “Here Comes One With a Paper” (taken from Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost), and, after brief announcements, turns over the dais to whomever is presenting the evening’s reading. The papers are the heart of the club. Each one is to be approximately 40 minutes in length. It’s to be read in its entirety, not ad-libbed or cobbled together from bullet points. Topics are varied but should not be travelogues, book reports, political polemics, or vocation-centric narratives. Accordingly, they range widely, with some recent examples including (1) the explosion of the steamer Sultana north of Memphis in April 1865, the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history with close to 1,800 dead; (2) an examination of the difficulty of attaining the U.S. presidency from the position of vice president, with a

Delilah Beasley, Cincinnati Enquirer journalist and first African-American female columnist for a major metropolitan newspaper, The Negro Trailblazers of California

GET SMART There’s something for every interest in the vast, intriguing, and educational collections of these five specialty libraries. —EILEEN BUNCH THE MERCANTILE LIBRARY Since its establishment in 1835, this subscription library has amassed 80,000 volumes, featuring such rarities as bound first sets of Dickens’s serialized novels and the early works of Cincinnatian Harriet Beecher Stowe. The collection has survived multiple fires and nearly two centuries downtown. 414 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 621-0717, mercantilelibrary.com

LLOYD LIBRARY & MUSEUM Founded by prominent pharmacist and botanist John Uri Lloyd and his brothers in the 1870s, today this library houses a collection of books, periodicals, photographs, and illustrations pertaining to the studies of plant-based science, medicine, conservation, art, and history available to researchers and curious visitors. 917 Plum St., downtown, (513) 721-3707, lloydlibrary.org

JOHN MILLER BURNAM CLASSICS LIBRARY The nearly 300,000 volumes housed in the University of Cincinnati’s Blegen Library comprise one of the largest and highest quality collections of Classical Studies in the world, containing everything from medieval Latin and Greek manuscripts to thousands of centuries-old philology dissertations to the latest scholarship on the ancient world. 2602 McMicken Cir., Clifton, (513) 556-1315, libraries.uc.edu

KLAU LIBRARY With a collection of more than half a million books, Hebrew Union College is home to one of the top Jewish research libraries worldwide. Students, researchers, and visitors can peruse scholarship pertaining to Ancient Near East Studies, Bible, Cabala, Jewish Americana, and much more, including the 14,000 volumes housed in the Rare Book Room. 3101 Clifton Ave., Clifton, (513) 487-3276, huc.edu/research

CINCINNATI HISTORY LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES Now housed in the depths of the Cincinnati Museum Center, this collection was founded in 1831 to gather and preserve materials relating to the history of the Greater Cincinnati area. In addition to books, history enthusiasts can access newspapers, maps, genealogical records, photographs, and more to explore the Queen City’s past. 1301 Western Ave., West End, (513) 287-7030, cincymuseum.org  

Daniel Carter Beard, writer,

illustrator, early Boy Scout leader, and big yellow bridge namesake, The American Boy’s Handy Book, The Field and Forest Handy Book


OFF BOOK Three libraries that offer nontraditional items for select borrowers.

look at four VPs who tried and failed to win election to the higher office; (3) “Extra Innings,” the particularly touching memoir of a man with a fatal disease whose death had been postponed, at least for a time, through a miracle of modern medicine; and (4) “Eating Football,” about playing for the Steak House team in junior high school in Gallipolis, Ohio, the sponsor being Bob Evans’s first restaurant.

—AMANDA BOYD WALTERS

CINCINNATI COMMUNITY TOOLBANK Since 2012, the ToolBank has lent nonprofit organizations tools for their use, whether they’re working on their own facilities or supervising a service project with a volunteer crew. This summer, the ToolBank’s Victory Gardens program allowed community members to borrow gardening-specific tools. cincinnatitool bank.org

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PLAY LIBRARY While COVID-19 has put a temporary hold on in-person play dates, Play Library’s inventory of more than 1,000 puzzles, games, and other toys is still available to members through curbside pickup and dropoff. The best part? For every membership purchased, a deserving family gets the chance to play. Looks like everyone’s winning this game. playlibrary.org

P&G’S CORPORATE HERITAGE AND ARCHIVES CENTER “It’s so important to share insights across the company,” says Shane Meeker, Procter & Gamble’s company historian and corporate storyteller, about the purpose of the consumer product giant’s private archive, which includes everything from TV commercials to original packaging to project oral histories. Researchers can request to access the collection, and new staffers tour it as well. us.pg.com/pg-history

also important; a lively delivery can make the difference between holding an audience rapt and losing it altogether. Some years ago, after a lessthan-bravura performance, a colleague confided to me, “That’s 40 minutes I’ll never get back.” While there is no formal provision for discussing the papers afterwards, refreshments are served following their reading—sandwich fixings, a hot entrée, fresh fruit, and cookies. The food is a predictably popular part of the evening, and most attendees stay for another hour or so to enjoy it and the conversations begun prior to the evening’s proceedings.

Papers may be nonfiction (the vast majority), fiction, or even poetry. Some of the best-received combine aspects of the speaker’s own experiences with extrapolations to a larger message, such as dealing with an illness or surviving during wartime or wacky (in retrospect) occurrences over a work career. (Inevitably, Procter & Gamble anecdotes generate more than a few laughs.) Style of presentation is

Heidi Petach, one-time Cincinnati Zoo employee and writer and illustrator of children’s books, Rainbow Babies, Goldilocks and the Three Hares

ll that said, I still haven’t articulated what is, to my mind, The Literary Club’s soul, and that is the love its members bring to their affiliation. This love—commitment, really—is something unusual. To understand it, you almost have to be involved; it has, I think, many parts. First is the sense of belonging to something very old, with a distinguished provenance that’s quintessentially Cincinnati. Although not concerned with books and reading per se, the club has deep literary roots in several organizations that preceded its founding and with such notables as Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, and Daniel Drake. Ralph Waldo Emerson was an early guest at the club, brought in to deliver six lectures. Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, and Booker T. Washington were also visitors. Add these to the noteworthy local membership, and it’s no surprise that today’s members feel part of something special.

Will Hillenbrand, bornand-raised Cincinnatian, writer, and illustrator, Snowman Story, Bear and Mole series, Louie!

P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y C I N C I N N A T I & H A M I LT O N C O U N T Y P U B L I C L I B R A R Y


Check it Out! Public libraries provide incredible resources to our communities, from their digital offerings to their physical collections, which go far beyond books. —AMANDA BOYD WALTERS CINCINNATI & HAMILTON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

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n August, the library launched a new website and its first significant rebranding in 20 years. It came at a significant moment: Not only has the pandemic forced the 41-branch system to bolster digital offerings and expand outreach to patrons, but the library is also just beginning work on Building the Next Generation Library, an ambitious and widereaching facilities master plan made possible by the 2018 passage of Issue 3, a 1 mil levy. Director Paula Brehm-Heeger, who took charge of the system in October 2018 following the retirement of longtime director Kimber Fender, will oversee the changes. Patrons have access to a wide variety of circulating materials and online resources, from physical books to streaming movies to research databases. The Digital Library also allows virtual access to CHPL’s collections of rare print materials, like its collection of restaurant menus, digitized city directories, and photographs of Ohio River flooding. Four branches feature MakerSpaces, where guests can use sewing machines, large format scanners, vinyl cutters, 3D printers, and recording booths to create their own projects. cincinnatilibrary.org

KENTON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

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Mason Public Library Established as a branch of the Lebanon Public Library, MPL went independent in 1977. The collection holds more than 550,000 items and serves more than 50,000 registered patrons. masonpl.org

The Lane Libraries Hamilton, Fairfield, and Oxford branches serve residents of Butler County. The octagonal core of the Hamilton location was designed and built by machine manufacturer (and library founder) Clark Lane. lanepl.org

Clermont County Public Library From one office and a bookmobile in 1955, CCPL has grown to a 10-branch system, putting a library within a 15-minute drive of every county resident. clermontlibrary.org

Campbell County Public Library This four-branch system, started in 1978, offers cardholders free books that they can use to stock a Little Library. Its newest branch, in Alexandria, opened in January 2018. cc-pl.org

Boone County Public Library In July 2019, the sixth branch of this county library system opened in Hebron. It’s home to the Boone Innovation Lab, where patrons can reserve time on equipment including 3D printers, laser engravers, and even a quilting machine. bcpl.org IPLHL OU TS OT GR RA TA IPOHNS BBYY DJ AO NN IAETLH LAONNW G ILLIS

$75,000 contribution from Andrew Carnegie launched the Covington library, which opened in what is now The Carnegie arts center in March 1904. About 100 years later, a facilities update resulted in an expanded Erlanger branch, the creation of the William E. Durr branch just south of Independence, and an extensive renovation and reworking of the Covington branch. As the needs of its community changed, the library responded, launching the Empower Tools tool lending service in 2017 and the Erlanger STREAM Center makerspace in 2018. Adapting to challenges presented by COVID-19, KCPL created the position of School Services Coordinator to help provide organized educational resources to schools and families throughout the library system. In addition to these initiatives, KCPL delivers a wealth of traditional resources, including a robust local history and genealogy department, which includes Faces & Places, a searchable photographic archive of Northern Kentucky with more than 100,000 images. kentonlibrary.org

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Almost as unique as the club’s heritage is the clubhouse. A small federalist gem sandwiched between the Phelps Marriott and Western and Southern headquarters across from Lytle Park, it’s handsome on the exterior and rich with history on the interior. Paintings, documents, portraits, and such artifacts as a tattered flag from Jacob Burnet’s pre-Civil War rifle drills adorn the walls. On the ground floor are the reading room, where meetings take place, and the library, where archives of papers going back to the beginning reside. In either space, it’s impossible to not feel that you’re in rarefied air, a place both timeless and fine-tuned to its purpose. The general public is not permitted inside. Another reward of membership is the opportunity to become acquainted with others of both common sensibilities and, often, considerable accomplishment in civilian life. Few who come into the club do so knowing many of the incumbents. But quickly enough, during cocktails and refreshments, they turn that around, and

people who were recently strangers become Monday night companions and maybe close friends. Finally, there is the sense of engagement in something unusual: the chance to share ideas and experiences through papers that are almost always carefully crafted and, at their best, memorable. With the obligation to write coming around about every 24 to 30 months, many find the question of what their subject should be their greatest challenge. Yet once settled upon, they take the task quite seriously. No one gets up on that podium for the first time without a flutter. How does one become a member of The Literary Club? The only way is to be nominated by an incumbent, which isn’t as hard as it may sound. In this era of Six Degrees of Separation, one has only to identify a member and evince interest. Once nominated, the candidate would attend Monday gatherings to meet other members and submit to a writing test. He would eventually be voted upon.

JOSEPH-BETH BOOKSELLERS Is an Oasis for Book Lovers

Yes, “he.” Is there a possibility that women could be admitted as members one of these days? Probably not. The issue has been addressed at least twice in recent years. While many say the addition would be positive, others feel quite strongly that it would change the club’s chemistry. They point to, among others, the Woman’s Club in Clifton as an example of an organization that’s for women only. The last time a vote was taken, the count was approximately 85 percent against admitting women. At the end of the day, it’s been my experience that finding prospects who are willing to take on membership is not always easy. Attendance, virtually every Monday night of the school year, is strongly encouraged, and then there are the papers. As one smart lawyer whom I thought would make a good member said to me, “Polk, I’ve written all the term papers I want to write.” Yet somehow candidates continue to surface, as they have for 171 years, and they will, I suspect, keep doing so well into the future.

m ch of its visibility fro y scene derives mu rar inlite mb ti’s co na re cin sto Cin Commons iconic Rookwood ce of a Joseph-Beth, the the personal servi th wi ain ch l na tio na a of nings ft sig he wn the do ing has shut shop. The pandemic ls locaHil iew neighborhood book stv Cre the rmanently closed k” and readings and pe ape—from “staff pic ains a welcome esc rem re sto a huge to n tio tion, but the sec rs ite wr and a robust local tro. recommendations drink at Brontë Bis and a cozy meal or n tio lec se magazine OH N FO X josephbeth.com —J

FREE SPIRITS These indie booksellers bring communities together over great reads like the big-box guys can’t. —KAILEIGH PEYTON DOWNBOUND BOOKS

BLUE MANATEE

CINCY BOOK BUS

This gem opened last October and has been onlineonly since mid-March (’cause, ya know). They’ve been getting readers through the pandemic with self-care packages (“six cookies and one bookie”), curated summer reading stacks, and keep-in-touch stationery sets. 4139 Apple St., Northside, (513) 541-1394, downboundbooks.com

Last year this beloved bookstore became the Blue Manatee Literacy Project, building on three decades of helping little ones forge a passion for reading and learning. For every book purchased, one is donated to a child in the Cincinnati area who faces barriers to literacy. 3094 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 257-0774, bluemanatee.org

Giving back is the name of the game for this bookstore on wheels (a 1962 Volkswagen pickup, to be exact), founded by a teacher of 25 years. Each purchase helps supply children’s books for schools in low-income areas. Shop its curated selection online or locate the bus on Instagram. cincybook bus.com

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THE OHIO BOOK STORE

The Book Doctor Is In In the windowless basement of the Ohio Book Store, brothers Mike and Jim Fallon keep the family business of book restoration alive and well. BY LAUREN FISHER PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS VON HOLLE

ROEBLING POINT BOOKS & COFFEE

SMITH & HANNON

FIRST EDITION RARE BOOKS

Covington’s quintessential neighborhood bookstore, with cozy spaces to read; coffee, tea, and pastries; and café seating out front. To continue serving customers staying home, they’re delivering bags of coffee and books within the I-275 loop, up to 20 miles from the store. 306 Greenup St., Covington, (859) 8157204, roeblingpointbooksandcoffee.com

As the city’s sole Black-owned bookstore, founded by a former school superintendent to promote literacy in the African American community, Smith & Hannon is a hub for conversations between the community and local and national authors. It sells modern and historic Black literature, as well as art, jewelry, and gifts. 1405 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 641-2700, smithandhannonbookstore.com

This appointment-only bookstore is for purist collectors who appreciate rare, unvarnished first-edition printings, often closest to the author’s original intent. Have first editions you’re ready to part with? They’ll do the legwork, cataloguing and promoting them until they sell for a fair price. 250 E. Fifth St., #1542, downtown, (513) 719-0001, thefirstedition.com

P H OTO G R A P H S BY J O N AT H A N W I L L I S

D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 3 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 4 1


THE

CINCINNATI REVIEW

Amplifies Emerging Writers’ Voices

d housed in Founded in 2003 an ’s campus, UC on ll Ha en ck McMi e sh ow zin ga ma th is lit er ar y an s, d essays cases poems, storie rs “o f an y ite wr su bm itt ed by point in their background, at any e small-butTh ” rs. literary caree itors, faculty, mighty staff of ed nt volunteers de stu and graduate bm iss ion s of ac ce pt s on lin e su , which they rk wo unpublished mber to Janureview from Septe int o a bia nile mp ar y an d co tio n. (Th ey nu al pr int pu bli ca “m iCR o” ter or sh als o pu bli sh round, arye e submissions onlin 8,800 n tha re mo ed and receiv 2019 ry ua Jan submissions from goal? in ma e Th ) st. gu through Au re in all its “C ha mp ion lit eratu eview.com tir na cin forms.” cin

BOOKS for ALL

—K AT IE CO BU RN

Dolly Parton’s early childhood literacy program expands to the tri-state. —KAILEIGH PEYTON

I

n her home county of Sevier, Tennessee, Dolly Parton learned long ago that a little support for young people goes a long way in securing their futures. Promising each graduating senior $500 with her Dollywood Foundation, created in 1988, she reduced dropout rates by 29 percent. In 1995, the country star founded Imagination Library, sending each child in the county a free book a month from birth to age 5. Starting with that first order of 1,700 books, the program has continued to grow. Since expanding in 2000 to include partner-

ships worldwide, today Imagination Library ships more than a million books per month. Each age-appropriate title—promoting self-esteem, confidence, regard for diversity, and appreciation of art—is selected by a committee of parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and child development and literacy specialists. Now local kids can enroll, thanks to partnerships with the state of Ohio and Campbell County Schools, plus independent school districts in Bellevue, Dayton, Ft. Thomas, and Newport. ohio imaginationlibrary.org, cc-pl.org/imagination-library

Veena Sud, Cincinnati Country Day alum and television writer, The Stranger, Cold Case, The Killing

Rakesh Satyal, Fairfield native and novelist, Blue Boy, No One Can Pronounce My Name I L LU S T R AT I O N BY Z A N N A G O L D H AW K


THE OHIO BOOK STORE CHECK UP TIME The process begins with a delicate examination. Each book arrives in a different condition—some require only a re-binding, while others need to be rebuilt entirely. Mike and Jim remove the covers carefully, scraping away decades of glue, and sew the pages into new binding. “When you first start it, you’re shaking,” Mike says. “Because you don’t want to damage anything.”

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y any generous estimation, it would take several—maybe a dozen—trips to fully sort through the shelves of the Ohio Book Store, the four-story fixture on Main Street that’s filled to the brim with rare and collectible books. But down a narrow stairwell tucked away amid the shelves of military history, classics, and music, that’s where the magic really happens. In a pale, windowless room, brothers Mike and Jim Fallon safeguard the family business, painstakingly restoring family Bibles and yellowed pages that predate America itself. And even as independent bookstores fold left and right, Cincinnati’s dedicated book doctors have found themselves busier than ever, stitching back together pieces of history and giving tattered tomes a second chance at life.

Theresa Rebeck, Ursuline Academy alumna, Broadway playwright, and screenwriter, Bernhardt/Hamlet, TV’s Smash

Thomas Berger, Lockland resident and author, Little Big Man, Arthur Rex, Neighbors

Emily Henry, West Chester– raised novelist, People We Meet on Vacation, Beach Read


A Word about Community Sometimes it takes a village to become a better writer. —JOHN

W

riting is usually just you and a computer or maybe a pen and paper. Several local organizations, though, focus on writing as a group activity both to help improve individual skills and to build community around creativity. Women Writing for (a) Change has hosted weekly writing circles for women for almost 30 years, with new options for men and for youth, writing craft classes, retreats, and public programming. The goal is to create a safe space for writers to have their words heard and honored without judgment. The nonprofit

FOX

WordPlay uses writing, storytelling, and performances to engage children and teens in creative activities at its Northside storefront as well as through schools. Since 2012 its programs have reached more than 7,500 area kids and given away 21,000 books. Word’s Worth is run by four Dayton, Ohio-based writers and teachers who build, encourage, and advance writers in workshops and group classes such as “Write Your Novel in a Year” and “Research Tips and Traps.”womenwriting.org, wordplaycincy.org, wordsworthdayton.com

g for (a) Change e Women Writin roads also serves as Th US R FO E A PLAC ainfield ArtWorks tgomery and Pl building at Mon y marker, thanks to this 2018 ents chose wa sid te re ga ’s od on ho rt or lve hb Si tion and neig za ni ga n. or io e vis Th 's . mural mmunity present the co the quote to re

PHOTOGRAPH BY KELSEY LOGSDON


THE OHIO BOOK STORE

AS REAL AS IT GETS “Don’t get too close,” Mike warns. The molten metal he injects into custom, handset blocks of type has been heated up to a toasty 550 degrees. The typesetting machine is one of nearly a dozen rare, highly specialized devices squeezed into a single room in the basement.

Cuesta Benberry, Cincinnati-born quiltmaking historian, Always There: The African-American Presence in American Quilts, Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans

Jessica Strawser, Cincinnati Library Writer-in-Residence and novelist, Almost Missed You and Not That I Could Tell


CINCINNATI BOOK ARTS SOCIETY

TK

Preserves the Art o f Book Making

This 22-year-old no nprofit organizatio n exists to promote an d preserve contemporary and tradition al forms of book, pa per, and printing art s, from binding and printing to paperm aking and ar twork. Self-described as the “the central organization in the [tri-stat e] for book lovers of all kinds,” its team of volunteers hosts exhibitions, lectures, and workshops yearround on all things book-making (think bookbinding basic s). Paying members also participate in mo nthly study groups, during which they investigate and pre sent new findings in the field of book art s. cincinnatibookarts .org —K .C .

Book a Literary adventure When the world gets back to normal, try these out-of-the-library experiences. —JOHN BIBLIOVENTURES

OHIO LITERARY TRAIL

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reat yourself to a self-guided tour of 61 literary-focused destinations and historical markers across the state. Local highlights include the Mercantile Library and Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati and Oxford’s McGuffey House, where the nation’s first widely used school textbooks were created. ohioana.org/resources/the-ohio-literary-trail

riter/librarian Amy Thornley plans to relaunch her reading retreats in 2021, a series of three-day weekends in the Hocking Hills centered around reading, writing, hiking, and group meals. Reading might be a solitary act, she says, but being a reader is a shared experience. biblioventures.com

T

Geoffrey Girard, Moeller English teacher and author of sci-fi and horror thrillers, Cain’s Blood, Mary Rose

BOOKS

BY THE

FOX

BANKS

T

he region’s key literary groups, libraries, and university writing programs collaborate to host this free book festival every October at the Duke Energy Convention Center, featuring signings and discussions with national, regional, and local authors and illustrators. Cancelled in 2020, BBTB plans to return in 2021. booksbythebanks.org

Robert F. Schulkers,

Covington native and author, Seckatary Hawkins series

I L LU S T R AT I O N BY Z A N N A G O L D H AW K


THE OHIO BOOK STORE

GUARDIANS OF HISTORY The Fallon brothers rarely come across a lost cause. “We work on a lot of really rare, valuable historical pieces,” says Mike (above), holding a first edition copy of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. The projects closest to their hearts are family Bibles, passed down through generations. “Things that have family meaning,” Mike says. “That’s the most special thing.”

Emma Carlson Berne,

Queen City resident and author, Still Waters, Never Let You Go

Kathy Y. Wilson, Cincinnati Magazine contributor, journalist, educator, Your Negro Tour Guide

Jeffrey Hillard, Mount St. Joseph Professor of English and author, Shine Out of Bedlam and Shine in Grit City


T H E

ENNEAGRAM G O E S

T O

WORK

A “ VO O D O O ” S Y S T E M F I N D S R E N E W E D C U LT U R A L INTEREST AND A FOOTHOLD IN THE BUSINESS WORLD.

BY LEYLA SHOKOOHE

ILLUSTRATION BY ALE GIORGINI

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E U R O N S T H AT F I R E TO -

gether wire together. That’s a favored refrain of therapists and mental health practitioners, among others, but also the scientific theory at the core of neuroplasticity—the understanding that the brain’s intricate web of neural networking is malleable. We know that brain function can be altered by external forces like medication and physical trauma. Many of us also attempt to retrain our brains by changing thought and behavior patterns through outside help, meditation, and self-examination tools like the Enneagram. The idea that we’re able to direct the brain’s malleability, versus letting it naturally react to external forces, can be a game-changer for those of us seeking to better ourselves personally or professionally.

Figuring out whether you’re a 2 or a 9 on the Enneagram chart might simply be a fun exercise for the curious (or bored), but more and more people—including business leaders—are finding its insights to be a useful tool for analyzing behavior and rewiring themselves. “You can use the Enneagram for entertainment, for information, or for transformation,” says Deni Tato, a certified Enneagram teacher in Cincinnati and founder of Corporate Consciousness, which focuses on coaching in business settings. “I am about transformation.” Utilizing self-help tools in the workplace isn’t a new concept. Companies will do team-building days and host Myers-Briggs typing sessions so their employees can better understand themselves and each other. Tato says the Enneagram’s emergence in the business world reaches beyond simply measuring behavior to revealing hidden motivation. “Other personality typology systems are oriented to your observable behavior,” she says. “The Enneagram isn’t focused on what you do, but more deeply on why you do it.” Tato’s roster of business clients is robust, with perhaps the biggest name being Procter & Gamble. Kelly Vanasse, senior vice president and chief communications officer of P&G’s Beauty, Grooming, and Health division, was introduced to the Enneagram at a conference Tato presented in Europe in 2012. “As Deni took us through the foundational elements of it and all the different types, it became

T H E

ENNEAGRAM

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EVERYONE HAS ONLY ONE T Y P E ,” S AY S L E S L I E H E R S H B E R G E R . “ YO U C A N ’ T C H A N G E I T, B U T YO U C A N B E C O M E A HEALTHIER VERSION OF IT.

obvious to me that this was different than anything else I had experienced,” says Vanasse. “In the course of my work over the years I’ve experienced Myers-Briggs, Strength Finders, and other tests, which all provided something useful, but what they really focused on was behavior and preference. Once we understand why we get angry, why we seek approval, or fill-in-the-blank, we’re better able to be more objective about intervening where we need to intervene. That to me was the aha! moment about Enneagram.” If Enneagram sounds a little out there, well, you aren’t alone. Tato was wary when introduced to it in the early 2000s. “At that point it was still to a large extent in church basements and things like that,” she says. “It wasn’t really in the corporate world, certainly not in Cincinnati, so I thought, I’m just going to go make a push for this. It’s been the most incredible ride. When I introduced it back then, it was like, What is this? Is this like devil worship or voodoo?”

N I N E P E R S O N A L I T Y T Y P E S C O M P R I S E T H E E N N E AG R A M (ennea is Greek for nine, gram for a written record), ordered numerically around a circle. They reflect distinct habits of thoughts, emotions, physical actions, and behavior and are arranged in three centers: body (8, 9, 1); heart (2, 3, 4); and head (5, 6, 7). Numbers to the left and right of a type are called “wings”—the 7 wings are 6 and 8, for instance, which means a 7 can also have traits of both the 6 and the 8. Each type has a name that can vary according to the site or teacher, but are basically synonymous across the channels. Tato’s website lists them as 1. The Assessor, 2. The Giver, 3. The Achiever, 4. The Individualist, 5. The Thinker, 6. The Inquirer, 7. The Enthusiast, 8. The Protector, and 9. The Moderator. Leslie Hershberger, a certified Enneagram teacher and graduate of Xavier University’s Master of Theology program, uses these titles: 1. The Perfectionist, 2. The Giver, 3. The Performer, 4. The Romantic, 5. The Observer, 6. The Loyal Skeptic, 7. The Epicure, 8. The Protector, and 9. The Mediator. For this story, I underwent a typing session with Tato. I’ve dabbled in the Enneagram before, taking any number of free online tests and discussing what type I might be with my Enneagram-proficient friends. They thought I’m a 7, which the free tests also indicated. Tato uses the comprehensive iEQ9 test, with 175 questions addressing selfidentified patterns of thinking, action, and feeling; self-identified hurdles; worldview; core fears; gifts; and blind spots. Skeptics might say that’s a lot of navelgazing, but it feels more integral than superficial since the Enneagram is meant to awaken and lead to self-awareness. The test confirmed that I’m indeed a 7, which the iEQ9 describes as an adaptable, optimistic personality with future-oriented enthusiasm and a core fear of being

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limited or restricted. I can attest to the truth of the assessment, which came in a 23-page personalized report from Tato and an attendant hour-long session to review the findings. “Everyone has only one type,” says Hershberger, who is also a 7.“You can’t change your type, but you can become a healthier version of it. Each type has a trajectory, a kind of map for personal growth and relationship growth.” That trajectory can be found in the chart’s arrows pointing off each type to two others, representing moments of integration or opportunities for growth. A 7, for example, in the Enneagram vernacular, “integrates” the features of a 5 at times of thriving and a 1 at times of stress, meaning the 7 can resemble the 1 when she’s stressed out, cranky, or low-functioning in terms of cognitive selfawareness. I know I can be obsessed with rules when I go to a 1 in times of stress (like deadlines), and I’m reflective and better connected when I go to a 5 in peaceful times. “The Enneagram’s integration lines and influence wings are where the magic is,” says Tato, who is also a 7. “You can’t will yourself to the other points. How you get there is by absolutely welcoming and accepting all parts of you and your dominant type, and then these integration points open up to you. I don’t believe you can make a long-term sustainable change in behavior by focusing just on the behavior. Your perceptions create your beliefs and your values, your beliefs create your thoughts and your feelings, and your thoughts create the behavior.” Unique to each type are the underlying motivations. Examining and identifying the moments in your life when certain existing neural pathways were formed can be stressful and deeply uncomfortable. “Enneagram is really fantastic compassionate self-awareness,” says Vanasse, who is an 8. “We are not our personality types. Our personality type is the way we show up to the world, our armor. It’s how we came to believe we needed to function in this world.” Vanasse was so taken with the Enneagram’s potential that she had members of her P&G global communications team typed by Tato. “When you become more aware of who you are and you’re able to accept who you are and ultimately love who you are, you’re able to love the other,” says Vanasse. “That empathy creates connection, which then builds trust. C O N T I N U E D O N P A G E 6 8


Lordstown’s New Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Cincinnati idea guy Steve Burns wants to build the world’s best electric pickup truck in northeastern Ohio. President Trump, General Motors, big-time New York investors, and Loveland startup friends are with him, while Tesla, Amazon, Ford, and (yes) General Motors are trying to beat him to market. What could go wrong?

By Jim DeBrosse Illustration by Tom Humberstone

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IN LATE JUNE, WHEN A PROTOTYPE

Pence took the podium in front of a giant American flag to become the truck’s unofficial pitchman. “It really is an honor to be here, to be able to drive up and help unveil what will soon be the first fully electric pickup truck on the market in the United States of America,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lordstown Endurance.” The announcement was met with wild applause from a small but enthusiastic audience of company executives, government leaders, and investors. In the run-up to November’s presidential election, Lordstown has become as much a political issue as an economic one. During the Republican National Convention in August, a prerecorded video featured Youngstown trucker Geno DiFabio standing with Pence in front of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home in Indiana, thanking Trump for his handling of GM’s shutdown of the Lordstown plant. DiFabio says GM wouldn’t have sold the plant to Lordstown Motors without Trump in office. “There’s no other president that could have done it,” he said. “There’s no one that has even tried to do it. President Trump’s a doer. He appreciates every one of us, and I know he does. I’ve seen it.” But Democrats beg to differ. Lordstown Motors’s plan to hire 600 workers is hardly compensation for an assembly plant that once employed thousands. Senator Sherrod Brown says Trump ignored his repeated calls asking the president to intervene when GM closed the plant. In a statement released just prior to Pence’s unveiling of the Endurance, Brown said, “When GM pulled out of Lordstown, President Trump didn’t lift a finger to help, while his tax bill gave GM a 50 percent coupon to ship jobs

overseas. The people of Lordstown...don’t need a photo op, they need action.” Even if Lordstown Motors begins production next year as promised, motorists aren’t likely to see an Endurance zipping past them on the highway with a gun rack in the back window or a tongue-lolling dog in the truck bed. With a price tag of $52,500 and a range of 250 miles per charge, the Endurance is being aimed at the full-sized commercial fleet market whose business owners covet the truck’s fuel economy— the equivalent of a 75-mile-per-gallon gaspowered vehicle.

KNOWN MORE AS A high-tech innovator with strong sales skills than a manager who can bring a successful product to market, Steve Burns has brokered a complex deal to turn his 17-month-old private venture into a publicly traded company

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with an expected infusion of $675 million in cash. If the deal is finalized, Lordstown Motors will merge later this year with DiamondPeak Holdings, a company formed specifically to purchase Lordstown Motors and raise money for it on the Nasdaq stock market under the trading symbol RIDE. DiamondPeak’s investors have already agreed to pump $500 million into the new company. Shell companies like DiamondPeak, known as special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are an increasingly popular shortcut to turn private startups into public companies and, critics say, to avoid more serious scrutiny from investors. DiamondPeak was the brainchild of David Hamamoto, an East Coast real estate whiz who’s been at the helm of a dozen different companies. Hamamoto, 59, will remain chief executive of DiamondPeak while Burns will continue as CEO of Lord-

PHOTOGRAPH BY AP PHOTO/TONY DEJAK

OF LORDSTOWN MOTORS’S NEW ENDURANCE ELECTRIC PICKUP TRUCK ROLLED ON STAGE AT THE OLD GENERAL MOTORS PLANT IN LORDSTOWN, OHIO, THE CAB’S PASSENGER DOORS POPPED OPEN AND OUT STEPPED CINCINNATI ENTREPRENEUR STEVE BURNS, THE COMPANY’S CEO, AND VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE, DRESSED IN A PERFECTLY-TAILORED DARK SUIT.


P H O T O G R A P H C O U R T E S Y L O R D T O W N M O T O R S C O R P.

KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE HELPED UNVEIL THE NEW ENDURANCE ELECTRIC TRUCK IN JUNE (LEFT), WHICH CINCINNATIAN JIM BURNS (RIGHT) WILL BE BUILDING IN LORDSTOWN, OHIO.

stown Motors. Burns and Hamamoto did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story. Hamamoto and another principal investor in DiamondPeak, Mark Walsh, are well known on Wall Street as real estate dealmakers. Both have had dramatic upturns and downturns in their careers. Walsh was flying high as head of Lehman Brothers’s real estate division, specializing in highrisk subprime and commercial mortgages, until the bubble burst on the housing market and the investment bank went bellyup in September 2008. Even so, Walsh was paid $70 million in the three years before the nation’s economic collapse. In 2016, Hamamoto merged his NorthStar real estate and assets management companies with the investment management firm Colony Capital, headed by Trump confidante Thomas Barrack, in what was supposed to produce a real estate investment trust valued at $9 billion. The venture sank soon after, but Hamamoto managed to make $27 million selling off his shares. He told industry analysts in August that DiamondPeak looked at “hundreds of companies” before choosing to invest in Lordstown Motors because the company “stood out” as a leader in the manufacture of electric vehicles and light-duty trucks. Burns will likely need every bit of DiamondPeak’s capital reserves to convert the Lordstown plant from making a traditional compact car like the Cruze to an innovative

electric pickup truck worthy of the hype. Lordstown’s other financial backers include General Motors, which is investing $75 million into the company, as well as Burns’s previous Loveland-based startup, Workhorse Group. Together, these investors are expected to pour $675 million into the new company by year’s end. After more than a year of pursuing investors, Burns and Lordstown Motors now appear to have the financial backing they need to make a go of it, says Sam Abuelsamid, a principal analyst specializing in

hicles in the first year and, starting in 2022, hire more people to build other electric vehicles, possibly SUVs or a mid-size pickup. In a teleconference with industry analysts that same month, Burns said the merger will allow Lordstown to at least break even by 2022, the first full year of production. By 2024, he said, he expects the company to manufacture 100,000 vehicles and turn a 10 percent profit. Burns has pushed back the startup date for production multiple times, from late 2020 to early 2021 and most recently to mid-2021. But the earlier the better, Abuelsamid says, if Lordstown wants to emerge a step ahead of its competitors. Although the pandemic-induced recession may end up disrupting the best-laid plans, the field of companies promising to deliver electric pickup trucks over the next three years includes GM, Ford, Tesla, Irvine, California– based startup Rivian, and Phoenix-based startup Nikola Motors. Automakers and investors are convinced that the lower operating costs and spine-mashing acceleration of electric motors will persuade America’s pickup truck owners to give up their beloved gas guzzlers for what Burns has called “the new normal.” Wall Street is a big believer. Investors are sinking their money into electric pickup companies with a zeal perhaps surpassed only by those pinning their hopes on an effective vaccine for COVID-19. Rivian alone has seen a cash influx of more than $5 bil-

“Lordstown Motors is coming into a very competitive market for electric pickups in the next year and a half,” says industry analyst Sam Abuelsamid. electric vehicles for Guidehouse Insights. “Whether they’re going to be successful is another story,” says Abuelsamid. “Lordstown Motors really has a big challenge ahead. They’re coming into a very competitive market for electric pickups in the next year and a half.” If the merger with DiamondPeak proceeds as planned, Lordstown will hire about 600 employees to start building the Endurance. Burns told The Detroit Free Press in August that he plans to build 20,000 ve-

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lion since the beginning of 2019, including $500 million from Ford and $700 million from Amazon, which plans to use Rivian’s trucks for its delivery fleet. Tesla’s publicity-savvy CEO Elon Musk has already built predictable anticipation around the company’s new Cybertruck, production of which is slated to begin in late 2022. And even though GM is investing in Lordstown Motors, the Big Three automaker has its own plans for an electric Hummer and a C O N T I N U E D O N P A G E 7 0


Together, we can break the cycle of homelessness.

1,000 individuals experience homelessness every night in Hamilton County. 45% also have mental illness.

With a severe shortage of affordable housing, our region is faced with a crisis.

As we continue to work through this unprecedented and unsettling time together, please know that with the incredible support of friends like you, we can ensure that residents remain safe with regular meals and a clean, healthy, digniďŹ ed home. Now more than ever, you can make a difference!

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Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.

tendermerciesinc.org (513) 721-8666 27 West 12th Street


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ADDING ON M A K I N G T H E S PAC E YO U N E E D I N A N E I G H B O R H O O D YO U LOV E Location: Hyde Park

Architect TOM WILCOX, WILCOX ARCHITECTURE Builder JIM CARROLL, QUEEN CITY CONSTRUCTION Designer ANN LINCK, LINCK INTERIORS

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hen you love your neighborhood but need more room, you start thinking about a renovation, just like the owners of this Hyde Park

home. They wanted a larger, open-concept kitchen for family life and entertaining, as well as a master suite with a larger bathroom and more closet space. An earlier addition by a previous homeowner had given the house a U shape; fitting an addition into the U, with the kitchen on the first floor and the master suite above, was just once piece of the puzzle. Swapping the existing living room and dining room to keep the dining room off of the new kitchen made the transformation complete.

OPEN CONCEPT

In a nod to the home’s history and the homeowners’ traditional taste, “we focused on antique brass fixtures, marble counters, and traditional patterns for fabrics,” says designer Ann Linck. Kids and pets also use the great room, kitchen, and dining areas, so the materials are all “very durable performance fabrics,” Linck says.

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BUILT-IN CHARM

The great room’s built-ins (above) were modified to work with the flatscreen TV and to allow a space for artwork. The homeowners love blues and greens, so to add variation, Linck used dusty pink, creams, and browns in the master bedroom (right). One of Linck’s favorite spaces is the master bathroom (far right). “The client was extremely trusting with this space, and allowed us to have a lot of fun with the wallpaper selection,” she says.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION SOURCES BREAKFAST NOOK

Table – Paula Deen for Universal Furniture, Universal Furniture, universalfurniture.com Light Fixture – Thomas O’Brien Calliope hanging shade in Antique Brass, Visual Comfort, visualcomfort.com Window Treatment Fabric – Citrus Garden in Pool, Schumacher, fschumacher.com KITCHEN

Appliances – The Appliance Loft, Oakley Cabinets – Western Custom Cabinetry, Hartwell Cabinet Hardware – Emtek Alexander in Satin Brass, Norwood Hardware, Evendale Countertop – Danby Honed Marble, Unique Stone Concepts, West Chester Countertop Fabrication – Ohio Tile and Marble, Northside Counter Stools, Desk Chair – TCS Designs, tcsdesigns furniture.com Counter Stools Upholstery – Kravet, kravet.com Desk Chair Upholstery – Schumacher, fschumacher.com Light Fixtures – Chapman & Myers Plantation Medium Square Lantern in Antique Burnished Brass, Visual Comfort, visualcomfort.com Plumbing Fixtures – Newport Brass, newportbrass.com Tile – Sonoma Tilemakers, sonomatilemakers.com MASTER BATHROOM

Cabinets – Western Custom Cabinetry, Hartwell Countertops – Taj Mahal Quartzite Plumbing fixtures – Kohler, us.kohler.com Tile – Hamilton Parker, Sharonville Wallpaper – Daintree in Aqua, Thibaut, thibautdesign. com MASTER BEDROOM

Area Rug – The Rug Gallery, Blue Ash Bed – Lee Industries, leeindustries.com Cardinal Table Lamps and Large Hammock Pendant – Cyan Design cyan.design Custom Draperies – Robert Allen Design, robertallen design.com Nightstands – Paula Deen for Universal Furniture, Universal Furniture, universalfurniture.com Side Chair – Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com Wall Color – Whippet, PPG Paints, ppgpaints.com DINING ROOM

Area Rug – The Rug Gallery, Blue Ash Dining and Host Chairs Upholstery – Robert Allen Design, robertallendesign.com Host Chairs – Savoy armchair, CR Laine, crlaine.com Light Fixture – Darlana Medium Linear Lantern in Gilded Iron, Visual Comfort, visualcomfort.com Table – Zimmerman Chair, zimmermanchair.com Wall Color – Americana, PPG Paints, ppgpaints.com LIVING ROOM

Artwork – Bonita Williams Goldberg and homeowner’s collection, bonitawilliamsgoldberg.com Cabinets – Western Custom Cabinetry, Hartwell Fireplace – Bromwell’s, downtown Tile – Rookwood, Over-the-Rhine GREAT ROOM

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS

When the homeowners saw the whimsical fabric that’s now used for the breakfast nook (top and middle right) window treatments, they fell in love with it. “So I made sure to use it in a focal point,” Linck says. FIRESIDE CHAT

The homeowners loved their former living room fireplace, so creating a new one (left) was important. Builtin cabinetry that had served as a buffet was converted into the fireplace. Rookwood tile in its iconic green Devon glaze nods to the home’s time period, while Bromwell’s provided the Town & Country gas fireplace.

Area Rug – Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines x Loloi, loloirugs.com Artwork – Minted, minted.com Chair and Ottoman Upholstery – Robert Allen Design, robertallendesign.com Cocktail table – Marseille Cocktail table, Woodbridge Furniture, woodbridgefurniture.com Light Fixture – Saxon Black Chandelier, Currey & Company, curreyandcompany.com Side Table – Restoration Hardware, restorationhard ware.com Sofa and Loveseat Upholstery – Bailey in Taupe, Thibaut, thibautdesign.com Wall Color – UFO, PPG Paints, ppgpaints.com

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Cutting edge with less cutting. Our surgeons are part of the most experienced robotic surgery team in the region. With our advanced innovative technology, we excel in both simple and complex robotic-assisted procedures—which results in smaller incisions and quicker recovery. TriHealth’s dedication to surgical innovations has led us to invest in the newest model of surgical robots. With the most experienced team in the region, TriHealth provides robotic-assisted procedures leading to better outcomes for general surgery, colorectal, lung, heart, gynecology, urology, hernia and more. Go with the minimally invasive surgery experts.

To learn more, go to TriHealth.com/Robotics To ďŹ nd a doctor, call 513 853 9000


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HEALTH WATCH

* L I V I N G H E A LT H Y I N C I N C I N N A T I

FOCUS ON THE CUTTING EDGE

INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE

DESPITE A TUMULTUOUS YEAR, THESE FIVE HOSPITALS AND TREATMENT CENTERS HAVE BEEN MAKING STRIDES TO PROVIDE TOPNOTCH CLINICAL CARE.

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HEALTH WATCH INNOVATIONS

the study more reflective not only of the country’s population, but of the groups that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. And in the face of concerns that a vaccine is being rushed as a means to political ends, Fichtenbaum says that “there are no parts that have been skipped in this vaccine development.” Think of it, he says, as something like a Manhattan Project to develop a solution to a terrible global problem. “This kind of infection, we’re really blind,” Fichtenbaum says. “We have 200,000 people who’ve died, and many more who’ve been very, very sick from this. And that will continue to happen until we find the solution.”

UC Health

INNOVATIONS IN HEALTHCARE

FROM VACCINES TO CANCER TREATMENT, THESE FIVE HEALTH SYSTEMS ARE WORKING ON THE FUTURE OF CLINICAL CARE.

F

or the medical community, 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges and uphill battles. But right here in Cincinnati, healthcare professionals have persevered, leading the charge to bring innovative care to the patients who need it most.

IN THE RACE FOR A COVID-19 VACCINE, UC HEALTH IS ON THE FRONT LINES When the world was crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, UC Health found itself centerstage, not only in the fight to keep patients alive, but at the forefront of a global effort to develop a safe, effective vaccine for the virus. UC Health is one of 90 sites in the U.S. selected for the study, facilitated by Moderna Therapeutics and funded by the National Institute of Allergy

and Infectious Diseases. Moderna plans to enroll at least 30,000 participants across the U.S.—as many as 500 of those will be from UC. “It’s really all hands on deck,” says Carl Fichtenbaum, M.D., the study’s co-investigator and medical director. Volunteers receive two doses, 28 days apart, either of the vaccine or a placebo. In addition to keeping daily electronic diaries to track their symptoms in the coming months, participants will follow up with UC Health for the next two years, which will allow researchers to better understand the vaccine’s long-term effects. Part of UC Health’s research will also place a special focus on historically underserved populations, an endeavor Fichtenbaum hopes will make

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OHC’S GROUNDBREAKING CAR-T CELL TREATMENT IS SAVING LIVES Traditionally, a cancer diagnosis means a limited, grueling scope of treatment options: surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy—perhaps even a combination of the three. But what if a patient could harness the might of their own immune cells to fight the disease? Thanks to a revolutionary new development in cancer treatment, doctors with Oncology Hematology Care are able to do just that. OHC is the first cancer center in the region and one of the only in Ohio to offer a new type of cell therapy to adult patients with aggressive blood cancers—particularly relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma—who have failed two or more types of cancer therapy. In chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy—CAR-T cell therapy, for short—doctors harvest a patient’s immune cells and engineer them to recognize and kill the cancer cells. Even after the cancer has been eradicated, these modified T-cells stay in the body, where they multiply and continue looking out for new cancer, striking before recurrence. OHC’s CAR-T cell efforts are fronted by James H. Essell, M.D., a national expert who also heads the CAR-T program for the US Oncology Network.

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WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORD CANCER, EVERYTHING STOPS. START HERE. OHC has ushered in a new frontier in WKHȴJKWDJDLQVWFDQFHUZLWK&$57 CAR T-cell therapy is a revolutionary immunotherapy that trains your own body’s immune system cells to recognize and attack your cancer. OHC is the region’s only adult cancer group to R΍HUWKLVJURXQGEUHDNLQJWUHDWPHQW for adult cancer patients. OHC surrounds you with the region’s top cancer doctors, clinical trials and innovative cancer treatments so you can focus on what matters most – beating cancer.

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Bringing a cure through CAR T– cell therapy.


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HEALTH WATCH INNOVATIONS

“CAR-T is a combination of targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and cellular therapy, ” Essell says. “And we were the first and the only place in the tri-state for adults to offer this.” OHC is running multiple clinical trials for CAR-T patients, with several more on the horizon. The three-year data from the greater CAR-T cell community is promising. Nationally, only about 45 percent of patients who have undergone CAR-T therapy have relapsed, Essell says. And during the two years OHC doctors have been using CAR-T therapy, nearly half of patients have experienced remission. “This is really a unique place. Not only for CAR-T,” Essell says. “There’s no other accredited program like this in the region. And this should be the place where people who have metabolic malignancies to go.”

THE JEWISH HOSPITAL RECOGNIZED FOR SKULL BASE SURGERY Filled with a complex system of bones, arteries, and nerves that control patients’ senses, the skull base region is a tricky space for surgeons to access, particularly when it comes to removing tumors. But at The Jewish Hospital–Mercy Health, patients can trust that they’re in expert hands with Cincinnati’s only team performing complicated skull base surgeries.

This year, the hospital’s neurooncology center, in partnership with Mayfield Brain and Spine, received special recognition from the North American Skull Base Society for its specialized skull base surgery program, which provides treatment options for patients with tumors or growths on the underside of the brain, base of skull, or top of the vertebrae. Patients who require precision operations to remove these growths benefit from the expertise of two fellowshiptrained Mayfield neurosurgeons, Yair Gozal, M.D., and Vince DiNapoli, M.D., medical director of the Brain Tumor Center at The Jewish Hospital. Even the most common skull base procedures, such as pituitary adenoma, meningioma, and acoustic neuroma, require a specialized team of doctors from across disciplines. “It’s not just one surgeon trying to make these things happen,” DiNapoli says. “It’s a collaborative effort amongst a group of specialized [ear, nose, and throat] surgeons.” Because skull base surgeries are so technically intensive, with surgery time ranging anywhere from three to even 18 hours, Jewish has developed a special team-based approach to minimize surgeon fatigue and maximize the chances of success, which can ultimately lead to life-saving outcomes.

The Jewish Hospital

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“We’re trying to invest in something that’s good for the Cincinnati community,” DiNapoli says. “That’s really what has been my mission the whole time: to just try to create a center that really is a place that people can go in Cincinnati and trust that they’re getting the absolute best care.”

THE CHRIST HOSPITAL DEBUTS WOMEN’S HEART CENTER The Christ Hospital is poised to become a national leader in women’s heart health with the unveiling of a new medical center that will be one of only a few of its kind in the region. The Women’s Heart Center, a onestop shop for women’s cardiovascular care, will feature a clinic to treat common heart conditions, specialists who focus on pregnancy and postpartum heart health, preventative care for women at high risk, and a team of cardio-oncologists to support women facing cancers and treatments that can affect cardiovascular health. To lead the new center, The Christ Hospital tapped cardiologist Odayme Quesada, M.D. Fresh off a fellowship at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai, Quesada arrives with a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, which she hopes to use to study preeclampsia’s link to increased risk for heart disease later in life. “One fact that a lot of people don’t realize in the community is [that heart disease is] the number one killer of both men and women—not just men,” Quesada says. The statistics, indeed, are staggering. According to the CDC, one in every five female deaths is attributed to heart disease. And when it comes to dangerous cardiac events, women tend to present different symptoms than men. Women may be more likely to feel pain in their arms, neck, or jaw. Quesada says that makes prevention and education crucial parts of the Women’s Heart Center’s mission.

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“And then outreach is part of that too—part of educating the community and reaching out to patients from all walks of life at our center.”

TRIHEALTH’S ION ROBOT COULD BE A KEY TO IMPROVING OUTCOMES Patients undergoing screening for lung cancer can now get quicker, more conclusive results thanks to a new, highly specialized piece of diagnostic technology available at TriHealth. Using the Ion Robot, surgeons can reach parts of the lung that were previously deemed inaccessible. It’s an advancement that could lead to earlier diagnosis of lung cancer, and potentially, earlier treatment. The biopsy procedure is typically reserved for patients with smaller nodules that are in hard-to-reach areas of the lung. While the presence of nodules or spots on the lung doesn’t necessarily mean a patient has a tumor—or lung cancer— the Ion Robot procedure gives doctors and patients a greater degree of certainty. “Unfortunately, some of these can end up being early lung cancers,” says Craig Eisentrout, M.D., director of TriHealth’s lung cancer screening program. “Oftentimes, because of the size or the location of the spots within the lung, the only options we would have would be to send someone off for surgery…or to just follow up with a CAT scan.” TriHealth is one of only about 20 centers in the U.S. utilizing the Ion Robot technology. Eisentrout encourages those who think they may be eligible to talk to their doctor about an Ion procedure. Eligible patients will have smoked about 30 years, on average a pack of cigarettes a day, and will be between the ages of 55 and 77. “The key is finding these cancers early,” Eisentrout says. “If you don’t find lung cancers early, they’re very difficult to treat. The Ion is part of that process to try to save lives. And I see it as a major step forward to get that done.” 

What makes us so different? The variety of therapies we offer. KETAMINE INFUSIONS Medical researchers and clinicians recently discovered that very low IV doses of ketamine offers rapid and longlasting relief from a variety of mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, PTSD and more. PRTMS PrTMS is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment for depression and other mental health conditions. It works by delivering a magnetic pulse to the region of your brain that regulates your moods. PSYCHOTHERAPY We provide counseling therapy in a safe, confidential, and judgement-free space, and remind everyone that therapy is a normal part of wellness. MEDICATION MANAGEMENT We work with individual patients under our care, patients under the care of other doctors, as well as psychiatry residents and clinicians to ensure a safe and effective medication program.

Teresa M. Anderson, MD (513) 321-1753 theandersonclinic.net 4790 Red Bank Expressway, Suite 216 Cincinnati, Ohio 45227

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THE ENNEAGRAM GOES TO WORK CONTINUED FROM PAGE 51

For work teams, trust is fundamental to people bringing their full selves to work, to getting work done quickly. I really believe the company has been so successful through COVID-19, when all of us are working from home, because we as P&Gers fundamentally trust each other and are able to get things done.”

Interpersonal understanding can lead to greater productivity and empathy, but is any typology system a silver bullet for the workplace? And is it fair, or right, to know so much intrinsic information about an employee? If a 7 tends to ideate broadly but have trouble executing those big plans, would that person be less likely to be hired in a workplace that utilizes the Enneagram? “It’s voluntary in my work group, which is really important because in a business setting I would hate for anyone to feel they’re being forced to do this,” says Vanasse. “And it’s also really important that the typing is not weaponized in any way. It’s easy to say, Oh, she’s such an 8, look at her trying to control everything. We are more than our number.”

“IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT THE TYPING IS NOT WEAPONIZED IN ANY WAY [IN A BUSINESS SETTING],” SAYS P&G’S KELLY VANASSE. “WE ARE MORE THAN OUR NUMBER.” Hershberger, too, has business clients, but she trends toward smaller companies. WriterGirl, a Cincinnati-based content creation company for the healthcare industry, has its new employees typed by her. “It’s just a fabulous tool for loosening the strictures of type,” says CEO Christy Pretzinger. “I now understand that as a 7 my greatest strength is also my greatest weakness. I learned I have a quick mind but can also make decisions too quickly without thinking through things.” Pretzinger had worked with Tato for years before she was introduced to Hershberger through the local chapter of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, then brought in Hershberger for workshops with WriterGirl staff. “The people I work closest with represent the head, the heart, and the body,” says Pretzinger. “I’m a 7, which is the head type; my chief operating officer is a 2, that would be a heart type; and my chief financial officer is a 1, and she’s the body type. So we represent the three centers. We discussed our three types with Leslie and talked about how we each interpret things differently, and it was so unbelievably revealing.”

THE ENNEAGRAM HAS BROKEN THROUGH to a broader cultural awareness over the past several years, especially as the concept of self-care has become so prominent. The meme-ification of the nine types is at a peak, as evidenced by a steady stream of often-superficial Instagram accounts and pop culture quizzes. “People say, Oh, isn’t it so great that everybody knows the Enneagram?” says Tato. “I’m happy they’re familiar with the word and know a little bit, but it isn’t about which type buys all the toilet paper at Kroger, you know. That’s so superficial.” It can be easy to put on a clay face mask and call it self-care. There are entire aisles of retail stores dedicated to pampering products you can use in your very own bathroom. Self-care has become a catch-all for any behavior that’s even vaguely therapeutic, from a scented candle to an online shopping spree. Not all face masks need to be life-changing—sometimes they just feel good—but the opportunity for truly retraining your brain and changing your life is ever-present. “What I work with is developing the capacity for self-observation,” says Hershberger. “The first thing I do is observe your

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thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. Then we develop pause practices and work on one thing at a time.” She incorporates physical work into her practice, teaching clients how to create moments of pause, where they turn thoughts fully inward, understanding where they manifest or are centered in the body to achieve a connection between the mind and the body. It can be similar to mindfulness. “Psychology is delving into your story, which is important,” says Hershberger. “Spirituality is saying, Let go of your story. Let go of the narrative. I work with psychospiritual integration with people, because there are times your story is important to be told, until it becomes kind of tenacious and gets in your way.” The philosophical origins of Enneagram are ancient, rooted in oral tradition and the concept of inner work, examination, and understanding that’s existed for thousands of years. Religion and the Enneagram both try to bring order to the chaos of the human condition, but the former isn’t always a champion of the latter. In 2003, the Vatican published a study in which Pope John Paul II warned against the “return of ancient gnostic ideas under the guise of the so-called New Age.” The study says the Enneagram “when used as a means of spiritual growth introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith.” Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, published The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective with Lutheran minister Andreas Ebert in 1989. Rohr, who founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati in the 1970s, believes the Enneagram is compatible with the Christian tradition of spiritual counseling and human leadership as well as with secular psychotherapeutic approaches, and “can build bridges between spirituality and psychology,” he writes. Rohr’s approach has spawned a number of recent books connecting religion and the Enneagram, including The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. Cron has hosted the popular Typology podcast since 2017, and on his website says the En-


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ENNEAGRAM neagram “provides a framework for how we can begin to live into our most authentic selves, and also reveals the wisdom and gifts that each personality type can offer to the world.” Another best-selling writer connecting religion and the Enneagram, Chris Heuertz, increased Enneagram’s awareness in a different manner recently— through cancel culture. In June, an article published on Medium and signed by 33 women and men alleged spiritual and psychological abuse by Heuertz, who had a number of ties to Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, including coproduction of the Enneagram Mapmakers podcast. The Center has paused collaborations with Heuertz, and the Christian media company Zondervan is suspending promotion of two books and a documentary film associated with Heuertz. “Everybody’s been taken with him in the Enneagram world, so the allegations just kind of rocked us all,” says Tato. Interest in the Enneagram continues to build, despite the occasional negative news coverage. Self-discovery and selfcare might be vulnerable work, but it’s also freeing. Humans love our familiar patterns, though at a certain point repeating past harmful behaviors becomes detrimental. “Our brain takes between about 20 and 25 percent of our body’s energy to manage,” says Tato. “If you have a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that works for you, in order to save energy, what will your brain do with that pattern? Repeat it. That’s the issue.” We are much more than those patterns of detrimental behavior, Tato says. “We’re not a type or a number on a chart. That’s just kind of home base and what you do well. The most powerful part of the system is in the connecting lines, which imply the developmental strategies.” Perhaps the Enneagram can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the wider world, because fully exploring it is a holistic practice. All nine types comprise the tool, and each type is necessary for a holistic understanding of how people behave and interact. “Utilizing Enneagram has transformed me,” says P&G’s Vanasse. “It has made my life really that much more peaceful.” 7 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N AU OG VU EM S TB E2 R0 1240 2 0

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Lordstown’s New Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Cincinnati idea guy Steve Burns wants to build the world’s best electric pickup truck in northeastern Ohio. President Trump, General Motors, big-time New York investors, and Loveland startup friends are with him, while Tesla, Amazon, Ford, and (yes) General Motors are trying to beat him to market. What could go wrong?

By Jim DeBrosse Illustration by Tom Humberstone

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full-sized electric Chevy pickup for the consumer market. With an eye to introducing 20 different electric vehicles by 2023, GM is partnering with LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion battery plant in Lordstown, not far from the auto plant. Meanwhile, Ford is developing an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup while also partnering with Rivian, which plans to introduce an electric pickup in summer 2021 (about the same time as Lordstown Motors) that boasts a 400-mile range. Not to be outdone, Nikola touts its Badger electric pickup, to be produced in 2022, as “unlike anything on the market,” with a 600-mile range and an awe-inspiring 906 peak horsepower. Burns has repeatedly told the media that the Endurance’s “in-hub” electric motors will give it a distinct advantage over its competitors. Rather than a single motor riding over an axle, each wheel of the Endurance will have its own built-in motor, generating 600 horsepower from all four wheels. By comparison, the Dodge Ram’s muchvaunted 5.7-liter Hemi V8 supplies less than 400 horsepower, with about one quarter of the Endurance’s fuel efficiency (an average of 18 miles per gallon). In August, Fiat Chrysler announced it will start making a 700-horsepower version of its gasoline-powered Ram pickup for those who might fear for their manhood against the emerging electric competition. And given that each wheel of the Endurance has its own power source, the truck is less likely to get stuck in mud or snow. Lordstown Motors purchased the rights to its hub motor design from Workhorse Group, Burns’s previous startup, in exchange for 10 percent ownership of Lordstown and 1 percent of its

future gross sales. But perhaps more crucial to its future, Workhorse has been promised the use of part of the massive Lordstown plant to manufacture its own electric vehicles. Workhorse is one of three finalists vying for a $6.3 billion contract from the U.S. Postal Service to replace its aging fleet of gas-powered delivery trucks with electric ones. An announcement on the 180,000-vehicle deal is expected by the end of the year, and the arrangement to use the Lordstown plant makes Workhorse a serious contender. While the Loveland company’s 250,000-square-foot factory in Union City, Indiana, would be hard-pressed to meet the contract’s demands, Lordstown’s sprawling plant has more than 24 times the capacity. Lordstown Motors says it already has 27,000 pre-orders for the Endurance, primarily from commercial fleet owners, a market that Burns knows well from his years at Workhorse Group, which he founded in 2007. But while Burns headed up Workhorse, it lost nearly $150 million from its inception in 2007 to his departure in 2019 and produced fewer than 400 vehicles. In an e-mail, Workhorse Executive Vice President Daniel Zito said such performance is not unusual for a startup in an industry “that is capital-intensive and requires significant volume to lower its component acquisition costs. Workhorse was still in the process of raising vehicle volume during Steve’s tenure.” Before the end of the year, Workhorse hopes to deliver another 300 to 400 of the 1,000 electric vehicles promised to UPS since mid-2018, Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes announced over the summer. But two other innovative ideas Burns developed at Workhorse have yet to get off the ground, including the SureFly personal helicopter, a two-person flyable drone with a 75-mile radius, and HorseFly, a roof-mounted drone aimed at multiplying the delivery capabilities of UPS trucks. After a year of looking for potential buyers, Workhorse sold both designs late last year to the design and manufacturing firm Moog, based in


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LORDSTOWN New York. Moog paid $4 million to pick up the assets and liabilities for SureFly and, as part of the deal, became a joint partner with Workhorse in further development of HorseFly. FOR YEARS PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE from Workhorse, Burns had also been looking to build an electric pickup truck.

ter of a national media storm after Trump blasted GM in a series of tweets for abandoning the plant and its 1,700 employees. The shutdown gave Burns the opportunity to capitalize on the national attention by luring investors and tapping into the region’s idled supply of skilled workers. Burns left his CEO position at Workhorse in February 2019 and started looking for

PRESIDENT TRUMP JUMPED ON THE SALE OF THE LORDSTOWN PLANT WITH SELF-CONGRATULATING TWEETS THAT DOUBLED WORKHORSE’S STOCK VALUE OVERNIGHT. So when GM announced the closure of the Lordstown plant in November 2018, he saw the stars align. Workhorse’s innovative truck technology could be combined with the industrial capacity of an already existing auto plant—one that was at the cen-

partners and investors. By November of last year, GM had made a deal with Burns to sell the shuttered plant for $20 million along with a $40 million loan toward the cost of conversion. Burns has said he will work with union

labor at Lordstown and pay wages comparable to those of the Big Three automakers, about $31 an hour. His announcement last November came just two weeks after the United Auto Workers signed a new contract with GM following a 40-day strike. The union failed to get GM to keep the factory open, but it garnered substantial pay increases and bonuses and a promise that GM would invest $9 billion in its U.S. factories. The Chevy Cruze, another small-car victim of America’s preference for roomier vehicles like SUVs, will continue to be made outside the U.S. Trump was quick to jump on the sale of the Lordstown plant with a pair of selfcongratulating tweets. “GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO! Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks. GM will also be spending $700,000,000 in Ohio. . . in 3 separate lo-

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cations, creating another 450 jobs. I have been working nicely with GM to get this done. Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob Portman. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!” Did Trump and the Ohio GOP help with the sale of the plant? Burns, a Trump supporter, certainly wasn’t going to dampen Trump’s enthusiasm. Besides, Trump’s tweets were enough to double Workhorse’s stock value overnight. Hailed as the savior of Lordstown, Burns soon became the subject of a story in The New York Times that was more skeptical, pointing out Workhorse’s troubling financial history and calling Burns “a corporate cipher.” But among his family, friends, and a small group of Cincinnati investors, Burns’s reputation for innovation and can-do persistence has inspired loyalty and confidence. “Steve has a way of always finding a way no matter what the challenge,” says Joe Lukens, a friend of Burns

and one of his long-time financial backers. “That’s why I’ve always had to invest in him. There’s no ‘no’ in his vocabulary. He’ll be juggling 20 different things that don’t make it to the end, but that 21st thing will.” Burns graduated from Archbishop Moeller High School in 1977 before going on to Ohio State University and earning a degree in electoral engineering. The father of five lives with his family in Maineville. Burns first made his mark as a software entrepreneur, launching a startup for handling the digital flow of newspaper classified ads. The company was purchased by media giant Gannett, owner of The Cincinnati Enquirer, in 1994. Workhorse’s Zito worked with Burns in their early days at Gannett and beyond. “If Steve sees a niche [in the market] that people aren’t serving, he acts quickly to figure out a way to be a leader in that niche,” he says. One of those niches Burns saw early on was voice recognition technology. In

2004, he created a startup called MobileVoiceControl—a predecessor to Siri back in the days when people were still chatting on Blackberries. Burns sold the company a year later to Massachusetts-based Nuance Communications, which then used some of his patents to create Siri for Apple. Burns and Zito continued to work for Nuance for several years, even though Burns’s real passion lay elsewhere. Zito remembers the two of them “sitting side-by-side in our cubicles at Nuance Communications, probably around 2005 or so, and Steve sits back in his chair and he says, Dan, I’m going to start an electric vehicle company. And I said, What!? That had been his dream for a while. I don’t know where it started.” The leap from developing software to manufacturing electric trucks is not as dramatic as many people might think, Zito says. “What underlies [electric] vehicles is software” that controls starting and stopping the motor and regulating

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 7 3


LORDSTOWN

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the flow of energy from the batteries, he says. “If you think about it, modern cars and trucks are computer rigs running around on four wheels.” Burns left Nuance in 2007 to start AMP, which first specialized in converting conventional vehicles from gas to electric power. But by adding $25,000 for the conversion to the price tag of a $50,000 luxury car, AMP failed to find enough takers to be profitable. Burns then got a break in 2010 when Navistar, a Chicago-based manufacturer of mostly diesel trucks with a plant in Springfield, went looking for a partner to build electric vehicles for UPS. Burns came on board with AMP, later acquiring Navistar’s Workhorse truck brand and changing his company name to Workhorse Group. In 2016, UPS ordered more than 300 trucks from the Indiana plant Workhorse acquired from Navistar. An investor in Burns’s earlier startups, including MobileVoiceControl, Lukens owned 13 percent of Lordstown Motors as of May of last year, according to The New York Times. Burns and Lukens are both Moeller grads—the football standout was two years behind Burns— but the two didn’t get to know each other until their sons played on the same soccer team at St. Margaret of York in Loveland. Lukens is best known in Cincinnati as the former president of Neace Lukens, one of the city’s largest insurance agencies, which he sold in 2011. Lukens says he’s confident that Burns will make a success of his plans for converting the Lordstown plant. But in a May 2019 story in The New York Times, he questioned whether Burns was the right person to run Lordstown Motors. “At some point in time, the company needs to be handed over to an operational person,” Lukens told the paper. Lukens says he doesn’t remember making the comment. While at Workhorse, Burns had a habit of hiring relatives and friends as his top executives, which several former employees say led to favoritism and a lack of professionalism. “Friends and family company ran [sic] by delirious and unprofessional individuals,” a for-

mer project engineer wrote in an anonymous company review on Indeed.com. Another former engineer posted on the same website: “The place is a joke. If you [are] part of the family, you have a secure job. If not, you could be thrown out like trash at any moment.” But Zito doesn’t think hiring people you know is necessarily a liability. “It really reduces the number of unpleasant surprises,” he says. “We think it’s an asset to find people who are like-minded and fit in with us.” Burns has brought many of the same people from Workhorse to fill key positions at Lordstown Motors, including the new company’s chief operating officer; human resources officer; manufacturing engineer; and marketing manager, his daughter Brittney. At the same time, though, he has also pulled in two recruits with General Motors experience (chief engineer and human resources director) and a new chief production officer with experience at Tesla. The new company maintains offices across the street from Workhorse headquarters in Loveland. Burns has touted the acquisition of the old GM plant as a key advantage for his new company in beating competitors to the market. But auto industry analysts are less optimistic. “GM has likely already removed some of the valuable equipment from the plant and transferred it to other GM locations,” says Arun Kumar, managing director in the Chicago office of AlixPartners, a worldwide consulting firm. “The power train assembly for electric vehicles, which is very different from the ones used for internal combustion engines, will require significant new investments” for new equipment and converted space. But with the promise of $675 million for making Burns’s dream of an electric pickup come true, long-time partner Zito says the odds of succeeding are in Burns’s favor. “I think that everything is there to be successful,” he says. “I think the funding is there. The plant is certainly there. And the willingness to work hard is there. If anybody can do it, I think Steve can.”


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35 Years 1895 BILTMORE'S STORY BEGINS IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

1970s FIRST VINEYARD PLANTED AT BILTMORE

1985 BILTMORE WINERY OPENS

1992 BILTMORE WINES EARNS 1ST DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL

BI LT MOR E W I N E S .C OM

TODAY THE STORY CONTINUES #BILTMOREWINES


D NE

ENOTECA EMILIA IS BACK P. 78

OTR’S COPPER & FLAME P. 80

COOKING WITH KETOVER P. 82

LOCAL TURKEY FARMING P. 84

BE SHELLFISH Go ahead, get your mitts on the biggest crawdad in the bunch. These freshwater crustaceans are sold by the heap in takeout crawfish boils by Tasty Pho & Crawfish Bar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY MARLENE ROUNDS

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DINING OUT



SECOND ACT

Four years after closing, ENOTECA EMILIA makes a comeback in Loveland. — A K S H A Y A H U J A

T

HE PAST FIVE YEARS HAVE BEEN A WHIRLWIND FOR MARGARET RANALLI, the owner of Enoteca Emilia. The first iteration of her restaurant opened in O’Bryonville in 2011 and had an enthusiastic following. Friends had recommended it to me back then, but I managed just one meal before Ranalli, for a variety of reasons, chose not to renew her lease and closed the restaurant in 2016. After moving to South Carolina for two and a half years, Ranalli was approached about a new space opening in Loveland. After seeing the spot, and what a vibrant place the neighborhood had become, she decided to come back to Cincinnati and revive Enoteca Emilia. Several other pieces fell into place: She brought back her original chef, Brittany Blodgett, along with much of the old menu. Then the pandemic hit. In Ranalli’s words, no matter how long a person might have worked in the industry, “none of your experience prepared you for this.” There were small issues (it was impossible to find linens with the right color of stripes); medium-sized issues (some of the wines on the all-Italian list were no longer available); and some truly substantial ones (Chef Blodgett changed her mind after the restaurant’s pandemic-related closure and was replaced by Chef Patrick Bresnahan, formerly of Nicholson’s). Enoteca Emilia has now returned with a slightly condensed menu focused on some of the classics, like pizzas and pasta, plus a few seasonal dishes with mostly local ingredients that will rotate periodically. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult time to be running a restaurant. But when you cannot do things exactly as you would like, certain blessings appear inside the situation that is forced upon you. 7 8 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

FYI

Enoteca Emilia 110 S. Second St., Loveland, (513) 583-0300, emilialoveland.com Hours Please call ahead for hours and services. Prices $12 (Margherita pizza)—$28 (grilled lamb with fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts) Credit Cards All major The Takeaway Worthy of the original iteration and doing lovely things in uncertain times.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEREMY KRAMER


TAKE T WO (From left) The airy dining room at Enoteca Emilia; shrimp spiedini with frisee, watermelon radishes, and a citrusy gremolata; gnocchi swimming in zippy vodka sauce; and Chef Patrick Bresnahan.

First, the new location, just a few steps from the Loveland Bike Trail, is suited to the coronavirus era in a way the old location would not have been. Where the O’Bryonville Enoteca was packed and intimate, the Loveland reincarnation is airy and spacious. From the huge open bar to the outdoor seating under the awnings, I felt totally comfortable eating here with the family. And second, the focus on seasonality— from a combination of necessity and Chef Bresnahan’s cooking style—has resulted in some sublime dishes. My favorite example of making the most of the moment is the shrimp spiedini. Spiedini is the Italian word for skewer, but the star of the dish is not the grilled shrimp; it’s the salad of firm diced peaches on which it is served. The sweet-and-sour peach is balanced by a touch of bitterness from frisee, plus crunch and spice from watermelon radishes. A magical citrusy gremolata ties the whole dish together. It is, as Ranalli describes it, “summer on a plate.” It is also exquisitely beautiful to look at, not just because of its chef-y artfulness but because the world grows such beautiful things. The dish may be off the menu by the time you’re reading this, but any chef who can celebrate an ingredient like this has my allegiance for the whole year. Little touches like this—the simple presentation of exquisitely fresh ingredients—appear throughout the menu, from the fresh watermelon in the panzanella to the oyster mushrooms served with Brussels sprouts to the roasted sweet corn on the pizza. Each is utterly satisfying on its own, although occasionally I craved a hint of acid or spice to make them sing. The only fresh ingredient that

didn’t feel quite alive was the romaine in the Caesar salad, which generally came across as an unloved dish. Mostly, though, everything on the menu felt like it had received an investment of care. You can tell a lot about the character of an Italian restaurant from its gnocchi. What is their texture? Are they dainty or big? As soon as you see the dish, you can tell Enoteca Emilia is going for simple and rustic, but not out of carelessness. They are taking the extra time to make things tastier. These gnocchi are exquisitely textured and pillowy, richly filling, and served in a beautiful vodka sauce with just the right amount of enlivening heat. I also loved the Bolognese on the bucatini, which had a similar zip. Enoteca Emilia does the classics well—the crust on both pizzas we tried was just right, the quattro formaggi a particular highlight— and the prices on these items, along with the wine, were quite reasonable. When the restaurant charges a significantly higher price for an entrée, though, it is completely justified. The trout, swimming in a dark, mushroom-y broth with white beans and greens, is one of the more special dishes I’ve eaten recently. The deep bass notes of the stock are met by the upper register of lemony shredded leeks, with an exquisitely tender piece of Indiana trout in the middle. Frankly, you don’t need a big menu when you have dishes like these on it. When I spoke with Ranalli, she had a long list of changes that would be coming to the menu: old favorites like the salumi and formaggi boards and the stuffed figs will return, along with fall classics like osso buco, plus more in-house desserts and pastry. Like all of us, she can’t help but wonder about the future, when all of this could go away. Sometimes though, it’s nice to eat the peaches when they’re in season, no matter what else might be on the horizon. N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 7 9


TABLESIDE WITH...

SYDNEY FISHER

HOT PLATE

AFTER GETTING HER START in Las Vegas and working under notable Cincinnati chefs, Sydney Fisher took the helm as executive chef at new bar and restaurant Copper & Flame in early October. What drew you to a culinary career? [Growing up,] I was with my grandpa a lot, and he taught me how to cook from scratch.... I remember smelling the sauce in the kitchen, perfuming the entire house. It was really nostalgic for me. [After high school,] I went into a culinary program...in Vegas, and that’s what really set me off.

Bayou Fusion WHEN TRYING TO SURVIVE A SHUTDOWN, IT HELPS TO HAVE A HEAP OF CRAWFISH. TASTY Pho & Crawfish Bar hadn’t even been open for two months when it was forced to close its dining room in March. Making do, they started selling takeout crawfish boils. The aggressively seasoned crawfish allowed the restaurant to stay in business until it reopened for dine-in service in June. Crawfish is part of the Viet-Cajun cuisine that owners Dung “Dino” Nguyen and his wife Nancy grew up eating. Prior to this experience, I had the misfortune of never having eaten crawfish. After a helpful tutorial from my server (pinch the tail and twist), I was ready for my inaugural bite. The succulent meat had a perfect slow burn, thanks to the “house special” seasoning (a piquant combination of spicy Cajun seasoning, garlic butter, and lemon-pepper sauce). More traditional Vietnamese dishes make an appearance on the menu, as well. The pho dac biet, tender slices of slightly pink beef floating in an earthy broth with fragrant greens and onions, is especially recommended. At just $5, the banh mi, generously packed Tasty Pho & with chicken, grilled pork, or ham, makes for a cheap and hearty lunch. Crawfish Bar The restaurant’s family ownership shows: During your visit, Dino 7741 Tylers Place Blvd., West Chester and Nancy will probably come out and talk to you about the food. Twp., (513) 777-5757, They take an obvious pride in each dish they prepare, which will only instagram.com/ tastyphos become more obvious when you dig in. — B R A N D O N W U S K E 8 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

What brought you to Cincinnati? I started working for Jose Salazar. I spent about three years with him... [as] sous chef [at Mita’s]. That’s where I got a lot of Latin American and South American cuisine under my belt—really learned it, honed it, and loved it. Soon after that I became chef de cuisine at Goose & Elder. I couldn’t have done it without [my] mentors. What’s on the menu at Copper & Flame? Our focus is on street food, so that’s our premise, with a Southeast Asian and South American twist. Everything we do we’re really trying to harbor the energy of both cuisines. Which dish are you most excited for people to try? The carnitas wonton nachos, [with a mix of] wonton and corn chips and Urban Stead cheese for the queso blanco. –KAILEIGH PEYTON Copper & Flame, 1115 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, copperandflame.com Read a longer conversation with Sydney at cincinnatimagazine.com

PH OTO G R A PH BY M A R LE N E R O U N D S / ILLU S TR ATI O N BY C H R I S DA N G E R


L

HOME  COOKING TASTE TEST

RECIPE

CARAMEL PEAR STREUSEL TART TO MAKE THE CARAMEL: ¾ C SUGAR 2 TBSP CORN SYRUP 1 TSP WATER ¼ C HEAVY CREAM PINCH SALT 4½ TBSP BUTTER

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring to a boil. 1

Cover and boil 2 minutes. Remove cover, and cook over medium heat, not stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes until deep golden amber color. 2

SWEET, SWEET DREAMS

Pastry chef Megan Ketover gets creative in her new gig at Khora. — J A C L Y N Y O U H A N A G A R V E R

egan Ketover remembers spending hours as a kid figuring out how a pastry bag works. What would frosting look like coming from that star-shaped piping tip? She stuck to those childhood dreams, and Ketover’s résumé today includes stints on Bravo and Food Network cooking shows. She’s been the executive pastry chef of acclaimed downtown restaurants Orchids at Palm Court and Boca, and this fall she began as pastry chef of Khora, fronted by Louisville-based restaurateur Edward Lee and Cincinnati native and executive chef Kevin Ashworth, inside downtown’s new Kinley Hotel. What does she have in store? Expect the unexpected. “It’s not going to be just a standard menu,” she says. “I don’t want to do things I’ve already done in the past. I love to evolve and create new things.” M

8 2 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

3

Carefully stir in cream and salt, followed by butter. Chill.

T O M A K E TA R T D O U G H : 1 C FLOUR C OAT FLOUR C SUGAR ¼ TSP SALT 11 TBSP COLD BUTTER, CUBED 1 EGG 2 TBSP CREAM 1 TSP VANILLA

1

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or break into smaller pieces with your hands until mixture resembles cornmeal. 2

3

Add in egg, cream, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.

4

Roll dough between parchment to -inch thick, and chill. P H O T O G R A PP HH SS BBYY JLOANNACTEH A ND KWI INLSL I S


TO MAKE STREUSEL: 7¾ TBSP BUTTER ½ C BROWN SUGAR ¾ C FLOUR 1 TSP GINGER ½ TSP CINNAMON ¾ C ALMONDS, CHOPPED

1

Brown butter over low heat until solids turn a deep golden brown.

2

Combine remaining ingredients, and drizzle in butter.

3

Mix until crumbly.

FOLLOW US

TO MAKE FILLING: 4–5 PEARS ZEST OF 1 LEMON C SUGAR JUICE OF ½ LEMON TBSP CORNSTARCH

2

¼ TSP CINNAMON ¼ TSP GINGER TSP CLOVE

1

Peel and slice pears. Rub lemon zest into sugar with your fingers.

Combine sugar mixture with pears, lemon juice, cornstarch, and spices. 2

Allow to macerate for 20 minutes, then drain liquid into a small saucepan. 3

Cook liquid over low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens. 4

5

Add fruit back in.

TO ASSEMBLE:

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line tart shell with dough.

Add a layer of caramel to the bottom. Top with fruit almost to the top. Top with streusel. 2

Bake 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Makes one 10-inch round tart, one 14-inch rectangle tart, or 8 to 10 individual tarts. 3

@CINCINNATIMAGAZINE N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT M A G A Z I N E . C O M 8 3


FOODOGRAPHY



Roam Free

These birds have been freerange from the beginning. THE NIGHT THEY’RE BORN, TURKEYS come to Bowman & Landes, where they spend their entire life cycles. It’s one way the turkey farm is uncommon in its field: “Outside of a hatchery, we’re a fully integrated farm,” says Drew Bowman (right), the farm’s co-owner. “We don’t have to truck the turkeys to a third-party harvesting facility. It makes a healthier, more flavorful bird.” Bowman & Landes in New Carlisle is a century farm. Bowman’s great-grandfather bought it in 1915, and it became a turkey farm in 1948. The Bowman and Landes families continue to run the operation to this day. Though Bowman studied and worked in the finance industry for eight years, the family business pulled him back. “My perspective changed,” he says. “I really enjoy working with family, [and] I also like the small business aspect of it. And there’s so much variety.” Bowman estimates that 90 percent of the turkey industry keeps its birds in barns exclusively, but Bowman & Landes has been free-range since its inception, when free-range farms were the norm. “The turkeys come and go as they please,” he says. “There is added labor, but we like to think turkeys are kind of like humans, and when it’s nice outside, fresh air and sunshine are good for them.” The farm raises an average of 70,000 turkeys per year. New chicks in July become the large, 25-pound Thanksgiving turkeys, and the mid-August arrivals the smaller, 12-pound holiday birds. —JAC LY N YO U H A N A G A R V E R Bowman & Landes Turkeys, 6490 Ross Rd., New Carlisle, (937) 845-9466, bowmanlandes.com

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS VON HOLLE


91.7 WVXU


DINING GUIDE CINCINNATI MAGAZINE’S

dining guide is compiled by our editors as a service to our readers. The magazine accepts no advertising or other consideration in exchange for a restaurant listing. The editors may add or delete restaurants based on their judgment. Because of space limitations, all

of the guide’s restaurants may not be included. Many restaurants have changing seasonal menus; dishes listed here are examples of the type of cuisine available and may not be on the menu when you visit. To update listings, e-mail: cmletters@cincinnati magazine.com

KEY: No checks unless specified. AE American Express, DC Diners Club DS Discover, MC MasterCard, V Visa MCC Major credit cards: AE, MC, V $ = Under $15 $$$ = Up to $49 $$ = Up to $30 $$$$ = $50 and up Named a

Top 10 Best Restaurant

87 AMERICAN 88 CAJUN/CARIBBEAN 88 ECLECTIC 90 FRENCH 90 INDIAN 91 ITALIAN 92 JAPANESE 92 KOREAN 92 MEDITERRANEAN 94 STEAKS 94 THAI

March 2020

95 VIETNAMESE

AMERICAN

with hand-cut French fries that many a mother will filch from her offspring’s plate. Portions—and flavors—are generous, eliciting that feeling of being royally indulged. Similarly, every item on the Sunday brunch menu virtually dares you to go big or go home. Make a reservation for parties of more than four and plan to be spoiled rotten. Then plan to take a lengthy nap. 1517 Springfield

BROWN DOG CAFÉ

If you haven’t had a plate of Shawn McCoy’s design set in front of you, it’s about time. Many of the menu’s dishes show his knack for the plate as a palette. A trio of stout day boat diver scallops—exquisitely golden from pan searing—perch atop individual beds of uniformly diced butternut squash, fragments of boar bacon, and shavings of Brussels sprout. The eye for detail and contrasts of colors and textures belongs to someone who cares for food. 1000 Summit Place, Blue Ash, (513) 794-1610, browndogcafe.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner Mon–Fri, brunch and dinner Sat, brunch Sun. MCC, DS. $$

COPPIN’S

With wine on tap and an extensive local beer list, Coppin’s is an ideal place to meet for drinks. In addition to plenty of Kentucky bourbon, much of the produce, meat, and cheese comes from local growers and producers. House-cured meat and cheese from Kenny’s Farmhouse and cheese from Urban Stead populate the “Artisan Cheese and Charcuterie Board,” which dresses up the main attractions with honey, dijon mustard, house pickles, and Sixteen Bricks grilled sourdough. The mussels—made with seasonally rotating sauces and chorizo from Napoleon Ridge Farms in Gallatin County—were served with a peppery tomato sauce, perfect for sopping up with bread. The seven-ounce Sakura Farms Wagyu rib eye with wild mushrooms, roasted parsnip, and beef jus is a must have. Or try the striped bass with grape farro roasted broccolini and mussel cream sauce. 638 Madison Ave.,

Pke., Wyoming, (513) 407-3947, cwctherestaurant. com. Dinner Fri & Sat, brunch Sun. MCC. $

GOOSE & ELDER

CHANGE IS BREWING Braxton Brewing Company has made its way across the river, from Covington to Pendleton, for its first Ohio location after two and a half years of hunting for the right spot. The company took over the former 3 Points Urban Brewery space in September. In a first for Braxton, the location serves food, courtesy of a partnership with Parlor Group, in the former CHX restaurant next door.

The third restaurant from chef Jose Salazar, Goose & Elder is a more everyday kind of joint compared to his others. The prices are lower, and most of the dishes, from burgers to grits, are familiar. Salazar’s menus have always hinted that the chef had a fondness for, well, junk food. But junk food is only junk if it is made thoughtlessly. Everything here is made with little twists, like the cumin-spiced potato chips and delicate ribbons of housemade cucumber pickles with a sweet rice wine vinegar. Even the fries, crinkle cut and served with “goose sauce,” a mildly spiced mayonnaise, are wonderfully addictive. The restaurant demonstrates that what we now consider “fast food” can be awfully good if someone makes it the old-fashioned, slow way. 1800 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 579-8400, goose andelder.com. Lunch Tues–Fri, dinner Tues–Sun, brunch Sat & Sun. MCC. $$

THE NATIONAL EXEMPLAR

Covington, (859) 905-6600, hotelcovington. com/dining/coppins. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days. MCC. $$

The classics are here—prime rib with horseradish and au jus; liver and onions; an eight-ounce filet with bernaise—plus some new favorites, including short rib pasta. Or have breakfast, English-style: fried eggs, bacon, sausage, stewed beans, roasted tomatoes, and buttered toast. The dinner menu also features burgers, risotto, pasta, seafood, and plenty more lighter options.

CWC THE RESTAURANT

6880 Wooster Pke., Mariemont, (513) 271-2103, nationalexemplar.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

Founded by the sister duo behind the culinary multimedia platform Cooking with Caitlin, this eatery makes comfort food feel a notch more au courant, imbuing a true family-friendly philosophy. Its burgers are topped with a generous ladle of gooey house-made cheddar sauce and served ILLUSTR ATIO N BY S T E P H A N I E YO U N G Q U I S T

braxtonbrewing.com

THE NORTHSTAR CAFÉ

In Northstar’s first outpost beyond the Greater Columbus area, the space itself reflects the ethos of the food: warm and comfortable, but

still modern and fresh. The dinner and cocktail menus are fab, as is the large bar. But breakfast is worth waking up early for. Take the mushroom frittata, made with meaty mushrooms, caramelized sweet onions, and Gruyère. The portions are no joke—that frittata comes with breakfast potatoes and a dense, perfectly crumbly-butmoist housemade biscuit—yet it doesn’t feel gluttonous or excessive. In large part that’s due to the freshness (e.g., the sausage made in-house daily) and the abundance of healthy options. One of our favorites: the shooting star juice, a balanced blend of carrot, ginger, orange, and lemon. 7610 Sloan Way, Liberty Township, (513) 759-0033, thenorthstarcafe.com. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days. MCC. $$

OTTO’S

Chef/owner Paul Weckman opened Otto’s, named after his father-in-law, with $300 worth of food and one employee—himself. Weckman’s food is soothing, satisfying, and occasionally, too much of a good thing. His tomato pie is beloved by lunch customers: Vine-ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and chopped green onions packed into a homemade pie shell, topped with a cheddar cheese spread, and baked until bubbly. Weckman’s straightforward preparations are best. The shrimp and grits with sauteed shrimp spinach, mushrooms, Cajun beurre blanc atop a fried grit cake, short ribs braised in red wine and herbs, served over mashed potatoes with green beans and caramelized baby carrots that will bring you the comfort of a home-cooked meal. This is, at its heart, a neighborhood restaurant, a place with its own large, quirky family. 521 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-6678, ottosonmain.com. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner seven days, brunch Sat & Sun. MCC. $$

RED FEATHER KITCHEN

Historically peasant-grade cuts of meat get the full Pygmalion treatment at Red Feather in Oakley, where there’s deep respect for the time and tending necessary to bring a short rib, pork chop, or hanger steak to its full potential. After a quick sear to lock in juices, the steak takes a turn in the wood-fired oven. While primal cuts play a leading role, the supporting cast is just as captivating. The hot snap of fresh ginger in the carrot soup

N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M 8 7


L

MAIN WHERE REVIEW TO EAT NOW

was especially warming on a winter evening and the crispy skin on the Verlasso salmon acts as the foil to the plump, rich flesh. Service here only improves the experience. 3200 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 407-3631, redfeatherkitchen.com. Dinner Tues–Sun, brunch Sun. MCC. $$

SUGAR N’ SPICE This Paddock Hills diner, with a second location in Over-the-Rhine, has been dishing up wispythin pancakes and football-sized omelettes to Cincinnatians since FDR was signing new deals. Breakfast and lunch offerings mix old-hat classics like steak and eggs, corned beef hash, and basic burgers with funky iterations that draw on ethnic ingredients such as chorizo and tzatziki. Get here early if you don’t want to stand in line. 4381 Reading Rd., Paddock Hills; 1203 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine; (513) 242-3521, eatsugarnspice. com. Breakfast and lunch seven days. MCC. $

TANO BISTRO Gaetano Williams’s Loveland bistro is comfortable, with reasonably priced food and amenable service. The menu is tidy—25 or so dishes divided between appetizers, salads, and entrées, plus two or three specials—its flavor profile partially influenced by a childhood growing up in a third generation Italian family. Most of Tano Bistro’s main courses lean toward the comfortable side of American. For instance, Williams serves a stuffed salmon and potato-crusted chicken. The simple roast chicken is also worth a trip to Loveland, sweetly moist beneath its crisp bronze skin.

SKY GALLEY SUNSET Sky Galley had been a Lunken Airport staple since the 1940s, but in late September, the restaurant closed its doors. Even though the city agreed to help with renovation expenses after a health department inspection found food safety violations, management decided to close anyway. It’s the first time since World War II that customers will no longer be able to enjoy a meal while watching the planes land.

204 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland, (513) 683-8266, foodbytano.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Fri, brunch and dinner Sat & Sun. MCC. $$$

in your own backyard. The menu fully leans into Chef Michael Shields’s penchant for cuisine from the Crescent City. His six years of training under NOLA’s own Emeril Lagasse comes through in a scratch kitchen menu that spans a range of the city’s classics. The enormous shrimp and oyster po’ boys—the former protein fried in a light and crispy beer batter and the latter in a hearty cornmeal breading—are served on fluffy French bread loaves and dressed with lightly spicy rémoulades. The jambalaya packs all the heat of a late summer day in the French Quarter without masking a hint of its satisfying flavors. Paired with a Sazerac and nightly live jazz, you may just feel tempted to start a second line. 4632 Eastern Ave., Linwood, (513) 861-2484, brew rivercreolekitchen.com. Dinner Tues–Sun, brunch & lunch Fri–Sun. MCC. $

Classically conceived but casually executed comfort food, including mini-Monte Cristo sandwiches with tangy house-made pimento cheese stuffed into sourdough bread and fried crisp, mac and cheese topped with a Mr. Pibb–braised pulled short rib, and steak and potatoes. Servers are slightly scattered, yet enthusiastic and friendly, with a good grasp of the beverage program. 1212 Springfield Pke., Wyoming, (513) 821-8352, telabarandkitchen.com. Lunch and dinner Tues– Sat, brunch Sun. MCC. $$

THE WILDFLOWER CAFÉ Wildflower Café is not the sort of place that tries to wow anyone with feats of inventiveness. Its formula is simple but satisfying: lots of mostly local meat and produce, a menu that continuously changes with available ingredients, a nice selection of wine and beer, and well-made, homey food. The small, focused menu has a classic American quality (salads, steaks, burgers) with enough surprises to keep things interesting. Many of the dishes are designed with open spaces to be filled with whatever is available in the kitchen that day, an advantage of an unfussy style. You don’t go to Wildflower expecting a certain kind of perfection; you accept that your favorite dish from last time might be made differently tonight, or no longer available. Like the farmhouse that Wildflower occupies, the imperfections are part of the charm. 207 E. Main St., Mason, (513) 492-7514, wildflowergourmetcafe. com. Lunch and dinner Tues–Sat. MCC. $$$

To call Dee Felice Café a jazz supper club would be too conventional. The atmosphere is decidedly casual. The music and menu are still true to the original spirit of Emidio Dante DeFelice, a drummer and bandleader who opened the restaurant in 1984 to create a jazz venue that he and his fellow musicians could relax in and enjoy a meal. It made sense to feature cuisine from the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans, and the Cajun and Creole dishes of southern Louisiana still dominate the menu, though there are a few Italian dishes, as well as steaks (the most consistently well-executed dishes on the menu) and salads. The joint is most definitely still jumpin’. 529 Main St., Covington, (859) 261-2365, dee felicecafe.com. Dinner Wed–Mon. MCC, DC, DS. $$

At first blush, this place is a dive where homesick Cajuns can find a good pile of jambalaya. But thoughtful details like draft Abita Root Beer and char-grilled Gulf Coast oysters on the half shell signal its ambition. Bayou standards like jambalaya, gumbo, and fried seafood also make an appearance. But the extensive menu also features amped up pub-style items for those who may be squeamish about crawfish tails (which can be added to just about anything on the menu). You’ll also find a roundup of oyster, shrimp, and catfish Po’Boys, as well as a selection of hardwoodsmoked meats. 3742 Kellogg Ave., East End, (513) 834-7067, swampwatergrill.com. Lunch and dinner Wed–Sun, brunch Fri–Sun. MCC. $$

KNOTTY PINE ON THE BAYOU The Pine serves some of the best Louisiana home-style food you’ll find this far north of New Orleans. Taste the fried catfish filets with their peppery crust, or the garlic sauteed shrimp with smoky greens on the side, and you’ll understand why it’s called soul food. Between March and June, it’s crawfish season. Get them boiled and heaped high on a platter or in a superb crawfish etouffee. But the rockin’ gumbo—a thick, murky brew of andouille sausage, chicken, and vegetables—serves the best roundhouse punch all year round. As soon as you inhale the bouquet and take that first bite, you realize why Cajun style food is considered a high art form and a serious pleasure. And you’ll start planning your return trip. 6302 Licking Pke., Cold Spring, (859) 781-2200, letseat.at/KnottyPine. Dinner Tues–Sun. MCC, DS. $$

CAJUN/ CARIBBEAN BREWRIVER CREOLE More than 800 miles from New Orleans, this may be as close as you can get to the real deal here

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St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-4040, abigailstreet. com. Dinner Tues–Sat. MCC, DS. $$

DEE FELICE CAFÉ

SWAMPWATER GRILL TELA BAR + KITCHEN

order every visit: the Moroccan spiced broccoli, for example, or the mussels charmoula, with its perfect balance of saffron, creaminess, and tomatoey acidity. Many of the new items on the menu have the same perfected feeling as these classics. Working within a loose framework of Middle Eastern and North African flavors, Abigail Street has never fallen into a routine that would sap its energy. New offerings like the duck leg confit, with spicy-sour harissa flavors, firm-tender butternut squash, and perfectly made couscous, feel just as accomplished as old favorites like the falafel, beautifully moist and crumbly with a bright parsley interior. The restaurant is always watching for what works and what will truly satisfy, ready to sacrifice the superficially interesting in favor of the essential. 1214 Vine

ECLECTIC Top 10

ABIGAIL STREET Most people who’ve eaten at Abigail Street have favorite dishes that they

Top 10

BOCA

With its grand staircase, chandelier, and floor-to-ceiling draperies, Boca has an atmosphere of grandeur and refinement. There is a sense of drama not only in the decor but in everything it serves. In some dishes, there is a painterly sense of contrast and surprise, like violet-derived purple sugar beside the pain de Gênes (French almond cake). In others, there is a dramatic suspense, like the whole egg yolk quivering in the center of the Fassone tartare waiting to be broken. While staying mostly grounded in the fundamentals of Italian and French cuisine, Boca has an air of international sophistication that sets its food apart. The hamachi crudo, an old standby on the menu, takes Japanese flavors and gives them new dimensions with grapefruit suprêmes and slivers of shishito pepper. This is food of extraordinary creativity and flair. 114 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 542-2022, bocacincin nati.com. Dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DS. $$$

Top 10

BOUQUET RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR

Normally diners aren’t pleased when a restaurant runs out of something. At Bouquet, though, surprise changes to the menu are simply a sign of integrity. Chef-owner Stephen Williams is serious about using seasonal ingredients, and if the figs have run out or there is no more chicken from a local farm, so be it. The flavors at Bouquet are about doing justice to what’s available. Preparations are unfussy, complexity coming from within the vegetables and proteins themselves. A tomato salad—wonderfully fresh and vibrant, so you know the tomatoes have just come off a nearby vine—is dressed with chopped shiso, a crimson herb that tastes like a mysterious combination of mint and cilantro. This determination to make something delicious out of what’s on hand, to embrace limitations, gives the food at Bouquet a rustic, soulful quality. 519 Main St., Covington, (859) 491-7777, bouquetrestaurant.com. Dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DS. $$

BRANCH Located in a huge Art Deco building, formerly a bank, Branch has taken this potentially cavernous and impersonal space and made it intimate. Diners might recognize the vibe from this restaurant group’s first venture, Northside’s The Littlefield. The chef, Shoshannah Anderson, cooks in a mode that we would call “international homestyle,” taking inspiration from the comfort food of many cultures. It maintains a balance between cooking to a higher price point and creating an atmosphere of refinement without losing the informal neighborhood feel. The shrimp and grits—served soupy in a big bowl with an addictively sweet-and-sour green tomato marmalade swirled into the creamy grits—are taken surprising heights. Another notable item is a dish that ILLUSTR ATIO N BY S T E P H A N I E YO U N G Q U I S T


wouldn’t normally get a mention in a review: the french fries. They demonstrate that food that is usually mindlessly inhaled can be worth savoring if it is made with enough love. 1535 Madison Rd., East Walnut Hills, (513) 221-2702, eatatbranch.com. Dinner Mon–Sun, brunch Sat & Sun. MCC. $$

COMMONWEALTH BISTRO Everything from the old jukebox by the entrance to the sepia-toned rabbit-and-pheasant wallpaper exudes an appreciation for the antique. But rather than duplicating old recipes, Covington’s Commonwealth uses history as a springboard to create something elegant and original. Two dishes get at what makes this place special: biscuits and fried rabbit. Their biscuit, served with tart quince butter, is perfection—moist and flaky, without being coatyour-throat buttery or crumble-to-ash dry. The rabbit is crisp, light, and not at all greasy, with just the right touch of seasoning and a bright biz baz sauce, a cilantro and garlic sauce of Somali origin that tastes like a creamy salsa verde. Brunch offers the same sort of mashup, including salsa verde pork with pickled jalapeño grits made creamy with the yolk of a 75-degree egg and a smoky, spicy, not too salty Bloody Mary. 621 Main St., Covington, (859) 9166719, commonwealthbistro.com. Dinner Tues–Sun, Brunch Sat & Sun. MCC. $$

THE LITTLEFIELD Inside a modest 1,500 square-foot space on Spring Grove, just south of Hamilton Avenue, at least 70-odd bourbons behind the bar drive this little restaurant’s philosophy. The menu is meant to be limited, the better to support and celebrate the bottled flavors up front. There are surprises: a faint hint of curry powder deepens the moody cauliflower fritters; skewered golf-balls of mild, peppery ground lamb get a faint crust from the final sear. You’ll also want to order the smoked pork katsu. Panko crusted cutlets of pork, topped with tonkatsu sauce, served with sesame ginger slaw and kewpie mayo. The signature chicken and corn chowder is exactly what you need on a cold winter’s day. 3934 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, (513) 386-7570, littlefieldns.com. Lunch Mon–Sat, dinner seven days, brunch Sun. V, MC. $

THE MERCER This Vine Street spot is the brainchild of Jon Zipperstein, owner of the steak and sushi mainstay Embers in Kenwood. The Mercer proves admirably that comforting staples—when prepared with precision and served with warmth—can send even the most curmudgeonly diner off fat and happy. Take the short ribs. Many places do a great short rib, but these are lovely, dutifully seared, braised slow and low until tender, and not overwhelmed by fatty gravy. It’s the polenta that really launches this dish into high orbit, the quicksand texture that ever-soslowly absorbed the braising liquid, still suggestive of root vegetable sweetness. For dessert, try the savory cheesecake. It’s criminally rich, and worth saving room for the unique mix of four cheeses: blue, goat, cream, and ricotta. The slice relies on compressed grapes, crumbs of rosemary-infused walnut cookie crust and drops of a port and pear reduction to offer just a hint of sweet. 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-5111, themercerotr. com. Dinner Tues–Sun. MCC. $$

Top 10

MITA’S

It’s fitting that chef Jose Salazar named this restaurant after his grandmother, because there is something deeply homey about the food at Mita’s. With a focus on Spanish tapas, it always feels, in the best possible way, like elevated home cooking. Its sophistication is modestly concealed. The flavors are bold and direct, whether the smoky depths of the chimichurri rojo on skewers of grilled chicken or the intensely bright sourness of the pozole verde. In dishes like the mushroom soup, the chef hits every register: the acid of red piquillo peppers to balance the earthy mushrooms, the crisp fried leeks against the delicately creamy soup. But what mainly comes through is the warm-hearted affection a grandmother might have put into a meal for a beloved grandson. It’s the kind of big hug everyone needs from time to time. 501 Race St., downtown, (513) 421-6482, mitas.co. Dinner Mon–Sat. MCC. $$$

Top 10

ORCHIDS AT PALM COURT

Executive chef George Zappas is maintaining the proud traditions of Orchids with food that is wonderfully complex, diverse, and surprising. A dish of parsnip soup has a quinoa chip and apple butter, along with salty duck prosciutto, notes of smoke and spice from the espelette pepper at the base of the bowl, and a touch of acid that crept in on the roasted parsnip. In a few dazzling bites it all comes together like a highly technical piece of music. A Southeast Asian–inspired halibut dish, with its green curry paste, adobo, and peanut brittle, shows how Zappas can break out of the restaurant’s traditionally European comfort zone. Aside from the food, part of the pleasure is simply being in the space, enjoying the jazz band, and watching the grace and assurance of the staff as they present the meal. 35 W. Fifth St., downtown, (513) 564-6465, orchidsatpalm court.com. Dinner seven days. MCC. $$$$

PLEASANTRY With only 40 seats inside, Daniel Souder and Joanna Kirkendall’s snug but spare OTR gem—they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner like a true neighborhood spot—features an engaging wine program aimed at broadening your palate alongside small plates that are equally ambitious. Classic technique and fresh produce anchor an approachable menu—“everything” biscuits with cured salmon, burgers, and chicken salad sandwiches are available at lunch, and the cauliflower with sambal is a comforting mash-up of a rich cauliflower-and-coconutcream schmear topped with a head of sambal-roasted cauliflower, grapefruit segments, toasted cashews, and cilantro. This is not to say that the proteins aren’t something special. Traditionally a much less expensive cut, the small hanger steak was decidedly tender, served with braised cippolini onions and sauteed mushrooms. 118 W. 15th St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1969, pleasantryotr.com. Dinner Tues–Sat, brunch Fri–Sun. MCC. $

Top 10

PLEASE

It’s hard to describe the food at Please to a person who hasn’t been there, except that it’s like nothing else in Cincinnati. Some of chef-owner Ryan Santos’s culinary experiments have been bizarre, some fascinating, and some simply delicious—and all of it emerges from a dining room–centered kitchen that seems like it belongs in a small apartment. Almost all of his risks hit their marks, from the frothy bay leaf–grapefruit mignonette on the oysters to the cedar-rosemary custard. What has made Please increasingly wonderful is a willingness, at times, to deliver something straightforward, like an outstanding course of rye gnocchi or a spicy green kale sauce with a lemony zing. That this weird and wonderful restaurant exists at all, and is actually thriving, is a compliment not just to Santos and his staff but to the city as a whole. 1405 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 405-8859,

vintage touches, from the facsimile reel-to-reel audio system to the mostly classic cocktails—even within its rather chilly industrial design. In short, go for the late night grub; stay for the elegant, shareable twists on classic snacks. 1437 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 213-2864, sa credbeastdiner.com. Lunch, dinner, and late night seven days. MCC. $$

SALAZAR A freewheeling tour through Korean, Moroccan, Italian, and French flavors—and that’s just on one iteration of the ever-evolving menu. Salazar turns out fresh, wellbalanced dishes dotted with seasonal surprises: the cauliflower steak special (a Moroccan spiced, seared wedge of the cruciferous vegetable complemented by a strong hit of lemon), the chicken liver mousse (so good it deserves its own trophy), and the succulent chicken Milanese (with its musky, sweet-and-sour notes of ground cherry). With its bustling bar and cheek-by-jowl tables, Salazar hums with energy at every meal. 1401 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 621-7000, salazarcincinnati.com. Lunch Thurs–Fri, dinner Mon–Sat, brunch Sat & Sun. MCC. $$

SENATE Ever since it began dishing out its lo-fi eats, Chef Dan Wright’s gastropub has been operating at a velocity few can match. From the howl and growl of supremely badass hot dogs to the palate-rattling poutine, Senate has led the charge in changing the local conventional wisdom about what makes a great restaurant. Consumption of mussels charmoula means either ordering additional grilled bread to soak up every drop of the herby, saffron-laced broth or drinking the remainder straight from the bowl and perfectly crisped and seasoned fries inspire countless return visits. 1212 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine (513) 421-2020, sen atepub.com; 1100 Summit Place Dr., Blue Ash, (513) 7690099, senateblueash.com. Lunch and dinner Tues–Sat. (Blue Ash only: Brunch, lunch, and dinner Sun.) MC, V, DS. $

TASTE OF BELGIUM Jean-François Flechet’s waffle empire grew from a back counter of Madison’s grocery at Findlay Market to multiple full-service sit-down spots. There’s more on the menu than the authentic Belgian treat, though it would be a crime to miss the chicken and waffles: a dense, yeasty waffle topped with a succulent buttermilk fried chicken breast, Frank’s hot sauce, and maple syrup. There are also frites, of course, and croquettes—molten Emmenthaler cheese sticks—plus a gem of a Bolognese. And let’s not forget the beer. Six rotating taps offer some of the best the Belgians brew, not to mention those made in town. 1133 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-4607, and other locations, authenticwaffle.com. Breakfast and lunch Mon–Sat, dinner Tues–Sat, brunch Sun. MCC. $$

pleasecincinnati.com. Dinner Wed–Sat. MCC. $$$

20 BRIX

THE QUARTER BISTRO The Quarter Bistro has multiple personalities: one part clubby neighborhood joint, one part dinner and a movie with a dash of lusty romance. The Bistro Burger, a halfpound of black Angus beef, is seasoned but not overly so, with a sturdy-but-not-too-chewy bun. The 18-hour short ribs are the star, and reason enough to skip the movie next door. Braised into a flavor bomb of meat candy, it’s served with papardelle pasta, roasted vegetables, and onion straws. With the no-lip service, The Quarter Bistro could be well on the way to making middle age look sexy. 6904 Wooster Pke., Mariemont, (513) 271-5400, qbcincy.com. Dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

Paul Barraco mixes Mediterranean influences with homespun choices, and he comes up with some marvelous food. Lamb meatballs with melted onions and romesco sauce are sweet and peppery, and their simplicity partners well with a lush Zinfandel. And his chicken and waffles could inspire you to regularly take a solo seat at the bar. The excellent wine list, arranged by flavor profiles within the varietals, features dozens of varieties by the glass in fiveounce or two-ounce pours, which makes it easy to try several. 101 Main St., Milford, (513) 831-2749, 20brix.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DS, DC. $$

ZULA

SACRED BEAST Sacred Beast advertises itself as a kind of upscale diner, but the real gems are the oddball dishes that don’t quite fit the diner mold. The menu can be disorienting in its eclecticism: foie gras torchon is next to lobster poutine, and a king salmon is next to a diner breakfast and deviled eggs. Winners are scattered throughout the menu in every category. On the cocktail list, the Covington Iced Tea, a lemon and coffee concoction made with cold brew, San Pellegrino, and vodka is oddly satisfying. The service is good, and there is some flair about the place—including

For a restaurant whose name loosely derives from an Israeli slang term for “hidden treasure,” it seems apt that a dish or two might sneak in and stun—like the mussels Marseilles, with its bouillabaisse-style broth, rich with saffron, tomato, and fennel. But Zula is no one-trick pony. With a wood-fired oven on the premises, it’s incumbent on you to try the flatbreads. One zula is the eggplant option, where caramelized onions and marinated red bell peppers pair well with subtly sweet fontina. Not every bite at Zula is a game-changer, but one is all you need. 1400 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 744-9852, zulabis tro.com. Dinner Tues–Sat. MCC. $$

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mignon cooked so skillfully that the meat maintains that textbook tinge of sourness; frites so crisp that your burger blushes. De Cavel shows us how not to simply pay lip service to staid Old World traditions, but how to find vitalité in their modern antecedents. 713 Vine St., downtown,

FRENCH

(513) 621-4777, jeanroberttable.com. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DS. $$

LE BAR A BOEUF

CHEZ RENÉE FRENCH BISTROT Based on American stereotypes of French food—that it’s elaborate, elitist, and expensive—one might expect Chez Renee to fall on the chichi side. Instead, it’s elegant in an everyday way, operating on the principle that it is better to excel at simplicity than to badly execute something complicated. The formula is not complex: Simple ingredients, generally fresh and from nearby, prepared without much fuss. Asparagus is beautifully roasted and perfectly salted, and the quiche Lorraine (yes, the old standby) has a nice, firm texture, and a fine balance of bacon, mushrooms, and oignons (to quote the menu, which is a charming hodgepodge of French and English). This is solid, tasty food, both approachable and well executed. It’s well on its way to becoming, as a good bistrot should be, a neighborhood institution. 233 Main St., Milford, (513) 428-0454, chezr

Jean-Robert de Cavel’s upscale alterna-burger-shack features bifteck haché, ground beef patties that are a mainstay of French family dinners, according to de Cavel. His “Les Ground Meat” is available in beef, Wagyu beef, bison, lamb, and fish (a blend of albacore tuna and salmon). Portions are eight ounces, taller than a typical burger, and seared on the kitchen’s iron griddle. It’s easy to turn many of the generously portioned appetizers into dinner. Pair the open-faced beef tongue “French Dip” sandwich with a spinach salad and you’ll have one of the best choices in the house. Or go for mac-and-cheese. The lobster mac always sounds lush, but do consider the humble beef cheek version, enlivened by a touch of truffle oil, instead. 2200 Victory Pkwy., East Walnut Hills, (513) 751-2333, barboeuf. com. Dinner Tues–Sat. MCC. $$

eneefrenchbistrot.com. Lunch and dinner Tues–Sat. MCC. $$

INDIAN

JEAN-ROBERT’S TABLE No other chef in town has as much presence as JeanRobert de Cavel, and no other restaurant is steeped in such a singular personality. Who else could conjure up a surf and turf tartare of steak and salmon, or try his hand at a luxurious “haute pocket” (a.k.a., a vol au vent), cramming obscene amounts of lobster and succotash into airy layers of buttery puff pastry? But these touches are more than mere outré Gallic insouciance. Always lurking in the background is a reverence for the classics: Filet

and mint sauces—entirely from scratch under the careful eye of Rabbi Michoel Stern. Always 80 percent vegan, the daily lunch buffet is 100 percent animal-product-free on Wednesdays. Tuck into a warm and savory channa masala (spiced chickpeas) or malai kofta (vegetable dumplings in tomato sauce) from the curry menu. Or tear into a crispy, two-foot diameter dosa (chickpea flour crepe) stuffed with spiced onions and potatoes. 7633 Reading Rd., Roselawn, (513) 821-2021, ammaskitchen.com. Lunch buffet seven days (all-vegan on Wed), dinner seven days. MC, V, DS. $

BOMBAY BRAZIER Indian food in America is hard to judge, because whether coming from the kitchen of a takeout joint or from a nicer establishment, the food will rarely taste all that different. It will generally be some twist on Punjabi cuisine. Bombay Brazier does it just right. Chef Rip Sidhu could serve his dal tadka in India, along with several other extraordinary dishes, and still do a roaring business—and this is not something that can be said of most Indian establishments in America. Try the pappadi chaat, a common Indian street food rarely found on American menus, and you will see what sets this place apart. They do everything the way it is supposed to be done, from the dusting of kala namak (a pungent black rock salt) on the fried crisps to the mixture of tamarind and mint chutneys on the chopped onion, tomatoes, and chickpeas—having this dish properly made is balm to the soul of a homesick immigrant, and fresh treasure for any American lover of this cuisine. 7791 Cooper Rd., #5, Montgomery, (513) 794-0000, bombay braziercincy.com. Dinner Mon–Sat. MCC. $$$

AMMA’S KITCHEN Muthu “Kumar” Muthiah serves traditional southern Indian and Indo-Chinese vegetarian cuisine, but with a sizable Orthodox Jewish community nearby, Muthia saw an opportunity: If he was going to cook vegetarian, why not also make it kosher? Muthiah prepares every item— from the addictively crunchy gobhi Manchurian, a spicy Chinese cauliflower dish, to the lemon pickle, tamarind,

BRIJ MOHAN Order at the counter the way you might at a fast food joint, except the shakes come in mango and there’s no supersizing your mint lassi. The saag, full of cream in most northern Indian restaurants, is as intensely flavored as collard greens in the Deep South—real Punjabi soul food. Tarka dal

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is spectacular here, the black lentils smoky from charred tomatoes and onions, and the pani puri, hollow fried shells into which you spoon a peppery cold broth, burst with tart cool crunch. Follow the spice with soothing ras malai, freshly made cheese simmered in thick almond-flavored milk, cooled and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. 11259 Reading Rd., Sharonville, (513) 769-4549, brijmohancincinnati.com. Lunch and dinner Tues–Sun. MC, V, DC. $

I TA L I A N A TAVOLA In 2011, Jared Wayne opened A Tavola Pizza with two friends just as OTR was blowing up. A Ferrara pizza oven was ordered from Italy; Wayne, a skilled woodworker, built custom tables; and the menu was fleshed in with trendy crowd-pleasers like charcuterie and craft cocktails. Fast-forward three years. Brother Nick is now a co-owner, and the Waynes have opened a second pizzeria: A Tavola Madeira capitalizes on the menu from the Vine Street location, including the fresh and zesty asparagus, artichoke, and feta pizza on a Neapolitan crust; gooey mozzarella-filled arancini, or risotto fritters; and the unequaled Blue Oven English muffin eggplant sliders. Wash down your small plates with a glass of crisp and grassy Sannio falanghina or an ice-cold Peroni lager. Not ones to rest on their laurels, they also fire up a third Italian import—an Italforni Bull Oven—for their take on Roman-style pies (with a thinner, crispier crust). They’re definitely going to need a bigger parking lot. 7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, (513) 2720192, atavolapizza.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC. $

BETTA’S ITALIAN OVEN This Italian place hits the spot on all levels. It’s casual—we felt at home in jeans and a T-shirt—but not so casual to rule

it out as a date-night spot. It’s friendly, with a staff that stays on top of refilling that Morretti La Rossa beer. And best of all, the food is amazing (especially for the price). We ranked their pizza the best in the city. Dubious? Their pizza Margherita will make a believer out of you. Their lasagna, spaghetti, and eggplant Parmesan will have you crying Mama Mia and other Italian-sounding phrases. Their dessert options (Cannoli! Tiramisu! Amaretto cream cake!) are all homemade, and delicious to the very last bite. 3764 Montgomery Rd., Norwood, (513) 631-6836. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner Mon–Sat. MC, V. $$

FORNO Cristian Pietoso’s second restaurant has all the bones of an upscale eatery, but the menu is infused with enough Italian soul to make nonna proud. In most instances, raving about a side of creamed corn wouldn’t bode well for the rest of the menu. Here, that side dish—kernels swimming in a pool of truffle-laced heavy cream that demands sopping up—is evidence that each component prepared by chef de cuisine Stefano Carne is purpose-driven. The red wine–braised honeycomb tripe, which carries a warning label (“Don’t be scared!”), and the pappardelle with spiced cinghiale (wild boar) ragu are examples of the elevated, adventurous comfort food that Pietoso strives for. 3514 Erie Ave., East Hyde Park, (513) 818-8720, fornoosteriabar. com. Dinner Tues–Sun, brunch Sun. MCC. $$

Top 10

NICOLA’S

Nicola’s has entered a new era of exuberant creativity under the leadership of chef Jack Hemmer. You can still get the old Italian classics, and they’ll be as good as ever, but the rest of the menu has blossomed into a freewheeling tour of modern American cuisine. Any establishment paying this level of attention to detail— from the candied slice of blood orange on the mascarpone cheesecake to the staff ’s wine knowledge—is going to put out special meals. Rarely have humble insalate been so

intricately delicious, between the perfectly nested ribbons of beets in the pickled beet salad or the balance of bitterness, funkiness, and creaminess in the endive and Gorgonzola salad. Order an old favorite, by all means, but make sure you try something new, too. 1420 Sycamore St., Pendleton, (513) 721-6200, nicolasotr.com. Dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DC, DS. $$$

PADRINO This sister restaurant to 20 Brix is also owned and operated by the Thomas family and their superstar Executive Chef Paul Barraco, who brings his passion for the slow food movement to the Padrino menu. Billed as “Italian comfort food,” Padrino offers the classics (like lasagna and chicken carbonara) plus hoagies and meatball sliders, an impressive wine list, seasonal martinis, and a decadent signature appetizer—garlic rolls, doughy buns smothered in olive oil and garlic. Best of all, Barraco’s pizza sauce, which is comprised of roasted tomatoes and basil, is so garden-fresh that one can’t help but wonder: If this is real pizza, what have we been eating all these years? 111 Main St., Milford, (513) 965-0100, padrinoitalian.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

Top 10

SOTTO

There are certain books and movies that you can read or watch over and over. Eating at Sotto is a similar experience: familiar, but so profound and satisfying that there is no reason to ever stop. Unlike other restaurants, where the techniques are often elaborate and unfamiliar, the magic at Sotto happens right in front of you, using ordinary elements and methods. When you taste the results, though, you realize that some mysterious transmutation has taken place. Penne with rapini and sausage comes in a buttery, lightly starchy broth with a kick of spice that you could go on eating forever. From the texture of the chicken liver mousse to the tart cherry sauce

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MAIN WHERE REVIEW TO EAT NOW

on the panna cotta, most of the food has some added element of soulfulness. 118 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 977-6886, sottocincinnati.com. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$$

VIA VITE Cristian Pietoso serves up crowd-pleasing entrées, including the Pietoso family Bolognese, over penne, right on Fountain Square. (Add in a golf-ball-sized veal meatball heavy with lemon zest, and it’s an over-the-top comforting main dish.) The same applies to the risotto, where a few small touches add sophistication. Carnaroli rice results in a glossier, starchier dish. A puree of asparagus turns the risotto an eye-popping green, and the poached lobster garnish creates a nice back-and-forth between vegetal and briny flavors. Braised lamb shank over polenta is comforting workhorse, and the flavorful Faroe Island salmon with butternut squash puree, caramelized Brussel sprouts and truffled brown butter balsamic vinaigrette. 520 Vine St., downtown, (513) 721-8483, viaviterestaurant.com. Lunch Mon– Fri, dinner seven days, brunch Sat & Sun. MCC, DS. $$

J A PA N E S E ANDO

STREET EATS Take a trip south of the (Ohio) border and enjoy some traditional Mexican street food with a modern twist at Zapata Cantina in Covington, which opened in September. Among the menu’s housemade specialties are the pescado tacos: breaded, deepfried fish on a corn tortilla, topped with cabbage, pickled red onions, cilantro, and lemon crema. Quench your thirst with a wide selection of mezcals, tequilas, Kentucky bourbons, and more.

facebook.com/ zapata.cov

You don’t go just anywhere to dine on uni sashimi (sea urchin) or tanshio (thinly sliced charcoalgrilled beef tongue). Don’t miss the rich and meaty chyu toro (fatty big-eye tuna), or the pucker-inducing umeshiso maki (pickled plum paste and shiso leaf roll). Noodles are also well represented, with udon, soba, or ramen options available. And don’t forget to ask about the specials; owners Ken and Keiko Ando always have something new, be it oysters, pork belly, or steamed monkfish liver, a Japanese delicacy that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in any of those Hyde Park pan-Asian wannabes. The only thing you won’t find here is sake, or any other alcohol. Bring your own, or stick to the nutty and outright addicting barley tea. 5889 Pfeiffer Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 791-8687, andojapaneserestaurant. com. Lunch Tues & Thurs, dinner Tues–Sat. MCC. $$$

MATSUYA At this relaxed little sushi boutique, try ordering kaiseki, a traditional six-course meal that features a succession of small plates but plenty of food. You might encounter an entire steamed baby octopus or yellowtail with daikon radish, pickled mackerel or deep-fried oysters. You can depend on cucumber or seaweed salad, tempura shrimp, a grilled meat or fish, and of course, sushi—and sometimes even the colorful Bento box sampler. There’s a Nabemono—tableside pot cooking—section on the menu featuring shabu shabu: slices of prime beef swished through bubbling seaweed broth just until the pink frosts with white. Served with simmered vegetables, ponzu sauce, daikon, and scallions, the concentrated, slightly sour flavor of the beef is vivid. 7149 Manderlay Dr., Florence, (859) 746-1199, matsuya ky.com. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner seven days. MCC, DC, DS. $$

MEI Mei’s menu is meant to represent traditional Japanese cuisine, appealing to the novice as well as the sushi maven. It is divided into sections that encourage a progressive meal of small dishes: One each for hot and cold appetizers, noodles, sushi and sashimi, special rolls, soups and salads, sushi dinners (with miso soup), and combinations (such as tempura paired with sashimi). Deep-fried soft shell crab comes with

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ponzu sauce—a dipping sauce made of rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and citrus juice—and the kind of yakitori that you can find on the streets of New York. Bento boxes—lacquered wooden boxes divided into compartments—offer the neophyte a sampling of several small dishes. Mei’s are lovely: deep red and stocked with tempura, cooked salmon, sashimi, stewed vegetables, and a fabulous egg custard with shrimp and gingko nut. Mei’s sushi—nigiri, maki, and handrolls—is exceptionally good with quality cuts of fresh seafood. The staff is knowledgeable, extremely efficient, respectful, and attentive, even when it’s at peak capacity. 8608 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, (513) 891-6880, meijapaneserestau rant.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

MIYOSHI For too long, Japanese cuisine in America has meant miso soup, sushi and sashimi, and various grilled meats with teriyaki sauce. Yes, you can get excellent versions of all of these at Miyoshi, but what makes this restaurant truly special is the revelation of the true panorama of Japanese cuisine. From ochazuke (tea soup) with umeboshi (a salty-sour pickled plum) to shime saba, marinated mackerel in a delicately pickle-y broth of cucumber and vinegar, there are a dozen items not seen elsewhere. Anyone who enjoys sushi or miso broth has built the foundation to appreciate the rest of this cuisine. Cha soba, green tea noodles with shredded seaweed, chopped scallions, and a sweet and soupy broth, has a satisfying umami note, even served cold, and a pleasing bite with wasabi mixed in. The kinoko itame, sauteed shiitake and enoki mushrooms, is surprisingly buttery and sweet, showing a voluptuous quality rarely associated with this tradition, but a perfect counterpoint to the more austere offerings. 8660 Bankers St., Florence, (859) 525-6564, miyoshirestaurant.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. MCC. $$$

ZUNDO RAMEN & DONBURI A stark contrast to Styrofoam cup soup, chef Han Lin’s ramens are a deep and exciting branch of cuisine, capable of subtlety, variation, and depth. The simplicity of the dish’s name hides a world of complexity. Zundo uses the traditional Japanese building blocks of flavor—soy sauce, miso, sake, mirin—to create something freewheeling and time-tested. Bowls of ramen come with a marinated soft-boiled egg half, roast pork, green onion, and a healthy serving of noodles. Each has a distinct identity, like the milky richness of the tonkotsu, the rich and buttery miso, or the light and faintly sweet shoyu ramen. A transformative add-in is the mayu, or black garlic oil. Dripped on top of one of the subtler broths, it adds a deep, mushroom-y richness, with the hint of burned flavor that makes barbecue so good. W. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 975-0706, zundootr.com. Lunch Tues–Sun. MCC. $$

KOREAN HARU After the closing of Sung Korean Bistro, Haru is a welcome addition to the downtown scene. Dishes are served along with the usual Korean accompaniment of pickles, kimchi, fish cakes, and other mysteriously delicious dainties. A favorite is the japchae, a traditional dish sporting silky sweet potato noodles with sesame-and-garlic sauce, matchsticks of assorted crisp vegetables, and behind it all a wonderful smokiness that pervades the whole meal. The accompanying pot of gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste, adds its own

sweet and spicy note. The result is a homey, soulful, and satisfying taste that appeals even to those who’ve never eaten a bite of Korean food before. 628 Vine St., downtown, (513) 381-0947, har ucincy.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. MCC. $$

RIVERSIDE KOREAN RESTAURANT Come for the jo gi mae un tang—a bowl of sizzling, happy hellbroth pungent with red pepper, garlic, and ginger, crowded with nuggets of fish, tofu, and vegetables. Come for the restorative power of sam gae tang, a chicken soup for the Seoul—a whole Cornish hen submerged in its own juices and plumped with sticky rice and ginseng, dried red dates, and pine nuts. Revered for their medicinal properties, both dinner-sized soups will leave your eyes glistening and your brow beaded with sweat. They’re a detox for your overindulgence, rejuvenation for when you’re feeling under the weather. Expect crowds on weekends. Expect too, that dozens of them have come for dolsot bibimbap, the hot stone pots filled with layers of rice, vegetables, meat or tofu, egg, and chili paste. Characterized by its electric color and addictive flavors, Riverside Korean’s version is a captivating bowl of heaven. 512 Madison Ave., Covington, (859) 291-1484, riversidekoreanres taurant.com. Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

SURA This traditional Korean oasis has been flying well beneath the radar since 2010. Don’t let the pepper count on the menu deter you. Each entrée arrives with purple rice and assorted small bites aimed at cutting the heat—steamed broccoli, pickled radishes, soy-sauce-marinated tofu, pan-fried fish cake, and housemade kimchi. Korean barbecue staple osam bulgogi—one of only two items meriting a three pepper rating—swiftly clears sinuses with a flavorful duo of pork belly and squid lashed with Korean red pepper paste and served on a sizzling skillet. The two-pepper kimchi jjigae stew marries fermented Korean cabbage with hunks of tofu and shards of pork in a bubbling tomatobased broth. Make sure to order a bowl of the bone noodle soup for the table—a comforting combination of thick noodles and bits of flank steak floating in a umami-rich marrow broth that magically soothes the burn. 7876 MasonMontgomery Rd., Mason, (513) 204-3456, surakore an.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. MCC. $$

MEDITERRANEAN ANDY’S MEDITERRANEAN GRILLE In this lively joint with a burnished summer lodge interior of wood and stone, even the food is unrestrained: rough-cut chunks of charbroiled beef tenderloin, big slices of onion and green pepper turned sweet and wet in the heat, skewers of marinated and charbroiled chicken perched on rice too generous for its plate. Co-owner Andy Hajjar mans his station at the end of the bar, smoking a hookah pipe that fills the air with the sweet smell of flavored tobacco, while the friendly but hurried staff hustles through. 906 Nassau St., Walnut Hills, (513) 281-9791, andyskabob.com. Lunch Mon–Sat, dinner seven days. MCC. $$

CAFÉ MEDITERRANEAN Chef-driven Middle Eastern cuisine leans heavily on Turkish tradition here. The baba ghanoush uses seared eggplant, which adds a pleasant

ILLUSTR ATIO N BY S T E P H A N I E YO U N G Q U I S T


smokiness to the final product. Börek is described as a “Turkish Egg Roll,” wrapping feta and fresh and dried herbs into phyllo dough, and frying it lightly to brittle flakiness. The pastry arrives atop a vivid cherry tomato marmalade, which adds a welcome dimension of barely sweet fruitiness. While there is a smooth, simple hummus on the menu, you should go for the classic sucuklu hummus, which is spiked with sujuk, a common beef sausage popular all over the Middle East. 3520 Erie Ave., East Hyde Park, (513) 871-8714. Lunch Mon–Sat, dinner seven days. MCC. $$

YOU’D NEVER CATCH ME ON THE EAST/WEST SIDE

FLOYD’S Sure, you can go here for the great baked kibbeh, a blend of delicately spiced ground lamb, pine nuts, and onions, stuffed inside a shell of ground lamb, lamb fat, and bulgur wheat. Or you could visit for the vegetarian moussaka with eggplant, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. But you’d be missing out on Floyd’s famous tender-crisp spit-roasted chicken and lima beans with chopped parsley, garlic, and olive oil. Not all of the specialties are the real Lebanese deal, but we’ll keep ordering them anyway. 127 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, (513) 221-2434, floydsofcincy.com. Lunch Tues– Fri, dinner Tues–Sat. MC, V. $

Top 10

WHERE DID YOU GO TO HIGH SCHOOL?

PHOENICIAN TAVERNA

No matter how much restraint you go in with, meals at Phoenician Taverna quickly become feasts. There is just too much that’s good, and everything is meant to be shared. With fresh pita bread continuously arriving from the ovens, and a table of quickly multiplying meze (hummus, falafel, muhammara), there is a warmth and depth to the cooking that envelops you. With such traditional cuisine, you may think there isn’t much left to discover beyond simply executed classics prepared according to time-tested methods. But there are always new discoveries as the flavors mingle from plate to plate: the tabbouleh with the hummus, mixed with a touch of harissa, or the smoky baba ghanoush spooned onto falafel. Phoenician Taverna keeps taking these classics a little further. 7944 Mason Montgomery Rd., Mason, (513) 770-0027, phoeniciantaverna.com. Lunch Tues–Fri, dinner Tues–Sun. MCC. $$

I’LL HAVE A CHEESE CONEY, HOLD THE MUSTARD

SEBASTIAN’S When the wind is just right, you can smell the garlicky meat roasting from a mile away. Watch owner Alex Sebastian tend to the rotating wheels of beef and lamb, and you understand how Greek food has escaped the American tendency to appropriate foreign cuisines. Sebastian’s specializes in gyros, shaved off the stick, wrapped in thick griddle pita with onions and tomatoes, and served with cool tzatziki sauce. Alex’s wife and daughter run the counter with efficient speed, and whether you’re having a crisp Greek salad with house-made dressing, triangles of spanikopita, or simply the best walnut and honey baklava this side of the Atlantic (often made by the Mrs.), they never miss a beat, turning more covers in their tiny deli on one Saturday afternoon than some restaurants do in an entire weekend. 5209 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, (513) 471-2100, sebastiansgyros.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. Cash. $

SULTAN’S MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE The meze, a parade of small plates and appetizers— the refreshing yogurt dish with cucumber, mint, and garlic known as cacik, and its thicker cousin haydari, with chopped walnuts, dill, and garlic—is rounded out with flaky cheese or spinach boureks, falafels, soups, salads, and more, while baked casseroles or stuffed cabbage and eggplant dishes (dubbed “Ottoman specials”) augment the heavy focus on kebabs: chunks of lamb and beef on a vertical spit for the popular Doner kebab (a.k.a. Turkish gyro), peppery ground lamb for the Adana kebab, or cubed and marinated for the Shish kebab. 7305 Tyler’s

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Corner Dr., West Chester, (513) 847-1535, sultanscincin nati.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$

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STEAKS CARLO & JOHNNY The stars of the menu are 12 delectable steaks that could sway the vegi-curious to recommit. Not sure which to choose? If you prefer brawny ďŹ&#x201A;avor over buttery texture, go for one of the three bone-in rib cuts. Or if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that meltin-your-mouth experience that raises your serotonin levels, C&J features several tenderloin cuts, including the hard to ďŹ nd bone-in ďŹ let. There are the usual suspects of raw bar, seafood, pork chops, et al, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re interested in non-beef alternatives. 9769 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 936-8600, jeffruby.com. Dinner seven days. MCC. $$$$

JAGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S STEAK AND SEAFOOD Chef Michelle Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s food is deeply ďŹ&#x201A;avored, if occasionally a bit busy, her steaks of the buttery-mild variety, with not too much salty char crust. All seven cuts are served with veal demi-glace and fried onion straws. According to my steak-centric dining partner, his cowboy rib eye is â&#x20AC;&#x153;too tender and uniformâ&#x20AC;? (as if thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a crime). â&#x20AC;&#x153;I like to wrestle with the bone,â&#x20AC;? he adds, though thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a scenario that, thankfully, doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get played out in this subdued dining room. 5980 West Chester Rd., West Chester, (513) 860-5353, jags.com. Dinner Monâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat. MCC, DC. $$$

JEFF RUBYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S Filled most nights with local scenesters and power brokers (and those who think they are), everything in this urban

the addictive baked macaroni and cheese, the creamy garlic mashed potatoes, the crisp-tender asparagus with roasted garlic and lemon vinaigretteâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and dinner ends on a sweet note with a piece of Ruby family recipe cheesecake. Neither cloyingly sweet nor overwhelmingly creamy, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lovely slice of restraint. 311 Delta Ave., Columbia-Tus-

steakhouse is generousâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from the portions to the expert service. White-jacketed waiters with ďŹ&#x201A;oor-length aprons deliver two-ďŹ sted martinis and stacks of king crab legs, or mounds of greens dressed in thin vinaigrettes or thick, creamy emulsions. An occasional salmon or sea bass appears, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small but decent assortment of land fare. But most customers, even the willowy model types, inhale slabs of beef (dry aged USDA prime) like theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dining in a crack house for carnivores. The best of these is Jeff Rubyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jewel, nearly a pound-and-a-half of bone-in rib eye. This is steak tailor-made for movers and shakers.

culum, (513) 321-5454, jeffruby.com/precinct. Dinner seven days. MCC. $$$$

TONYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S He is a captivating presence, Tony Ricci. Best known for his 30 years in ďŹ ne diningâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including the Jeff Ruby empire while managing the venerable Precinctâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Ricci has built a life in the hospitality industry. Much of Tonyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s menu is right out of a steakhouse playbook: jumbo shrimp and king crab legs from the raw bar; Caprese, Greek, and Caesar salads; sides of creamed spinach, mac-and-cheese, asparagus, and sautĂŠed mushrooms; toppings of roasted garlic or Gorgonzola butters to accompany your center cut of ďŹ let mignon. There are boutique touches, though, that make it stand outâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a garlic herb aioli with the calamari, steak tartare torch-kissed and topped with a poached egg, a superb rack of lamb rubbed with aromatic sumac and served with mint pesto. 12110 Montgomery Rd., Symmes

700 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 784-1200, jeffruby.com. Dinner Monâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Sat. MCC, DC. $$$$

MORTONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S THE STEAKHOUSE No one has replicated the concept of an expensive boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; club better than Mortonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. Amid the dark polished woods and white linen, the Riedel stemware and stupendous ďŹ&#x201A;ower arrangements, assorted suits grapple with double cut ďŹ let mignons, 24 ounces of porterhouse, pink shiny slabs of prime rib, overďŹ&#x201A;owing plates of salty Lyonnaise potatoes, or mammoth iceberg wedges frosted with thick blue cheese dressing. Jumbo is Mortonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decree: Oversized martini and wine glasses, ethereal towering lemon soufďŹ&#x201A;ĂŠs, roomy chairs, and tables large enough for a plate and a laptop. Even steaks billed as â&#x20AC;&#x153;slightly smallerâ&#x20AC;? weigh in at 8 to 10 ounces. 441 Vine St., downtown, (513) 621-3111,

Township, (513) 677-8669, tonysofcincinnati.com. Dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $$$$

mortons.com. Dinner seven days. MCC. $$$

THAI

THE PRECINCT Part of the appeal of the Ruby restaurants is their ability to deliver deep, comfort-food satisfaction. And the steaks. The meat is tender with a rich mineral ďŹ&#x201A;avor, and the signature seasoning provided a nice crunch, not to mention blazing heat. The supporting cast is strongâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the basket of warm Sixteen Bricks bread with a mushroom truffle butter,

GREEN PAPAYA Inside this simple dining room, replete with soothing browns and greens and handsome, dark wood furniture, it takes time to sort through the many curries and chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

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c. Total Print Distribution (Line 15f) + Paid Electronic Copies (Line 16a) 26,253

25,935

d. Percent Paid (Both Print & Electronic Copies) (16b divided by 16c Ă? 100) 84.42%

80.02%

 I certify that 50% of all my distributed copies (electronic and print) are paid above a nominal price.

441 Vine Street | (513) 651-1442 SnapFitness.com/Cincinnati

17. Publication of Statement of Ownership  If the publication is a general publication, publication of this statement is required. Will be printed

 Publication not required.

in the November 2020 issue of this publication. 18. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner

Date

Publisher I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions. (including civil penalties).

9 4 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

8-Sep-20


specialties, not to mention the wide variety of sushi on the something-for-everyone menu. Have the staff—friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable—help you. When the food arrives, you’ll need only a deep inhale to know you made the right choice. The Green Papaya sushi rolls are as delicious as they look, with a manic swirl of spicy mayo and bits of crabstick and crispy tempura batter scattered atop the spicy tuna, mango, cream cheese, and shrimp tempura sushi—all rolled in a vivid green soybean wrap. 2942

wall of tempura and spicy mayo overpowered the tuna completely. The spicy pad char entrée was a solid seven out of 10: broccoli, carrots, cabbage, succulent red bell peppers, green beans, and beef, accented with basil and lime leaves in a peppercorn-and-chili brown sauce. 3655 Edwards Rd., Hyde Park, (513) 533-9500, wildginger cincy.com. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sun. MCC, DS. $$

Wasson Rd., Oakley, (513) 731-0107, greenpapayacincinnati. com. Lunch Mon–Sat, dinner seven days. MCC. $$

VI ETNAM E S E

THAI NAMTIP Classic Thai comfort food on the west side from chef/owner Tussanee Leach, who grew up with galangal on her tongue and sriracha sauce in her veins. Her curries reign: pale yellow sweetened with coconut milk and poured over tender chicken breast and chunks of boiled pineapple; red curry the color of new brick, tasting of earth at first bite, then the sharply verdant Thai basil leaves, followed by a distant heat. Tom Kha Gai soup defines the complex interplay of flavors in Thai food: astringent lemongrass gives way to pepper, then Makrut lime, shot through with the gingery, herbaceous galangal, all yielding to the taunting sweetness of coconut. Even the simple skewers of chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce are rough and honest, dulcified by honey and dirtied up by a smoky grill. 5461 North Bend Rd., Monfort Heights, (513) 481-3360, thainamtip.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MC, V. $

PHO LANG THANG Owners Duy and Bao Nguyen and David Le have created a greatest hits playlist of Vietnamese cuisine: elegant, brothy pho made from poultry, beef, or vegan stocks poured over rice noodles and adrift with slices of onions, meats, or vegetables (the vegan pho chay is by far the most flavorful); fresh julienned vegetables, crunchy sprouts, and herbs served over vermicelli rice noodles (again, the vegan version, bun chay, is the standout); and bánh mì. Be sure to end with a cup of Vietnamese coffee, a devilish jolt of dark roast and sweetened condensed milk that should make canned energy drinks obsolete. 1828 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 376-9177, pholang thang.com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC, DS, DC. $

WILD GINGER

QUAN HAPA

Wild Ginger Asian Bistro’s ability to satisfy a deep desire for Vietnamese and Thai fusion cuisine is evidenced by their signature Hee Ma roll—a fortress of seaweedwrapped rolls filled with shrimp tempura, asparagus, avocado, and topped with red tuna, pulled crab stick, tempura flakes, a bit of masago, scallions, and of course, spicy mayo. It’s tasty, even though the sweet fried flood-

The Nguyen brothers, Duy and Bao, along with partner David Le, have followed up on Pho Lang Thang’s success at Findlay Market by bursting onto the OTR scene with some of the boldest flavors in the city. A tuna ceviche makes use of the fiery sweetness of Malaysian sambal oelek and a banh mi steakburger gains crunch from pickled daikon and a side of Indonesian shrimp chips. Or try the okonomiyaki, a tra-

ditional Japanese pancake topped with a choice of bacon, prawns, or vegetables. The Vietnamese coffee, a complex, chicory-forward blend, is an ideal way to end the meal. 1331 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-7826, quanhapa. com. Lunch and dinner seven days. MCC, DS. $

SONG LONG The menu does have a substantial Chinese section, but make no mistake, the reason there’s a line at the door on weekend nights is the fine Vietnamese specialties cooked and served by the Le family. Begin with the goi cuon, the cold rolls of moistened rice paper wrapped around vermicelli noodles, julienned cucumbers, lettuce, cilantro, and mung bean sprouts. Or try the banh xeo, a platter-sized pan-fried rice crepe folded over substantial nuggets of chicken and shrimp, mushrooms, and wilted mung sprouts. The phos, meal-sized soups eaten for breakfast, are good, but the pho dac biet is Song Long’s best. Crisp-tender vegetables, slices of beef, herbs, and scallions glide through the noodle-streaked broth. When you’re ordering your entrée, be careful: Mr. Le has a much heavier chili hand than Mrs. Le. Ask who is cooking and order accordingly if you don’t want your eyes to roll to the back of your head. 1737 Section Rd., Roselawn, (513) 351-7631, songlong.net. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat. MCC, DC, DS. $

CINCINNATI MAGAZINE, (ISSN 0746-8 210), November 2020, Volume 54, Number 2. Published monthly ($14.95 for 12 issues annually) at P.O. Box 14487, Cincinnati, OH 45250. (513) 421-4300. Copyright © 2020 by Cincinnati Magazine LLC, a subsidiary of Hour Media Group, 5750 New King Dr, Ste 100, Troy, MI 48098. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or reprinted without permission. Unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and artwork should be accompanied by SASE for return. The magazine cannot be held responsible for loss. For subscription orders, address changes or renewals, write to CINCINNATI MAGAZINE, 1965 E. Avis Dr., Madison Heights, MI 48071, or call 1-866-660-6247. Periodicals postage paid at Cincinnati, Ohio, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Please send forms 3579 to CINCINNATI MAGAZINE, 1965 E. Avis Dr., Madison Heights, MI 48071. If the Postal Service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within one year.

PASTURE-RAISED GHEE BUTTER Available in the Shortening/Oil Aisle

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CINCY OBSCURA



An Artist’s Mark

WHETHER PASSING BY IN A CAR OR ON FOOT, it can be easy to miss the western-themed pocket

park on the corner of Covington’s West Robbins and Banklick streets, thanks to some mature trees. But once you see it, you can’t un-see it. Its bordering fence features a colorful mural depicting an American Indian on horseback with mountain ranges in the background. Metal horse and cactus silhouettes add to the overall feel. Created by the Westside Action Coalition and the Old Seminary Square Neighborhood, in which the park sits, this little plot of land is dubbed Henry Farny Park after the world-renowned artist. Henry François Farny was born in France in 1847. At age 6, his family moved to Pennsylvania, near a Seneca reservation, which sparked his interest in American Indians and served as inspiration for many of his oil paintings. From 1890 to his death in 1916, he lived and painted in a studio located across the street from the park. Westside artist David Rice created the park’s mural and sculptures, including a circular sculpture with a dot in its center, representing Farny’s Sioux signature, which appears on all his work. How about that for an artist’s mark? — K A T I E C O B U R N 9 6 C I N C I N N AT I M A G A Z I N E . C O M N O V E M B E R 2 0 2 0

PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE ADKINS


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Profile for Cincinnati Magazine

Cincinnati Magazine - November 2020 Edition  

Cincinnati Magazine - November 2020 Edition