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CINCINNATI’S

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Join Us For THE JEFF RUBY EXPERIENCE! Available At Cincinnati’s Top 3 Steakhouses* *CityBeat 2021 Best Of Cincinnati Reader’s Poll

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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ARTS & CULTURE

SHOPS & SERVICES

STAFF PICKS P. 18

STAFF PICKS P. 80

READER PICKS FEATURE P. 34

READER PICKS FEATURE P. 90

38 EATS

READER PICKS

STAFF PICKS P. 48 FEATURE P. 66

MAIZE :: HAILEY BOLLINGER

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MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE READER PICKS

STAFF PICKS P. 100 PA R L O R P I Z Z A P R O J E C T : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

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FEATURE P. 114


STAFF PUBLISHER Tony Frank

EDITOR IN CHIEF Maija Zummo

MANAGING EDITOR Allison Babka

DIGITAL MEDIA EDITOR/PHOTOGRAPHER Hailey Bollinger ART DIRECTOR Taylor Speed

COPY EDITOR

Mackenzie Manley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

P U R R F E C T D AY C AT C A F E : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

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READER PICKS

STAFF PICKS P. 124 FEATURE P. 132

Anne Arenstein, Brian Baker, Mike Breen, Hailey Bollinger, Erin Couch, Grace Dearing, Katrina Eresman, Katie Griffith, Jerilyn Jordan, Steve Kemple, Jac Kern, Alyssa Konnerman, Mackenzie Manley, Madge Maril, William Meyer, Carrie Michaels, Pama Mitchell, Mike Morgan, Jackie Mulay, Jude Noel, Sean M. Peters, Rick Pender, Olive Collins Niesz, Steven Rosen, Seth Robinson, Leyla Shookohe, Sami Stewart, Nick Swartsell , Danny Wicentowski, Morgan Zumbiel EDITORIAL INTERNS

Meg Bolte, Bryn Dippold, Hannah Gwynne, Meghan Malas , Rachel Smith PHOTOGRAPHERS

Scott Beseler, Paul Coors, Paige Deglow, Vincent DiFrancesco, Mike Morgan, Rob Stone, Louis Rideout, Savana Willhoite, Kylie Wilkerson, Catie Viox PHOTO INTERNS

Francisco Huerta, Danielle Schuster EVENT DIRECTOR Sami Nowlin

SENIOR DIGITAL MARKETING CONSULTANT Mark Coleman

136 SPORTS & RECREATION READER PICKS

STAFF PICKS P. 138

DISTRIBUTION TEAM

Tom Sand, Steve Ferguson www.citybeat.com

EUCLID MEDIA GROUP

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Andrew Zelman CHIEF OPERATING OFFICERS Chris Keating, Michael Wagner VP OF DIGITAL SERVICES Stacy Volhein DIGITAL OPERATIONS COORDINATOR Jaime Monzon www.euclidmediagroup.com

FEATURE P. 144

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WALK THIS WAY FOOTWEAR FROM THE STUART WEITZMAN COLLECTION OF HISTORIC SHOES

On view through June 6, 2021

Timed tickets available now at taftmuseum.org

This exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society.

EXHIBITION SPONSOR

The Sutphin Family Foundation

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SEASON FUNDERS

OPER ATING SUPPORT

EXHIBITION SUPPORT GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY

View all sponsors and funders at taftmuseum.org.

ABOVE: Seymour Weitzman (1910–1965), designer, Mr. Seymour (founded 1950s), maker, Pointed-toe Lace-up Pumps, about 1964, suede and grosgrain ribbon, Stuart Weitzman Collection, no. 269. Photo credit: Glenn Castellano, New-York Historical Society


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WELCOME TO THE BEST OF CINCINNATI 2021

C I N C I N N AT I C I T Y S C A P E : : F R A N C I S C O H U E RTA

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C

ityBeat has been in the business of curating the Best Of Cincinnati® for 25 years, highlighting the city’s most outstanding selections in Arts & Culture, Eats, Shops & Services, Music & Nightlife, City Life and Sports & Recreation. And the responsibility of selecting these exceptional entities is divided between our readers and staff. Readers logged on to the ballot site to vote for their favorites in broad categories like Best New Bar, Best Takeout and Best Sushi, with more niche topics including Best Place to Throw Darts, Best Chicken Sandwich and Best Haunted House. You might not need to know where the Best Birthing Center is right now, or the Best Lawyer, but when you do, we’ve got you covered. For the Staff Picks — selected by a slightly smaller number of humans — we curated an assemblage of, and wrote about, our favorite Cincinnati people, places and things (and sunflower fields and tiny fairy doors and free fridges and pumpkin spice seltzer), stuff we like, appreciate and want other people to know about. Of course, not everything we want to highlight about the city could fit into this issue, but we tried to cram as much in here as we could. So if your favorite brewery or zoo animal or chili parlor isn’t featured, there’s always next year.

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ART GALLERY

1. Contemporary Arts Center 2. 21c Museum Hotel 3. Pendleton Art Center

ART MUSEUM

1. Cincinnati Art Museum 2. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center 3. Contemporary Arts Center

ARTWORKS MURAL

1. “Fiona and Bibi at the Cincinnati Zoo” 2. “Cincinnati Toy Heritage” 3. “Charley Harper’s Beguiled by the Wild” 4. “Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon” 5. “Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra” 6. “Democracy!” 7. “Mr. Dynamite” 8. “Dream Big and Fly High” 9. “Homecoming (Blue Birds)” 10. “Swing Around Rosie”

CHARITY FESTIVAL/EVENT 1. Cincinnati Pride 2. Flying Pig Marathon 3. My Furry Valentine

CHURCH FESTIVAL

1. Panegyri Greek Festival 2. CincItalia 3. St. Cecilia Parish Festival

FOUNTAIN SQUARE EVENT

1. Ice Rink on Fountain Square 2. Reds Opening Day Rally on the Square 3. Light Up the Square

FREE ATTRACTION

1. Findlay Market 2. Smale Riverfront Park 3. Cincinnati Art Museum 4. Jungle Jim’s International Market 5. Cincinnati Public Library 6. Washington Park 7. Tunes & Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 8. Contemporary Arts Center 9. Fountain Square 10. 21c Museum Hotel

GALLERY EXHIBIT

1. The Masks We Wear (Pendleton Street Photography) 2. UPRISING (Kennedy Heights Arts Center) 3. OVER/TIME (Bunk Spot)

HAUNTED HOUSE

1. The Dent Schoolhouse 2. Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt 3. The USS Nightmare 4. Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park 5. All Hallow’s Eve Terror Town 6. Horror Hike Haunted Trail 7. Sandyland Acres 8. Brimstone Haunt 9. Fenwick Haunt 10. The Mayhem Mansion

HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAY

1. Festival of Lights (Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden) 2. Christmas Nights of Lights (Coney Island) 3. Journey BOREALIS (Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum)

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (@cincinnatizoo) 2. Cincinnati Refined (@cincyrefined) 3. The Friends of the Public Library (@cincylibraryfriends)

KID-FRIENDLY ATTRACTION

1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2. Kings Island 3. Duke Energy Children’s Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center 4. Great Parks of Hamilton County 5. Cincinnati Parks 6. Newport Aquarium 7. Cincinnati Art Museum 8. Coney Island 9. The Friends of the Public Library Warehouse 10. ComedySportz

LOCAL ACTOR/ACTRESS 1. Bob Herzog 2. Andrew Maloney 3. Annie Fitzpatrick

LOCAL ARTIST 1. Leah Noumoff 2. Pam Kravetz 3. Shay Nartker

LOCAL AUTHOR 1. Phil Nuxhall 2. Curtis Sittenfeld 3. Travis McElroy

LOCAL CLASSICAL MUSIC GROUP 1. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra 2. Cincinnati Pops 3. MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir

LOCAL COMEDIAN 1. Gary Owen 2. Steve Caminiti (TIE) 2. Mark Borison (TIE) 3. Josh Sneed

LOCAL DANCE GROUP 1. Cincinnati Ballet 2. Cin City Burlesque 3. McGing Irish Dancers

LOCAL FILMMAKER 1. Cincy Stories 2. Mark Borison 3. Biz Young

LOCAL IMPROV/SKETCH COMEDY GROUP 1. Improv Cincinnati 2. OTRimprov 3. ComedySportz

LOCAL THEATER COMPANY

1. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park 2. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company 3. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati

LOCAL TOUR

1. American Legacy Tours 2. Spring Grove Cemetery Tours 3. ArtWorks Mural Tours

LOCAL VOCAL ARTS GROUP

1. MUSE, Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir 2. May Festival Chorus 3. Cincinnati Youth Choir

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MOVIE THEATER

1. Esquire Theatre 2. Mariemont Theatre 3. AMC Newport on the Levee 20

MUSEUM

1. Cincinnati Museum Center 2. Cincinnati Art Museum 3. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

MUSEUM EXHIBIT

1. Frank Duveneck: American Master (Cincinnati Art Museum) 2. Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal (Cincinnati Art Museum) 3. Haze (Contemporary Arts Center)

OLD THING

1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2. Findlay Market 3. Union Terminal

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL ARTISTS 1. The City Flea 2. ArtWorks 3. ArtsWave

PLAY (PROFESSIONAL)

1. Drunk Santa X-Mas Spectacular (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company) 2. The Breath Project (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park) 3. FEAST. (Know Theatre of Cincinnati)

PUBLIC ARTWORK

1. ArtWorks Murals 2. “Fiona the Ballerina” by Joshua Stout 3. Winold Reiss industrial murals at the Cincinnati Museum Center

PUMPKIN PATCH/FARM

1. Blooms & Berries Farm Market and Garden Center 2. Shaw Farms 3. Gorman Heritage Farm

REGIONAL ARTS THEATER

1. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Dayton, Ohio) 2. Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, Kentucky) 3. Human Race Theatre Company (Dayton, Ohio)

REGIONAL MUSEUM

1. COSI (Columbus, Ohio) 2. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Indiana) 3. National Museum of the United States Air Force (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio)

WASHINGTON PARK EVENT 1. The City Flea 2. Summer Cinema 3. Opera in the Park


We’re Back. You’re Invited! FESTIVAL 2021

MAY 21–30 at Music Hall D I S C OV E R T H E VO I C E I N E V E RY T H I N G

The May Festival returns to Music Hall this spring bringing together the uplifting voices of members of the May Festival Chorus, spectacular guest soloists and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra forr limited capacity, socially distanced performances. Come share the joy and beauty of live music experienced together.

2- and 3-concert packages available now! Tickets for individual concerts go on sale MON MAY 3 at 10 am.

513.381.3300 | mayfestival.com

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The people have spoken and we can’t thank you enough. Thanks for voting Good Samaritan Hospital and TriHealth Physician Partners for "Best of Cincinnati" awards. TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital has been voted “Best Place to Give Birth/Maternity Center” and TriHealth Physician Partners has been named “Best Physician/Health Care Practice” by CityBeat readers. We can’t thank you enough for voting for us. TriHealth is your partner for health care.

To learn more, go to TriHealth.com/CareNow To find a doctor call 513 569 5400

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FEED YOUR CURIOSITY New Exhibition

Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance

Treat yourself to art-filled spaces, spa treatments, and the best of food and cocktails at our rooftop bar - all in the heart of downtown.

Through September 2021

#1 TOP HOTEL IN THE MIDWEST – Condé Nast Traveler, Readers’ Choice Awards 2020

21cCincinnati.com Scan the code to stay up to date on the latest news, offers and events happening at 21c Cincinnati and Metropole. Follow us at: @21cCincinnati @MetropoleOnWalnut

OPEN AND FREE 24/7/365 Bisa Butler, Three Kings (detail), 2018. Cotton, silk chiffon, quilted wool gabardine, and appliqué.


BEST WAY TO WORK YOUR QUADS WHILE MAKING YOUR WAY TO THE CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM

Starting near the intersection of Eden Park Drive and Gilbert Avenue, the expansive Art Climb is a flight of 164 steps that ascends from the sidewalk, zig-zags up a hill and connects to the Cincinnati Art Museum parking lot. Flanked on either side by greenery and modern light beams, the nine-story structure includes 16 landings and rotating artworks placed at four different outdoor plazas. If your legs need a break, there are plenty of benches placed along the ascent. Museum Director Cameron Kitchin has said that art museums are important to a community’s health; the Art Climb turns that abstraction into a literal manifestation. cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

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A RT C L I M B : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R


BEST NEWS FOR BROADWAY STANS WHO DON’T WANT TO THROW AWAY THEIR SHOT

Despite being postponed several times due to the pandemic, the touring production of Broadway mega-hit (and Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winner) Hamilton is slated to return to the Aronoff Center in September 2022. cincinnati.broadway.com.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARK ACCOLADES

Kings Island’s Orion giga coaster — one of only seven giga coasters in the world — won USA Today’s Best New Amusement Park Attraction in this year’s 10Best. com readers poll, beating out rides at Disney, Six Flags and Universal Studios. To be specified as a “giga coaster,” a ride must have a height or drop of 300 to 399 feet. To put that into perspective, Kings Island’s Eiffel Tower is 315 feet; Orion’s first drop is 300. visitkingsisland.com.

BEST ENCLOSED ENCOUNTER IN WHICH TO MEANDER WITH MARSUPIALS

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s highly anticipated Roo Valley opened this past summer. The interactive experience allows visitors to enter a kangaroo walkabout — a 15,000-square-foot green space where ’roos roam as you wander by. As in: You are in the same space with the animals. No barrier. If you don’t feel like socializing with the troop of red and grey kangaroos (why wouldn’t you?), you can enjoy a “coldie” — as they say in Australia — in the Hops Beer Garden and watch them from above. cincinnatizoo.org.

BEST ANIMATED SKYLINE CHILI CAMEO

The Simpsons’ episode “The Road to Cincinnati” follows Principal Skinner and Superintendent Chalmers on an “800mile” voyage to the Queen City for an administrators’ convention. As it’s set in Cincinnati, the episode features some iconic local spots including the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Duke Energy Conven-

tion Center and a flying pig wearing a Reds uniform — holding a sign which reads, “Welcome to Cincinnati: Birthplace of Pete Rose’s Gambling Problem.” There was even a cameo by the Clifton Skyline (although the 3-ways were served in bowls and not on plates). Apparently, while researching the episode, The Simpsons’ crew scored some “sweet mail-order Skyline chili,” and when the pandemic hit, Executive Producer Matt Selman happily took it home to ride out “the end of times.”

BEST STAR-STUDDED STAND-UP SETS IN RURAL OHIO

During lockdown, Dave Chappelle began hosting intimate, socially distanced comedy shows (that included a branded keepsake face mask) at Wirrig Pavilion, a private outdoor event space amid cornfields and Christmas tree farms in the idyllic village of Yellow Springs, Ohio — all with the approval of Gov. Mike DeWine. The rotating, surprise lineups featured an eclectic mix of comedians and musicians including Tiffany Haddish, Erykah Badu, Sarah Silverman, Trevor Noah, Chris Rock, Jon Hamm, John Mayer and even Louis C.K. Chappelle is no stranger to organizing pop-up parties: he’s thrown famous “Juke Joints,” mysterious music and comedy parties, in Yellow Springs and around the country since 2015. And if you missed this summer’s most exclusive stand-up experience? A company owned by Chappelle has purchased an old fire station in Yellow Springs with plans to convert the building into a comedy club.

BEST ARTISTIC CELEBRITY TROLL

Hundreds of celebrities have received strange drawings from local comedian Alex Leeds of Dumb Celebrity Drawings, who has the uncanny ability to convey simple-yet-esoterically contrived irreverent jokes and jabs at their intended recipient. And celebrities tend to autograph and return the drawings with a shocking frequency. Some recent items of mail? Alec Baldwin signed a drawing of Tina Fey dressed up as Sarah Palin for SNL; Willem

Arts & Culture

Dafoe signed a picture of his face on the Dafoe Code; and ’90s Hip Hop star Coolio autographed and sent back an illustration of a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Just another reason to support the USPS. instagram.com/dumbcelebdrawings.

BEST GOODBYE TO THUNDER-SKY

Northside’s Thunder-Sky, Inc. closed its doors in December 2020 after a decade of innovative and inventive art exhibits. Founded by Bill Ross and Keith Banner, the beloved art space first opened on Oct. 30, 2009. But it was earlier, in 1999, that Ross first met the gallery’s namesake: Raymond Thunder-Sky. Ross was a social worker at the time and Raymond was one of his clients. “He just opened the door into a whole new world for me,” Ross said. “I never expected to find somebody with such an intense sense of what they were doing.” A man who frequented demolition sites clad in a hard hat and known for wearing clown collars, Raymond would draw the scenes with markers on paper. Upon seeing Raymond’s art, Ross knew that it needed to be shared. Raymond died of cancer in 2004 but his name and legacy lived on in the gallery. The final show Thunder-Sky, Inc. displayed was Violet % Generous, in which artist Antonio Adams completed “a cycle of works and shows from his experience as the Artist-in-Residence of Thunder-Sky, Inc. for 11 years.” The exhibit also included work from locals Pam Kravetz and Tony Dotson. “Our work is done in many ways, and we’re ready to pursue other endeavors,” Banner said of the gallery closing, “always keeping Raymond in our minds and hearts, of course, and also maintaining his archive and his memory online and in any other way that pops up.” raymondthundersky.org.

BEST ECONOMIC LIFELINE FOR LOCAL ARTISTS AND PERFORMERS

As a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic, nonprofit ArtsWave offered financial relief in the form of emergency grants, interest-free loans and other

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funding to local artists and performers in need through their Community Campaign. They also put together a broader COVID toolkit with info on how to find and apply for additional funding at federal and state levels. artswave.org.

BEST WAY TO NAME (BUT NOT CLAIM) A THEATER SEAT

The Aronoff Center for the Arts celebrated its 25th anniversary this past year. And the Cincinnati Arts Association — the nonprofit that oversees the Aronoff, Music Hall and Weston Art Gallery — wanted to take the opportunity to thank those who have been supporting the center for a quarter-century with the Name-A-Seat drive. (Like most arts organizations, the CAA also had to cancel hundreds of events due to COVID-19, resulting in an unexpected economic hit, which the drive hopes to offset.) For a certain donation amount, patrons can purchase a brass plaque attached to the arm of a seat in Procter & Gamble Hall. You can name the seat after yourself, a loved one, a pet, a child, a business — basically anything with a name — for $1,000 for a front orchestra seat, $750 for a rear orchestra seat and $500 for a loge seat. But naming rights don’t come with claiming rights; just because your name is on a chair doesn’t mean it’s reserved for you. However, any time you purchase a ticket to a future Aronoff event, you can ask if your seat is open. cincinnatiarts.org.

BEST JOB PIVOTING ARTS PROGRAMMING

After having to cancel in-person concerts, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, maestro Louis Langree and CEO Jonathan Martin totally revamped and re-envisioned their season, presenting works by Black composers — Contemporary and Classical — and featuring Black soloists at almost every concert during the virtual autumn season, streamed from Music Hall. Anthony Davis’ You Have the Right to Remain Silent was disturbing and profound, and the conversation afterward with the composer and soloist Anthony

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McGill was just as important. cincinnatisymphony.org.

BEST LITERARY INSTAGRAM LIVE

The Mercantile Library’s stellar Tuesday Book Chat series on Instagram Live brings together Merc book advisor Hillary Copsey and a guest reader to discuss all things literary. The program also posts a round-up of that week’s recommended reads on social, but you can always rewatch the convos on the library’s IGTV page (@themercantilelib). mercantilelibrary.com.

BEST LOCAL TECH INNOVATION FOR LUDDITES

The Cincinnati Public Library recently installed Amazon-style lockers at its Oakley and Clifton branches. The automated containers allow patrons to pick up their holds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. cincinnatilibrary.org.

BEST SOCIALLY DISTANCED SWIMMING EXPERIENCE

Timed entry at Ziegler Pool in Over-theRhine and vigorous sanitation after each session made every dip in the pool this summer feel like a sweet memory of “The Before.” zieglerpark.org.

BEST OPEN-AIR ART DISPLAYS

The Kennedy Heights Arts Center used COVID-19 capacity restrictions to its advantage this year, bringing art out of the galleries and onto its grounds. For select exhibitions — including UPRISING, a collaboration with Art Beyond Boundaries in which people responded to 2020’s protests and calls for racial equity, and the SOS ART Retrospective (2016-2020) — artists displayed their work outside. Pieces were enlarged and printed on weather-resistant panels for visitors to view while walking (or driving) en plein air. kennedyarts.org.

BEST REASON TO CONTINUE COLLECTING SHOES

The Taft Museum of Art’s Walk This Way exhibit features the historic shoe collection

of designer Stuart Weitzman, displaying everything from early-1800s satin wedding shoes and silk boudoir shoes created for the 1867 International Exposition in Paris to 1940s leather-and-suede pumps signed by the New York Yankees. The 200-plus years of footwear touch on the history of women’s labor activism and suffrage as well as the sexual revolution: art, history and politics all told through the shoes themselves and detailed in narrative labeling. taftmuseum.org.

BEST DOG PARK COMEBACK

The popular Newport Dog Park was forced to close in 2020 due to overcrowding and infrastructure issues, which led to greener pastures. The community teamed up with the City of Newport to raise funds and resources to reopen the park even bigger and better than before — just 500 feet away and behind the Campbell County Public Library’s Newport Branch. The off-leash dog park is twice the size of the former park and features a separate space for small dogs. Concrete pathways and community walking paths wind throughout, along with “pet-friendly benches” and landscaping. The new park also features a dedicated parking area for visitors, plus a water fountain. facebook.com/newportdogpark.

BEST ONE-NIGHT (THEATER) STAND

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opened a stunning production of Dominique Morisseau’s Pipeline on March 15, 2020, then had to close the tough story about class, race and parental responsibility after just one performance, when the world was abruptly locked down. The runner-up could be Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s fresh adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which had only been onstage for a week before lockdown. Both theaters promise to bring these productions back when the time is right. ensemblecincinnati.org; cincyshakes.com.


HANK WILLIS THOMAS: ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL... :: HAILEY BOLLINGER

BEST RETROSPECTIVE ART EXHIBITS

Faced with all the challenges of staying open and keeping visitors safe in 2020, the Cincinnati Art Museum still managed to launch several important exhibitions, including a groundbreaking Frank Duveneck retrospective and a memorable address to racial understanding, Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal…, which featured two decades’ worth of Thomas’ work exploring how “the visual languages of popular culture, advertising and media shape society and individual perspective, structuring and trading upon notions of race and gender.” Due to its popularity, Frank Duveneck: American Master has been extended through the beginning of May. cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

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KEEP CALM

VOTED #1 TEA SHOP & SELECTION

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DISCOVER TEA www.churchillsteas.com Findlay Market & NEW LOCATION in Hyde Park

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Revealing stories of our past to build a more equitable future. Thanks for voting us a top three museum in Cincinnati!

Open Wednesdays – Sundays Noon to 5 P.M.

freedomcenter.org  23


M AY O R W I L B U R : : C O U R T E S Y O F R O B S T O N E P H O T O G R A P H Y

BEST MOUSE KING ON TV

The Cincinnati Ballet’s annual performance of holiday classic The Nutcracker was closed to in-person attendance and instead aired on WLWT as “The Nutcracker at Home.” Complete with an experiential gift box, score performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and all the other magical moments fans have come to expect from the show, this was the first time the ballet aired on local TV. cballet.org.

BEST NEIGHBORHOOD TO FIND TINY FAIRIES

BEST ADORABLE PUPLITICAL NEWS OF 2020

Since 1998, Rabbit Hash, Kentucky has been electing dogs as mayors of the unincorporated hamlet instead of humans. And on Nov. 3, 2020, a six-month-old French bulldog named Wilbur caused a national stir when he was declared the new ruler, unseating the former mayor: a pitbull named Brynneth Pawltro. Adding to the attraction, Rabbit Hash’s election system is openly corrupt — voters can cast their ballot more than once, and each vote equals a monetary donation to help with the town’s historical upkeep. And while previous elections have attracted news coverage (and even a one-hour TV special on Animal Planet), the 2020 election seemed to be just what people wanted to read while the country tore its collective hair out waiting for the presidential election results. Thankfully, Mayor Wilbur is anything but divisive. And he’s ready to take charge of Rabbit Hash. “The duties of the mayor,” says his owner Amy Noland, “are to show up in town and gnaw on a 24 bone.” rabbithash.com.

In need of a real-life fairy tale? Hop over the river to search for the playful and adorable — and teeny-tiny — fairy doors that are popping up all over Newport’s East Row Historic District. These Tinkerbell-sized porticos are the entrances to the homes of fairies. Typically thought of as forest denizens, these little pixies have moved to the city to charm the Newport community. Avid hunters can join the Newport Fairy Doors Facebook Group to report their findings or use it to start plotting their search. Some of the most notable fairy doors can be found at Jerry’s Jug House (aka Fairies’ Jug House), Coaches Corner and Newberry Bros. Coffee & Prohibition Bourbon Bar. Fan page searchable on Facebook.

BEST ADDITION TO THE FOUNTAIN SQUARE ICE RINK

Socially-distant bumper cars on ice. Here’s hoping they become an annual attraction. myfountainsquare.com.

BEST VIRTUAL GALLERY FOR SOON-TO-BE ART GRADS

In March 2020, Benjamin Cook — an adjunct professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati — launched on Instagram the Social Distance Gallery, a digital platform that allows BFA and MFA art students from across the country to display their thesis work. Particularly important when COVID-19 restrictions eliminated the ability for the public to view the artwork in person, the page continues to post

student creations for its 17,000-plus followers. instagram.com/socialdistancegallery.

BEST SHOWING BY A CINCINNATI ARTIST DURING THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION LUNCHEON

A painting by a 19th-century artist with local ties was in the spotlight after the January inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. For the traditional Inaugural Luncheon on Jan. 20, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden chose to display “Landscape with a Rainbow” by Robert S. Duncanson, an African-American artist who was very active in Cincinnati in the 1840s-50s, just before the Civil War. In the 1859 painting, Duncanson depicts a couple meandering through a lush, green landscape with cattle in the distance, but the focal point seems to be a hopeful rainbow peeking through the right corner. You can view more of Duncanson’s work at the Taft Museum of Art, which features eight landscape murals by the artist that were commissioned by former house owner Nicolas Longworth in 1850. Taft Associate Curator Tamera Lenz Muente says she was thrilled to learn that Dr. Biden chose Duncanson’s work for the luncheon. “A lot of people in Cincinnati don’t really know about him,” she says. “The national attention is really exciting. Those of us who know about Duncanson and his work really want his story to be known.”

BEST PLACE TO LIVE (OR AT LEAST ONE OF THE BEST) IF YOU WANT TO WORK ON A FEATURE FILM

Cincinnati came in at No. 13 on MovieMaker Magazine’s “2021 Best Places to Live & Work as a Filmmaker” list, making it the fourth straight year the Queen City has earned the honor. (The city moved up one spot from its No. 14 showing in 2020.) The magazine highlights the downtown skyline, low cost of living, creative culture and Ohio’s 30% motion picture tax credit as among the reasons for the city’s emergence as a stalwart that has lured films such as 2015’s Carol, 2000’s Traffic


and any and all movies Bruce Willis has made here the past few years.

BEST DRIVE-IN MUSICAL THEATER

Every summer, C.A.S.T. (Commonwealth Artists Student Theatre) brings together teens from area high schools to perform musicals, but 2020 presented some big challenges. The smart folks in charge overcame them by staging a production of Newsies — drive-in style — in the parking lot at Coney Island. Audiences sat in or on their cars as the socially-distanced kids danced from platform to platform and sang their hearts out. caststages.org.

BEST PRINT MUSEUM WITH A PURPOSE

Lower Price Hill’s Cincinnati Type & Print Museum operates under a mission with three main purposes: to preserve the illustrious history of printing in the Queen City, to give artists the opportunity to create and learn letterpress and printing operations, and to provide training and jobs to people in the neighborhood struggling with addiction. Founded by Gary Walton, the museum celebrated its fourth anniversary in 2020 and continues to partner with local BLOC Ministries and its Redeemed Home program. Launched in 2016, Redeemed Home assists 10 women at a time — survivors of prostitution, trafficking and addiction — and goes above and beyond typical recovery programs by providing housing, basic needs, therapy and life skills. “There’s a hundred and some museums out there that do demonstrations and displays and so forth, but without Redeem, it’s not a ‘working’ museum. Now, that arm of redemption is always there. I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do if we didn’t have the Redeem program,” says Walton. facebook.com/cincitypeprint.

BEST INCLUSIVE, FREE BOXING CLASSES

Brooklyn-based artist Nola Hanson brought Trans Boxing — a collaborative art project that doubles as a boxing club — to Camp Washington’s Wave Pool

gallery via a virtual art residency this spring and summer. Hanson offered free boxing classes (via Zoom) to transgender and gender-variant participants. They say “Trans Boxing critically intervenes in the rigidly gendered system of athletics, and increases availability to people who typically experience barriers to access.” If you missed the classes, Hanson will be back at the local gallery for their exhibit An Effort to Defend, which explores Cincinnati’s boxing history — particularly the Queen City’s only World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Ezzard Charles — and functions as a “response to the effort to defend against the prevalent and unceasing murders and attacks of trans people.” wavepoolgallery.org.

BEST LOCALLY PRODUCED PUBLIC TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY OF 2020 Waking the Giant, part of Dayton PBS station ThinkTV’s Originals series, was a well-reported and beautifully shot film focusing on the initial planning, funding and early restoration work for the Gem City’s game-changing effort to restore and reopen its famous early-20th-century Dayton Arcade, an architectural jewel of the Midwest. There are two more parts to come.

BEST DADS DOING GOOD FOR LITTLE SKATERS

This holiday season, Cincinnati’s Dad Skate Squad — a group of 40-plus skateboarding dads (and sometimes their kids) who started riding together each week during COVID-19 with the goal of “spreading positivity and good vibes in our communities and putting smiles on peoples’ faces” — turned into the “Santa Skate Squad” to donate new skateboards, skate shoes, helmets and other accessories to kids in need. They partnered with local nonprofits like the Brighton Center and CityLink to help distribute the goods. instagram.com/dadskatesquad.

BEST FIRST EXHIBIT AT BUNK SPOT’S NEW LOCATION

Pendleton artist collective and gallery Bunk Spot got a new home in Northside in 2020. And the space at 4148/4150 Hamilton Ave. is shared with (DSGN)Cllctv, an arts consulting business. Bunk Spot — also known as Bunk News — has a strong DIY bent and has been behind a slew of local art and music shows since its formation in 2005. Described as a “place where scenes and genres disappear,” the gallery has also dissolved the delineation between interior and exterior art by turning the building itself into a focal point. Curator Ben Brown refers to the structure and the alley that runs alongside it as “kind of like a public gallery,” and local artists have taken to leaving their mark. Covered in vibrant street art, passersby can see one of Jill Cleary’s psychedelic “Jibe” murals, batty work by Vladimir Plitsyn, Hitchcockian creations by Technique 2012, a blue gradient piece by Tenzing and a blazing mural by Empire Citizens before even entering the gallery doors. The first exhibit they hosted at the new location was equally impressive. Cincinnati-based photographer and videographer Asa Featherstone IV’s self-portrait exhibition OVER / TIME was initially created and displayed as a series via Featherstone’s Instagram over the summer as an “immediate response to the frustration around police brutality, the murder of George Floyd and the generational fatigue around living through these cycles.” The Bunk show featured 26 self-portraits joined by brief conversations or considerations that offered a glimpse into the all-too-common occurrences of racism experienced by Black people. instagram.com/bunk_ news.

BEST STREAMING SILENT MOVIES WITH ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT

Unable to have live audiences at the Music Hall Ballroom for its popular Mighty Wurlitzer Organ concerts accompanying silent-movie classics, Friends of Music Hall brought its presentation of Trent Sims’ organ-playing with the 1922 vampire

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classic Nosferatu to the public for free via YouTube. Beginning April 9 of this year, the Friends plan to stream Harold Lloyd’s 1924 comedy Girl Shy for two weeks, with music by Clark Wilson. friendsofmusichall.org.

BEST LITERAL STREET ART

This past Juneteenth, Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matter mural — located literally on Plum Street outside of City Hall between Eighth and Ninth streets downtown — was officially unveiled and dedicated. Each letter of the elaborate and collaborative artwork was led and designed by local Black artists and painted with a team of assistants. The ordinance to install the mural, which passed unanimously through city council, also declared this speech the official speech and message of the City of Cincinnati. “It will officially be the speech of this city — that Black lives matter — which I think is important and powerful,” said council member Greg Landsman at the time. “It’s also a reminder for us every day, perhaps more importantly — as it will be permanent — that we have an enormous amount of work to do to eliminate those disparities across the board.”

BEST FIREPLACES TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE

As part of their “Home for the Holidays’’ line-up, the Taft Museum of Art launched a livestream of the former home’s historic fireplaces — cozy and flaming — which viewers could access via YouTube (the Taft was once the private residence of notable locals including Nicholas Longworth and Charles Phelps Taft). A riff off of the Netflix virtual fireplace concept, the videos featured the museum’s collection of 200-year-old hearths, complete with the sound of crackling wood, backed by holiday tunes. taftmuseum.org.

BEST NEW COLLABORATIVE DRIVE-THRU HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW

For the last 20 years, Hamilton’s Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum has offered a drive-thru experience that is often

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ranked among the region’s best holiday light displays. But this year, Holiday Lights on the Hill did a glow-up into Journey BOREALIS, an illuminated spectacle and “visual art experience that showcases local and regional new media and light-based artists.” Overseen by light design company Brave Berlin — part of Cincinnati’s BLINK art and light festival — for the past three years, Pyramid Hill’s light show has previously included 2-and-a-half miles of creative, glowing scenes and projection-mapped sculptural installations. This year’s multimedia drive-thru expanded to feature more than 1 million lights and immersive holiday art installations — plus yarn bombing and other creative contributions by area artists — soundtracked to an original score by the Cincinnati Boychoir and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. pyramidhill.org.

BEST PIVOT FROM A FILM FEST TO A POP-UP Fans and filmmakers were disappointed when the annual Cindependent Film Festival was postponed until 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival was founded in 2017 by current Executive Director Allyson West as a way to bring Cincinnati filmmakers together to share their work, as well as draw international filmmakers to the city and provide resources and education on the art and craft of the medium. But despite the fest’s cancellation, the creators behind Cindependent came up with a new way to continue supporting filmmakers and their stories. Reels on Wheels was a cinema trailer that popped up in neighborhoods across the city to share independent films. Displayed on a 10-foot-by-6-foot mobile screen, the cinematic offerings, curated by West, were uplifting, family-friendly shorts that “reflect the diversity of our city and bring joy to our community.” cindependentfilmfest.org.

BEST DANCE TEAM ANNIVERSARY For the past 39 years, Marquicia JonesWoods has devoted her life to the children of the West End. Born and raised in the

neighborhood, Jones-Woods — known affectionately as Ms. Quicy — began her outreach when she was just a teenager. She started hosting beautification projects with the kids — painting rocks and benches, planting flowers, picking up trash — and taking them to Bible study, where they could get a free meal. Then she added in the arts, creating short plays and dances to “keep them engaged,” she says. “The dance piece took off.” Thus the Q-Kidz Dance Team was born. But it’s about more than movement. The community studio on Linn Street also offers a support system — a place where kids can get hands-on attention, positive reinforcement, even help with homework. “It’s really not about dance. It’s about providing a better life,” Jones-Woods says. Q-Kidz performs frequently locally — you’ll see them onstage at Music Hall, the Aronoff Center, in the Opening Day Parade, BLINK — and they travel across the country to cities like New York, New Orleans, Atlanta and Los Angeles to take part in (and win) dance competitions and events. Q-Kidz dancers have also been immortalized on film in the highly acclaimed 2015 indie movie The Fits. The organization will turn 40 this May. q-kidz.org.

BEST FLOWER FIELD TREND

Over the summer and fall, Greater Cincinnati farms exploded with an abundance of sunflower fields as a way to spark some joy — and fabulous selfies — to counteract the claustrophobia of lockdown. Some destinations allowed guests to explore the beautiful blooms for free; some required a fee. For example, Lebanon’s Black Barn greenhouse and farm market planted an acre of sunflowers for the public to enjoy at their leisure. While Evendale’s Gorman Heritage Farm canceled its official 23rd-annual Sunflower Festival, but still opened the flower fields for timed and ticketed visits. They even had a local biergarten pop-up during one weekend.


H O L LY W O O D D R I V E - I N T H E AT E R : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

BEST DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER POP-UP

Over Memorial Day weekend, the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation transformed the neighborhood’s historic Hollywood Theater parking lot into a drive-in experience for the community — the Hollywood Drive-In Theater — with films played on a large screen tacked to the back of the building. Originally, the event was planned for one evening, but it was so popular that the pop-up drive-in stayed active all summer. Films ranged from local fest fare and Marvel hits to cult classics, and moviegoers could even grab snacks from College Hill businesses at the parking lot refreshment stand. hollywooddriveintheater.com.

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KEEP HER WILD :: PROVIDED BY KEEP HER WILD

BEST BADASS BABES ON BOARDS

Keep Her Wild is a locally spawned skate initiative that empowers women to overcome their fear of starting something new when barriers like age, gender and social stigma may prevent them from doing so. Founded by Megs Gelfgot, KWH has become a community of meetups, retreats and member support, helping people chase what they thought might be out of reach — as well as their own “stoke.” Gelfgot not only teaches women how to skate, but she also makes learning accessible, championing the mindset that anyone at any age can explore something new. keepherwildhq.com.

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BEST PRIDE PARTY PACK

Cincinnati Pride’s 2020 in-person parade and festival were canceled due to COVID-19, but that didn’t stop the city from celebrating Pride Month. Kroger, 8451, HRC Cincinnati, Cincinnati Black Pride and DANCEFIX by HBDC collaborated with creative agency AGAR to bring “Outside for Pride’’ to the front yards, porches, patios and balconies of the Queen City this past June. The group created a special, free “Pride Pack’’ featuring rainbow food and drink recipes, a Pride playlist, outdoor activities and printable party decor. Everyone who RSVPed for a pack was also automatically entered to win a visit from a dancing-unicorn and the DANCEFIX flash mob. While Cincinnati Pride has already put the kibosh on this year’s large-scale events for COVID safety reasons, festival and parade chairperson Benjamin Morano says they plan to host virtual or smaller events instead. cincinnatipride.org.

BEST DIGITAL EVENTS CELEBRATING CINCINNATI’S JEWISH COMMUNITY

ish, Cincinnati’s nonprofit Jewish and Israeli arts and culture group, created a calendar of creative virtual and streaming events to connect community this year — especially important because they were unable to host their annual in-person ish Festival. Programming ranged from High Holidays in a Box (featuring local honey and artwork to celebrate Rosh Hashanah) to ishUES interactive art and culture workshops to The Secret Singer, a local version of The Masked Singer, just in time for Purim. facebook.com/ishfestival.

BEST EXHIBIT TO BRING AWARENESS TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s interactive Motel X took visitors inside a recreated motel room where they could hear stories of those forced into sex slavery or slave labor. The exhibit provided statistics and facts, different warning signs and actionable

ways for the public to fight against human trafficking. Designed by area filmmaker Christine Marque specifically for the Freedom Center, Motel X hoped to bring to light to reality that slavery is very much alive today and that I-75 is one of the worst “pipelines” in America as it creates an easy way for human traffickers to transport people across the country. freedomcenter.org.

BEST ONE-WOMAN FEAST.

Over-the-Rhine’s Know Theatre opened its 23rd season with FEAST., a “bespoke online production” that invited guests to “virtually break bread” with Grendel’s monstrous mother from the epic tale Beowulf. The one-woman performance was a manic monologue spoken by Grendel’s mother, now given the name “Agathae,” and played by Jennifer Joplin. She oscillated back and forth between a charming hostess and a grieving, furious mother bemoaning her son’s fate — as well as the state of the modern world. Know’s Artistic Director Tamara Winters directed the show and said it wasn’t “Zoom” theater (although there’s nothing wrong with that), but more of an interactive and specially designed experience. The theater continued its streaming success through the rest of the season. knowtheatre.com.

BEST RETRO WAY TO ENJOY LOCAL THEATER

As local theaters had to close productions to live audiences, several turned to a retro art form to keep fans engaged: radio dramas. The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) got creative by producing H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds as an audio drama. Debuting on public radio just in time for Halloween, the original 1930s tale of an alien invasion was adapted by Jeremy Dubin and Brian Isaac Phillips — with several timely and thought-provoking modern twists — and featured the “vocal talents of the CSC’s Pandemic Players.” The CSC also aired a Shakespeare in the Park rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on WVXU.

The Playhouse in the Park made sure a Cincinnati holiday tradition continued with an audio production of A Christmas Carol. Actor Bruce Cromer, who has played Ebenezer Scrooge for more than a decade, recorded a one-man rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic tale about a miser who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by ghostly visitations. With recording and sound effect assistance from Matthew M. Nielson — the sound designer of many Playhouse Mainstage shows — Cromer used a 60-minute adaptation of the script that Dickens created for his own speaking engagements in the 19th century. It also aired for free on public radio. cincyshakes.com; cincyplay.com.

BEST EXPLOSIVE STREET ART EXHIBIT

Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, is best known for his pioneering bas-relief carving technique, in which he literally scratches the surface of urban environments by carving large-scale portraits of everyday people directly into outdoor walls. He does so through industrial means — drilling, controlled explosions, ripping away debris, etc. And in February 2020, Cincinnatians could see the artist’s work rendered on gallery walls at the Contemporary Arts Center. Titled Haze, the exhibition marked Vhils’ first large-scale solo show in a United States art institution. It was also the first time Farto and his team used explosives inside a museum. They detonated more than 100 “air burst” charges embedded in a wall to create “Identity,” the show’s centerpiece artwork. Although COVID interrupted the original run, the CAC extended Haze through February 2021 so more viewers could visit. contemporaryartscenter.org.

BEST MURAL COMMEMORATING THE RICH HISTORY OF LINCOLN HEIGHTS

A new 80-foot long mural was unveiled in Lincoln Heights in September. Titled “Black Excellence in Zone 15,” the artwork — located at Serenity Park —

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Current & Upcoming Special Exhibitions Frank Duveneck: American Master Now–May 9, 2021 Anila Quayyum Agha: All the Flowers Are for Me Now–May 30, 2021 American Painting: The Eighties Revisited Now–July 11, 2021 Future Retrieval: Close Parallel Now–August 29, 2021 Paintings, Politics and the Monuments Men July 9–October 3, 2021 Simply Brilliant: Artist-Jewelers of the 1960s and 1970s October 22, 2021–February 6, 2022 Working Together: The Photographs of the Kamoinge Workshop February 25–May 15, 2022 General operating support generously provided by: 32

Exhibition schedule subject to change. Stay up-to-date by visiting cincinnatiartmuseum.org Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965), All the Flowers Are for Me (Red), 2016, laser-cut lacquered steel and lightbulb, Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art, 2017.7


“ T I M E S AV E D V S . T I M E S E R V E D ” : : L O U I S R I D E O U T

at the 1924 Paris Olympics); sports stars Tony Yates, Greg Stimerick and Darryl Hardy; musicians The Isley Brothers and Gospel singer Charles Fold; poet Nikki Giovanni; political leaders including Carl Westmoreland, Samuel Glover II, Paul Blackwell and Yvette Simpson; and Dolores Lindsay, founder of the Lincoln Heights Health Center. theheightsmovement.org.

BEST STEPHEN SONDHEIM PUBLICATION BY A CITYBEAT THEATER CRITIC

BEST MURAL MILESTONE

ArtWorks dedicated its 200th mural this past fall. Titled “Time Saved vs. Time Served,” the piece was part of the New Voices-themed season. In this case, the voices receiving a platform through the mural were those of returning citizens — formerly incarcerated people — who are often stigmatized and given fewer opportunities than others in the community. The concept for this milestone mural came from Tyra Patterson, the project’s artistic director, who has a personal story that leaves her deeply invested in social justice causes. In 1994, Patterson was arrested and ultimately incarcerated for murder and robbery, both crimes she did not commit. She was in prison for 23 years. “Time Saved vs. Timed Served” (235 W. Court St., Downtown) features portraits of five smiling women — one of them Patterson herself — sitting beneath the scales of justice, circling an Ohio-shaped clock marked by fives to represent prison sentences. Every woman in the mural is a returning citizen, and deeply involved in social justice causes. artworkscincinnati.org.

aims to celebrate the rich history and famous residents of this neighborhood, “the first primarily Black self-governing community north of the Mason-Dixon line.” A project of The Heights Movement — a local group with the goal of engaging, uplifting and empowering the “residents of Lincoln Heights and people of color in Hamilton County by giving them the tools of workforce development and land ownership” — artist Daryl Myntia Daniels designed the work and painted it with assistance from youth apprentices hired via a partnership with ArtWorks and ArtsWave. The title of the mural, “Zone 15,” comes from an area nickname based on the Zip Code, 45215, says Brandi Colvin, who does PR for The Heights Movement. “The mural is a historical timeline highlighting the great people who have come from Lincoln Heights,” Colvin says. The mural includes representations of: the village’s first mayor, Michael J. Mangham; Olympians Mae Faggs Starr and William DeHart Hubbard (the first Black person to win a gold medal in an individual event for the running long jump

CityBeat theater critic Rick Pender has spent the past three years putting together The Stephen Sondheim Encyclopedia. A former editor for The Sondheim Review (a now-defunct publication about the musical theater composer), Pender says this reference work is “a comprehensive A-to-Z encyclopedia with 131 entries that include discussions of Sondheim’s 18 Broadway productions — covering nearly five decades — and his life story,” along with interviews and discussions with actors, directors, musicians, designers and more.

BEST ART REPLAY

Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s super popular sculptural installation All the Flowers Are for Me (Red) returned to the Cincinnati Art Museum (on view until May 30, 2021). First on view at the CAM in 2017, this immersive artwork features a decorative 5-foot laser-cut cube, which illuminates and splays geometric and floral shadows across the floor, walls and ceiling of the gallery. cincinnatiartmuseum.org.

BEST TAKE-OUT POPCORN FOR A MOVIE NIGHT AT HOME

When movie theaters closed, the people were clamoring for some cinema-quality popcorn and the Esquire and Mariemont theaters delivered. They started selling giant $12 bags (the equivalent of four regular bags) of their incomparable popped corn for pick-up. facebook.com/emktheatres.

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BEST USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN AN EXHIBIT BY RACHEL SMITH

U N I O N T E M R I N A L : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

H O L O C A U S T & H U M A N I T Y C E N T E R : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, located inside Union Terminal, has introduced an innovative way for visitors to closely connect with the experiences of the Holocaust. The new exhibit, Dimensions in Testimony, invites attendees to have virtual “conversations” with Holocaust survivors via artificial intelligence.

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According to Sarah Weiss, CEO of the center, the exhibit will permanently preserve the testimony of Holocaust survivors and the interactive nature in which visitors can access this information. While survivors still routinely appear in public spaces to share their stories, there will eventually be a future generation that can no longer hear firsthand about the atrocities committed against millions of Jewish Europeans under the genocidal Nazi regime. “This exhibit will help us personalize the history (and) humanize the history for the day when we sadly no longer have eyewitnesses among us,” Weiss says. “Their stories will continue to be told.” The exhibit features a two-dimensional, virtual display of Holocaust survivors; visitors can ask them questions and receive real-time responses. Utilizing natural language processing, the exhibit’s system selects keywords in the questions and searches through hours of testimonial footage for an appropriate response. A section of the testimony is then played on the display as the survivor answers the question and cultivates a “conversation-like experience.” The exhibit was developed by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. According to Stephen Smith, executive director of the foundation, the project intends to preserve the two-sided dynamic between Holocaust survivors and generations to come. The foundation collaborated with the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, USC Institute for Creative Technologies and Conscience Display to fully realize the project. The Harold C. Schott Foundation sponsored its installation in Cincinnati. Thirty-five survivors of the Holocaust have their personal stories preserved in Dimensions in Testimony. Each was interviewed for five hours a day over the course of five days. Approximately 25 hours of footage for each survivor can be accessed. Fritzie Fritzshall, president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, is a Holocaust survivor whose testimony was one of the first recorded during the project.


D I M E N S I O N S I N T E S T I M O N Y : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

In a virtual appearance at the exhibit’s opening ceremony in February of this year, she described the interview process as severely difficult because she was forced to relive her time at Auschwitz. The persistent questioning of “What was it like?” prompted flashbacks of her time in the concentration camp. “I was hungry again. I was cold again. I had that fear again. I was reliving the entire Auschwitz experience every single day for five days,” Fritzshall said. “But I am leaving behind now what is important to me, especially during this time that anti-Semitism and hatred is raising its head again.” Fritzshall said she hopes this exhibit will be a teaching tool for humanity to always remember the horrific past and ensure a kinder future. Susan Abrams, CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, also said at the opening that this exhibit revolutionizes how oral history can be maintained through a digital space. “Our team had no idea of the power and the way that it really has the ability to change the trajectory of Holocaust memory and education,” she said. “We’re so grateful to be part of it and grateful to be sharing it now with Cincinnati. Of course, our

greatest gratitude goes to the survivors who have participated.” According to the Holocaust & Humanity Center, Dimensions in Testimony is installed in only seven other museums in the world. The opening concluded with a virtual and in-person ribbon cutting. Then Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center, stepped into the exhibit as a two-dimensional rendering of Fritzshall was displayed on the screen. With prompting, the recording of Fritzshall told the story of “Aunt Bella,” who would sell her slim rations of bread to her bunkmates so that she could sneak Fritzshall into bed and comfort her at night. When asked what is the biggest lesson to learn from the Holocaust, the recording of Fritzshall says, “Humanity (needs) to care.” Dimensions in Testimony is a permanent exhibit at the Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center at Union Terminal. It is included with general admission. Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, holocaustandhumanity.org

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Celebrating 0ur 80th Year! 36


Thank you.

It’s truly humbling to be recognized for doing what we love to do. That is serving you. And may we add a vote of our own:

Cincinnati’s Best Customers!

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NEW RESTAURANT

1. Ivory House 2. The Governor 3. Fifty West Burger Bar 4. Good Plates Eatery 5. Khora 6. Galactic Fried Chicken 7. Pepp & Dolores 8. Dear Restaurant & Butchery 9. Taqueria 251 10. OTR Chili Co.

OVERALL RESTAURANT 1. Sotto 2. Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct 3. Good Plates Eatery 4. Court Street Lobster Bar 5. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 6. Ivory House 7. Boca (TIE) 7. The Eagle (TIE) 8. Taste of Belgium 9. Incline Public House 10. Pepp & Dolores

OVERALL RESTAURANT (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Pompilio’s 2. Bouquet Restaurant 3. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia 4. Greyhound Tavern 5. Otto’s 6. Agave & Rye 7. Libby’s Southern Comfort (TIE) 7. Walt’s Hitching Post (TIE) 8. Coppin’s at Hotel Covington 9. Tuba Baking Co. 10. York Street Café

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1. The Eagle 2. Sotto 3. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Pompilio’s 2. Otto’s 3. Greyhound Tavern

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (CENTRAL) 1. Adriatico’s

2. Quatman Cafe 3. Ruth’s Parkside Cafe

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (EAST SIDE) 1. Mazunte 2. Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct 3. El Coyote

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (WEST SIDE) 1. Incline Public House 2. Price Hill Chili 3. Primavista

NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT (BURBS) 1. Silver Spring House 2. Phoenician Taverna 3. Blue Ash Chili

APPETIZERS

1. Sotto 2. Incline Public House 3. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

BAGELS

1. Marx Hot Bagels 2. Bruegger’s Bagels 3. The Bagelry

BARBECUE

1. Eli’s BBQ 2. Lucius Q 3. City Barbeque 4. Montgomery Inn 5. Pickles & Bones Barbecue 6. Just Q’in 7. Sweets & Meats BBQ 8. Midwest Best BBQ 9. Pontiac 10. Harmon’s Barbecue

BEER SELECTION (RESTAURANT) 1. Yard House 2. Taft’s Ale House 3. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia

BOURBON SELECTION (RESTAURANT)

1. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 2. Goodfellas Pizzeria/Wiseguy Lounge 3. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

BREAKFAST

1. Sleepy Bee Cafe 2. First Watch 3. Sugar n’ Spice 4. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 5. Taste of Belgium 6. The Echo 7. The Original Pancake House 8. Hang Over Easy 9. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar 10. Half Day Cafe

BRUNCH

1. Taste of Belgium 2. Sleepy Bee Cafe 3. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 4. First Watch 5. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar 6. The National Exemplar 7. Nation Kitchen & Bar 8. Hang Over Easy 9. Orchids at Palm Court 10. Grand Finale

OVERALL BURGERS (CHAIN) 1. Five Guys 2. Red Robin 3. Frisch’s

OVERALL BURGERS (NON-CHAIN)

1. Zip’s Cafe 2. Roney’s 3. Stellar Street Eats 4. Nation Kitchen & Bar 5. Good Plates Eatery 6. Tickle Pickle 7. Arthur’s Cafe (TIE) 7. Quatman Cafe (TIE) 8. Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beer 9. The Turf Club 10. Gordo’s Pub & Grill

NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1. Nation Kitchen & Bar 2. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3. Krueger’s Tavern

NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Bard’s Burgers & Chili 2. Herb & Thelma’s Tavern 3. Coaches Corner

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NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (CENTRAL) 1. Quatman Cafe 2. Tickle Pickle 3. Gordo’s Pub & Grill

NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (EAST SIDE) 1. Zip’s Cafe 2. Arthur’s Cafe 3. Five Guys

NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (WEST SIDE)

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. Share: Cheesebar 3. The Rhined

CHEESESTEAK

1. Penn Station 2. Melt Revival 3. Cincy Steak & Lemonade

CHEF (W/RESTAURANT AFFILIATION)

1. Gomez Salsa 2. Mazunte 3. The Comet

1. Jean-Robert de Cavel (French Crust, Le Bar a Boeuf, Frenchie Fresh Burger Bar) 2. Christian Gill (Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey) 3. Jose Salazar (Salazar, Mita’s, Goose & Elder) 4. Kayla Robison (Arnold’s Bar and Grill) 5. Michael Kelly (Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse) 6. Andrew Schlanser (Good Plates Eatery) 7. Danny Combs (Sotto) 8. Drew Rath (Tuba Baking Co.) 9. Paul Barraco (The Governor) 10. Daniel Wright (Senate, Abigail Street, Pontiac, Forty Thieves)

BUSINESS LUNCH

CHICKEN

1. Incline Public House 2. Nation Kitchen & Bar (Westwood) 3. Chandler’s Burger Bistro

NEIGHBORHOOD BURGER SPOT (BURBS) 1. Arthur’s Cafe (Anderson) 2. Quatman Cafe (Mason) 3. Gas Light Cafe

BURRITOS

1. Skyline Chili 2. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar 3. Court Street Lobster Bar

BUTCHER SHOP

1. Avril-Bleh Meat Market 2. Lehr’s Prime Market 3. Eckerlin Meats

CAJUN/CREOLE

1. Swampwater Grill 2. Knotty Pine on the Bayou 3. Allyn’s Cafe

CAKE SHOP

1. The BonBonerie 2. Nothing Bundt Cakes 3. 3 Sweet Girls Cakery

CHEAP EATS

1. Skyline Chili 2. Zip’s Cafe 3. Blue Ash Chili

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CHEESE SHOP

1. The Eagle 2. Silver Spring House 3. Revolution Rotisserie 4. Libby’s Southern Comfort 5. Ron’s Roost Restaurant & Bar 6. Roney’s 7. CityBird 8. Good Plates Eatery 9. Raising Cane’s 10. Galactic Fried Chicken

CHICKEN SANDWICH

1. Chick-fil-A 2. The Eagle 3. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

CHILI (CHAIN)

1. Skyline Chili 2. Gold Star 3. Dixie Chili (TIE) 3. Blue Ash Chili (TIE)

CHILI (NON-CHAIN)

1. Camp Washington Chili

2. Pleasant Ridge Chili 3. Price Hill Chili

CHINESE

1. Oriental Wok 2. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia 3. First Wok

CHOCOLATES

1. Aglamesis Bro’s 2. Maverick Chocolate Co. 3. Esther Price

COFFEEHOUSE (LOCAL)

1. Coffee Emporium 2. The Coffee Exchange of Pleasant Ridge 3. Deeper Roots Coffee 4. Sayler Park Coffee 5. Mom ‘n ‘em 6. BlaCk Coffee Lounge 7. Carabello Coffee 8. Urbana Cafe 9. Unataza Coffee 10. Kitty Brew Cafe

COFFEEHOUSE (NATIONAL) 1. Starbucks 2. Dunkin’ 3. Caribou Coffee

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1. Coffee Emporium 2. Deeper Roots Coffee 3. BlaCk Coffee Lounge

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Carabello Coffee 2. Unataza Coffee 3. Flow Koffee + Kombucha

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (CENTRAL) 1. College Hill Coffee Co. and Casual Gourmet 2. Sidewinder Coffee 3. Highland Coffee House

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (EAST SIDE) 1. Coffee Emporium (Hyde Park) 2. Deeper Roots Coffee 3. Luckman Coffee


NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (WEST SIDE)

NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (EAST SIDE)

FOOD FESTIVAL OR EVENT

NEIGHBORHOOD COFFEE SHOP (BURBS)

NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (WEST SIDE)

FOOD TRUCK

COOKING CLASSES

NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (BURBS)

CREAMY WHIP/SOFT SERVE

OVERALL BAKERY (BREADS)

CUPCAKES

DONUTS

1. Muse Cafe 2. BLOC Coffee Company 3. White Oak Coffee House

1. Kitty Brew Cafe 2. Wyoming Community Coffee 3. Kidd Coffee & Wine Bar

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. Findlay Kitchen 3. Tablespoon Cooking Co. 1. Putz’s Creamy Whip 2. The Cone 3. Dairy Queen 1. The BonBonerie 2. Abby Girl Sweets 3. Gigi’s Cupcakes

DELICATESSEN 1. Izzy’s 2. Jason’s Deli 3. Silverglades

DESSERTS (RESTAURANT) 1. O Pie O 2. Grand Finale 3. Sotto

DESSERTS (RETAIL) 1. The BonBonerie 2. Graeter’s 3. Brown Bear Bakery

NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1. Holtman’s Donuts 2. Brown Bear Bakery 3. Blue Oven Bakery

NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (CENTRAL) 1. The BonBonerie 2. North College Hill Bakery 3. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

1. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 2. Marcella’s Doughnuts & Bakery 3. Busken Bakery

1. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 2. St. Lawrence Bakery 3. Busken Bakery

1. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 2. Holtman’s Donuts (Loveland) 3. Wyoming Pastry Shop 1. Sixteen Bricks 2. Blue Oven Bakery 3. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli

1. Holtman’s Donuts 2. Dunkin’ 3. Moonrise Doughnuts 4. Starlight Doughnut Lab 5. Busken Bakery 6. Peace, Love and Little Donuts 7. Marcella’s Doughnuts & Bakery 8. Graeter’s 9. Bonomini Bakery 10. North College Hill Bakery (TIE) 10. Stan the Donut Man (TIE)

FARMERS MARKET

1. Findlay Market 2. Hyde Park Farmers Market 3. Northside Farmers Market

FARMERS MARKET FOOD STALL

1. Blue Oven Bakery 2. Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices 3. WoodBottom Quail Farms

FISH & CHIPS

1. Alabama Fish Bar 2. The Pub 3. Nicholson’s Pub

FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 1. DoorDash 2. Uber Eats 3. Grubhub

1. Taste of Cincinnati 2. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 3. Cincinnati Food Truck Association Food Festival 1. Rock N Rolls 2. Tacos Locos 3. The Poutine Machine

FRENCH FRIES 1. Penn Station 2. Five Guys 3. Zip’s Cafe

FROZEN YOGURT

1. Yagööt 2. Orange Leaf 3. Rhino’s Frozen Yogurt & Soft Serve

GELATO/SORBETTO/FROZEN ICE 1. Aglamesis Bro’s 2. Graeter’s 3. Dojo Gelato

GERMAN

1. Hofbräuhaus 2. Mecklenburg Gardens 3. Wunderbar Covington

GLUTEN-FREE SELECTIONS 1. Sleepy Bee Cafe 2. Pho Lang Thang 3. Melt Revival

GOETTA

1. Glier’s Goetta 2. Eckerlin Meats 3. Avril-Bleh Meat Market

GUACAMOLE 1. Mazunte 2. Bakersfield 3. Nada

HIDDEN GEM

1. Mazunte 2. Good Plates Eatery 3. Incline Public House 4. Joe’s Pizza Napoli 5. The Poutine Machine 6. Ivory House 7. The Governor

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VOTED 21 BEST OVERALL BURGER Now more than ever, we thank you Cincinnati!

Thank You Citybeat Readers.

We Are Honored!!

2021 Best of Cincinnati Winner #1 #1 #1 #1 #1 #2

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NEIGHBORHOOD BAKERY (CENTRAL) WEDDING CAKES DESSERTS (RETAIL) CAKE SHOP CUPCAKES MACARONS


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8. Nine Giant Brewing 9. Kiki College Hill 10. Tuba Baking Co.

9. Dewey’s Pizza 10. Keystone Bar & Grill (4EG)

HOT DOG/SAUSAGE

1. Gorman Heritage Farm 2. WoodBottom Quail Farms 3. Carriage House Farm

1. Senate 2. The Root Beer Stand 3. Avril-Bleh Meat Market

ICE CREAM

1. Graeter’s 2. Aglamesis Bro’s 3. United Dairy Farmers

INDIAN

1. Ambar India Restaurant 2. Baba India Restaurant 3. Dusmesh Indian Restaurant

ITALIAN

1. Sotto 2. Pompilio’s 3. Nicola’s

JAPANESE

1. Ichiban Japanese Cuisine 2. Kiki College Hill 3. Quan Hapa

KOREAN

1. BIBIBOP Asian Grill 2. Riverside Korean Restaurant 3. Red Sesame BBQ

LATE-NIGHT EATERY 1. Skyline Chili 2. Goodfellas Pizzeria 3. Gomez Salsa

LIVE MUSIC WHILE YOU EAT 1. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 2. The Comet 3. Lucius Q

LOCAL CHAIN

1. Skyline Chili 2. Thunderdome Restaurant Group 3. Holtman’s Donuts 4. Buffalo Wings & Rings 5. LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria 6. Servatii Pastry Shop & Deli 7. Gold Star 8. Taste of Belgium

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LOCAL FARM

LOCAL SNACK

1. Grippo’s 2. Hen of The Woods 3. Stellar Street Eats’ Pimento Cheese

MACARON

1. Macaron Bar 2. The BonBonerie 3. Taste of Belgium

MACARONI & CHEESE 1. Keystone Bar & Grill 2. Mama Bear’s Mac 3. The Eagle 4. Court Street Lobster Bar 5. Eli’s BBQ 6. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 7. Lucius Q 8. The Mac Shack 9. Revolution Rotisserie 10. Sweets & Meats BBQ

MEDITERRANEAN/GREEK 1. Aladdin’s Eatery 2. Phoenician Taverna 3. Sebastian’s Gyros

MENU (MOST INNOVATIVE) 1. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 2. Sotto 3. Please

2. Cabana on the River 3. Fifty West Burger Bar 4. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 5. Dead Low Brewing 6. Little Miami Brewing Company 7. Lucius Q 8. Northside Yacht Club 9. Ramsey’s Trailside 10. BrewRiver Creole Kitchen

OVERALL PIZZA (CHAIN) 1. LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria 2. Dewey’s Pizza 3. Goodfellas Pizzeria

OVERALL PIZZA (NON-CHAIN) 1. Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru 2. Taglio Bar + Pizzeria 3. Adriatico’s 4. Catch-a-Fire Pizza 5. Joe’s Pizza Napoli 6. Krimmer’s Italianette Pizza 7. Two Cities Pizza 8. Fireside Pizza 9. Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria 10. Ramundo’s Pizzeria

NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1. Goodfellas Pizzeria 2. Taglio Bar + Pizzeria 3. Lucy Blue Pizza

NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria 2. Goodfellas Pizzeria 3. Dewey’s Pizza

MEXICAN

NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (CENTRAL)

NOODLES

NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (EAST SIDE)

1. Mazunte 2. La Mexicana Restaurante Cantina & Tienda 3. El Rancho Grande 1. Pho Lang Thang 2. KungFood Chu’s Amerasia 3. Kiki College Hill

OUTDOOR/PATIO DINING 1. Incline Public House

1. Adriatico’s 2. Dewey’s Pizza 3. Fireside Pizza

1. Dewey’s Pizza 2. Taglio Bar + Pizzeria 3. Joe’s Pizza Napoli


NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (WEST SIDE) 1. Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru 2. LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria 3. Dewey’s Pizza

NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZA JOINT (BURBS) 1. Dewey’s 2. Mio’s Pizza 3. Mellow Mushroom

OYSTERS

1. Court Street Lobster Bar 2. Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant 3. Dear Restaurant & Butchery

PUB FOOD

1. Incline Public House 2. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3. Knockback Nat’s

RAW BAR

1. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 2. Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny 3. Jag’s Steak & Seafood

RESTAURANT DESIGN 1. Orchids at Palm Court 2. Sotto 3. Lucius Q

RESTAURANT FOR A FIRST DATE 1. Sotto 2. Nada 3. Incline Public House

RESTAURANT FOR FINE DINING 1. Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct 2. Sotto 3. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 4. Boca 5. Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny 6. Orchids at Palm Court 7. Nicola’s 8. Ivory House 9. Primavista 10. Tony’s of Cincinnati

RESTAURANT FOR LARGE PARTIES 1. Montgomery Inn 2. Moerlein Lager House 3. Lucius Q

RESTAURANT TO TAKE A FOODIE 1. Good Plates Eatery 2. Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey 3. Court Street Lobster Bar 4. Sotto 5. Please 6. Salazar 7. The Eagle (TIE) 7. Lucius Q (TIE) 8. Ivory House 9. Bouquet Restaurant 10. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

RESTAURANT TO TAKE THE KIDS 1. Skyline Chili 2. Chick-fil-A 3. Dewey’s Pizza

RESTAURANT TO TAKE VISITORS 1. Montgomery Inn Boathouse 2. Incline Public House 3. Skyline Chili 4. Taste of Belgium 5. Good Plates Eatery 6. Sotto 7. Primavista 8. Ivory House (TIE) 8. Salazar (TIE) 9. Dead Low Brewing 10. Alfio’s Buon Cibo

RIBS

1. Montgomery Inn 2. Eli’s BBQ 3. Lucius Q 4. City Barbeque 5. Pickles & Bones Barbecue 6. Walt’s Hitching Post 7. Sweets & Meats BBQ 8. Just Q’in 9. Dead Low Brewing 10. Midwest Best BBQ

ROMANTIC RESTAURANT 1. Sotto 2. Orchids at Palm Court 3. Primavista

SALADS

1. Dewey’s Pizza 2. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar 3. Olive Garden

SEAFOOD

1. Court Street Lobster Bar 2. Bonefish Grill 3. Pelican’s Reef

SMALL PLATES 1. Mita’s 2. Nada 3. Ché

SMOOTHIE/JUICE BAR

1. Rooted Juicery + Kitchen 2. Smoothie King 3. BanaSun Smoothie Bar

SOUL FOOD

1. Lucius Q 2. Alabama Fish Bar 3. Richie’s

SOUP

1. Pho Lang Thang 2. La Soupe 3. Zoup!

SPECIALTY FOOD MARKET

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. Findlay Market 3. Kremer’s Market

STEAKHOUSE

1. Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct 2. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 3. Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny 4. Losanti 5. Maury’s Tiny Cove 6. Jag’s Steak & Seafood 7. Ivory House 8. Eddie Merlot’s 9. Walt’s Hitching Post 10. Tony’s of Cincinnati

SUBS/SANDWICHES 1. Penn Station 2. Jersey Mike’s 3. Melt Revival

SUSHI

1. Ichiban Japanese Cuisine 2. Cloud 9 Sushi 3. Green Papaya 4. Wild Ginger 5. Izen’s Drunken Bento

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THANK YOU CINCINNATI! VOTED BEST NEW STORE FINDLAY MARKET’S SAUSAGE DESTINATION

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w w w.lkfindlaymarket.com | 513-345-8831 |


6. Wabi Sabi Covington 7. Kyoto Sushi Bar 8. E+O Kitchen 9. Dancing Roll (TIE) 9. Teak OTR (TIE) 10. FUSIAN

TACOS

1. Mazunte 2. Condado Tacos 3. Agave & Rye 4. Tortilleria Garcia 5. Bakersfield 6. Gomez Salsa 7. La Mexicana Restaurante Cantina & Tienda 8. Taco Casa 9. Frida 602 10. Taqueria 251

TAKEOUT

1. Eli’s BBQ 2. Dewey’s Pizza 3. City Barbeque 4. Good Plates Eatery 5. Gomez Salsa 6. Currito 7. Mazunte 8. Lucius Q 9. Tuba Baking Co. 10. Revolution Rotisserie

TEA SELECTION

VIEW FROM YOUR TABLE

THAI

WAITSTAFF/SERVICE

VEGETARIAN

WATERFRONT DINING

VEGGIE BURGER

WINE SELECTION (RESTAURANT)

1. Churchill’s Fine Teas 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Coffee Emporium 1. Green Papaya 2. Thai Express 3. Teak OTR 1. Melt Revival 2. Rooted Juicery + Kitchen 3. Harmony Plant Fare 1. Tickle Pickle 2. Krueger’s Tavern 3. Arthur’s Cafe 4. Nation Kitchen & Bar 5. Fork & Greens 6. ESSEN Kitchen (TIE) 6. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar (TIE) 7. BrewRiver Kitchen at Sonder Brewing 8. Nine Giant Brewing 9. S.W. Clyborne Co. Provisions & Spirits 10. Taste of Belgium

VIETNAMESE

1. Pho Lang Thang 2. Wild Ginger 3. Song Long

1. Incline Public House 2. Primavista 3. Montgomery Inn Boathouse 1. Jeff Ruby’s The Precinct 2. Sotto 3. Court Street Lobster Bar 1. Montgomery Inn Boathouse 2. Moerlein Lager House 3. Buckhead Mountain Grill

1. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants 2. Somm Wine Bar 3. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse

WINGS

1. Knockback Nat’s 2. Good Plates Eatery 3. Lucius Q 4. Buffalo Wings & Rings (TIE) 4. Dead Low Brewing (TIE) 5. Wild Mike’s 6. Northside Yacht Club 7. Buffalo Wild Wings 8. The Oak Tavern 9. Nine Giant Brewing 10. Shooters Sports Grill

 47


BEST SUNDAY PIZZA POP-UP TO OPEN A BRICK-AND-MORTAR

Parlor Pizza Project went from a weekly “Sunday Slice” pop-up at Oakley Wines to opening their own carry-out restaurant in Hyde Park. parlorpizzaprojectcincy.com.

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PA R L O R P I Z Z A P R O J E C T : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R


BEST WAY TO INCREASE OUTDOOR DINING (AND DRINKING) OPTIONS IN CINCINNATI

The City of Cincinnati’s outdoor, pandemic-friendly dining pop-ups in Over-theRhine and downtown have become a permanent fixture of the streetscape. The temporary solution to allow restaurants and bars more COVID-friendly seating on select sidewalks and in select streets launched in May 2020 to help businesses stay open while following indoor dining capacity restrictions from the department of health. But the new “streateries” will become permanent via “a combination of parklets and concrete bump-outs/sidewalk expansions” to the tune of around $2 million, says the city. The European-like parklets are being created using high-quality wood decking with railings and planters acting as barriers instead of the former giant orange construction barricades.

BEST TASTE OF HONDURAS WITHOUT LEAVING KENTUCKY

Unataza Coffee was born from owner Alejandra Flores’ desire to bring together two places she loved dearly: Northern Kentucky and her native country of Honduras. Flores initially opened Unataza as a pop-up shop and facilitated coffee origin trips to her home country to show the process behind the beloved beverage. In fall of 2019, Unataza Coffee opened a brick-and-mortar in Dayton, Kentucky. In addition to South American-grown coffee beans used in a slew of caffeinated beverages, the cafe also offers a petite menu of Honduran-inspired dishes, like the Tacoma Taquito, a sort of breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, refried beans, grilled peppers and onions, cheddar cheese, onions and cilantro and some savory, crunchy turkey bacon. They also have a variety of pastries available from local bakeries. unatazacoffee.com.

BEST REASON TO WAKE UP BEFORE 9 A.M. ON A SATURDAY

A local staple for almost-too-beautiful-to-

eat baked treats, Over-the-Rhine’s Brown Bear Bakery didn’t just survive the pandemic, it became an even hotter spot for those in need of a buttery, flaky pick-me-up. Early into the pandemic, Brown Bear quickly developed an online ordering and carry-out platform, offering a safe and streamlined approach for folks to get their BBB fix. Avid visitors know the drill: Wake up and order promptly at 9 a.m. to get the new, limited creations that weekend. Your tastebuds will thank you, and the positive vibes from the team taking care of you set you up for a truly lovely day. brownbearbakes.com.

BEST HOT CHOCOLATE BOMBS

After 10 years of crafting made-fromscratch treats in Hamilton, Ruby’s Chocolates expanded their business with a second location off of Oakley Square last winter. In addition to their signature truffle cakes, which are similar to a cake pop and come in a variety of flavors, visitors can satisfy their sweet tooth with a selection of “Joy Sticks,” no-bake cookies, chocolate bark and “Phatty Cakes.” Over the holiday season, the sweet shop introduced a selection of hot chocolate bombs, available in milk, dark and white chocolate, mint or black raspberry. Yum. rubyschocolates.com.

BEST PEANUT BUTTER CURRY DONUTS

Saturdays are donut days at Northside’s 100% vegan Happy Chicks Bakery. Made with croissant dough, the resulting creations are delightfully flaky and light. But you’d be hard-pressed to find your average chocolate sprinkle donut here. The bakery offers creative new weekly flavors like a spicy peanut-butter-curryglazed donut or one with a bourbon-ginger-cherry glaze. happychicksbakery.com.

BEST CENTURY-OLD PICKLE PURVEYOR

Launched in 1920 by Harry T. Kaiser Sr., the West End’s Kaiser Pickles celebrated 100 years of fine brining in 2020. Using

Eats

farm-fresh produce, the company produces 90 million pounds of pickles (and peppers) per year and is still a family-owned operation. You may have even tried their pickles without knowing it: They produce them for local deli chain Izzy’s. kaiserpickles.com.

BEST COFFEE POP-UP SHOP

Fans of Proud Hound Coffee can pick up their beans at shops throughout the city or grab a drink via their multi-colored truck, which they park at various events. But the ethical roasters also sling damn fine brews via pop-ups at their Silverton-based roastery on Saturdays. Lucky for us, Proud Hound’s first brick-and-mortar location is in the works. proudhoundcoffee.com.

BEST EGG HOAGIE

The Governor diner in Milford makes a hearty and satisfying egg hoagie, topped with scrambled eggs, cheese, caramelized onion, salsa verde and peppers. Get it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. governordiner.com.

BEST SCRATCH-MADE-TORTILLASLINGING TACO TRUCK THAT WILL LEAVE YOU CRAVING MORE What sets Dayton, Kentucky’s Taqueria Nogal food truck apart from other options in the area is their scratch-made tortillas and simple, but flavorful meats and fresh toppings (like cucumber, radish, cilantro and onion). They offer a small and affordable menu of tacos, burritos, tortas and quesadillas, but often feature daily specials, like birria tacos, elotes and nachos. facebook.com/taquierianogalit.

BEST TATER TOT WAFFLES

Newport’s Press on Monmouth offers delectable rice/quinoa bowls and sandwiches suited for breakfast, lunch and everything in-between. Regardless of what you order, add a side of crispy waffle-ironed tater tots (which can also replace the grains as the base in their bowls). pressonmonmouthnky.com.

 49


BEST TATER TOT NACHO BOWL

Bellevue’s Nomad bar and bistro offers a menu of creative totcho bowls — a portmanteau of the words “tot” and “nacho.” The totchos are devilishly crispy seemingly all the way through to the bottom of the basket, with several different options to choose from — a favorite is the Korean BBQ, which comes with Korean-style short rib, mozzarella, onion and Korean barbecue sauce. Another plus? They are mighty generous with the toppings. facebook.com/nomadky.

BEST ROMAN-STYLE ARTICHOKES

The artichokes alla giudia at OTR’s Pepp & Dolores are flash fried and served with creamy lemon vinaigrette, just like they’ve been prepared for centuries in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto neighborhood; “alla giudia” translates to “Jewish style.” Simple and perfect. peppanddolores.com.

BEST FOCACCIA SANDWICH YOU CAN ONLY GET ON SATURDAYS

On Saturdays only, Oakley carry-out The Wheel offers a curated selection of sandwiches, nestled on housemade focaccia. The best? The rosemary roasted carrot with kale, garlic yogurt and romesco. thewheeloakley.com.

BEST STRIPMALL SUB SHOP

Although its exterior is modest — as is its interior, really — build-your-own-sandwich shop Sub Station II in Fort Wright handcrafts above-average subs. The ingredients and toppings are fresh, most of them are cut right in front of you, and the salty rye bread adds a hint of sophistication you won’t find at most sandwich chains. substationii.com.

BEST FARMERS MARKET PICKLES WITH A KICK

Maysville, Kentucky-based Springcreek Farm presents a tongue-scorching twist on a cookout classic: Kickles. Pick them up at the Covington or Fort Thomas farmers market. They also carry more traditional

50

flavors, like dill and bread and butter. facebook.com/springcreekfarmky.

BEST VEGETARIAN “CHICKEN” NUGGET

Former food truck Galactic Fried Chicken opened a brick-and-mortar in Dayton, Kentucky in early 2020. The restaurant serves fried chicken, chicken tenders and sandwiches, along with a variety of sides ranging from mac and cheese to deviled eggs. They also offer vegetarian fried jackfruit nuggets. And these ain’t your average tendies. The eatery uses rice flour in their gluten-free batter which results in a crispy, crunchy, salty, savory and succulent creation. galacticfriedchicken.com.

BEST VEGAN WINGS

Housed in Findlay Kitchen, Vegan Avenue LLC serves up plant-based soulful eats including cauliflower wings, Cajun fries, jackfruit barbecue, chicken and waffles and swoon-worthy sweets. All of their grub is made sans soy, meat and dairy, with gluten-free options available. facebook. com/veganavenuellc.

BEST FAKE POPEYES SANDWICH

Chef Kayla Robison of Arnolds Bar and Grill makes a perfect fake Popeyes chicken sandwich featuring a mammoth slab of cauliflower, breaded and double-dipped in a Southern-style buttermilk batter, with Frank’s RedHot hot sauce and Cajun spices. It’s then fried and topped with pickles. And it always sells out. arnoldsbarandgrill.com.

BEST CHILI MELT

Camp Washington Chili offers a Cincinnati-chili-infused melt — essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with a ladle of chili in the middle. campwashingtonchili.com.

BEST GREEN BEANS

Oriental Wok serves a vegetarian dinner dish of green beans and rice (it also comes as a side), which sounds slightly boring but it’s truly not. The veggies come with tree ear mushrooms and carrots in a kicky brown sauce. orientalwok.com.

BEST TYPE OF WAR

Cincinnati’s restaurant tip wars — inspired by the rivalry between Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati — started in January 2021, when an XU-loving patron and his two daughters stopped by Zip’s Cafe in Mount Lookout and left a hefty $1,000 tip on their $54.95 bill. The strangers also left a note acknowledging the employees’ hard work during these difficult pandemic-ridden times, and asked the waiter to share the tip with the other workers. The note wrapped up with a short but sweet “Go Xavier.” Zip’s shared the note on Facebook... and the ball kept on rolling. Several days later, customers at Keystone Bar & Grill’s Clifton location followed suit, dropping a $1,001 tip on a $31.80 bill with a note that read, “I believe now more than ever we need to support our local restaurants. Let’s see how long we can keep this going... Bearcats up by 1!!” It took a little over a week for the rebuttal, but patrons at two more local restaurants offered a little more than the typical 20% gratuity. A Xavier fan graciously tipped $1,002 on a $65.73 bill at Over-the-Rhine’s Goose & Elder with a note saying, “Hey Bearcats! Ball is in your court. Go XU!!!” And just two days later, a regular to West Side eatery Chandler’s Burger Bistro really upped the ante during their lunchtime visit, dropping a tip of $1,005 on a $20.57 check, with a note reading, “Nobody supports the hard working people in the service industry like the Cats! Please share with the staff. Cats with the Dunk and One, up by 3! $1,005 — X goes quiet!!!” And the generosity has continued in this rivalry of good deeds for our much-deserving service industry.

BEST EXPANSIVE VEGETARIAN OPTIONS AT AN INDIAN RESTAURANT (THAT ISN’T STRICTLY VEGETARIAN)

Price Hill’s Maya Indian Restaurant isn’t a vegetarian Indian joint (whereas Amma’s Kitchen in Roselawn is), but the menu boasts more options for the non-meat-eating set than most; 28 different dishes


KHORA :: HALIEY BOLLINGER

BEST UPSCALE RIFF ON A CLASSIC 3-WAY

After landing on both Food & Wine and Vogue magazines’ lists of the “most anticipated” American restaurant openings of 2020, Khora opened its doors inside of downtown’s Kinley Hotel this past fall. The restaurant offers “modern pasta dishes and small plates with a Midwest sensibility,” which includes a Cincinnati-style 3-way made with lamb ragù. A sophisticated take on the comfort food, this dish has a hearty, yet playful sauce with perfectly al dente gemelli noodles and is topped with a caramelized goat cheese. khorarestaurant.com.

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BECOME A CULINARY TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY!

2021 EVENTS

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1 Soul Food # 2 Barbecue # 3 Live Music While You Eat # 3 Restaurant Design # 3 Restaurant for Large Parties # 3 Ribs # 3 Wings # 7 Macaroni & Cheese # 7 Outdoor/Patio Dining # 7 Restaurant to Take a Foodie # 8 Takeout # -

Home of Bee Haven & Chocolats Latour

“Thank you to all the voters & to citybeat. we look forward to serving you in 2021.” We offer products from the hive & hand crafted chocolates. 4037 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

- lucius q staff

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CALLIOPE SWEETS :: SCOTT BESELER

are listed under the “vegetarian specialties” header. The more unique offerings include paneer bhurji, vegetable mango, gobi manchurian and a buttery, creamy, you’ll-eat-the-whole-serving-at-once paneer makhani. Maya also offers a special mushroom tandoori appetizer that is crispy and spicy and kind of sticky — like General Tso’s chicken — and a great way to switch it up if you ever tire of samosas. mayaindiancincinnati.com.

BEST FAKE FAST FOOD FRANCHISE

BEST PSYCHEDELIC GELATIN CREATIONS

Food stylist and baker Amanda Bowman has launched Calliope Sweets, a slightly psychedelic and retro-inspired bakery that specializes in pastries, cakes, brightly colored Swiss rolls and wild gelatin creations. Modern, complex and vividly pigmented flavor combos are layered in 1950s-style molds, like a lychee-rose jelly in the shape of a heart, or a carrot, cardamom-vanilla and apricot-ginger-chile dessert in a classic fluted style. The Calliope logo is a Pierrot clown, adding an extra sense of whimsy. instagram.com/enjoycalliope.

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The Northside Yacht Club is no stranger to mock restaurant franchise pop-ups, having previously transformed into other edibly-themed entities like SkyRosa’s — a Skyline and LaRosa’s mashup — and, perhaps most infamously, an Applebee’s. But Nihilist Arby’s took it a step further, actually getting permission from Punk musician and Nihilist Arby’s Twitter account operator Brendan Kelly to open the inspired eatery. For one week, NSYC served a menu that mimicked the Arby’s menu with 24-hour sous-vide dry-rubbed beef, Sixteen Bricks onion rolls and mornay sauce made with UrbanStead cheese. They also offered curly fries, a vegetarian/vegan seitan steak option and a boozy Jamocha shake. Each meal was complemented by a nihilist message from Kelly’s Twitter, including, “Whatever, assholes. Death approaches and time and agency are illusions. You’re already dead. Please continue to eat Arby’s in 2020.” northsideyachtclub.com.

BEST ALMOST-UNACHIEVABLE DEEP-FRIED CONEY CHALLENGE

The Northside Yacht Club really wasn’t fucking around this year and in February 2021, they brought back their deep-fried cheese coney, also known as the “Cincinnati chimichanga.” The now-annual infamous Midwestern monstrosity features a chili cheese coney topped with more chili and cheese, wrapped in a flour tortilla and then deep-fried (they also make vegetarian and vegan versions). But to really kick things up a notch, and give

people a goal to strive for as the pandemic approached the one-year anniversary mark, NSYC invented a coney-eating challenge. The “5 Coney Food Challenge” asked intrepid idiots to scarf down five deep-fried coneys and a basket of fries in 69 minutes. If you triumphed, you got a free T-shirt and your name on the wall of fame. If you failed, you had to pay $69 for your meal and your photo was added to the wall of shame. Only one person — Randy “Rando” Sullivan from Hamilton — was able to do it. northsideyachtclub.com.

BEST USE OF WALNUTS

As the name suggests, Rooted Juicery + Kitchen offers both health-focused beverages and solid food. In addition to the different made-to-order menus at each location, they also have a walk-up cooler — one full of cold-pressed juices and mylks and one with grab-and-go eats. You’ll find options like banana chocolate or matcha power bites, a vegan ricotta sandwich and plenty of bowls. If you can get your hands on a Mexican grain bowl, do so. It’s a blend of quinoa, black beans, guacamole, romaine, cabbage, cilantro, sauce and vegan cheese, plus walnuts that have been chopped and flavored to act like taco meat. Everything is vegan but you wouldn’t know it. rootedjuicery.com.

BEST HOMEMADE BLACK BEAN BURGER

If you are a black bean burger connoisseur — or have ever even just eaten one — you know that the patties must strike a delicate balance: too wet and they crumble before you can get the burger to your mouth; too dry and they’re basically flavorless pucks. Delwood in Mount Lookout has somehow mastered the art with its black bean burger. The restaurant has Latin American flair with a focus on Peruvian flavors and the black bean burger features a blend of beans, corn and red bell peppers, topped with white cheddar, avocado, lettuce, tomato and aji verde aioli. The tangy, green aji verde sauce adds an uncommon oomph that pairs exceptionally well with


the beans, which are robustly flavored and just the right amount of mushy. delwoodcincy.com.

BEST SUNDAY SELF-CARE SMOOTHIE

BanaSun Smoothie Bar’s Bana Cocoa smoothie, made with banana, chocolate and peanut butter. Pro tip: Add a shot of cold brew coffee. facebook.com/banasun513.

BEST CURRY DUMPLING

The curry pan at Kiki College Hill is a sort of fried, breaded dumpling, which chef Hideki Harada has described as a “curry donut.” Stuffed with potato, onion and carrot, the savory, crispy veggie ball has a flaky crust and is seriously addicting. kikicincinnati.com.

BEST TACO POP-UP TO FIND A NEW PLACE TO PARK

If you enjoy washing down your tacos with some boozy beverages, your taste buds will be set up for success at Pata Roja Taqueria’s new home. The taco spot has partnered with owners of Pendleton’s Saeso to bring Mexican-style street tacos to the bar’s patio. Pata Roja offers four taco varieties from its parked cart: al pastor, bistec, pollo and seasonal veggie for the non-meat lovers. Try their range of salsas, or treat yourself to a quesadilla if you’d prefer to indulge in some cheesy deliciousness. Prior to opening at Saeso, the taqueria inhabited the walk-up window in the back of The Takeaway deli and grocer off Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. patarojatacos.com.

BEST TROMPE-L’OEIL TREATS

Have you ever been torn between wanting a cake or pizza? With Fat Ben’s Bakery, you can have both. Benjamin Arington, known for his over-the-top, imaginative pastry creations, has been in the food field for over 15 years. Arington creates aesthetically pleasing treats, all while keeping it “weird” and pushing the boundaries of what conventional bakedgoods should look like. Recent cake

creations have almost exactly replicated Pop-Tarts, Panda Express orange chicken (complete with chopsticks and branded carry-out container), a perfectly browned latticework pie, a bottle of Hidden Valley ranch dressing and a supreme pizza. instagram.com/fatbensbakery.

BEST TRADITIONAL JAPANESE KAISEKI DINNER

If you’re looking for a multi-course Japanese dinner, look no further than Matsuya Japanese in Florence (you may have to look a little harder than expected; the hidden gem is truly tucked away in a nondescript strip mall). The restaurant offers a traditional kaiseki menu with zensai (three small appetizers), sunomono (cucumber and seaweed salad), nimono (simmered roots and veggies), takimono (grilled meat or fish), tempura (shrimp and vegetables) and sushi or sashimi. You can also order yasai iaiseki, which is a fully vegetarian meal. If you have a large group, ask to book the tatami room. sites.google.com/view/matsuyajp.

BEST GERMAN SPAGHETTI ICE CREAM

Covington’s Eishaus is a family-run walk-up window that specializes in spaghetti eis. Yes, spaghetti. But the dessert isn’t made of pasta; it’s actually ice cream pushed through an extruder to resemble the classic Italian dish. Spaghetti eis was invented in Mannheim, Germany in the 1960s and is traditionally topped with fruit. But at Eishaus, they “Americanized” the recipe by focusing on toppings like chocolate and peanut butter. Creations run the gamut from spaghetti carbonara with marshmallow sauce to a spaghetti lagerfeuer with s’mores to a 3-way with chocolate sauce, Rice Krispies, yellow chocolate shavings and mini Nilla wafers to act as oyster crackers. They even introduced a version of “Elf Spaghetti” over the holidays, complete with M&Ms, marshmallows, maple syrup, fudge and fudge Pop-Tarts. eishauseats.com.

BEST WAY TO MAKE SOTTO OR BOCA AT HOME

Chef David Falk — the restaurateur behind downtown’s Boca, Sotto and Nada — launched a new culinary concept during the pandemic to bring restaurant-quality cuisine into Cincinnati homes. Domo is a meal delivery service that offers ready-tobake family-style dinners, dropped at your door (as long as you’re within a certain radius of downtown). Domo preps dishes to 95% completion and you do the remaining 5% at home. Browse the changing menu online; a Sunday Supper tray of Sotto’s lasagna bolognese is available every week. instagram.com/domo_athome.

BEST GRANDMA-INSPIRED SMALLBATCH COVINGTON BAKE SHOP

Covington’s rose&mary bakery and cafe pays homage to co-owner and lead baker Chase Maus’ late grandmother and aunt — Mary and Rose, respectively — who helped to raise him. The pop-up turned brick-and-mortar offers scratch-made pastries, breads and cafe bites, like stuffed-charcoal croissants, sweet and savory danishes, donuts, pies and more. But what makes this bakery so special transcends the Instagram-worthy appearance of its treats. The bakers at rose&mary take their time creating small batches with a focus on ingredients. Maus says their bakery pushes beyond what many consider “scratch-made.” “We process all of our fillings, many of our own soft cheeses, nut pastes and butters, jams and jellies and grain flours. We dry some of our own spices, we even grew quite a bit of our own summer produce and edible garnishes this past summer at the Incubator Kitchen Collective,” he says. facebook.com/roseandmarybakery.

BEST REOPENING OF A THAI FAVORITE

After closing its doors in Mount Adams in 2017, the owners of Teak Thai reopened in a new space across from Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine. The eatery is known for its top-notch Thai cuisine and sushi

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offerings, crafted by longtime chef John Lee from the Mount Adams location. The revamped Teak OTR features many of the favorite Thai dishes it was previously known for, but with a more modern presentation, as well as a new sushi menu, daily dim sum and cocktails with an interactive appeal. teakotr.com.

died in Pompano, Florida at the age of 83 in May. The Jordanian Daouds founded Gold Star in 1965, using secret family recipes to create one of the city’s top chili empires and spreading saucy meat and golden cheese across the Tri-State.

BEST 150-YEAR-OLD BIRTHDAY CAKE

Roughly five years ago, a bright blue-andgreen soft serve truck parked itself smack dab in the center of Walnut Hills. With its colorful branding and playful slogan, “Life is hard enough, your ice cream should be soft,” Green Man Twist quickly became a soft serve staple in its community. However, this ice cream food truck serves more than just creamy whip, slushies and hot dogs — Green Man Twist’s core mission is to serve its community as well. As a nonprofit, the creamery gives 100% of profits back to the community through entrepreneur training, affordable housing and education initiatives. greenmantwist.com.

For its 150th anniversary, Graeter’s released a special birthday cake-flavored ice cream. Described as a “blend of cake pieces and sprinkles in cake batter ice cream,” it’s like Funfetti in a cone. Or cup. Or pint. graeters.com.

BEST ALTERNATIVE TO ASIAN FOOD FEST

While Cincinnati’s super popular Asian Food Fest was canceled in 2020, fans were still able to enjoy a ton of local Asian eats in the fall. Asian Food Week ran from Nov. 2-8 and more than 20 eateries from across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky offered either a special $20 prix fixe, three-course meal or a secret menu item. As Asia encompasses an extensive collection of cuisines, so too did Asian Food Week with offerings from Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Indian, Chinese restaurants and more. asianati.com.

BEST FOOD LEGENDS WE SAID GOODBYE TO

Two iconic Cincinnati food legends died this past year. The longtime owner of Aglamesis Bro’s passed away on Jan. 23 at the age of 93. James Aglamesis, also known as “Jim” or “Mr. A,” led the family ice cream parlor chain for more than 60 years. The over-a-century-old ice cream brand was founded by Greek immigrants Thomas and Nicholas Aglamesis, Jim’s father and uncle, respectively. Jim took over the business in the 1950s and continued to oversee it until recent years, when he passed its leadership to third and fourth generation family members. Fahid “Frank” Daoud, one of the four Daoud brothers who launched Gold Star chili,

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BEST COMMUNITY-MINDED CREAMY WHIP

BEST ADULT HAPPY MEAL

Over-the-Rhine’s Dunlap Cafe started making their own grown-up “happy meals” for carry-out during the pandemic. The perfect lil’ combo pack included an entree with a side of fries, Twizzlers, a Dunlap Koozie as a prize and an adult beverage — a beer, hard seltzer or a cocktail. Entree options included cheeseburgers, chicken tenders or a fried chicken sandwich. And the meals came wrapped and organized in a cute branded box, ready to devour in the car, or at home — if you could wait that long. dunlapcafe.com.

BEST FARMERS MARKET TECH INNOVATION

The Northside Farmers Market implemented some new technology to make the weekly Wednesday market more safe, socially distant and efficient for shoppers this year. Customers can now order and pre-pay on the Farmnivorous app for

curbside pickup or even limited delivery. northsidefm.org.

BEST PASTA AT POMPILIO’S THAT ISN’T MADE WITH RED SAUCE

Yeah, Pompilio’s is a classic red-sauce Italian joint, but try opting for the Ronaldo pasta instead. The spicy and garlicky dish is topped with olive oil, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomato, black olives and feta cheese. It’s got a kick. pompilios.com.

BEST SAUSAGE SPOT TO REPLACE KROEGER & SONS MEATS IN FINDLAY MARKET

LK, from Ryan Lillis and John Knodel (the L and the K), offers 40 varieties of handcrafted sausage, plus smoked meat, fresh pork products and seasonal specials from the former Kroeger & Sons booth in Findlay’s markethouse. Lillis comes from a Findlay family line — his mother’s family owned a produce stand at the market and he worked at Eckerlin Meats, which is owned by his uncle and cousin, for 15 years. lkfindlaymarket.com.

BEST SWEET POTATO LATTE

Evanston’s Cream + Sugar Coffeehouse, owned by friends Taren Kinebrew and Crystal Grace, serves coffee, breakfast and lunch with a focus on locally-sourced and plant-based ingredients — including a specialty sweet potato latte. creamandsugarcoffeehouse.com.

BEST FLORAL MATCHA LATTE

Downtown-based Lola’s coffee offers springy floral tea lattes: either a rose matcha or a lavender matcha. Get them for a dollar off during “latte happy hour” from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. lolascincy.com.

BEST WILD ONE-DAY-ONLY LATTES Covington’s Haven Cafe offers a variety of classic coffee and espresso drinks, along with creative alternatives such as an organic matcha mango lemonade and turmeric-infused lattes (plus local pastries, assorted toasts and smoothies). They use organic syrups, local dairy with zero


SUGAR N’ SPICE :: HAILEY BOLLINGER

BEST RETRO BREAKFAST EXPANSION

Cult favorite breakfast eatery Sugar n’ Spice officially opened their much-anticipated Over-theRhine location in the former Joe’s Diner in July 2020. The tiny and almost-always-on-a-wait Paddock Hills original, which opened in 1941, is well-known for its “wispy thin” pancakes, vibrant decor and rubber duckies that come with every meal — elements that traveled to its second branch. You’ll find many of your favorites at the OTR joint, in addition to a few new pork-infused dishes like the Cubano and shredded pork biscuits and gravy, as well as boozy brunch beverages and beer. eatsugarnspice.com.

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M O X Y : : C AT I E V I O X

BEST LOCAL MEAL KIT SERVICE

Gene and Lou Turner, husband-andwife veterans of the food-service industry, were laid off during the pandemic, so they decided to start MOXY. MOXY offers a variety of local, chef-driven meal kits. Each themed MOXY box comes with prepped and portioned ingredients, plus instructions, so you’re ready to cook as soon as you get it home. Recent iterations include a Pasta Kit, with sourdough focaccia, salad, pasta and dessert; a Vegetarian Kit, with a salad, black bean burger and dessert; and a Breakfast Kit, with coffee, chipped beef and a stroopwafel. The duo operates out of Incubator Kitchen Collective, where you can pick up your weekly MOXY meal; they also do some limited delivery. moxycincinnati.com.

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hormones or antibiotics and dairy alternatives. Check their instagram page (@ havencafecov) for unique latte offerings — available until they sell out. Think combos like mint-infused peach syrup, with espresso and milk, or a cookies-andcream creation with coconut almond cream, cacao, espresso and organic Oreo crumble. havencov.com.

BEST KITCHEN COLLECTIVE SUPPORTING THE LOCAL FOOD COMMUNITY

Since 2013, the Incubator Kitchen Collective has been living its mission to help people start their small business dreams. With three locations — The Incubator and The Hatchery in Newport and the Coop in Loveland — the Incubator Kitchen Collective is Greater Cincinnati’s hub for food ideas. Over 60 food-based small businesses, including Grandola Granola and Harmony Plant Fare (which is now a vendor at Findlay Market), have been members. The Incubator Kitchen Collective was started by Rachel DesRochers, owner of Grateful Grahams, which makes vegan graham crackers. Her goal was to create a “shared kitchen space to support foodpreneurs with an affordable, comprehensive approach.” In December 2020, Kroger partnered with the collective to sponsor five food companies to work in the kitchen rent-free for all of 2021: Pata Roja Taqueria, Foz Bakery, F&Goode Desserts, C&G Catering and The Ferrari Bros. incubatorkitchencollective.org.

BEST PUERTO RICAN POP-UP TURNED PERMANENT

Known originally as a popular pop-up, MashRoots Puerto Rican-inspired eatery recently opened a brick-and-mortar in College Hill. Offering a sort of fast-casual Latin American cuisine, the most iconic menu item is the “build-your-own Mofongo bowl,” which allows customers to hand-select ingredients for the famous Puerto Rican dish. mashroots.com.

BEST FREE FRIDGE

Located at Wave Pool’s Welcome Project in Camp Washington, Fridge Etc. is a free community fridge that “advocates for food rescue, small business, local farms/ gardens and unifying the community through food and art.” Everything placed inside the fridge is free, to anyone. Just remember to check the expiration dates and other relevant info before consuming. wavepoolgallery.org.

BEST TOILET PAPER WITH A SIDE OF FRIED CHICKEN

At the start of the pandemic, when there was nary a sheet of toilet paper on store shelves, Libby’s Southern Comfort in Covington came up with a creative way to feed its customers and outfit their bathrooms: they started offering a carry-out menu that came with a roll of toilet paper. It was much appreciated. libbyssoutherncomfort.com.

BEST RESTAURANT WORKER RELIEF CENTER

At the start of the pandemic, chef Jose Salazar teamed up with chef Edward Lee’s The LEE Initiative to transform his downtown restaurant Mita’s into a relief center for employees in the food and beverage industry affected by coronavirus-related closures. The center provided aid in the form of meals and groceries for restaurant workers who were laid off or experienced a significant pay reduction or reduction in hours. mitas.co.

BEST COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION

Camp Washington’s Mom ‘n ‘em coffee is now offering a coffee subscription, so you don’t have to leave home for that perfect cup. Named one of the best coffee shops in America by Food & Wine, you can have the Ferrari Bros. beans delivered to your home on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Opt for their house blend, a community blend, a seasonal variety or even decaf. momnemcoffee.com.

BEST RANDOM ACTS OF CHEESE

During the start of the pandemic, OTR cheese shop The Rhined asked local folks to nominate some members of the Greater Cincinnati community who deserved a cheesy pick-me-up. Anyone who could benefit from some kindness — a frontline worker you’d like to show some support, a family member who lives alone, a teacher (or mom-turned-teacher), etc. — was eligible for a Random Act of Cheese. The team behind The Rhined selected 10 people a week to receive The Rhined Mini: three cheeses, accouterments and crostini. therhined.com.

BEST CURRY JALAPEÑO HOT SAUCE

Farmer Nate’s Hot Sauce — crafted by Nate Nunemaker — is a line of locally harvested and processed hot sauces. Launched as a way to preserve the massive amounts of peppers and other vegetables he harvested in Covington, flavors include Kentucky Tang, Smokehouse Habanero and, our favorite, the Curry Jalapeno. Reminiscent of a really nice chutney, it offers a pleasant sweetness beneath a quick flash of heat. farmernatessauce. com.

BEST EATERIES GETTING NATIONAL RECOGNITION

Not surprisingly, plenty of Cincinnati restaurants, bakeries and other food purveyors made it on some national “best” lists this year. Here’s a sampling: Northstar Café in Liberty Township and Two Cities Pizza Company in Mason both made Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021” list; Findlay Market’s Eckerlin Meats was named as one of the “100 Best Butcher Shops and Meat Markets in America” by Food & Wine; Cream + Sugar Coffeehouse and BlaCk Coffee Lounge were on Yelp’s “Black-Owned Businesses to Watch in 2021;” Over-theRhine restaurant ESSEN made PETA’s “Top Faux-Fish Dishes of 2021” with their

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F I F T Y W E S T B U R G E R B A R : : S AVA N A W I L L H O I T E

bagel and lox; Esquire listed Covington’s Bouquet Restaurant as one of the 100 restaurants America can’t afford to lose; and OTR’s Allez Bakery was named one of the 100 best bakeries in the nation by Food & Wine.

BEST RELOCATION OF A LATENIGHT STAPLE

After the downtown building that latenight noodle shop Shanghai Mama’s was located in was suddenly sold this past fall, the owners of the Chinese eatery were forced to close and find a new space. After several months and more than $13,000 raised through GoFundMe, the restaurant reopened as Shanghai on Elm. facebook.com/shanghaionelm.

BEST FROZEN MOMOS

BEST FRY SAUCE

Fifty West Burger Bar is a retro-style root beer and burger stand serving up classic milkshakes, flat-top hot dogs and 12 specialty burgers named for the 12 states that U.S. Route 50 runs through. They’re loaded with staple ingredients inspired by each, including Cincinnati-style chili, Maryland tartar sauce, West Virginia apple butter and Kansas smoky barbecue. A side of crinkle-cut fries is a must, as is purchasing extra portions of fry sauce. What is fry sauce? Ketchup plus mayo plus... magic? Unknown, but it’s tangy and orange and goes great with fries — and burgers and hot dogs and, honestly, probably milkshakes. fiftywestbrew.com.

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The Chipalu family has served authentic Nepalese food from their Northside restaurant Bridges Nepali Cuisine since 2017, expanding with a second location on Court Street downtown in 2019. You can certainly dine-in or get carry-out from either, but Bridges also offers frozen momos, or Nepali dumplings. Take the frozen treats home and prepare them by steaming, pan searing or straight up deep frying them. The momos come vegan or stuffed with chicken or pork. bridgesnepalicuisine.com.

BEST LOCAL BIKE COURIER AND FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE 53T Courier. 53tcourier.com.

BEST SYRIAN FLATBREAD WRAP

The Barazi family opened Baladi in Clifton in 2017, serving a broad menu of Arabic eats with an emphasis on desserts and welcoming hospitality. On the list of dishes, you’ll find familiar hits with influences from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. But branch out and try something you won’t find on other Middle Eastern-leaning menus, like their Syrian flatbread wrap. The wrap isn’t just your normal pita pocket filled with falafel — it uses unleavened Syrian flatbread as the wrapper. Filling options include fried

eggplant, cauliflower and potato; ground beef and lamb; beef; and rotisserie chicken with French fries inside. baladicincy.com.

BEST TRANSFORMATION FROM A SEAFOOD CHAIN TO A SPRAWLING FOODIE DESTINATION

Bridgeview Box Park is a cluster of small food, drink and shopping vendors conglomerated where Mitchell’s Fish Market used to sit at Newport on the Levee. The establishments are housed next to each other in shipping-like containers — hence the “box park” part of the name — and are interspersed among a common outdoor area. What’s on the menu? Each eatery has its own flair: Che on Wheels is a food truck version of the OTR empanada bar; Bon Mi Street offers Asian street food and milk tea; and The Little Spoon Bakery & Cafe serves baked goods and Carabello Coffee. There’s also Kon-Tiki tiki bar, an outpost of Wooden Cask Brewing Co. and a Second Sight Spirits. newportonthelevee.com.

BEST CANTONESE-STYLE WONTONS

Findlay Kitchen’s Yee Mama offers wonton kits that include a dozen Hong Kong-style wontons, your choice of sauce, herbs for garnish and instructions for how to cook them. yeemama.square.site.

BEST SECOND SWEET SPOT

Hello Honey has been serving up smallbatch ice cream in the heart of downtown since 2012. Now, they’re expanding into East Walnut Hills. Hello Honey ice cream is crafted with fresh ingredients and options rotate based on the seasons. Flavors have included Thai iced tea, honey pistachio and brown butter caramel, as well as vegan banana cookies and cream. The menu also offers homemade desserts and take-home pints. Every item in Hello Honey’s sugary portfolio is worth every single calorie. The second storefront should be up and running sometime this spring. hellohoneyicecream.com.


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E R I K B E N T Z ( L E F T ) A N D E L A I N E T O W N S E N D : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

BEST YOSHOKU-INSPIRED EATERY BY SEAN M. PETERS

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In what’s been a turbulent 12 months for the restaurant industry, it’s refreshing to get some good news from a flourishing culinary team that was just planting its roots in Cincinnati before the pandemic. Mochiko, a Japanese-style pop-up run by Elaine Townsend and Erik Bentz, is getting ready to open the doors to its restaurant in East Walnut Hills; a takeout window is already open. A brick-and-mortar location has always been a part of the couple’s long-term plan. Back when CityBeat first featured Mochiko in August 2019, Townsend said, “Ultimately our endgame is to open up our own place, but right now we’re just putting our name out there.” And put their name out they did, with the same enthusiasm and attention to detail that they put into their remarkably inventive, yet familiar, sweet and savory dishes. When COVID hit, Mochiko focused all of its energy on delivery and carry-out, preparing yoshoku-inspired pastries, meals and ramen kits. But the restaurant was always the next step and they never lost sight of it. Yoshoku is a culinary style that incorporates Western recipes with Eastern ingredients and sensibilities; one of Mochiko’s most localized takes on the concept is their Cincinnati-chili-style ramen. The ramen is a serene confluence of earthy spices from the pork chili (vegetarian option forthcoming) and the delicate umami-packed savoriness of the broth, served with a chili-marinated egg, onion and topped with a mound of shredded cheddar. “2020 was a huge curveball, but it gave Elaine and I the opportunity to work together full-time,” Bentz says. “Before the pandemic, I was working at Boca and I really didn’t get to commit the time to Mochiko that I wanted to. When I got laid

off, it forced us to adapt to the current situation and figure out a model that worked. For example, with Elaine’s pastries, they translate so well to delivery and takeout because you don’t have to worry about time and temperature sensitivity while they’re being delivered. Honestly, we have just been very grateful to be able to work this year.” In the pop-up days leading up to the acquisition of a permanent restaurant, all of Mochiko’s cooking and baking was done at the Incubator Kitchen Collective in Newport, a nonprofit organization that provides kitchen space for burgeoning culinary entrepreneurs. Mochiko now operates in the storefront previously occupied by Mardi Gras on Madison, a Cajun/Creole restaurant that closed down shortly before the pandemic. And that’s where their restaurant is located. “We have been looking at the spot for over a year now and there have been so many roadblocks, so much paperwork, so many phone calls with banks and Board of Health employees,” Bentz says. “We felt like it was a nice, comfortable spot between downtown and the suburbs. Going all the way downtown can be a pain sometimes; it feels like a spot that guests can casually get to. The neighborhood has been great so far, we ended up on a cute corner near Branch and O Pie O — we’re excited to have them as neighbors.” The plan for the restaurant is to offer pastries and light lunch fare in the morning, then lean more toward an izakaya model for dinner (an izakaya offers casual, shareable Japanese bar food comparable to Spanish tapas). Until all the paperwork settles, Mochiko will operate as BYOB, but the future holds beer, wine and sake to pair with the plates. “A lot of the hits will be the core of the menu, but we are trying to build some items that would do very well as takeout,” Bentz says. “One new item will be the Hokkaido Smash Burger, something similar to an Oklahoma onion burger and served on a steamed Hokkaido milk bun.” While most of Townsend’s pastries rely on natural dexterity with her hands, Bentz acquired machines to aid in the mass production and preparation of Mochiko’s noodles. “The noodle machine was originally from Osaka, and I tracked it down in Chicago and brought it back to life,” Bentz says. “It is my baby.” A video on Mochiko’s Instagram (@mochikocincy) shows the rhythmically hypnotic process of the machine automatically cutting fresh noodles from a massive coil of raw, homemade dough sheets. After the noodles have been cut, they are ready to take a bath in boiling water. This is where a seemingly innocuous device like a noodle boiler shows Mochiko’s strong connection to ramen’s heavy hitters. “The noodle boiler is a simple four-basket machine made by


I N T H E K I T C H E N AT M O C H I K O : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

Maruzen, but it was given to me by Keizo Shimamoto. It was used for years at Ramen Shack in New York — some would say the best (ramen) shop in the U.S.,” Bentz says. “The history of the machine is far more significant than the machine itself.” Ramen Shack closed its doors two years ago, but Shimamoto’s name still demands the utmost respect from ramen aficionados. Shimamoto supplied Mochiko with noodles when they first started having pop-ups in Cincinnati; Bentz deduced their ramen was the only way to eat Shimamoto’s noodles outside of New York City. But it’s not just the noodles that are important in a bowl of ramen — these other components are essential in completing a bowl: slowly simmered broth made from pork or chicken bones (depending on the type of ramen); tare (tah-ray), which provides salinity; and aroma oil, which not only flavors the soup, but also helps the broth bind to the noodles in the most satisfying way possible. All of this is capped with an array of toppings such as pickled bamboo, dumplings, marinated eggs, sliced green onion… the list is inexhaustible. Curious how much soup and noodles Mochiko considers a proper bowl of ramen? The typical bowl, according to Bentz, should have 350 milliliters of soup and 140 grams of uncooked noodles. “Sometimes we go a little larger, but we won’t be making anything smaller than that,” Bentz says. “Smaller portions can be great for snacking, but they just don’t feel and eat the way we want them to. We want you to finish everything in the bowl and feel full but not stuffed.”

Don’t fill up on dinner, because Townsend’s sweets are highly sought after. (Just look at the response to Mochiko’s almost-always-sold-out “Sunday Sweets “ bake sale.) Patrons will be able order a wide array of pastries like strawberry cream melonpan, Ferrero brownies and sobacha chocolate chip cookies, along with savories like katsu sando, a kimchi and egg croissant, or just a straight up loaf of perfectly square shokupan milk bread. The restaurant’s finishing touches are near completion. At the time of this writing, Mochiko is very near to opening its doors to the public — the eternal plight of government paperwork seems to be the only hindrance. “The vibe is going to be cute and casual during the day, and getting slightly more upscale-casual at night,” Bentz says. “It feels pretty surreal that it is actually happening. No big investors or backup, just two kids doing everything they can to fulfill a dream.” Mochiko, 1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, facebook.com/mochikocincy

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NEW STORE

AUTO REPAIR SERVICE

BOTTLED BEER SELECTION (RETAIL)

OVERALL BOUTIQUE (LOCAL)

AUTO/CAR WASH

CAMERA STORE

BANK

CANDY STORE

BARBER SHOP

CARPET CLEANING

BED AND BREAKFAST

CARPET STORE

BICYCLE STORE

CATERER

BIRTHING/MATERNITY CENTER

CATERING (RESTAURANT)

BOOKSTORE (CHAIN)

CBD RETAILER

BOOKSTORE (NON-CHAIN)

CD/RECORD STORE (NON-CHAIN)

1. LK at Findlay Market 2. Fill More Waste Less 3. The Garage Pop-Up Shop 1. BlaCk OWned Outerwear (TIE) 1. Cincy Shirts (TIE) 2. Rose & Remington 3. Kismet 4. MiCA 12/v 5. Homage 6. Queen City Alchemy 7. Quince & Quinn 8. The Native Brand 9. Fleurish Home 10. Golden Day Boutique

ACUPUNCTURE PRACTICE 1. Tiny Needle 2. Caldwell Family Wellness 3. Hamilton Health Associates

ADULT TOY STORE

1. HUSTLER Hollywood 2. Dusty Flynt Sexy Gifts 3. High on the Hill

ANTIQUE STORE

1. Ohio Valley Antique Mall 2. Wooden Nickel Antiques 3. Florence Antique Mall

ARTS & CRAFTS CLASSES 1. Cincinnati Art Museum 2. Clifton Cultural Arts Center 3. Brazee Street Studios

ARTS & CRAFTS SUPPLIES 1. Michaels 2. Indigo Hippo 3.Cappel’s

AUTO DEALER (NEW VEHICLES) 1. Jake Sweeney Automotive 2. Marshall Auto Group 3. Beechmont Subaru

AUTO DETAILER

1. Jake Sweeney Automotive 2. CarZmedics 3. Spick & Span Car Wash & Detailing

1. Tire Discounters 2. Donovan’s Auto & Tire Center 3. Jake Sweeney Automotive 1. Mike’s Carwash 2. Sharonville Car Wash & Detailing 3. AAA Auto Wash 1. Fifth Third Bank 2. PNC Bank 3. Chase 1. Bishops 2. Clifton Barbers 3. Gil’s Barber Shop 1. The Inn of Hyde Park 2. The Clifton House 3. Gaslight Bed & Breakfast 1. Montgomery Cyclery 2. Spun Bicycles 3. Reser Bicycle Outfitters 1. Good Samaritan Hospital 2. The Christ Hospital 3. St. Elizabeth Healthcare 1. Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2. Half Price Books 3. Barnes & Noble 1. Blue Manatee Literacy Project 2. The Friends of the Public Library Warehouse 3. Roebling Point Books & Coffee 4. Shake It Records 5. Blue Marble Books 6. Iris Bookcafe 7. Cincy Book Bus 8. Ohio Book Store 9. Homestead Used Books 10. Downbound Books

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. The Party Source 3. Clifton Market 1. Dodd Camera 2. Western Hills Photo & Hobby 3. Best Buy 1. Aglamesis Bro’s 2. Schneider’s Sweet Shop 3. Jungle Jim’s International Market 1. Widmer’s 2. Stanley Steemer 3. Excel Carpet Services 1. McSwain Carpets & Floors 2. JP Flooring Design Center 3. Amelia Floor Store 1. Vonderhaar’s Catering 2. Funky’s Catering 3. Elegant Fare

1. Eli’s BBQ 2. City Barbeque 3. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants 1. Ohio CBD Guy 2. Kentucky Botanical Co. 3. Jungle Jim’s International Market 1. Everybody’s Records 2. Shake It Records 3. Plaid Room Records

CELLPHONE SERVICE PROVIDER 1. Verizon 2. AT&T 3. T-Mobile

CHILDREN’S CLOTHING STORE 1. Once Upon A Child 2. The Spotted Goose 3. Homage

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CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICE/CLINIC 1. Norwood Chiropractic & Sports 2. Mt. Lookout Chiropractic & Sports Injury Center 3. King Chiropractic

CLOTHING CONSIGNMENT 1. Snooty Fox 2. Once Upon A Child 3. Clothes Mentor

COMIC BOOK STORE

1. Queen City Comic and Card Company 2. Shake It Records 3. Paper Street Trading Co.

COSTUME SHOP 1. Cappel’s 2. Party City 3. Talk of the Town

CRAFT BEER STORE

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. The Party Source 3. The Root Cellar

CREDIT UNION

1. General Electric Credit Union 2. Kemba Credit Union 3. Cinfed Credit Union

DANCE CLASSES

1 Cincinnati Ballet Academy 2. Arthur Murray 3. DANCEFIX by HBDC

DAY SPA

1. Woodhouse Day Spa 2. Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa 3. 501 Salon & Spa

DENTAL PRACTICE/CLINIC 1. Vita Dental 2. Andrew J. Marck 3. Bell Dental Group

DRIVE-THRU MARKET

1. Trotta’s Pizza & Drive Thru 2. Miami Market Deli & Drive-Thru 3. Big Daddy’s Liquor Store

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DRY CLEANER

GENERAL CONTRACTOR

ELECTRONICS REPAIR

GIFTSHOP

EYEWEAR STORE

GREEN/SUSTAINABLE GOODS STORE

1. Tide Cleaners 2. Widmer’s 3. Springdale Cleaners 1. Micro Center 2. Mt. Lookout Television & Electronics 3. iPhone Dude, LLC 1. LensCrafters 2. Wing Eyecare 3. Oakley Square Eye Associates

FINANCIAL PLANNING SERVICE 1. Fidelity Investments 2. Fifth Third Bank 3. Edward Jones

FINDLAY MARKET VENDOR

1. Eli’s BBQ 2. Blue Oven Bakery 3. Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices

FLORIST

1. Adrian Durban Florist 2. Daisy Jane’s Flower Truck 3. Robin Wood Flowers

FRAME SHOP

1. Michaels 2. Fabulous Frames & Art 3. frameshop

FRESH SEAFOOD STORE

1 Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. Luken’s Poultry, Fish & Seafood 3. Lobsta Bakes of Maine

FURNITURE STORE

1. IKEA (TIE) 1. Furniture Fair (TIE) 2. Arhaus 3. Crate & Barrel 4. Bargains and Buyouts 5. Nadeau - Furniture With a Soul 6. Open Box Outlet 7. High St. 8. Algin Retro Furniture 9. Home Emporium 10. Macy’s

1. Build It Brothers 2. Hyde Park Painting & Carpentry 3. Renovations by Rodier 1. Cincinnati Art Museum 2. Ten Thousand Villages 3. MiCA 12/v

1. Hemptations 2. The Green Store 3. Growing Trade Pet & Plant

GROCERY STORE

1. Kroger 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Trader Joe’s

HAIR REMOVAL SERVICE

1. Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2. European Wax Center 3. Woodhouse Day Spa

HAIR SALON

1. Bishops 2. High Five Salon 3. Zoe Grace Salon

HANDYMAN

1. Mr. Handyman 2. Dadstasks 3. Chris Cochran

HARDWARE STORE 1. Ace Hardware 2. Home Depot 3. Lowe’s

HEALTH FOOD STORE

1. Whole Foods Market 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Trader Joe’s

HOME ACCESSORIES STORE 1. indigenous craft gallery 2. High St. 3. MiCA 12/v


HOSPITAL

LAWN SERVICE

MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO

HOTEL

LAWYER (INDIVIDUAL)

MASSAGE THERAPY PRACTICE/CLINIC

1. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital 2. The Christ Hospital 3. University of Cincinnati Medical Center 1. 21c Museum Hotel 2. Hotel Covington 3. Great Wolf Lodge

HOUSE PAINTER

1. Smith & Metz Painting & Decorating 2. Steady Hand Painting 3. Dadstasks

HVAC COMPANY

1. Apollo Home 2. Durbin Heating & Cooling 3. Arlinghaus Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning

INSURANCE AGENCY

1. Cincinnati Insurance Companies 2. AAA 3. State Farm

INTERIOR DESIGNER

1. Pear Tree Interiors 2. Honor & Grace Designs 3. Lori Daniels

JEWELER

1. Richter & Phillips 2. Schwartz Jewelers 3. Genesis Diamonds

LANDSCAPING

1. Natorp’s 2. Seiler’s Landscaping 3. Wimberg Landscaping

LASIK SURGERY CENTER 1. Cincinnati Eye Institute 2. Midwest Eye Center 3. LasikPlus

LAW FIRM

1. Treleven & Klingensmith 2. Keating Muething & Klekamp 3. Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

1. Oasis Turf & Tree 2. Royse Lawn Care 3. A & A Lawn Care & Landscaping 1. John Treleven 2. Scott Knox 3. Pamela Hall

LIGHTING STORE 1. IKEA 2. Menard’s 3. Switch

LIQUOR STORE

1. The Party Source 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Hyde Park Wine & Spirits

LOCAL INDIE CRAFT MARKET 1. The City Flea 2. Second Sunday on Main 3. Art on Vine

LOCAL INDIE CRAFT MARKET VENDOR 1. Fern 2. Stitches & Sass 3. Handzy

LOCKSMITH

1. Larry’s Lock, Safe and Security 2. Ian O’Hara 3. Mr. Lock Security

MAGAZINE/NEWSPAPER SELECTION 1. Joseph-Beth Booksellers 2. Cincinnati Public Library 3. Shake It Records

MALL/SHOPPING CENTER

1. Kenwood Towne Centre 2. Rookwood Commons/Pavilion 3. Liberty Center

MANICURE/PEDICURE

1. Ambiance Nail Salon & Spa 2. Alba Beauty Studio 3. Spruce Nail Shop

1. Club MMA 2. Mt. Washington Taekwondo 3. Patten’s Martial Arts

1. Woodhouse Day Spa 2. Massage Envy 3. Grace + Grit

MEDI SPA

1. Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2. Transform Medspa 3. Somi Javaid, MD and Associates (HERmd)

MEN’S CLOTHING STORE 1. BlaCk OWned Outerwear 2. J.Salandino Brand 3. The Native Brand

MOTORCYCLE/ MOTORSPORTS DEALER 1. CinCity Harley-Davidson 2. Honda of Fairfield 3. Eastgate Harley-Davidson

MOVING COMPANY

1. Two Men and a Truck 2. All My Sons Moving & Storage 3. EkoMovers

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT STORE 1. Antonio Violins & Ukes 2. Willis Music 3. Buddy Roger’s Music

NEIGHBORHOOD SHOPPING DISTRICT

1. Rookwood Commons/Pavilion 2. Over-the-Rhine 3. Hyde Park Square

NURSERY/GREENHOUSE 1. Natorp’s 2. A.J. Rahn Greenhouses 3. White Oak Gardens

OBGYN

1. Seven Hills Women’s Health Centers 2. TriHealth Women’s Services 3. For Women, Inc.

 73


How to Start Smart When Shopping for the Perfect Engagement Ring With Eric Fehr, Vice President of Richter & Phillips Jewelers So, you’re thinking about getting engaged? Congratulations! That’s awesome... but, with this new life adventure comes a whole new world of diamonds and jewelry that you may not know much about. Deep breath. We got this. At Richter & Phillips Jewelers, we want to put the romance back into engagement ring shopping and truly make your experience remarkable. So, I have created a fool-proof checklist of 4 details to know before you begin shopping for an engagement ring, ensuring you create a one-of-a-kind piece that will send your partner over-the-moon with excitement!

Metal Color?

Halo or No Halo?

Stone Shape?

Yellow gold, white gold, platinum, or rose gold. Those are basically your options. This step is pretty easy. Ask them what their preference is. If it’s a total surprise, observe what color jewelry they normally wear, especially on their left hand.

Halos are those little diamonds that surround the center stone. Halos can be applied to increase how large the center stone looks. In modern designs, it is often used in an intentional, decorative manner. If your partner is unsure if they like the look, opt for a “Hidden Halo”. This new twist on a halo means the additional diamonds are delicately placed underneath the center stone, usually visible from a side view. They will love the little secret sparkle hidden below their center diamond!

This is the most important decision to make. Your center stone typically serves as the spotlight for the entire piece and will impact the rest of the silhouette. Each stone shape can create its own unique refraction, causing the light to shine differently. For example, an oval will put off a lot of sparkle, while an emerald cut will have a watery shimmer. When in doubt, round is the classic way to go!

Ring Size? The last thing you want is to pop the question with a ring that is too small for your partner’s hand! When you shop together for a ring, make sure to have a professional jeweler get their ring size. Or, you can bring in another piece of their jewelry and we can assist in an estimate. Don’t stress over this part too much. We offer free ring sizing with each engagement ring!

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The “Hidden Halo” was created by designer, Michael M. for their “Crown” Collection.

YOU DID IT! That’s it! Once you master the answer to these 4 questions, you can rest assured that the ring you create will be the one. Pop in our shop and our jewelry experts will help you design the perfect ring for your budget. We can’t wait to see you!


Thank you, Cincinnati for voting us BEST 3 years running!

Voted Cincinnati’s BEST Jeweler & BEST Place to Buy Your Engagement Ring!

Getting Cincinnati Engaged Since 1896!  75


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Improving the Quality of Financial Lives

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gecreditunion.org | 513.243.4328 | 800.542.7093 | Insured by NCUA


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OUTDOOR/OUTFITTERS SHOP

PHYSICIAN/HEALTHCARE PRACTICE

REAL ESTATE AGENT

PIERCING STUDIO

REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE

PLACE FOR A KIDS BIRTHDAY

SHOE REPAIR

PLACE FOR AN ADULTS BIRTHDAY

SKIN CARE SERVICE

PLACE TO BUY ART

SMOKE/TOBACCO SHOP

PLACE TO BUY SNEAKERS

SPORTING GOODS

PET GROOMING

PLACE TO BUY YOUR ENGAGEMENT RING

TAILOR/SEAMSTRESS

PET RESCUE/SHELTER

PLANT STORE

PET SUPPLY STORE

PLASTIC SURGERY

PHARMACY

PLUMBING COMPANY

1. REI 2. Bass Pro Shops (TIE) 2. Cabela’s (TIE) 3. Roads Rivers and Trails

PAINT STORE

1. Sherwin-Williams 2. Oakley Paint & Glass 3. Ace Hardware

PAPERGOOD STORE

1. M. Hopple & Co. 2. Handzy 3. Joseph-Beth Booksellers

PAWN SHOP

1. Ted’s Pawn Shop 2. American Trading Company 3. Classic Pawn

PET ADOPTION SERVICE

1. SPCA Cincinnati 2. Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 3. Adore-A-Bull Rescue

PET BOARDING/DAYCARE

1. Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 2. PetSuites 3. Camp Bow Bow 1. Wüf Pet Spa 2. Animal Ark Pet Resort 3. Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 1. SPCA Cincinnati 2. Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) 3. Joseph’s Legacy 1. PetSmart 2. Pet Wants OTR 3. Pet People

1. Kroger 2. Mullaney’s Pharmacy & Medical Supply 3. Meijer

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1. TriHealth 2. The Christ Hospital 3. Mercy Health Physicians

1. Skincraft Piercing & Tattoo 2. Beelistic Tattoo & Piercing 3. Designs by Dana 1. Cincinnati Museum Center 2. Dave & Buster’s 3. Beechmont Rollarena

1. MadTree Brewing Co. 2. Coppin’s at Hotel Covington 3. Chroma Vino Paint Bar + Gift Shop 1. Pendleton Art Center 2. Florence Antique Mall 3. MiCA 12/v 1. DSW 2. JackRabbit 3. Nordstrom

1. Richter & Phillips 2. Schwartz Jewelers 3. Genesis Diamonds

1. Fern 2. Natorp’s 3. White Oak Garden Center 1. Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2. The Plastic Surgery Group 3. Mangat, Holzapfel & Lied Plastic Surgery 1. Apollo Home 2. DuPont Plumbing 3. Tarvin Plumbing

1. Jordan Nicely 2. The Biggs Team 3. Keith Taylor

1. Sibcy Cline 2. Keller Williams Realty 3. Coldwell Banker Realty

1. Clarence Howell Shoe Repair 2. Lee & Hayes Shoe Services 3. Hillman’s Luggage & Shoes 1. Mandell-Brown Plastic Surgery Center 2. Alba Beauty Studio 3. Kassandra Berry Nail and Beauty Spa 1. Hemptations 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Bell’s House of Tobacco 1. Dick’s Sporting Goods 2. Koch Sporting Goods 3. Play It Again Sports 1. Janet Morris 2. Peppe Ramundo’s 3. Lisa Rumple

TANNING SALON 1. A Total Tan 2. Palm Beach Tan 3. Envy Tan

TATTOO SHOP

1. Flying Tiger Tattoo 2. White Whale Tattoo 3. Body of Art Tattoo 4. Red Dragon Tattoo & Piercing 5. Skincraft Piercing & Tattoo 6. Designs by Dana 7. Nightshade Ink 8. The Decorated Body Tattoo & Piercing Shop 9. One Shot Tattoo 10. Immortal Canvas


TAX SERVICE

1. Burke & Schindler 2. The Tax Man 3. Orcutt & Company

TEA SHOP/SELECTION

1. Churchill’s Fine Teas 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. Coffee Emporium

THRIFT SHOP

1. Valley Thrift Store 2. St. Vincent de Paul 3. Retail Therapy NKY

TIRE STORE

1. Tire Discounters 2. AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire & Service 3. Donovan’s Auto & Tire

VAPE SHOP

1. Cincy Vapors 2. Cloud 9 Vapor Lounge 3. Ground Zero Vaping

VETERINARY CARE

1. Animal Care Centers of Cincinnati 2. Mt. Pleasant Animal Hospital 3. Grady Veterinary Hospital

VINTAGE CLOTHING STORE 1. Casablanca Vintage 2. Down to Mars Vintage 3. NVISION

WEDDING CAKES

1. The BonBonerie 2. Tres Belle Cakes 3. A Spoon Fulla Sugar

TOY STORE

WEDDING DRESSES

TREE SERVICE

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE

1. King Arthur’s Court Toys 2. Coolest Toys on Earth 3. Puzzle Pieces - A Sensory Sensation 1. Back Tree Service 2. Shawnee Tree 3. Madison Tree Care and Landscaping

1. Bridal & Formal 2. Carrie Karibo Bridal Boutique 3. Lovely Bride 1. Jessica Wiggins Photography 2. Steph Keller Photography 3. Carly Sue Photography

WEDDING RECEPTION HALL

2. Drees Pavilion 3. Urban Artifact

WEDDING VENUE (INDOORS) 1. Monastery Event Center 2. Hotel Covington 3. The Transept

WEDDING VENUE (OUTDOORS) 1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2. Cincinnati Nature Center 3. Lake Lyndsay

WINE SHOP

1. Jungle Jim’s International Market 2. DEP’s Fine Wine & Spirits 3. Oakley Wines

WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORE 1. Rose & Remington 2. Golden Day Boutique 3. Sloane Boutique 4. Kismet 5. The Native One 6. Idlewild 7. Pangea 8. MEAS Active 9. Continuum 10. Leeli + Lou (TIE) 10. TMBTITWI (TIE)

1. Bell Event Centre

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BEST BUDS

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Colerain Township’s Buds is ready to meet all your flower needs — and then some. The shop is run by Donna Hoffman and Emily Bosse-Woolum, who decided to take the next step after years of creating centerpieces and bouquets at home for weddings. They wanted the ability to still function as a floral shop while they ventured out into more activities. Buds boasts a wide selection of pre-made arrangements and fresh flowers daily as well as arrangements that can be ordered to your specifications. They also offer a nice variety of houseplants. But what really sets Buds is are their DIY options. Visitors can build their own bouquets and succulent gardens, or work on larger projects for events. You can even book the space for private parties. budscincinnati.com.

BUDS :: HAILEY BOLLINGER


BEST PLACE TO BUY A HORSEDRAWN CARRIAGE

If you’re looking to live out a torrid historical romance à la Bridgerton, Grand Antique Mall has the perfect prop: a vintage horse-drawn buggy. Yes, you could purchase your very own surrey with the fringe on top. Now all you need is a corset to rip. And a steed. facebook.com/grandantiquemall.

BEST OVER-THE-RIVER EXPANSION

Adjacent Covington boutiques Handzy and Gumdrop expanded with new locations this year. The shops — the first one aimed at grown-ups and the latter at kids (and their parents) — opened storefronts in downtown Cincinnati’s Historic West Fourth district this past fall. And just like in Northern Kentucky, their Queen City Handzy and Gumdrop locations are neighbors. But, for an added twist, they’re also connected on the inside. handzyshopstudio.com; gumdroptots.com.

BEST GARAGE PLANT SHOP TURNED BRICK-AND-MORTAR

When wedding photographer Christine Funke found herself out of work and stuck at home at the start of the pandemic, she began putting her time and energy into her houseplants and realized, “I’m sure if I’m redecorating my house right now, everyone else is doing it, too,” she says. With this thought, Funke took to Instagram and began to take her collection of potted plants to the next level, selling them — social distantly — out of her home. As COVID restrictions lifted and she saw a need for people to get out and shop around, Funke flipped her home garage into Fleurish Grounds, a bright and clean pop-up storefront where customers could come browse and purchase the plants in person. The shop took off. And with support from her friend and business partner Stephanie Cable, plus the city of Madisonville, her garage shop blossomed into a permanent storefront. Fleurish still specializes in plants, but also offers a

selection of jewelry and accessories; cards and stickers; and a special Fleurish Grounds coffee blend from Urbana Cafe. fleurishgrounds.com.

BEST CABINET OF VINTAGE BOOKS

If you’re like us, there’s nothing quite as intoxicating as the smell of old books — and there’s no better place to find them than downtown’s five-story Ohio Book Store. It’s easy to get lost among the racks of classic literature, cookbooks and secondhand fiction, but wherever you wander, be sure to take a look at the glass cabinet in the middle of the first floor. It’s full of rare and wonderful tomes. And if you have some vintage books of your own you’d like to learn more about, be sure to ask about their appraisal services. The Ohio Book Store can appraise rare books, documents and other literary ephemera. ohiobookstore.net.

BEST HERBAL TINCTURE TO HELP YOU RELAX

No, we aren’t talking CBD or medical marijuana (although both of those work, too). But if you’re looking for something with more of a witchy-goddess flair, look no further than Queen City Alchemy. Emily Little first launched her line of soaps and body products as “Little Organics,” with a focus on herbal medicine, informed and filtered through her Appalachian heritage. Now, Little Organics is Queen City Alchemy, a high-end locally made holistic skincare and apothecary line featuring soaps, serums, balms, deodorants and other botanicals crafted using non-toxic, compassionate and therapeutic ingredients. Little’s Peace of Mind Anxiety Relief Extract will, as she puts it, “encourage calmness, ease tension, reduce worry and to help you chill the f*** out overall.” It comes in a glass bottle with a dropper so you can dispense the blend of passionflower, mimosa flower, kava kava and skullcap whenever you need it. queencityalchemy.com.

Shops & Services

BEST T-SHIRT SHOP WITH A MESSAGE

Khisha Asubuhi printed her first T-shirt more than a decade ago, thus launching Originalitees, her local clothing line that specializes in creating apparel boasting state, city and neighborhood pride. What started as an online operation became a brick-and-mortar last year when Asubuhi opened a storefront in Walnut Hills. Originalitees has always been dedicated to paying homage to Midwestern states and local Cincinnati staples. In 2018, Asubuhi became the first locally owned clothing brand to collaborate with the Cincinnati Reds by creating an exclusive T-shirt design for African-American community night. You may also know Originalitees for their “Cincinnati Believes Black Lives Matter” T-shirts, which benefited Beloved Community Church’s Cincinnati Bail Fund and the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance; their “Product of Public Schools” pridewear, which benefited Cincinnati Public Schools; or their “Unity within the Community Design,” which helped support the Freestore Foodbank during the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. “My vision for Originalitees has always been a community brand. Part of our mission is paving the way for others. Whether fellow Black women in business, public school graduates or community activists. We want to be a contributor to the community that has fostered our growth over the last decade,” Asubuhi says. originalitees.com.

BEST PLACE TO FIND THE NEW SILHOUETTE FOR PANTS

If Gen-Z-ers told you skinny jeans are out and you need to update your wardrobe, head to Over-the-Rhine’s Continuum. The modern concept shop carries clothing from emerging and independent designers. Here you’ll find the most up-to-date and original silhouettes and patterns. Think barrel leg, kick flare, wide knits and straight styles from designers like Paloma Wool, Simon Miller and Baserange. continuumbazaar.com.

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BEST “THIS OLD HOUSE” RESOURCE CENTER

If you own an old home and don’t know about Hyde Park Lumber, consider this the best piece of advice you’ll ever receive. This historic Cincinnati business has been around for more than a century and deals in a plethora of craftsman creations you won’t find at your average Home Depot. The showroom is filled with hard-to-find moulding, trim and antique-style doors; replica vintage and traditional doorknobs and hardware; raised paneling; and even historic-style columns. If you’re undertaking any kind of renovation, repair or restoration on a home built in the 19th or early 20th century and can’t find a new — or even antique — item to match your needs, chances are Hyde Park Lumber has it. hydeparklumber.com.

BEST HOMAGE TO CRAZY LADIES BOOKSTORE

Downbound Books fills a hole in the Northside community as an independent bookstore offering a selection of curated titles. Before returning to Cincinnati, owner Gregory Kornbluh lived on the East Coast for more than a decade where he worked as a bookseller at a shop outside Boston and later in sales and marketing for Harvard University Press. But he’s still very aware of local legacy and has dedicated a corner of his store to “Crazy Ladies, Jr.” The name pays tribute to a much-beloved feminist and LGBTQ bookstore that operated in Northside from the 1970s to the early 2000s. In the Crazy Ladies, Jr. section, readers will find political works, queer stories, books about gender identity and reproductive health and plenty of feminist titles. There’s also a section for “Crazy Kids.” downboundbooks.com.

BEST COVINGTON SHOP HELPING URBAN HOMESTEADERS GET THEIR START Sage + Garden originally launched as a plant shop, but has since evolved into a sort of eco-friendly resource aimed at “cultivating a fully sustainable communi-

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ty,” reads the website. Inside you’ll find houseplants, gardening supplies, ethically produced pet products from local Applehead City Pet, compostable bags, how-to books, make-your-own kombucha kits and even organic menstrual cups. sageandgarden.com.

BEST LOCAL ONLINE CLOTHING SWAP TO CLEAN OUT YOUR CLOSET AND GET NEW THREADS

The Sustainable Fashion Initiative is a project by students from the University of Cincinnati aimed at breaking the chain of consumerism and fast fashion. Visit @sfi_cincinnati on Instagram to learn more about their mission and upcoming meetings and events, or @sfi.swap to shop and swap clothing with other people and their closets. instagram.com/sfi_cincinnati.

BEST PLACE TO FIND KITSCHY ANTIQUES

Spring Grove Village’s Flamingo Haven Antique Mall. facebook.com/flamingohavenantiquemall.

BEST ROTATING MAKERS MARKET The first floor of Newport on the Levee’s former Barnes & Noble bookstore has been turned into The Exchange, an 11,000-square-foot storefront that houses a rotating roster of local craftspeople, makers and indie merchants. Visit the Levee’s website to see who’s selling what now. newportonthelevee.com.

BEST PLACE TO FIND A DOG STATUE FOR YOUR YARD

Milford’s Fountain Specialist is a unique shop that offers a slew of garden decor. You’ll be able to locate the storefront on the neighborhood’s main drag by the dozens upon dozens of stone figures, religious iconography, fountains and urns lining the street. They also happen to have a nice selection of dog statues (as well as bunnies, turtles, hedgehogs and other animals), so if you need a greyhound to guard your yard or Labrador to lounge in the grass, they have it. fountainspecialist.com.

BEST BELLEVUE BABY SHOP

The duo behind Bellevue’s Coda Co. boutique have opened a new storefront: Sage & Scout. Named after owners Tanner and Kelti Ziese’s fur kids (aka their dogs), the shop offers products for human babies and toddlers. And as a sister shop to Coda Co., it has the same bohemian lean with a focus on ethical and natural goods — beechwood teething toys, wool mobiles and BPA-free silicone bibs. While the Zieses say they “aren’t blessed with babies of our own just yet,” they want to foster a sense of adventure and love of the outdoors for generations to come. sagenscout.com.

BEST SHOP FOR BEGINNING WOODWORKERS

If you took up woodworking as a hobby during COVID, Woodcraft in Tri-County has everything you need to develop your skills, whether you’re just starting out or want to become a master carpenter. They offer fun project kits, like one to make your own cutting board, as well as computer-controlled carving machines, hand tools and actual slabs of wood. The friendly and educated staff are a bonus. woodcraft. com.

BEST WOMEN-LED TATTOO SHOP

Over-the-Rhine’s new appointment-only tattoo studio Lonesome Town offers retro flash vibes and three hyper-talented owners/tattooers: Jaclin Grace Hastings, Annie Bone and Emily Sites Karns. instagram.com/lonesometowntattoo.

BEST WEDDING GOWNS FOR GOOD

Sharonville atelier Renée Grace Bridal donates a percentage of every dress sale to international organizations that combat human trafficking. reneegrace.com.

BEST LEGO DEPOT

HHH Brick Depot in West Chester is a dream for LEGO fans. The shop offers new and used sets, plenty of parts and bins for little fingers to dig through to find their favorite Minifigs. facebook.com/hhhbrickdepot.


T H E N AT I V E O N E : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

BEST REMODEL OF AN OVER-THE-RHINE EATERY

Cincinnati-based clothing and home goods boutique The Native One first opened the doors of their Over-the-Rhine shop in the spring of 2018. They have since expanded, adding a second storefront in Covington in 2019. But when the opportunity presented itself to move the OTR location into the larger, shuttered Kaze restaurant space on Vine Street, Native One owner Anna Steffen says it was “everything (she’s) ever dreamed of.” The boutique has taken over — and completely remodeled — the main dining room of the former Japanese gastropub. In addition to more square footage, the space also offers an abundance of natural light and a West Coast vibe, both a perfect setting for Native One’s comfy-meets-chic offerings. thenativeone.com.

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BEST HISTORIC WOODWORKING MACHINE CO. TO TRANSFORM INTO A WEDDING VENUE

Just a short stroll from the Northside Tavern and Shake It Records is a 118-year-old building that was once home to the Parks Woodworking Machine Co., now christened simply The Factory. This wedding and event space was previously used for production purposes until the late 1980s, when it was converted into a shared artist studio space by the late Maureen Wood. Jump-cut to 2016: Sarah Thomas and Chris Pohlar — both halves of Grey Rock Property Development — set out on a three-year renovation and conversion process of the property. Dubbed as a “love letter to historic preservation,” the space is designed with modernity in mind and, like its industrial roots, minimalism. “We carefully restored the exterior to original glory via custom production and installation of cedar shake siding and trim. The modern aesthetic is carried forward in custom steel garden beds, sleek window boxes and trim, and a wall of glass doors adjoining the cascading deck,” says Thomas. “Utilizing the unique shape of the building and the existing tree canopy we have created a ‘room’ for guests to enjoy the lush courtyard that offers an intimate setting within Northside’s bustling business district.” The Factory is now booking weddings and private parties. thefactory513.com.

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T H E FA C T O RY : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

BEST PLACE TO SWEAT IT OUT

Over-the-Rhine’s Sage Yoga Hot is a health-minded millennial’s dream studio. They offer infrared-heated vinyasa, yin and power yoga classes in a studio adorned with plants, as well as a little boutique with eco-friendly yoga mats, chlorophyll water and CBD seltzer. sageyogahot.com.

BEST NEW HUMANE SOCIETY

Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society took over animal welfare operations for Hamilton County from the SPCA (the SPCA didn’t renew their contract), which includes overseeing the main shelter in Northside. With a no-kill mission, they are focused on “The Five Freedoms” for each animal. cincinnatianimalcare.org.


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BEST NEW SHOPPING TREND BY HANNAH GWYNNE The joke is that Cincinnati is always 10 years behind the times, but with the launch of three new zero-waste boutiques, this sustainable lifestyle movement is infiltrating the Queen City. According to CNBC, the first American zero-waste grocery store opened in Austin, Texas in 2012. The idea behind these refilleries is to prevent waste by encouraging consumers to bring

in their own containers, jars and bottles, fill them up with the necessary products and reuse them again and again. This reduces packaging waste like plastic, cardboard and shopping bags. And by using their own personal sustainability journeys as a starting point, the owners of the three new stores in Cincinnati aim to educate, inspire and motivate the public to go greener in their everyday lives. Cincinnati may be new to the game, but these shops are making it easier than ever to start cutting back on waste.

F I L L M O R E WA S T E L E S S : : P R O V I D E D B Y F I L L M O R E WA S T E L E S S

FILL MORE WASTE LESS

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4305 Whetsel Ave., Madisonville, fillmorewasteless.com Gabrielle Lauren, owner of Fill More Waste Less in Madisonville, has dedicated the last four years of her life to educating herself and others about zero-waste living. Her interest in the lifestyle began in 2017 when she was working as a nurse; it snowballed into a full-time job as she began creating resources for others who shared similar interests and values. She launched Fill More Waste Less in 2019 and began operating pop-up shops around the city, spreading the word about zerowaste living both in-person and on her blog. Despite working as a full-time nurse at the time she first started to become passionate about the movement, she cut back her hours to pursue these new goals. “I found that it fueled some passion within me and a purpose, as well,” she says. Along with a selection of plastic-free items like wooden brushes, reusable baggies and even compostable vegan floss, Fill More Waste Less offers a refillery — both in-store and online — that sells shampoo, body wash, dish soap, lotion and more. Customers can bring in any clean container to fill (or refill) with a product, or they can purchase one at the shop. The goal is to help eliminate single-use plastic bottles. One of the first products that Lauren replaced in her own life was paper towels. Instead, she uses reusable cotton towels. “That will cut down on your waste instantly,” she says. “I hope to bring awareness to the sustainability space because I feel like it’s not validated in a lot of circles,” Lauren says. “I think when things aren’t validated, it often comes from a lack of education. I am hoping to bring that awareness, education and resources to as many people as we can who are open and receptive to the cause.”


S I M P LY Z E R O : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

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318 W. Fourth St., Downtown, kokotheshop.com Adria Hall and Jamie Fairman are not new to the sustainability scene. In fact, Cincinnati’s Koko — and its sister plant shop Forage, located just next door — in the Historic West Fourth district is the duo’s fourth shop across the country. Dedicated to selling the sustainable products Hall and Fairman love to use, Koko has locations in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Denver, Colorado; and Columbus, Ohio. And Hall says they knew Cincinnati was the perfect place to continue their expansion. “Jamie and I both went to the University of Kentucky and several of our best friends lived in Cincinnati,” she says. “It’s our home away from home. When the opportunity presented itself to be a part of this neighborhood, we couldn’t resist.” Another motivating factor for opening in the Queen City was their desire to continue educating people across the Midwest about sustainability. “These resources are more widely found on the coasts or bigger cities,” Hall says, “so it was important for us to bring some of these resources to the middle of the country.” The heart of Koko is its refillery, which offers everything from shampoo to laundry detergent. Additionally, the shop sells other sustainable items like metal straws and bamboo cutlery sets as well as personal care products that align with Koko’s standards of packaging and ingredient quality. “The most important thing that we do at Koko is show people what’s available, teach them how to use it (and) give them the resources, the options and the information and allow them to make decisions based on what their needs are,” Hall says.

1235 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, simplyzero.co With a Master’s degree in environmental conservation, Rachel Felous, owner of Simply Zero in Over-the-Rhine, spent 12 years working in sustainability before she aligned her everyday life with her work life. Her first step was bringing mason jars to her favorite coffee shops instead of using disposable cups and carrying reusable bags to the grocery store to cut back on plastic waste. Although she is from Cincinnati, Felous has lived in Los Angeles, London and other big cities around the world. And when Simply Zero was still a burgeoning concept, she was torn between opening up shop in her hometown or launching her business elsewhere, like in L.A. “At the end of the day, bringing awareness to things like protecting our environment and sustainable living here in Cincinnati was a much more powerful move than going to a place like Los Angeles, where their communities are much more aware of the lifestyle,” she says. Simply Zero began as an educational platform and blog that grew into a brick-and-mortar refillery that opened on Vine Street in December. “It really came as a realization that here in Cincinnati, there wasn’t any ‘one-stop-shop’ to find these products,” she says. Instead of referring people to different websites where they could purchase waste-free products, Felous decided it was time to sell her own and build a community. Her biggest piece of advice to sustainability newcomers: Don’t dive in too deep. Take baby steps. She made sure to use what she had around the house before investing in more environmentally friendly options. As she ran out of certain items, she would replace them with zero-waste ones. Slowly, her collection has grown over the years. “I think making small changes over time gets you into the mindset that this is a lifestyle choice, not a short-term choice,” Felous says, “because living zero-waste is certainly a lifestyle. It’s not something that we achieve in a week or a year. It’s really an everyday practice.”

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NEW BAR

1. Green House Bar 2. Ghost Baby 3. e|19 4. Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge 5. Lost & Found 6. Wiseguy Lounge 7. Nomad 8. Saeso 9. Dug Out Bar 10. Homemaker’s Bar

OVERALL BAR/CLUB (NOT BREWERY/TAPROOM) 1. Hoppin’ Vines 2. Northside Yacht Club 3. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 4. Higher Gravity 5. Longfellow 6. Below Zero Lounge 7. Queen City Radio 8. rhinehaus 9. MOTR Pub 10. The Belle & The Bear

BAR/CLUB (DOWNTOWN/OTR) 1.. Below Zero Lounge 2. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3. 16-Bit Bar+Arcade

BAR/CLUB (NORTHERN KENTUCKY) 1. Crazy Fox Saloon 2. Southgate House Revival 3. Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar

BAR/CLUB (CENTRAL) 1. Northside Yacht Club 2. Tillie’s Lounge 3. The Comet

BAR/CLUB (EAST SIDE) 1. Streetside Brewery 2. Latitude’s Bar & Bistro 3. Mount Lookout Tavern

BAR/CLUB (WEST SIDE)

1. Knotty Pine Rock Club & Tiki Bar 2. The Crow’s Nest 3. Blue Note Harrison

BAR/CLUB (BURBS) 1. Village Tavern

2. The Monkey Bar & Grille 3. March First Brewing

BAR/CLUB FOR LIVE MUSIC (LOCAL BANDS) 1. MOTR Pub 2. Arnold’s Bar and Grill 3. Southgate House Revival

BAR/CLUB FOR LIVE MUSIC (NATIONAL ACTS) 1. Bogart’s 2. Southgate House Revival 3. Madison Theater

BOURBON COCKTAIL

1. Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar 2. Longfellow 3. Japp’s

BOURBON SELECTION (BAR) 1. Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar 2. Longfellow’s Other Room 3. Wiseguy Lounge

BOURBON SELECTION (RETAIL) 1. The Party Source 2. Jungle Jim’s International Market 3. DEP’s Fine Wine and Spirits

BAR/CLUB STAFF

BOWLING ALLEY

BARTENDER (FEMALE)

CASINO

1. Below Zero Lounge 2. Northside Yacht Club 3. Longfellow 1. Molly Wellmann (Japp’s) 2. Valerie Diehl (Northside Yacht Club; Lost & Found) 3. Ceris Christopher (The Belle & The Bear)

BARTENDER (MALE)

1. Patrick Carnes (Tillie’s Lounge) 2. Alex Meece (Mellow Mushroom) 3. Zeque Walker (Northside Yacht Club)

BEER SELECTION (BOTTLES & CANS) 1. The Comet 2. Higher Gravity 3. 16-Bit Bar+Arcade

BEER SELECTION (DRAFT) 1. rhinehaus 2. Yard House 3. Hoppin’ Vines

BLOODY MARY

1. Northside Yacht Club 2. Crazy Fox Saloon 3. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar 4. The Eagle 5. S.W. Clyborne Co. Provisions & Spirits 6. Streetside Brewery 7. Dead Low Brewing 8. Nation Kitchen & Bar 9. Hang Over Easy 10. Taste of Belgium

1. Madison Bowl 2. S&S Western Bowl 3. Stones Lanes 1. Miami Valley Gaming 2. Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati 3. Belterra Casino Resort

CELTIC/BRITISH PUB

1. O’Malley’s in the Alley 2. Molly Malone’s Covington 3. Nicholson’s Pub

CLUB/PARTY DJ 1. DJ Björg 2. DJ NV Reckless 3. DJ Airborne

COCKTAIL BAR/LOUNGE 1. Tillie’s Lounge 2. Longfellow 3. Japp’s

COLLEGE-CROWD BAR

1. 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 2. Murphy’s Pub 3. Mac’s Pizza Pub (Clifton Heights)

COMEDY CLUB

1. Go Bananas Comedy Club 2. Liberty Funny Bone 3. Urban Artifact

CONCERT VENUE

1. Riverbend Music Center

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2. Bogart’s 3. Southgate House Revival

DANCE CLUB

1. Below Zero Lounge 2. Tokyo Kitty 3. The Birdcage

DRAG QUEEN

1. Penny Tration 2. Harlee Rainz 3. Sarah Jessica Darker

ESCAPE ROOM

1. Breakout 2. The Escape Game 3. Houdini’s Room Escape

1. Below Zero Lounge 2. Old Street Saloon 3. The Birdcage

LOCAL BAND (COVERS) 1. The Rusty Griswolds 2. The Naked Karate Girls 3. DV8

LOCAL BAND (ORIGINALS) 1. Over the Rhine (TIE) 1. Foxy Shazam (TIE) 2. 500 Miles to Memphis 3. The Cliftones

LOCAL BREWERY

1. Ché 2. Delicio Coal Fired Pizza 3. Knockback Nat’s

1. Rhinegeist 2. March First Brewing 3. Urban Artifact 4. Streetside Brewery 5. MadTree Brewing Co. 6. Sons Of Toil Brewing 7. Dead Low Brewing 8. West Side Brewing 9. Braxton Brewing Company 10. Brink Brewing Co.

HARD CIDER

LOCAL DISTILLERY

HARD SELTZER/SPARKLING SPIRIT

LOCAL MUSIC PROMOTER

HOTEL BAR

LOCAL MUSICIAN

JUKEBOX

LOCAL TAPROOM

HAPPY HOUR (DRINKS) 1. Northside Yacht Club 2. Hoppin’ Vines 3. Streetside Brewery

HAPPY HOUR (FOOD)

1. Karrikin Spirits Co. 2. Rhinegeist 3. March First Brewing 1. Karrikin Spirits Co. 2. March First Brewing 3. VIVE (Braxton Brewing Company) 1. The Bar at Palm Court 2. Coppin’s at Hotel Covington 3. Metropole at 21c 1. Crazy Fox Saloon 2. The Comet 3. Anchor Grill

KARAOKE

1. Tokyo Kitty 2. Old Street Saloon 3. Northside Yacht Club

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LGBTQ+ BAR

1. New Riff Distilling 2. Karrikin Spirits Co. 3. Cincinnati Distilling

1. Leroy Ellington Productions 2. Dan McCabe/Chris Schadler 3. Nederlander Entertainment 1. Lauren Eylise 2. Arlo McKinley 3. Jake Speed

1. MadTree Brewing Co. 2. Streetside Brewery 3. Rhinegeist 4. March First Brewing 5. Urban Artifact 6. Sons of Toil Brewing 7. Dead Low Brewing 8. Braxton Brewing Company

9. Nine Giant Brewing 10. Fretboard Brewing Company

LOCAL WINERY

1. Revel OTR Urban Winery 2. The Skeleton Root 3. Vinoklet Winery 4. Valley Vineyards 5. Henke Winery 6. Indian Spring Winery 7. Elk Creek Vineyards 8. Harmony Hill Vineyards 9. StoneBrook Winery 10. Burnet Ridge

MARGARITA

1. Bakersfield 2. Nada 3. El Rancho Grande 4. Cactus Pear 5. Taqueria Mercado 6. El Coyote 7. TAHONA Bar + Kitchen 8. Condado Tacos 9. e|19 10. Jefferson Social

MARTINI

1. Below Zero Lounge 2. Japp’s 3. Longfellow

MUSIC FESTIVAL/EVENT 1. Bunbury Music Festival 2. Cincinnati Pride 3. Overcast Hip-Hop Festival

NO-FRILLS WATERING HOLE 1. Northside Tavern 2. rhinehaus 3. The Belle & The Bear

OPEN MIC NIGHT 1. MOTR Pub 2. Urban Artifact 3. Stanley’s Pub

PLACE TO DRINK WHILE YOU WAIT FOR A TABLE 1. Taft’s Ale House 2. Longfellow 3. The Lackman


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PLACE TO PLAY GAMES

1. 16-Bit Bar+Arcade 2. Hoppin’ Vines 3. Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition

PLACE TO SHOOT POOL

Best of Cincinnati

1. The Comet 2. Mainstrasse Village Pub 3. Animations

PLACE TO THROW DARTS 1. Murphy’s Pub 2. Hap’s Irish Pub 3. Knockback Nat’s

ROOFTOP BAR

1. Rhinegeist 2. Braxton Brewing Company 3. Top of the Park 4. Bishop’s Quarter Bar 5. 21c Cocktail Terrace 6. City View Tavern 7. The View at Shires’ Garden 8. Pins Mechanical Company 9. AC Upper Deck 10. The Blind Pig

SPORTS BAR

1. The Holy Grail 2. Knockback Nat’s 3. rhinehaus

TRIVIA NIGHT

1. Northside Yacht Club 2. March First Brewing 3. rhinehaus

WINE BAR

1. Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant 2. Hoppin Vines 3. Unwind Wine Bar & Light Fare

CARRIE KARIBO THANKS YOU!  97


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Agave & Rye | Anderson Pub & Grill | Anderson Township Pub | Barleycorn’s | Big Bull Burger Bar | Blondie’s Sports Bar & Grill | Brown Dog Cafe | Bru Burger Bar | Bucketheads | Buffalo Wings & Rings | Butler’s Pantry | BurgerFi | Cafe 1883 | Camp Washington Chili | Champions Grille | Chandler’s Burger Bistro | Chicken on the Run | Cin-Ci-Que | Cin City Sea & Steak | Clubhouse Sports Grille | Copper Blue | Coppin’s | Craft Burger Bros | deSha’s | Drakes | Dunlap Cafe | Eric’s Bay View Grill | Flipside Liberty | Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers | Frenchie Fresh | Frisch’s | Game On | Gold Star | Goose and Elder | Grandview Tavern | Hangry Omar’s | HangOver Easy | HighGrain Brewing | House of Orange | Jack Brown’s | JTAPS Sports Bar & Grill | Keystone Bar & Grill | Kitchen 1883 | LALO | L’Burg Drinks & More | Libby’s Southern Comfort | LouVino | Lucky Dog Grill | Ludlow Garage | Mac Shack | Macaron Bar | Mackenzie River | Mecklenburg Gardens | Mita’s | Moerlein Lager House | Nation Kitchen and Bar | Nicholson’s Tavern & Pub | Oakley Pub & Grill | Oasis Craft Burgers & Brews | OTR Chili | Overlook Kitchen + Bar | Press on Monmouth | Revolution Rotisserie | Rich’s Proper | Rick’s Tavern & Grille | RJ Cinema Distillery & Taproom | Salazar | Sammy’s Craft Burgers and Beer | Sinner’s & Saints | Slatt’s Pub | Smokey Bones | Street City Pub | Skally’s | The Birch in Terrace Park | The Establishment | The Pub | The Sandbar | The Turf Club | The Ugly Goat Social Club | Tres Belle Cakes | Trio Bistro | Wayback of West Chester

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BEST LI’L SEBASTIAN THAT ISN’T A MINI HORSE

Plenty of breweries offer growlers to-go so folks can take home their favorite beers to enjoy until their next visit. But Walnut Hills’ Esoteric Brewing decided to go bigger by offering mini pony kegs. Delightfully dubbed “The Li’l Sebastian” (a nod to the beloved star on hit sitcom Parks and Recreation), this two-gallon keg holds 16 pints worth of whatever fresh, carbonated Esoteric beer you select. You can even order online. esotericbrewing.com.

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ESOTERIC BREWING :: HAILEY BOLLINGER


BEST PLACE TO PARTY LIKE IT’S SUNDAY

The team behind Cincinnati’s monthly Sunday Tea Dances opened an LGBTQ+ nightclub called e|19 near Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine, so you can party like it’s Sunday all week long. e19bar.com.

BEST BOOZY HAND SANITIZER

When the general public heard the word “pandemic,” they started hoarding toilet paper, guns and hand sanitizer, prompting a nationwide shortage of at least two out of those three. So people got creative. And when the Centers for Disease Control said, “If you’re going to make your own sanitizer, you need to make sure it uses at least 60% alcohol spirits,” distilleries thought: “We can do that.” So thanks New Riff, Brain Brew, Northside Distilling, Karrikin and Northern Row for making hand sanitizer for first responders, health care workers and general humans.

BEST INADVERTENT PATIO MOVIE SING-ALONGS

Have you ever danced in the rain while David Bowie sings the end credits of The Labyrinth, 1986’s finest film? This past summer, East Walnut Hills bar Nightdrop transformed its outdoor parking lot into a drive-in cinema of sorts, minus the cars. Classic and cult movies were streamed outside and bartender Giacomo Ciminello crafted a slew of themed cocktails. He also dressed up as Bowie’s Goblin King for the aforementioned screening, complete with a codpiece and mullet wig. facebook.com/nightdrop.

BEST BOOK ABOUT CINCINNATI’S MUSIC HISTORY TO COME ALONG IN 2020 David Bottoms’ long-in-the-works 550page Stacks of Wax: The Complete Story of the Record Labels of Cincinnati, Ohio.

BEST MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL TO WIN A GRAMMY FOR HIS WORK ON TAYLOR SWIFT’S “FOLKLORE”

BEST SWIFT GIFT

In support of her surprise album folklore, Taylor Swift sent off signed CDs to independent record stores across the country. News began spreading on social media that various stores, including Shake It Records in Northside, had gotten their hands on this precious Taylor treasure. The folks at Shake It shared a photo of signed copies of her record-breaking eighth studio record — her first Indie Rock-sounding entry, co-produced by frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff and The National’s (and hometown hero) Aaron Dessner. As per Shake It’s tweet, “No holds, locals-only and just one per customer. Thanks, Taylor for your love of indie shops!” The records obviously sold out the same day. (But she sent more right before the holidays.) The super sweet gesture is par for the course for the ever-generous Swift, who, in April, made an undisclosed donation to support every full-time staffer at Nashville’s premier independent record store, Grimey’s, which was forced to close during the pandemic. shakeitrecords.com.

BEST PLACE FOR A CASUAL GATHERING IF YOU DON’T HAVE A BACKYARD

Long-anticipated outdoor hangout Covington Yard opened this fall, offering a small community of repurposed shipping containers housing local restaurants like Django Western Taco, Mr. Bulgogi and Yard Bird, plus a bar. The containers surround a greenspace — a blend of AstroTurf-like lawn and decking — with plenty of seating, string lights and even TVs; like an upgraded backyard barbecue. The dog-friendly and kid-friendly space goes 21-and-up after 10 p.m. covingtonyard.com.

BEST WORST NAME FOR A PUMPKIN-FLAVORED BEER

Blumpkin, the seasonal black pumpkin ale from Bellevue’s Darkness Brewing. (If you don’t know what it means, don’t Google it.) facebook.com/darknessbrewing.

BEST BASIC PUMPKIN SPICE IN A CAN

Braxton Brewing Co. took the PSL trend a step further this fall by introducing VIVE Pumpkin Spice Hard Seltzer. The bubbly beverage contains only 100 calories and 2 grams of carbs, but packs plenty of cinnamon and spice into its slim-can design. viveseltzer.com.

BEST HOLIDAY BAR POP-UP TO WEAR YOUR WORST UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER

Overlook Lodge’s holiday bar pop-up Miracle returned in November, gracing us once again with a festively immersive yuletide celebration, and boasting a socially distant spin. The all-inclusive and ticketed event offered two themed cocktails and one shot per guest for a one-hour duration. Drink names and glassware were kitschy and festive and included the Bad Santa, with mulled red wine served in a winking-Santa mug, and the Christmas Carol Barrel, with tequila, coffee liquor, dry Curacao and spiced chocolate in a holiday Tiki cup. Artificial trees acted as dividers between groups and the decor looked like a craft corner barfed up wrapping paper, tinsel and colored lights all over the interior... in the best way possible. thatshiningbar.com.

BEST REPURPOSED GAS STATION

The team behind popular Covington dining and drinking destinations Otto’s, Frida 602 and Larry’s opened The Standard this past summer, breathing new life into a historic corner garage and filling station. The Standard’s eclectic food menu features bright and playful flavors, mimicking the bar’s colorful decor (the front door is hot pink), and popular cocktails like the U-Haul and Hot Rod are on-brand with the establishment’s overall theme. Guests can hang out inside or sit outside under the station’s former car canopies. Large garage doors open to make a seamless transition between both environments. facebook.com/thestandardcov.

Aaron Dessner.

Music & Nightlife

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BEST SOCIALLY DISTANT CONCERT ON WHEELS While many musicians moved to online platforms during the pandemic to share their music, a Northern Kentucky music teacher opted for something different. Bryan McCartney, a Bellevue resident with a studio in the neighborhood, kicked off his Trunk Bed Sing-Along Tour in March 2020 to bring music to those stuck in lockdown. Folks could sign up for a specific time and day for McCartney to come and perform three songs outside of their home. He packed his piano onto the truck bed and sent flyers and lyric sheets to whoever reserved a spot; anyone and everyone was invited to break out their own instruments to play along from their front porches. heartseed.net.

BEST GIFT TO NORTHERN KENTUCKY’S THE LODGE RECORDING STUDIO

You’re most likely familiar with Rock star Jack White from his leading role in bands The White Stripes and The Raconteurs. And while his musical career may be what introduced you to the man of many talents, you’ll be pleased to discover (if you haven’t already) that he’s also a master upholsterer. One of White’s 2020 projects — under the moniker Third Man Upholstery — was a vintage masonic bench, which he restored as a gift to Johnny Wirick’s Masonic Sounds Studio inside of Dayton, Kentucky’s The Lodge, a century-old Masonic Lodge that has been renovated into a bustling arts hub over the past decade. Wirick, a Punk Blues Rock guitarist who also goes by the name Johnny Walker, met White while playing in dive clubs throughout Toledo and Detroit. According to Wirick, the Masonic bench was a surprise over a year in the making and one of its most unique features is the fact that White installed an actual guitar amplifier inside the seat. White named the bench “My Sonic Temple.” “So I can sit on it and go on crazy psychedelic guitar trips,” Wirick says. “There is enough room on it for three friends to go along with me.” thelodgeky.com.

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BEST PETITE PENDLETON COCKTAIL ESCAPE

If you’re looking for an otherworldly escape without leaving the city, or a cocktail menu that takes the work out of ordering, Saeso might just be your new neighborhood bar. Designed by duo Christy Wulfson and Michael Guilfoil, the bar is adjacent to their other project The Carriage House, a posh Pendleton Airbnb just off 13th Street. With a straightforward and simple drink menu, 12 seats at the bar and a terracotta glow, Saeso is equal parts familiar and foreign, reminiscent of many places all at once. “Everyone who walks in here (says) it reminds them of somewhere they’ve been, and no one ever says the same place; Argentina, Mexico City, Lisbon, Rome, all across the globe,” Wulfson says. barsaeso.com.

BEST VERY SPECIFIC HAPPY HOUR GIMMICK

Spring Grove Village’s Taft’s Brewpourium has decided to embrace its proximity to a railroad track by inviting patrons to participate in a rather unique weekly drink special. During Train Tuesdays, guests can enjoy half-priced beer pints when a locomotive goes by. So when you hear the rumble approach, “chuga chuga” your drink and head to the bar to snag a new brew. taftsbeer.com.

BEST WUSSY BENEFIT CONCERT

Wussy pedal steel guitarist John Erhardt died in May 2020, with vocalist Chuck Cleaver posting to the band’s Facebook page: “John gave us a beauty that we’ll never see again. A combination of love, friendship, stability and that amazing swirling sound. Truly a wonder. A backdrop to everything that we are, in the band and in life.” To honor Erhardt and raise money for a memorial fund in his name, Wussy’s UK label, the London-based Damnably, hosted a special stream of the band’s 2016 appearance at the Windmill Brixton. (It also helped raise funds to support the venue.) The show was free but donations to the John Erhardt Memorial Fund were encouraged to “assist organizations

whose focus is advocating for and helping individuals and their families who contend with the disease of mental illness.” wussyworld.com.

BEST MAKEOVER FOR MAINSTRASSE’S PACHINKO

After 26 years, MainStrasse’s Pachinko Bar was transformed into a chic and breezy, West Coast-inspired drinking establishment called Green House Bar. Owners Amy and Tom Fessler were inspired by a trip to California’s Venice Beach when designing the space and menu. They offer several seasonal drinks, like Amy’s Paloma and The Green House, a vodka, lemon and lavender concoction, plus classic cocktails, craft nonalcoholic beverages and a petite list of wines. In addition to sips, they also have a few light bites like pimento cheese and charcuterie. greenhousebarcov.com.

BEST JAZZY WINE BAR WITH A FOCUS ON FEMALE AND BIPOC WINEMAKERS

Cincinnati native Tammie Scott opened Nostalgia Wine & Jazz Lounge in Over-the-Rhine this summer, inspired by local 1940s Jazz clubs and her time spent in Washington, D.C. The bar promises to capture the vibe of historic Queen City establishments while supporting minority winemakers from all over the world. The menu highlights wines made by women, specifically Black women. “There are winemakers out here who look like me,” Scott says. “And typically when we think of winemakers, that’s not the first picture that might come into our heads.” Live music is another part of the Nostalgia package. Scott wants the bar and lounge to be a place where people can gather in an inclusive environment, where the focus is on enjoying wine and music with friends. nostalgiaotr.com.

BEST BOTANICAL ICE CUBES

Findlay Kitchen start-up Mixicles offers small-batch frozen mixers in ice-cube form. They are non-alcoholic, preservative-free fruit and herb concoctions that cool your


F O X Y S H A Z A M : : S C O T T B E S E L E R A N D PA U L C O O R S

BEST SOLD-OUT LOCAL REUNION CONCERT WE HOPE HAPPENS EVENTUALLY

After months of teasers, Cincinnati Rockers Foxy Shazam announced their comeback with a performance planned at the Taft Theatre in April 2020. The show sold out in just one hour. Due to the pandemic, the concert was eventually postponed to Jan. 30, 2021. And then in November, as

the virus hit another surge, the band told fans that the rescheduled show had been canceled. The circumstances were unfortunate but Foxy pledged to wait until they can perform in a safe environment for their fans. Ticketholders got refunds and the band promised “to bring Foxy to you in other ways and when the time comes we will put on the best shows you’ve ever seen and we can all freak out in a room together.” foxyshazam.com.

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cocktail (or mocktail) and flavor it as it melts. Infusions include jalapeno citrus, cucumber lime sage and lavender peach, among others. Find them online or at Spirits of Madeira, Crafts & Vines and ETC Produce & Provisions. mixicles.com.

BEST LOCAL BREWERY MAKING A BEER ALTERNATIVE THAT ISN’T HARD SELTZER

BEST NEW TIKI BAR WITH A RIVER VIEW

Kon-Tiki at Newport on the Levee’s new outdoor drinking and dining hub Bridgeview Box Park is “inspired by the Sheraton-Gibson Hotel’s Cincinnati venture of the 1960s, the Kon-Tiki, by Steve Crane.” The drinkery transports visitors to an island getaway — with an Ohio River view — offering classic tropical mixes and tiki-style cocktails at their vibrant bar. Think Mai Tais or Kentucky Hurricanes. facebook.com/kontikionthelevee.

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After changing their marquee to “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade” during the pandemic, Fifty West Brewing Company took their own advice to heart and launched 50W Hard Lemonade. As a “beyond beer” beverage, this drink uses the same brewing technique as a hard seltzer, but it’s made with Meyer lemon juice and has a sweeter taste. “It’s the most R&D we’ve ever put into a beverage. We tasted countless flavors and juice combinations until we landed on something that tasted special and we liked calling our own,” says Max Fram, vice president of Fifty West. fiftywestbrew.com.

BEST OVER-THE-TOP ALCOHOLIC MILKSHAKES

Nomad in Bellevue makes the most elaborate boozy milkshakes, featuring mason jars filled to the brim with your choice of shake (plus 3 ounces of alcohol), topped with whipped cream, flavor drizzles and assorted accouterments including marshmallows and graham cracker crumbles. facebook.com/nomadky.

BEST NEW DORA DISTRICT

Cincinnati has officially declared 85 acres around The Banks downtown a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, or DORA. A DORA means you can walk around a specific space with an alcoholic drink in hand — as long as it’s in a special designated DORA cup and you’re of drinking age. The district spans from Paul Brown Stadium to the Heritage Bank Center and to the south sidewalk of Second Street and the north sidewalk of Mehring Way. (Smale Park is not included.) The city also perma-

nently closed Freedom Way from Joe Nuxhall Way to Walnut Street. The Banks is just the latest district to join the DORA movement. Some other places you can drink while wandering? Loveland, Milford, Bellevue and Hamilton. thebankscincy.com.

BEST COVER SONG PERFORMANCE ORGANIZED BY CINCINNATI CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

As everyone went into lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital wanted to offer their patients and the greater community some happiness, so they asked a slew of Cincinnati musicians to collaborate on a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” from their respective living rooms. In the resultant YouTube video, Cincinnati Children’s says, “At Cincinnati Children’s, we know we don’t carry the burden of this tough time alone.” Local musicians who used their time and talents to make the uplifting video included Bob Nyswonger on bass, Brian Lovely on guitar, Kim Taylor on vocals, Mike Oberst on vocals and banjo, Ricky Nye on electric piano, Rob Fetters on guitar, Roger Klug on guitar and many more.

BEST BREWERY EXPANSION ACROSS THE OHIO RIVER

This summer, the ever-expanding Braxton Brewing Co. took over the 3 Points Urban Brewery taproom in Pendleton, marking the Northern Kentucky brewery’s first move into Ohio. (And probably not their last.) braxtonbrewing.com.

BEST AND ONLY CINCINNATI DRINKING DESTINATION TO MAKE “ESQUIRE” MAGAZINE’S BEST BARS IN AMERICA 2020 LIST

Over-the-Rhine’s Wodka Bar was the only one of the two dozenish bars across the country praised by Esquire in their most recent “Best Bars in America” list to be located in Cincinnati. Food & Drinks editor Jeff Gordinier wrote of the cocktail lounge, “The very existence of a bar devoted to


vodka feels like a rebuke to all the bartenders who’ve scoffed at the spirit. But this spot takes the defiance a step further, offering shots of vodka infused with (among other things) mangoes and peanut brittle.” And, of course, plenty of pierogi and other Eastern European eats. wodkabarotr.com.

BEST FIRST SOLO ALBUM

Siri Imani, a member of Cincinnati’s popular Hip Hop and community service group Triiibe, debuted her solo album Duality in September. The nine tracks offer an intimate glimpse into the yin and yang that encompass the artist’s life journey. It presents a “coming of age” song-story with some narration by Imani’s mother Jennie Wright, a nationally ranked slam poet who also goes by the name Black Budda’fly. “The vibe of Duality is directed by the ‘light and dark’ concept,” Imani says. “Exploring and understanding your darkness is just as important as understanding and embracing your light.” The album can be streamed on all major platforms. siriimani.bandcamp.com.

BEST LOCAL FRONT PORCH HAPPY HOUR MOVEMENT TO GO NATIONAL

During the pandemic, AGAR — the Over-the-Rhine creative marketing and event agency known for its work on local experiences including the Ubahn Fest, BLINK, Danger Wheel and more — invited neighbors from across the city to head to their front porches for a socially distant happy hour hang-out. Named Front Porch Pours, the event garnered more participation than anticipated, with over 5,000 people total and over 200 from locations ranging from Florida to Italy. So they decided to do a second Front Porch Pours, this time encouraging folks to invite their friends and family from across the nation. Porch Pourers could RSVP online to get a themed party kit and tag their photos across social media. theagar.com.

BEST BAR MAKING ITS OWN AMARO

This winter, Longfellow crafted and bottled their own amaro, a popular herbal digestif, for purchase and in special themed snack packs. They also began making their own line of cocktail bitters, infused with chamomile and coriander, which fans can get to-go. longfellowbar.com.

BEST ONLINE COCKTAIL CLASS WITH ITS OWN DIY KIT

Japp’s owner and mixologist Molly Wellmann began her video series 5 O’Clock Tales near the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown to continue to engage with the customers from her bar, entertain them with interesting stories and offer guidance on making stellar cocktails at home — just a few of her favorite things. It was also a way to raise some funds for her workers, business and self during the difficult time. After successfully reopening Japp’s to the public, with a socially distant layout and platform, she restarted her online cocktail class series. But this time, folks were able to stop in and pick up a cocktail ingredient kit so they could make the drink at home, right alongside Wellmann. jappsotr.com.

BEST BLEND OF INTERPRETATIVE COMPOSITION AND HISTORIC SPACES

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music alumna, Classical pianist and music professor Brianna Matzke created The Response Project in order to commission artists and composers to “respond” to existing artworks or ideas. Since its inception in 2014, the project has produced concerts, short films, art shows and interpretive dances, to name a few. These installments introduced artistic interpretations of themes such as “Something is Happening Here,” a look at Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited; the phrase “On Behalf,” inspired by Killer Mike and Stephen Colbert asking composers to write on behalf of a person, thing or idea; and the controversial composer Karlheinz

Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie 1. Debuting throughout January, the fourth iteration of The Response Project challenged five composers (Evan Williams, Tina Tallon, Nate May, Charles Peck, Jason Charney) and five visual artists (Joomi Chung, Samantha Parker Salazar, Christian Schmit, Samantha Haring, Ryan Strochinsky) to respond to late American composer Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations. The Oliveros Response Project premiered four short films and an art show that not only enacted deep listening through brand new compositions but also explored the way history and place relate to the experience. Produced by local filmmakers Biz Young, Jason Nix and Andy Gasper, the films debuted the musical responses as performed by Matzke, percussionist Chris Graham and a Classical ensemble concert:nova. But it wasn’t just a concert series. Four beloved and historical Cincinnati buildings were chosen to house the performances featured in the films. Acoustics and historical significance were among factors considered in the selection process, which boiled down to performances taking place in The Imperial Theatre Mohawk, the Kauffman Brewery tunnels, the King Records building and the Emery Theatre. theresponseproject.org.

BEST BEER COLLABORATION TO FOSTER INCLUSION IN THE INDUSTRY AND RAISE AWARENESS OF SOCIAL AND RACIAL INJUSTICE

This summer, Weathered Souls Brewing Co., a Black-owned brewery based out of San Antonio, Texas, invited brewers nationwide to participate in its Black is Beautiful campaign to foster inclusion and raise awareness of social and racial injustice. They shared their base imperial stout recipe with craft brewers across the country and encouraged them to give it their own unique spin. (They also provided free Black is Beautiful label artwork.) Weathered Souls got a response from more than 900 breweries across the country, including Rhinegeist Brewery,

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PERFORMS TRIBUTE TO NO DOUBT AND RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS Fri Jan 10 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 12 7pm @ The Southgate House Revival MUSIC OF ELTON JOHN AND BILLY JOEL Sat Jan 11 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 12 4pm @ The Southgate House Revival MUSIC OF JIMI HENDRIX Fri Jan 17 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 19 4pm @ Northside Tavern 21ST CENTURY ROCK REVIVAL Sat Jan 18 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 19 7pm @ Northside Tavern ROCK ‘N’ GROHL: TRIBUTE TO DAVE GROHL Fri Jan 24 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 26 4pm @ The Woodward Theater MUSIC OF FLEETWOOD MAC Sat Jan 25 7:30pm @ The Sonic Boom Room Sun Jan 26 7pm @ The Woodward Theater ARENA ROCK (Adult Performance Program) Sat Feb 15 8pm @ MVP Sports Bar & Grille

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Listermann Brewing Company, Samuel Adams Cincinnati, Northern Row Brewery & Distillery and Streetside Brewery. But the campaign was more than just a way to sell beer. Weathered Souls asked participating breweries to donate 100% of the beer’s proceeds to local foundations that support police reform and legal defense for victims of police brutality or organizations that support equality and inclusion. blackisbeautiful.beer.

BEST BEER COLLABORATION TO USE TURKISH COFFEE

Cincinnati’s beloved Turkish coffee pop-up Rüya teamed up with Over-the-Rhine brewery Rhinegeist on a limited-edition brew, just in time for Halloween. Ghost Dreams, a stout made with Rüya coffee and cardamom, brought together the two cultures — “geist” means “ghost” in German and “ruya” means “dreams” in Turkish. Described as “Dark as Hell, Strong as Death, Sweet as Love,” the beer was available on tap. rhinegeist.com; ruyacoffee.com.

BEST BREWERY THAT HOSTS ITS OWN FARMERS MARKET

Mt. Healthy’s Fibonacci Brewing Company — which turned five this summer — offers more than just a taproom. In fact, their campus houses two taprooms along with an expansive outdoor beer garden and urban farm filled with plenty of friendly chicken and goats. (If you’re looking for a getaway, they rent out two rooms in their farmhouse as Airbnbs.) The locally-focused nanobrewery blends science and nature in its line of hybrid beer and also produces its own wine, both of which are available on-site, via a new drive-thru window or delivery. But what really sets Fibonacci apart is their seasonal monthly farmers market to help with food insecurity in Mt. Healthy. In addition to the farmers market, and two new little free libraries they just added, each month they also select an organization to get 10% of all Oberhausen Kolsch pint sales via their Fib Funds charitable giving campaign. fibbrew.com.

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BEST FUNKY COCKTAIL KITS YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME — WITH A PLAYLIST TO BOOT

Over-the-Rhine bar Lost & Found celebrated its one-year anniversary during the pandemic, so they put the in-person festivities on hold while coming up with a creative way to bring the party to the people. After releasing some teasers leading up to the big reveal, Lost & Found announced their new Booze Boxes, which offer a way for loyal patrons to enjoy craft cocktails, bites, art and groovy jams from the comfort of their own homes. The boxes include three or four two-serving pre-mixed cocktails, a paired snack, a Lost & Found zine with curated playlist and cocktail commentary and plenty of funky stickers. The concept was so popular, the bar expanded its Booze Box offerings beyond its anniversary celebration with additional themes and the option to build your own. lostandfoundotr.com.

BEST THEMED OUTDOOR PATIO

This summer, Over-the-Rhine’s HomeMakers Bar opened a new outdoor pop-up on the corner of Jackson and 13th streets called HomeMakers Outpost to welcome guests back and celebrate the bar’s one-year-anniversary. The Outpost featured a vintage Airstream trailer, handcrafted cocktails inspired by the 1968 sci-fi cult classic Barbarella and tunes from Cincinnati Music Accelerator. Then in the fall, HomeMakers welcomed a different kind of bev bar on wheels via a collaboration with Fifty West’s WV beer bus. They started serving fall cocktails and comforting new menu additions themed around the season. And in the winter they installed decorated igloos and heaters. homemakersbar.com.

BEST GROOVY SUBURBAN BREWERY

“LIVE LIFE. DO GOOD. DRINK BEER.” is the mantra of Sharonville’s Third Eye Brewing. Walk into the brewery — located in the neighborhood’s Northern Lights District — and you’ll encounter a vibrant and whimsical atmosphere, with a colorful

and slightly psychedelic mural by David Jonathan Uy serving as the centerpiece of the bar. The space blurs the line between the inside and out with a giant covered patio and indoor/outdoor bar seating. The creative design goes hand in hand with their unique hippie-named brews, including Jelly Brain, a milkshake IPA with pineapple and coconut; Higher Consciousness, a Scottish wee heavy; and Hop Shockra, a West Coast double IPA. In addition to its groovy vibe, Third Eye Brewing lives its motto with a commitment to collaborate with local organizations and charities to give back to the community. thirdeyebrewingco.com.

BEST OVER-THE-RHINE CRAFT BEER AND BOTTLE SHOP

Standard Beer, a bottle shop and taproom that opened in Over-the-Rhine just before the pandemic, offers a curated selection of craft beer — unique brews like lambics, Oude Gueze, wild ales, saisons and grisettes — on a local, national and international level. While it is a carry-out spot, Standard also offers 16 constantly rotating taps for on-site pours, as well as wine, cider and seltzer. facebook.com/standardotr.

BEST WAY TO TURN AMERICA’S LARGEST OKTOBERFEST INTO A SOCIALLY DISTANT CELEBRATION

Oktoberfest Zinzinnati — America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration — called off its giant in-person party and transferred things online to host Oktoberfest Zinzinnati “In Za Haus” so people could still prost during the pandemic. The initiative enabled Oktoberfest lovers to get their German on safely at home by ordering do-it-yourself Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Zelebration Packs full of branded yard signs, beer cups, themed hats, suspenders and an official playlist. Smaller bars across the region also participated by hosting mini events from Sept. 18-27. Polka bands popped-up around the city and favorite and famous traditions still went ahead, from the Running of the Wieners to the World’s Largest Chicken Dance. oktoberfestzinzinnati.com.


M A D I S O N T H E AT E R : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

BEST USE OF A THEATER MARQUEE DURING A PANDEMIC

Covington’s Madison Theater and its “Wash your hands y’all” sign… because you should wash your hands, y’all. madisontheater.com.

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OVER THE RHINE :: KYLIE WILKERSON

BEST SURPRISE CHRISTMAS CONCERT LIVESTREAM

Cincinnati favorite Folk duo Over the Rhine had to cancel their annual and much-anticipated Christmas tour this year due to COVID-19. But instead of a dark, music-less holiday, Over the Rhine offered a special streaming Christmas concert and “tour” from Nowhere Else, their 20-acre Clinton County farm. The “tour” — featuring tunes from albums Darkest Night of the Year, Snow Angels and Blood Oranges In The Snow — took place around their property and was filmed by a small crew and sound engineer. “Whatever we capture, we’ll sew it all together into a warm, musical quilt. Something you can wrap yourself in,” said Over the Rhine’s Linford Detweiler. Proceeds from streaming tickets sales went to support the band and were matched to help complete the farm’s unfinished barn venue. overtherhine.com.

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BEST BOURBON OFFERING RELIEF TO RESTAURANT WORKERS

New Riff Distilling released almost 900 bottles of a 15-year-old straight bourbon whiskey in order to raise funds for the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund and The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. They sold out in minutes. “We sprung this extremely limited bottling from our warehouse to support the bar and restaurant community that has supported us from the start,” said Hannah Lowen, New Riff VP of operations/GM. “This is how we can raise a glass — and funds — for our embattled friends.” newriffdistilling.com.


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BEST USE OF OHIO’S CARRY-OUT COCKTAIL LAW BY KATIE GRIFFITH

LOST & FOUND :: HAILEY BOLLINGER

Early in the pandemic, a slew of COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions threatened the livelihood of local bars and restaurants. But April 2020 saw an opportunity for financial and operational relief when the Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule allowing the sale and delivery of to-go alcohol. The rule was set to last 120 days until the Business Expansion and Safety Act was signed into law in October. The law made permanent the ability for bars, restaurants, breweries and wineries (and certain-sized distilleries) to sell takeout drinks in a sealed container for consumption off-premises. It also allowed establishments to sell alcohol in their parking lots or adjacent outdoor areas, which led to the swift popularization of “streateries” and “parklets.” Capitalizing on the law, these six establishments managed to navigate new business models that highlighted their distinct personalities — and changed the way they intend on operating for good.

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LONGFELLOW

1233 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine, longfellowbar.com February marked Over-the-Rhine bar Longfellow’s fourth birthday, but owner Mike Stankovich is waiting to celebrate until it can happen in person. In the meantime, the craft cocktail bar will continue to prop open its new DIY carry-out window and serve a limited number of guests with outside seating. “(The window) allowed us to have a little bit of a platform and talk to people and it felt safe because of the barrier,” he says. “And people showed up, they would just pull up and jump out of their car and grab (their order) and go on their way.” Stankovich notes an initial reluctance to change up the business model. “We could have gone into hibernation to preserve our future,” he says. But before the new carry-out law was even heard of, Longfellow was offering a voluptuous food menu and eventually began curating food boxes. Stankovich and his team are beginning to discuss what fully reopening will look like. The outside space lends itself to 11 tables, he says, and the carry-out window isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He plans to resume early pandemic, weather-permitting practices until completely reopening feels safe. He’s also looking forward to a new opportunity. Set to open this year, Oakley Kitchen Food Hall will house eight local chef-driven

food concepts. Stankovich will head the hall’s bar of rare and imported beer, cocktail specials and an extensive wine list. The Cutaway will be the kitchen’s only bar and operate as an extension of Longfellow’s spirit and staff, but with an identity of its own.

NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB

4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, northsideyachtclub.com The Northside Yacht Club is famously known for its Rock & Roll shows, wild sense of humor and peanut butter tequila shot. But without live music to lean on, co-owner Stuart MacKenzie instituted some seriously unserious — but highly successful — food-and-booze schemes that he says largely wouldn’t have been possible without the new law. “We try and give people experiences to keep their hopes up because I think we’ve all been feeling a little bleak,” he says. “So next thing you know I’m looking up roller skates for grown men’s feet on the internet.” Before this February saw the return of NSYC’s famous deep-fried cheese coneys (complete with a new coney-eating challenge), January bestowed curbside service delivered via roller-skating employees — a riff off of Sonic drive-thrus. MacKenzie also added a meat slicer to the kitchen to execute a Nihilist Arby’s pop-up. But the satirical approach doesn’t mirror the expert method of preparing the actual food. “We’ve got a pretty rockin’ carry-out business now,” MacKenzie says. “I think that is going to stay a healthy part of the (bar) that we kind of grew from nothing.” After struggling to reimagine operations that swayed from shutdowns to carry-out, and patio seating to the current limited indoor seating, the team is excited to eventually reinstitute karaoke and live music. “The mosh pits will be back,” MacKenzie says.


22 E. 14th St., Over-the-Rhine, lostandfoundotr.com Lost & Found is a cocktail bar with a trademark aesthetic and atmosphere. A distinguished splash of yellow behind some tastefully collaged, funky art sets the scene, which is typically energized by some eclectic tunes. Co-owner Camilo Otalora favors Brazilian Psych Rock from the late ’60s and early ’70s, but lately he is assembling sounds to complement whatever theme their pandemic-devised Booze Box is portraying. “The second that the carry-out laws changed is when we immediately pivoted and built our Booze Box,” Otalora says. Inspired by a bar in Seattle, Otalora and his team decided to make the carry-out box concept their own and devise a plan to be able to deliver within the I-275 loop. Updates to the website make for a very user-friendly ordering experience (click on the Booze Box tab). The box includes housemade cocktails paired with a snack. The Polynesian Pop Box is the current flavor, but there’s always a build-your-own option or an option that includes classics with a Lost & Found twist. Each box also has interactive labeling and stickers, a zine with art and staff commentary, and its own Spotify playlist. The boxes have proven to be extremely popular and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” Otalora says.

URBAN ARTIFACT

1660 Blue Rock St., Northside, artifactbeer.com These fruit and sour beer specialists had a bit more of a challenge than the average brewery facing the pandemic. Catering to a niche crowd without the ability to lean on their usual live music and events to bring people in was tough, but only at first. “For pretty much the first chunk of the pandemic it was just about surviving,” says marketing coordinator Hannah Rogers. “We mainly focused on pushing the online store as much as we could. Once we kind of got our feet under us and we had more staff on hand we decided to create a subscription service, or rather, a ‘beer club.’” Rogers says the store was a long-term goal but there was no rush to get it off the ground because taproom and retail profits were high. After the taproom closed, it didn’t take much for online ordering to

MAIZE :: HAILEY BOLLINGER

LOST & FOUND OTR

gain traction. The beer club got 300 members in its first three months of operation. The membership includes quarterly shipments offering one rare four-pack, one seasonal six-pack and three separate four-packs. The offers are customizable and, currently, those seeking new membership are being waitlisted. While the taproom and courtyard have officially reopened, online ordering and delivery will continue.

MAIZE

1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, maizeotr. com Maize pivoted quickly as changes allowed the Latin American eatery and bar to sell cocktails with its authentic dishes. Owner Louisa Reckman designed their signature labels herself, embedding QR codes that linked to Spotify playlists. “We wanted to make it fun, having a little piece of the restaurant you used to go to and bring that tropical vibe in,” she says. “We are known for being unapologetically loud, both in flavor and the music and just our atmosphere in general.”

HOMEMAKERS BAR

39 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine, homemakersbar.com. Even though owner Julia Petiprin began

HomeMakers’ bottled cocktail program pre-pandemic, it couldn’t be employed during early shutdown stages. At first they focused on food carry-out. HomeMakers leaned into dishes like mac and cheese, sandwiches and dips. The bar also marketed virtual cocktail classes that taught customers how to work with signature styles involving modern cocktails with aperitifs, digestifs and bitters. “I remember when they first said we could do it,” Petiprin says of the carry-out law. “It wasn’t permanent yet, but that was great for us.” Deep in the winter, HomeMakers attracted business through to-go food and drink, revised their website to include online ordering, published a book (HomeMaker’s Guide to Entertaining, Holiday Edition) and offered igloo reservations in their backyard “Outpost” aimed at use for patrons’ “core pods.” HomeMaker’s signature glass carry-out cocktail bottles resemble antique medicine bottles with simple labeling that reveals the ingredients. The most recent and popular release is the Clear AF Daiquiri. Petiprin says it was inspired by the process of clarifying lime juice, which makes it last longer — an obvious advantage for a to-go item. HomeMakers is currently looking into broadening the bottle program by canning some of their sparkling cocktails.

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APARTMENT COMMUNITY 1. Aqua on Levee 2. The Lofts at Shillito Place 3. One Lytle Place Apartments

BUILDER

1. Drees Homes 2. Fischer Homes 3. Urban Sites

DEVELOPER

1. 3CDC 2. Over-the-Rhine Community Housing 3. Messer Construction

BUILDING

1. Union Terminal 2. Music Hall 3. Cincinnati Art Museum

CINCINNATI NEIGHBORHOOD 1. Northside 2. Over-the-Rhine 3. Hyde Park

CINCINNATIAN 1. Fiona the Hippo 2. Brian Garry 3. Anthony Muñoz 4. Bob Herzog 5. Pete Rose 6. Molly Wellmann 7. Rose Lavelle 8. Nick Lachey 9. Drew Lachey 10. Cam Hardy

COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY

1. University of Cincinnati 2. Xavier University 3. Northern Kentucky University

CONSERVATIVE 1. John Cranley 2. Joe Deters 3. Bill Cunningham

PROGRESSIVE 1. Aftab Pureval 2. Brian Garry 3. Mike Moroski

DO GOODER

1. Matthew 25: Ministries 2. Ohio Innocence Project 3. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

FRIEND TO THE ENVIRONMENT 1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2. Great Parks of Hamilton County 3. Cincinnati Nature Center (TIE) 3. Krohn Conservatory (TIE)

JOURNALIST

1. Jessica Schmidt (WXIX) 2. Bob Herzog (WKRC) 3. Tricia Macke (WXIX) 4. Paul Daugherty (Cincinnati Enquirer) 5. John Matarese (WCPO) 6. Tana Weingartner (WVXU) 7. Kathrine Nero (Cincinnati Enquirer) 8. Nick Swartsell (WVXU) 9. Megan Mitchell (WLWT) 10. Lucy Mays (WCPO)

LOCAL ACTIVIST 1. Brian Garry 2. Jim Tarbell 3. Triiibe

LOCAL CAUSE

1. Matthew 25: Ministries 2. Freestore Foodbank 3. Maslow’s Army 4. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio 5. SPCA Cincinnati 6. Cincinnati Public Radio 7. The Friends of the Public Library 8. ArtWorks 9. ArtsWave 10. Save the Animals Foundation

LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIAL 1. Aftab Pureval 2. John Cranley 3. Denise Driehaus

LOCAL PODCAST

1. Accused 2. Art Palace 3. True Crime Historian

MBA PROGRAM

1. University of Cincinnati

2. Xavier University 3. Northern Kentucky University

NORTHERN KENTUCKY NEIGHBORHOOD 1. Covington 2. Newport 3. Bellevue

NORTHERN KENTUCKIAN 1. George Clooney 2. Nick Clooney 3. Cris Collinsworth 4. Amy McGrath 5. Jean-Robert de Cavel 6. Kathrine Nero 7. Otto M. Budig, Jr. 8. Maryanne Zeleznik 9. Tom Browning 10. Michael Monks

PARK (CITY)

1. Smale Riverfront Park 2. Eden Park 3. Ault Park

PARK (COUNTY)

1. Cincinnati Nature Center 2. Sharon Woods 3. Miami Whitewater Forest

PHILANTHROPIST 1. Anthony Muñoz 2. Bootsy Collins 3. Carl Lindner III

PLACE TO TAKE A VISITOR

1. Findlay Market 2. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 3. Jungle Jim’s International Market 4. Over-the-Rhine 5. Smale Riverfront Park 6. Cincinnati Reds Game 7. The Banks 8 Cincinnati Museum Center 9. Cincinnati Art Museum 10. Carew Tower Observation Deck

PLAYGROUND

1. Smale Riverfront Park 2. Washington Park 3. Summit Park

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PRIVATE SCHOOL

1. Cincinnati Waldorf School 2. Saint Xavier High School 4. Elder High School

PUBLIC SCHOOL

1. Walnut Hills High School 2. School for Creative and Performing Arts 3. Oak Hills High School

RADIO SHOW

1. “Jeff & Jenn” (Q102) 2. “All Things Considered” (WVXU) 3. “Cincinnati Edition” (WVXU)

RADIO STATION 1. 91.7 (WVXU) 2. 101.9 (Q102) 3. 105.1 (B105)

RADIO TALK SHOW HOST

1. Jeff, Jenn, Fritsch and Tim (Q102) 2. Natalie Jones (Q102) 3. Maryanne Zeleznik (WVXU)

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RELIGIOUS LEADER

1. Chuck Mingo (Crossroads) 2. Fr. Michael Graham (Xavier) 3. Brian Tome (Crossroads)

SCENIC OVERLOOK 1. Eden Park 2. Devou Park 3. Ault Park

SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD 1. Mariemont 2. Loveland 3. Liberty Township (TIE) 3. Wyoming (TIE)

TROUBLEMAKER 1. The Gang of Five 2. Mike Brown 3. Brian Garry

TV ANCHOR

1. Sheree Paolello (WLWT) 2. Jessica Schmidt (WXIX) 3. Bob Herzog (WKRC)

TV NEWSCAST

1. WXIX (Channel 19) 2. WLWT (Channel 5) 3. WCPO (Channel 9)

TV SPORTSCASTER

1. George Vogel (WLWT) 2. Dan Hoard (Bengals, Bearcats) 3. Joe Danneman (WXIX)

TV WEATHERCASTER

1. Frank Marzullo (WXIX) 2. Steve Horstmeyer (WXIX) 3. Randi Rico (WLWT)

WEEKEND GETAWAY (WITHIN 150 MILES) 1. Hocking Hills, Ohio 2. Red River Gorge, Kentucky 3. Yellow Springs, Ohio


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BEST CITY TO VISIT IN 2021

Surprise: You’re here. Travel + Leisure magazine puts out an annual list of the best places to travel in the coming year — generally beautiful and exotic locales from across the globe. But this year’s compilation, titled the “50 Best Places to Travel in 2021,” did something a little different as a result of the pandemic: It listed the top places to visit right here in the U.S. The collection includes destinations like the Alaskan coast, Las Vegas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and all of the National Parks, but at No. 11 (it’s alphabetical — to our benefit) is Cincinnati. The write-up calls out Music Hall, the new Kinley Hotel (and its in-house eatery Khora), Please, Goose & Elder, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Art Museum, along with its new Art Climb.

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C I N C I N N AT I : : F R A N C I S C O H U E RTA


BEST WORST CINCINNATI CITY COUNCIL TREND

Being arrested on federal corruption charges. Three of the nine members of city council — Tamaya Dennard, Jeff Pastor and P.G. Sittenfeld — were charged with bribery by the FBI this past year. Ope.

BEST EARLY COMMUTER CHRISTMAS PRESENT

The Brent Spence Bridge reopened to traffic a day early (on Dec. 23) after a structure-damaging crash and fire in November closed both levels and required extensive repairs.

BEST FAKE-OUT

Hope you enjoyed getting into Northern Kentucky without an hour-long wait. In March, the Brent Spence Bridge again closed some of its lanes to traffic for almost the remainder of the year to complete some “maintenance.” The good news… well, there really isn’t any. The two westernmost lanes of the bridge — which the American Transportation Research Institute recently named the No. 2 bottleneck for freight trucks in the entire nation — will be closed during the first phase of the project, while the two easternmost lanes will remain open. During phase two, those will switch. In Ohio, the ramp to I-71 southbound from Fort Washington Way and the ramp to I-71 southbound from Third Street are both closed. Basically, if you’re in downtown Cincinnati, forget hopping onto southbound I-71. On the Kentucky side, the ramp to I-74/I-75 northbound is closed in Covington. During the closure, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will manage a maintenance project to clean and paint the bridge. The entire project is expected to last until Nov. 15.

BEST DOCUSERIES THAT COULD OUST JIM JORDAN

The Hollywood Reporter says that actor/ director/producer/hometown hero George Clooney plans to produce a docuseries about the sexual abuse scandal that has dogged Ohio State University for decades. The series will be

based on an October 2020 Sports Illustrated story by L. Jon Wertheim that takes a deep dive into the abuse from 1978-1998, with many interviews from alleged victims. Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan has been repeatedly accused of looking the other way as Richard Strauss, then Ohio State’s team physician, sexually abused members of the wrestling team, for which Jordan was an assistant coach. Strauss also allegedly abused or raped students in other sports as well as non-athletes. Jordan has denied any involvement or knowledge of the abuse.

BEST MISTAKE ON CABLE NEWS

During a February liveblog of weather updates around the country, cable news network CNN highlighted Gov. Mike DeWine’s proclamation declaring a state of emergency for Lawrence County, Ohio. The county had been hit hard by a recent winter storm, with ice, snow and debris causing dangerous conditions. That’s bad news, indeed. But it’s how CNN described Lawrence County’s location that captured our attention. “Lawrence County is about 144 miles east of the state capital, Cincinnati,” CNN posted. State capital. Cincinnati. DeWine didn’t include in his proclamation that Columbus had been stripped of its rank, unfortunately, so CityBeat hasn’t been able to confirm the Queen City’s new title. But we’re going to continue to believe it’s true for two reasons: we’re much better than Columbus, and cable news said so.

BEST NEWS FOR FANS OF INTERNATIONAL-STYLE ARCHITECTURE

Downtown Cincinnati’s Terrace Plaza Hotel has been placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of the 11 most endangered historic places in America. That’s not great news in and of itself, unless you consider that more than 300 sites have made it to the endangered list over the past 33 years and only 5% of those have been destroyed or lost. “The Terrace Plaza is an architecturally innovative building that helps tell the story of groundbreaking female architects like

City Life

Natalie de Blois, who was a key part of the International Style building’s design,” said Katherine Malone-France, Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Constructed in 1948, the Plaza was the first International Style hotel to be built in the United States and was one of the first hotel construction projects launched after World War II. Filled with Modernist art, futuristic features like push-button elevators, a television in every room, guest-operated climate control and a distinctive eighth-floor terrace supported by a block-long, windowless facade that housed department stores, the building was a premonition of the coming sleek aesthetics of the 1950s and beyond. But the 20-story structure has been largely vacant for more than a decade, save ground-floor retailers like Batsakes Hat Shop. Numerous structural and aesthetic fixes need to be made — boarded-up windows need to be replaced, plants are growing from the structure, key operational components are missing from the building and more. “Redevelopment of the Terrace Plaza is a challenge, but in Cincinnati there is a great track record of caring for our historic treasurers,” said the Cincinnati Preservation Association’s Executive Director Paul Muller. “We hope the ‘11 Most Endangered’ recognition will help us let people know about the historic role the Terrace Plaza played in the emergence of Modernism in post-war America.”

BEST REASON TO CONTINUE TO THANK AND APPRECIATE CINCINNATI SANITATION WORKERS

As essential workers, sanitation employees did their job while the rest of us were locked down and went above and beyond the call of duty — one in particular. While on his daily rounds in Colerain Township in January, Rumpke Waste & Recycling truck driver Aaron Kinsel stumbled across an unlikely surprise. After noticing something moving inside a backpack, Kinsel investigated the discarded bag and found a puppy. It’s unclear whether the 10-weekold pooch was thrown out intentionally,

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but Rumpke made sure the puppy made it to the vet to receive some much-needed care. As a result of his kindness, SPCA Cincinnati honored Kinsel with a Good Pet Samaritan Award. And the puppy, little Bunny FKA Tipper, found a forever home. rumpke.com.

BEST PLAN TO STREAMLINE METRO BUS FARE

Changes are coming to Cincinnati Metro in April that could save riders some dough while making others pay slightly more than they are now. Metro’s fare simplification plan goes into effect April 4 and will streamline the zone-based fare structure. The current fare structure is based on six zones of different fares, depending on where you’re traveling to or from. Under Metro’s new plan, zones will be eliminated, and fares will be simplified into three tiers: $2 for all local routes that operate inside of Hamilton County; $2.65 for all express commuter routes within Hamilton County; and $3.75 for all express commuter routes in Warren, Butler, and Clermont counties. Metro also will re-designate a number of routes from express to commuter service for a $2 one-way fare. These changes and others are part of Metro’s “Reinventing Metro” plan, which aims to incorporate faster service, increased frequency and other improvements for riders. go-metro. com.

BEST STREETCAR SURPRISE

The Cincinnati Streetcar (aka Cincinnati Bell Connector) became free to ride, forever, starting Nov. 1, 2020. The road to get there was convoluted, with Mayor Cranley saying the streetcar mostly benefits wealthy downtown residents at the expense of the city’s working poor, who still have to pay for bus fare. Other Cincinnati City Council members said going fare-free (and using CARES Act funding to offset ticket revenue) would make the streetcar more successful. Streetcar passenger service was suspended during the beginning days of the pandemic but continued to run without passengers — as a “zombie streetcar” — to keep it operable. cincinnati-oh.gov/streetcar.

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BEST REPURPOSING OF AN ABANDONED AMMUNITION FACTORY

After all those years of sadly driving or biking by the tattered ruins of Warren County’s massive Peters Cartridge Factory, it’s now been beautifully transformed by the innovative, high-quality Bloomfield/Schon development company into a complex that has apartments, office space and a new brewery — the aptly named Cartridge Brewing.

BEST UNEXPECTED FAUX FACADE

Earlier this year, a set of images by Greater Cincinnati-based photographer Scott Beseler went locally viral on Facebook after they revealed some history hidden behind the brick façade of a downtown building. The building, formerly owned by Chong Inc., is being redeveloped by the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC). Joe Rudemiller, 3CDC’s vice president of marketing and communications, told CityBeat that the corporation hired Digging Cincinnati History’s Ann Senefeld to learn more about the building and its past. Senefeld’s research uncovered that since the building was first constructed between 1887 and 1891, several department and furniture stores have inhabited the space, as well as a Kroger store from 1960-1969. But Senefeld’s most fascinating discovery is that in 1951, the building went through a massive renovation, removing the fifth and sixth floors and covering the original exterior with a new facade.

BEST NEW HOLIDAY IN HAMILTON COUNTY

In 2020, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to make Juneteenth a paid holiday. Starting June 19, 2021, all county employees will have a paid day off. The resolution, introduced by Commissioner Victoria Parks, “recognizes the significance of Juneteenth to our country, county and community,” she said. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s Christopher Miller provided historical context about the significance of Juneteenth during a commission meeting.

“Juneteenth represents the end of chattel slavery in America. It serves as a historical milestone reminding Americans of the triumph of the human spirit over the systemic injustice of enslavement,” he said. “Juneteenth honors those ancestors who endured the institution of slavery as well as demonstrating pride in the great legacy of courage, resistance and perseverance — a legacy they left behind for us.” This past year also marked the first year the City of Cincinnati raised a flag commemorating the holiday.

BEST REASON TO PLAY WITH POOP

This past summer, the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency teamed up with the U.S. EPA in Cincinnati and the Ohio Water Resources Center to test Ohio’s sewage and wastewater treatment systems to determine the presence of coronavirus RNA fragments in, well, poo. Fragments of coronavirus RNA can be found in the feces of both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals infected with COVID-19. A study from the Scripps Research Translational Institute found that asymptomatic people have a similar viral load to those of symptomatic individuals, and up to 45% of infected individuals may be asymptomatic. According to a press release from the Ohio EPA, emerging science indicates that the virus can be detected in raw wastewater about three to seven days before there is a visible increase in cases and/or hospitalizations. So the data collected could provide an early warning of the virus’ spread in a community and indicate the level of spread.

BEST KENTUCKY DADDY Gov. Andy Beshear. The end.

BEST CONTROVERSIAL PORN HUSTLER WE SAID GOODBYE TO THIS YEAR Larry Flynt.


UNITED AMERICAN CEMETERY :: MIKE MORGAN

BEST LEGISLATION NEWS FOR OHIO’S OLDEST BLACK CEMETERY

Two cemetery associations were founded in Cincinnati in 1844. Both created burial grounds that were revolutionary in their own ways, but the tales of these two cities of the dead are remarkably divergent. The Cincinnati Horticulture Society produced Spring Grove Cemetery, and the United Colored American Association created United Colored American Cemetery, later shortened to United American Cemetery. While Spring Grove set a new bar for graveyard design, United American became the first respectable burying ground for Black Cincinnatians — and the first Black cemetery in the State of Ohio. Today, Spring Grove is a source of municipal pride. It is the site of weddings as well as funerals. Its manicured beauty makes it a popular destination for leisurely walks or runs, and the cemetery offers guided walking tours. By contrast, United

American looks derelict. But a piece of legislation could change the cemetery’s fate. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) initiated a bipartisan bill, the African American Burial Grounds Network Act, which passed unanimously through the Senate this winter. The goal is to create a voluntary, nationwide network of historic African American burial grounds and allocate resources for their restoration and continued maintenance. Sen. Brown said on the Senate floor, “We know that for too long in too many parts of our country, Black families were blocked from burying their loved ones in white cemeteries. These men and women were freed slaves, civil rights champions, veterans, mothers, fathers, workers in communities. We need to act now before these sites are lost to the ravages of time or development.” The act now moves to the house. facebook.com/unionbaptistcemeteries.

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O U R TA B L E S : : H A I L E Y B O L L I N G E R

temple’s First Amendment and religious freedom to request that fetal tissue “be incinerated with other medical waste.” The group has written up a medical exemption form that Satanists can bring to their abortion provider and Goodwin says the Satanic Temple is ready to fight the new law in court.

BEST CINCINNATI INSTAGRAM TO FOLLOW FOR LOCAL ARCHITECTURE ENTHUSIASTS

BEST REPURPOSING OF PROTEST ART

Black-led and artist-driven “Our Tables” took place on Juneteenth on Over-the-Rhine’s Main Street. Cincy Nice partnered with a coalition of Black leaders to host the free event, which invited the neighborhood to come together to “symbolically take down boarded up window art and turn those walls of separation into two city-blocks of open table conversations.” The artist-decorated plywood, which had covered shop glass during the protests — and also provided messages of hope and unity — became a giant gathering place for people to come together and talk.

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BEST REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ARGUMENT BY THE SATANIC TEMPLE

On Dec. 30, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 27 into law, which basically says fetal remains from a surgical abortion must be either cremated or buried (by the abortion facility, or, under certain circumstances, the woman). Prior to the signing of the bill, fetal remains were already required to be disposed of “humanely.” But some felt that wording was too vague. Whichever way you feel, it’s now the law and The Satanic Temple has a few things to say about it — including that it’s unconstitutional. The temple’s Religious Reproductive Rights spokesperson Sydney Goodwin says, “This is an outrageous and unconstitutional affront to religious liberty. Ohio’s desire to dictate funeral procedures cuts at the heart of religious freedoms as these rites have been an essential component of religious practices for thousands of years.” The organization claims (quite logically) that the requirement infringes upon the

With almost 24,000 followers, @cincinnati_revealed takes a photographic journey through the Queen City’s “architecture, art, anecdotal history and hidden gems,” per the account description. Photos of everything from Carl Strauss-designed modern abodes and newer Jose Garcia renovations to Italianate masterpieces and folksy Swiss Chalet-style homes dot the feed, with architecture quizzes on the stories. Read the captions for history, context and fun facts about each structure, which range from public buildings to private residences. @cincinnati_revealed.

BEST WIN FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Protests against the death of George Floyd and other Black citizens drew thousands in Cincinnati this summer — and a heavy police presence, with officers sometimes in riot gear and deploying pepper spray and flash-bang explosives. In the aftermath of marches on the first two nights, small groups broke windows downtown and in Clifton Heights. As a result, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley instituted several curfews, leading to the arrest of roughly 500 people on first-degree misdemeanor charges of Misconduct at Emergency — basically a curfew violation — which can result in 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Protesters and their advocates, including several attorneys, said the arrests constituted a violation of the First Amendment. The city offered several options for protesters to drop or reduce their charges, albeit with conditions. In July, Cincinnati’s Mass Defense Coalition filed a motion to dismiss the


charges against all those arrested, saying the Misconduct at an Emergency charge was “used solely for the purpose of corralling people and preventing protesters from remaining on the streets and exercising their human rights protected by the First Amendment.” Since then, multiple judges have dismissed the charges against more than 100 defendants, with Judge Janaya Trotter Bratton — who dropped all 35 cases that came before her — saying that exercising your First Amendment right was considered an “essential” activity by the Ohio Department of Health during the COVID-19 shutdown and that “the curfew did not define ‘essential workers’ — who are included in the list of exempted people.”

BEST REASON TO AVOID THE I-275 LOOP

Cincinnati Trump parades. This past year, thousands of locals adorned their cars with their flashiest Trump flair and took to the interstate to show their pride for the former President’s re-election bid. With patriotic embellishments safely secured to their vehicles, the hoard descended on I-275 — already an interminable traffic loop — and remained in the right-hand lane at a suggested speed of 50-55 miles per hour for the duration of their ride.

BEST LAWSUIT TO PREVENT ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM BEING REJECTED

Despite the fact mail is a proven and effective method of casting a vote (if not one that takes seemingly forever to tally), several concerns cropped up as millions of Americans took to the post-office box instead of the ballot box this presidential election as a result of the pandemic. There was a cluster of controversies around the U.S. Postal Service and the thorny question of whether its services were being crippled; concerns about equity; and at least one lawsuit calling out Ohio’s system that requires the signatures on absentee ballots match those on absentee ballot applications. In August, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the

American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and Covington & Burlington LLP filed an injunction against Secretary of State Frank LaRose to make sure that voters have “the opportunity, and sufficient time, to correct their mismatched signatures when boards of elections mistakenly reject their ballots and ballot applications on the basis of signature mismatches.” Jen Miller, executive director of the Ohio League of Women Voters, said, “Ohio’s unscientific signature matching processes create unfair electoral barriers, especially for senior citizens, youth, and voters with disabilities. Ohio needs to institute a transparent notice and cure process so voters can be assured their votes will count.” A federal judge said that while the signature verification process is burdensome, it wasn’t enough to change it before Nov. 3.

BEST COVID CUSTOMER SERVICE

Figuring out how to sign up for and receive the COVID vaccine has been a real clusterfuck — especially if you aren’t, or even if you are, tech-savvy — but every person on the other end of the line at the health departments of Norwood, Cincinnati and Hamilton County has been consistently helpful, kind and sympathetic while helping people register to get their shots. Shout outs to them.

BEST BICYCLE EQUITY INVESTMENT

Cincinnati’s Red Bike is one of five bikeshares across the country to win a “Living Lab” Grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership. Red Bike says the two-and-ahalf-year, $200,000 grant will help them in their mission to grow equitable access via the Red Bike Go program. Red Bike will “develop and test innovative, new strategies and programs to increase access to bikeshare in the region,” says a release. Since 2018, Red Bike Go has offered a discounted $5 monthly membership to those with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. “Ensuring that everyone not only has access to Red Bike, but more

importantly feels like Red Bike is actively catering to them has been a priority from day one,” says Jason Barron, executive director of Red Bike. “We are incredibly proud that the Red Bike Go Program is one of the best and most creative bikeshare equity programs in the country, and we cannot wait to see what we come up with over the next two-plus years.” cincyredbike.org.

BEST LIFELINE FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS DURING STAY-AT-HOME ORDERS

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, intimate partner violence (IPV) affects more than 12 million Americans a year. And when much of the country was under stay-at-home orders at the start of the pandemic, it became clear that it was more difficult for victims of IPV to seek help or support — finding a private spot to call a hotline or the police is hard when isolating with an abuser; typical options for alternate places to stay were limited; and some in-person services were canceled. Locally, Women Helping Women — which offers “evidence-based prevention and expert crisis intervention and support services for survivors of dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking” — immediately pivoted to accommodate the pandemic. WHW fast-forwarded plans to launch a new text chat feature, which allowed survivors to get ahold of the agency 24/7 without making a call; they started conducting virtual support groups for survivors; and moved one-on-one crisis management to teletherapy. At the time, WHW President and CEO Kristin Shrimplin said, “Some of the ways that services are being conducted may have to look a little different but anyone in danger and needing emergency services, that is still available to them” womenhelpingwomen.org.

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HISTORIC WEST FOURTH :: VINCENT DIFRANCESCO

BEST UP-AND-COMING DOWNTOWN DISTRICT

Developers hope Cincinnati’s West Fourth Street Historic District will soon parallel its former glory. The corridor was established in the early 19th century with hotels, mansions and luxurious entertainment sites housed in Italianate and Renaissance-style architecture. It landed a rank on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Since its prestigious inception, the area has shifted in and out of hot spot status. High-end shopping destinations such as McAlpin’s and Tower Place Mall came and went, parking garages and hotels have been erected and dismantled. Beloved

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businesses like Koch Sporting Goods, Bromwell’s and Main Auction Galleries continue to thrive, but a focus on creating more residential space never trended down, distorting the neighborhood’s sense of place and direction. Recent developments led by The Loring Group aim to reverse the distortion. The local real estate company seized properties in and around Fourth Street with over 30,000 square feet of vacant retail space. This purchase solidified 17 to 20 new and pre-existing storefronts in the district. The project, called Historic West Fourth, was officially launched in October 2019. Since then, a quiet reawakening has ensued from Plum Street, wrapping west

around Central Avenue, ushering in the opening of plant store Forage, sustainability shop Koko, the second locations of Covington’s Handzy and Gumdrop, Deeper Roots coffee shop and Rebel Mettle Brewery, among others. “Fourth Street used to be this grandiose corridor that had retail and shopping. It had some of the old homes and mansions — the first apartment for William Howard Taft — it had this burgeoning history and now, as we are in 2019-2020, we’ve realized it’s making a comeback again,” says Andrew Naab, director of commercial development at the Loring Group. historicwestfourth.com.


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BEST COVINGTON CAT CAFE BY HAILEY BOLLINGER AND HANNAH GWYNNE

A C AT I N S I D E T H E C A F E : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

P U R R F E C T D AY C AT C A F E : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

Originally slated to open in June 2020, Chuck Patton, “purrprietor” of Covington’s Purrfect Day Cat Cafe, had to postpone his plans because of the pandemic. But since opening the doors in November 2020, Patton and his feline-focused cafe have helped more than 200 animals get adopted.

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The cafe partners with Kenton County Animal Services, which provides the cats and kittens that live there. Roughly 15 to 24 felines stay at the Purrfect Day at a given time — until they are adopted and brought to their forever homes. “We knew Covington would be the purrfect community to embrace such a unique concept,” Patton says in a release. “Our goal is to get homeless kitties adopted, make strong donations to local shelters and be a space for all animal lovers to enjoy the culture of animal support.” Cat cafes aren’t a new thing, but when Patton first experienced one at Pounce in Charleston, South Carolina, he was inspired by its concept and impact on the community and knew he needed to open one in the city where he lived. Patton opened the first Purrfect Day Cat Cafe in Louisville in 2018. “I knew that I had to bring it to Louisville, and now I have the opportunity to bring it to Northern Kentucky, where I was born and raised,” Patton told CityBeat. “We chose Covington specifically based on the unique energy and amount of renovation going into the city. We really thought we could be a big part of the city’s movement to become the place to be in the Tri-State area.” To bring his dream to fruition, he connected with Beckey Reiter, director of Kenton County Animal Services, who loved his operation in Louisville and wanted to work together to make a difference in Northern Kentucky.


T H E B A R AT P U R R F E C T D AY C A F E : : D A N I E L L E S C H U S T E R

“This partnership benefits many of the shelters in our region and has become an additional outlet for the homeless cats and kittens,” Reiter says. “It’s an example of what we can do as a community for shelter animals when we think outside-the-box.” In addition to adoptable cats, the cafe offers beverages and bites. Visitors (of legal age) can sip on local brews, bourbon, wine and “meow-mosas.” Or opt for coffee, tea or Italian cream soda. The food menu ranges from scones and cake pops to gourmet popcorn, all with adorably punny names like the bacon and cheddar “Calico” scone or a “Pawmpkin” spice version. Although anyone can view the cats through the cafe’s visiting window, 50-minute-long sessions ($15) should be reserved online if you want to visit with the kitties. There are matchmakers at the cafe who can help find the right cat for you, and you can take home your new furry family member the same day. The adoption

fee is $120 (plus tax). If you don’t want to adopt, but just want to spend some time with the cats, you can do that, too; just make the same reservation online. And while food can’t go into the cat portion of the building, beverages can — but once you enter the adoption room with a drink, you can’t bring that drink back to the cafe with you. As the website says, it’s a one-way street (for health code reasons). Purrfect Day Cat Cafe also offers “private pawties” for birthdays (for those 10 and up), bachelorette parties, corporate events or any other kind of gathering. And, according to Patton, there are some exciting events planned for the future, like storytime with cats; Purr, Paint and Sip parties; yoga with cats; and more. Purrfect Day Cat Cafe, 17 W. Eighth St., Covington, purrfectdaycafe.com

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BARRE

1. Pure Barre Oakley 2. The Barre Code 3. DEFINE: body & mind

BENGAL (CURRENT)

1. Joe Burrow 2. A.J. Green (joined Arizona Cardinals March 2021) 3. Tee Higgins

BIKING TRAIL

1. Loveland Bike Trail 2. Miami Whitewater Forest 3. Devou Park Backcountry Trails

CLIMBING GYM

1. University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center 2. Climb Time 3. Mosaic Climbing

COACH/MANAGER (PRO/COLLEGE) 1. Luke Fickell (University of Cincinnati Football) 2. John Brannen (University of Cincinnati Men’s Basketball) 3. Matt Thomas (Cincinnati Cyclones)

FC CINCINNATI PLAYER 1. Frankie Amaya 2. Beckham Sunderland 3. Nick Hagglund

GOLF COURSE (PUBLIC) 1. Blue Ash Golf Course 2. Devou Park Golf Course 3. Aston Oaks Golf Club

HEALTH CLUB/GYM

1. YMCA 2. Mercy Health HealthPlex 3. Planet Fitness

HIKING TRAIL

1. Cincinnati Nature Center 2. Loveland Bike Trail 3. Sharon Woods 4. Ault Park 5. Mount Airy Forest 6. Miami Whitewater Forest 7. Devou Park Backcountry Trails

8. Bender Mountain 9. East Fork State Park 10. Winton Woods

2. Schmidt Boat Ramp & Ballfields 3. Mid-America Ballyard

JOGGING ROUTE

1. FOX Sports Ohio 2. 700WLW 3. Pardon The Punctuation

1. Loveland Bike Trail 2. Eden Park 3. Ault Park

PERSONAL TRAINING/ CROSSFIT GYM

1. ProForce Sports Performance 2. Trilogy Fitness Systems 3. Queen City CrossFit

PICK-UP BASKETBALL COURT 1. Cincinnati Athletic Club 2. Blue Ash Recreation Center 3. LA Fitness (Oakley)

PILATES STUDIO

1. Body Alive 2. The Breathing Room 3. Prism Pilates

PLACE TO CAMP

1. Hocking Hills 2. Red River Gorge 3. East Fork State Park

PUBLIC POOL

1. Sunlite Pool at Coney Island 2. Ziegler Park 3. Versailles State Park

RED (CURRENT)

1. Joey Votto 2. Eugenio Suarez 3. Michael Lorenzen

RUNNING/BIKING EVENT 1. Flying Pig Marathon 2. Queen Bee Half Marathon 3. Cyclones Frozen 5K/10K

SOCCER FACILITY

1. Soccer City 2. Town & Country Sports Complex 3. GameTime Training Center

SOFTBALL FIELDS 1. River City West

SPORTS COVERAGE

SUMMER CAMP

1. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden 2. Camp Ernst 3. Camp Joy 4. Camp Kern 5. DAAPcamp 6. Cincinnati Nature Center 7. Cincinnati Museum Center 8. Cincinnati Art Museum 9. Camp at the J 10. Cincinnati Reds Baseball and Softball Camp (TIE) 10. Great Parks of Hamilton County (TIE)

TEAM (AMATEUR/MINOR LEAGUE) 1. Cincinnati Rollergirls 2. Florence Y’alls 3. Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls

TEAM (COLLEGE)

1. University of Cincinnati Football 2. Xavier University Men’s Basketball 3. University of Cincinnati Men’s Basketball

TEAM (PROFESSIONAL) 1. Reds 2. FC Cincinnati 3. Cincinnati Cyclones

TENNIS COURTS

1. Queen City Racquet & Fitness Club 2. Sawyer Point Park 3. Camargo Racquet Club

VOLLEYBALL COURTS

1. Fifty West Brewing Company Production Works 2. Cabana on the River 3. Grand Sands Volleyball

YOGA STUDIO

1. Body Alive 2. Aloha Yoga Center 3. College Hill Yoga

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BEST NEWS FOR FOOTBALL (AKA FUTBOL) FANS

FC Cincinnati has announced that the team will play Inter Miami CF in a match that will serve as both the 2021 season’s home opener and West End Stadium’s very first Major League Soccer game. The match begins at 4 p.m. May 16 and will be nationally televised on FOX and FOX Deportes. Tickets are available only in season membership packages. Construction began on West End Stadium in 2018 and will be completed in time for the opener. The $250 million stadium will hold about 26,000 fans and is wrapped with illuminating “fins.” All seats are covered by a 360-degree roof canopy, under which guests can find beers like Rhinegeist, Sam Adams or Heineken at concession stands. The stadium’s First Financial Club, the largest club in the building, spans the entire east side of the structure and will be home to a beer hall — inspired by Over-the-Rhine’s renaissance — offering 40 taps and focusing on craft beers. fccincinnati.com.

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A

BEST WAY TO REP THE REDS IN 2-D

Just because you couldn’t physically attend a Reds game this season didn’t mean you couldn’t be there in spirit — and in cutout form. The Cincinnati Reds kicked off gameplay in late July and sold limited-time Reds Fans Cutouts to help keep the seats at Great American Ball Park warm (metaphorically, of course — it was summer so the seats were already hot). For $75, you could submit a photograph of yourself (following very specific guidelines) and the team would print and place a 2-D version of your 3-D form in the stands to silently cheer the Reds to victory. All proceeds benefited the Reds Community Fund, “dedicated to improving the lives of youth by leveraging the tradition of the Cincinnati Reds and the game of baseball.” Fans were able to pick-up their cutouts at the end of the season. reds.com.

BEST (ONLY) WAY TO ATTEND THE BENGALS 2020 SEASON OPENER

Banning living, breathing human fans from stadiums across the country (because of COVID-19) continued into football season, as did the cardboard avatar trend. For the Bengals’ home opener in September, Who Dey Cutouts were available for purchase, with net proceeds benefiting six of the team’s community partners: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, Freestore Foodbank, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Salvation Army Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky, Good Samaritan Foundation and the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. There were strict guidelines on what to wear (or not to wear — no political/offensive/lewd statements, hashtags, social media handles, phone numbers or random branding) in your photo, how high you could hold your arms, how large the photo could be and more. The resulting figures were then placed in random seats in the North and South End Zones. The team also warned that buying a cutout didn’t mean your flat face was guaranteed to appear on TV, just that it could attend the game. bengals.com.

BEST REASON TO RENAME A STADIUM

Because the namesake was a bigot. In 2020, the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees unanimously voted to remove late Cincinnati Reds owner, philanthropist and racist-comment-maker Marge Schott’s name from the school’s baseball stadium and a portion of the archives library. Former UC Baseball player Jordan Ramey launched a change.org petition to change the name, stating: “Marge Schott was a former owner of the Reds before she was banned from the MLB for her support of Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler in 1996. She is also known to have said multiple racial slurs towards African-Americans, Jews, and people of Japanese ancestry… Marge Schott Stadium is represented by players of all races, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities, and plays host to middle and high school baseball teams as well. The field is getting national attention every year and to promote somebody so racist is not only irresponsible, but it is also directly contradictory to the University’s mission statement.” UC President Neville G. Pinto agreed and recommended to the board that they vote to erase her moniker from campus. “Marge Schott’s record of racism and bigotry stands at stark odds with our University’s core commitment to dignity, equity and inclusion,” he said. The board concurred and, in a resolution dated June 23, 2020, said that Schott’s name would be removed from both spaces effective immediately. gobearcats.com.

BEST CONFIRMATION THAT CINCINNATI PARKS ARE, IN FACT, EXCELLENT

The Trust for Public Land announced that Cincinnati’s park system ranked fifth in the nation in the Annual ParkScore Index Report, climbing three spots above its ranking in 2019. (Minneapolis had the No. 1 ranking park system in the nation. Oklahoma City was ranked the worst.) ParkScore rankings are based on park access, acreage, investment and amenities, including the number of basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, “splash pads,” recreation and senior centers and restrooms. Cincinnati claimed

Sports & Recreation

the highest score in the U.S. for park amenities and also received strong marks for park access and park investment. cincinnatiparks.com.

BEST SPORTS UNIFORM TO PAY HOMAGE TO A WATER TOWER

The recently rebranded Northern Kentucky Frontier League baseball team the Florence Y’alls introduced a new look to go with their new name. Previously known as the Florence Freedom, the team was purchased by a new ownership group in 2019, after which it was announced that a name and branding change was forthcoming. The team solicited fans for ideas and they whittled the possible choices down to a top five: the Florence Go-Goettas, Florence Fossil Jockeys, Florence No Sox, Florence Pop Flies and, the winner, the Florence Y’alls. The Y’alls name was voted on by fans and approved by Florence City Council. And to go with the new moniker, the team got some fresh vintage-inspired uniforms designed by Covington-based creative firm BLDG. The outfits are blue, red and white with red and white piping to pay homage to “the world capital of Y’all and our favorite Florence landmark: the water tower,” says the team (the water tower also dons red and white stripes). They also have a patch on their left sleeve that reads: “United we Ball, Forever with Y’all.” florenceyalls.com.

BEST SOCCER MVP

Winning a World Cup just wasn’t enough for Rose Lavelle. And why should it be? Lavelle, a midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Team and Cincinnati native, is clearly MVP material and literally won that honor in the 2021 SheBelieves Cup’s winning match. Lavelle helped her team to a tournament victory over all three days of play, scoring the winning goal against Canada and earning an assist against Argentina. With this victory, the USWNT — which also includes Lavelle’s 2019 World Cup colleague Megan Rapinoe — brings its SheBelieves titles to four. The team is the first back-to-back champion in the tournament’s six-year history and the first team to have three shutouts at the competition, according to U.S. Soccer. All

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the more reason to continue to celebrate her achievements with a selfie in front of the mural of Lavelle downtown at The Banks.

BEST X GAMES WIN

A familiar skier has returned to the gold-medal podium: Lawrenceburg, Indiana’s own Nick Goepper placed first in men’s ski slopestyle at the 2021 X Games Aspen in January. The champ had fostered his love of the sport at Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg, about 30 minutes west of Cincinnati. Goepper’s medal makes him the only skier to win the X Games slopestyle gold four times. He last was on the X Games podium in 2017.

BEST BOOZY FAN BASE

Cincinnati Reds fans have some experience drowning their sorrows. And a recent survey from NJ Online Gambling about the drinking habits of MLB fanbases seems to confirm it. The survey shows that Reds fans are No. 3 in the country for boozing it up, consuming 3.8 drinks per game and spending about $40 on alcohol. Cincinnati fans also are No. 4 in drinking before the game even starts, with 67% of survey respondents saying they’re big on pregame action. All this drinking has a price, though, as Reds fans are No. 2 for missing some or all of games because they’re too damn drunk. reds.com.

BEST GOODBYE TO A BASEBALL LEGEND

Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver died in August 2020 at the age of 75. Seaver — also known as “Tom Terrific” — played six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (1977-’82), and also played for the Chicago White Sox (1984-’86), Boston Red Sox (1986) and spent 12 seasons with the New York Mets (1967-’77 and 1983). “Tom Seaver was one of the best and most inspirational pitchers to play the game,” said Reds Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini in a statement. “We are grateful that Tom’s Hall of Fame career included time with the Reds. We are proud to count his name among the greats in the Reds Hall of Fame. He will be missed.” The Reds say

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Seaver won 75 games for the team between 1978 and 1982 and was a National League All-Star for them in 1978 and 1981. He threw his first and only career no-hitter in 1978 when the Reds played the St. Louis Cardinals on July 16. According to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1981 he also became the fifth player in game history to record 3,000 strike-outs. Other accolades include three Cy Young Awards and three National League ERA titles. Seaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in 1992, “when he was named on 98.8% of ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, the highest voting percentage ever received at the time.” Upon news of his passing, celebrities and baseball fans from across the spectrum — including Adam Sandler, Hank Aaron and Dan Rather — took to social media to remember Seaver and his greatness. reds.com.

BEST BURROW BOBBLEHEADS

In 2020, Milwaukee’s National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a limited-edition bobblehead of one very special Cincinnati Bengal: Joe Burrow. The bobblehead design featured quarterback Burrow riding a Bengal tiger. (“Bobbleheads riding stuff” is apparently a thing and the museum also produced Al Kaline riding a Detroit Tiger, Carson Wentz riding a Philadelphia Eagle and Josh Allen riding a Buffalo Bill, among many others.) Burrow, a Heisman Trophy winner, was the first pick by the Bengals during the 2020 NFL Draft. The quarterback previously played for Louisiana State University and led the team to “a national championship as he threw for 5,671 yards and an NCAA FBS-record 60 touchdowns with only six interceptions,” says the museum. To commemorate his collegiate achievements, the museum also unveiled two LSU Burrow bobbleheads — one featured Burrow in a Heisman pose and the other featured Burrow riding an LSU tiger. Each Burrow bobble was limited to a production run of 2,020. bobbleheadhall.com.

BEST REDS BROADCASTER OUSTER

During a doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals in August 2020, longtime Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman used a gay slur on air — he was caught on a hot mic saying the phrase “the fag capitals of the world” (not sure to what or where he was referring). In a statement, the Reds said they were “devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark.” After it was made clear his comment was captured — and the incident quickly went viral — Brennaman issued an on-air apology... which was interrupted as he called a home run. Brennaman said he wasn’t sure if he was “going to be putting on this headset again,” and won’t be. He was subsequently suspended from Reds’ broadcasts and resigned in September. He has since been hired by the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico as their play-by-play announcer. reds.com.

BEST REDS BROADCASTER ADDITION

Cincinnati legend and Cooperstown inductee Barry Larkin will join the Cincinnati Reds’ television broadcast team on FOX Sports Ohio beginning with the 2021 season. The former Reds shortstop will serve as a color analyst. Larkin previously had been an analyst for ESPN’s pre-game shows and live color commentary. He also served as an analyst for the MLB Network’s MLB Tonight and Hot Stove. On FOX Sports Ohio, Larkin will rotate duties with the returning Chris Welsh and Jeff Brantley, the Reds said in a statement. Before joining the Reds, Larkin was selected to play for the 1984 U.S. Olympic baseball team, performing alongside other future stars Mark McGwire and Will Clark. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012. reds.com.

BEST BENGALS UNIFORM TEASE

The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping for a touchdown when it comes to their new look, which was teased in a January Twitter post and will be unveiled this spring. The team will sport new stripes on its uniforms, according to a video posted on their social


WA S S O N WAY : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

BEST NEW BIKE TRAIL

Wasson Way is the area’s most recent railroad-turned-bike-trail. “Right now there’s about 1.5 miles between Madison Road and Montgomery Road,” Tri-State Trails Director Wade Johnston told CityBeat this past summer. “TriState Trails helped secure $6 million last year to extend the trail west to Avondale and east through Ault Park to the Murray Trail. Through our #CROWNcincinnati project, we are working to connect this to the Ohio River Trail and Mill Creek Greenway to create a 34-mile trail loop

around the city.” The trail will begin construction on the Red Bank Road leg soon. And Great Parks just broke ground on the Beechmont Bridge Connector. The project will allow users to safely travel from the Little Miami Scenic Trail to the Ohio River Trail for the first time. The new connector will link the existing Little Miami Scenic Trail terminus near State Route 32 and Beechmont with the Otto Armleder Memorial Park to Lunken Trail and the future Elstun Road Connector. greenumbrella.org; wassonway.org.

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O P E N I N G D AY PA R A D E : : PA I G E D E G L O W

BEST PARADE (AND FAKE DAY OFF) WE HOPE RETURNS IN 2021

The Cincinnati Reds Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, which was canceled in 2020, claims it will return for Opening Day 2021 — whenever that is. Per a letter from Parade Chairman Neil Luken, the festivities will be postponed until “the Cincinnati Reds are permitted to fill the stadium to full capacity and there are no restrictions on group events.” findlaymarketparade.com.

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media channels. The short clip offers a timeline of the Bengals’ uniforms over the past decades, spanning from 1968’s stripe-less “The Originals,” shifting to “The First Stripes” in 1981, then to the “Leaping Tiger” in 1997, and next to the “Modern Stripes” in 2004 until 2020 (and the white alternative “Color Rush” between 2016-2020). The teaser provides no hint as to what the new uniforms will look like, but the Bengals website assures fans that the team’s tiger-striped helmet is here to stay. Some photos leaked in March, but the franchise refused to confirm or deny whether they were real. At the time of publication, official images of the new gear still hadn’t been released. bengals.com.

BEST LONG-OVERDUE HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT RETIREMENT AND REBRAND

This past summer, the Forest Hills Board of Education voted to officially retire the Anderson High School Redskins mascot. In what most humans would consider an overdue move, a release about the decision says it came after “community discussion, input and significant work to support inclusivity and diversity across the district.” On their Twitter, the National Congress of American Indians thanked the high school for standing on the “right side of history.” The school’s new mascot is an orange-red velociraptor bearing pointy white teeth and claws. Secondary logos include a close-up of a menacing dinosaur eye and a slashed Anderson “A.” In recent years, professional and local sports teams across the country have been changing or beginning to change team names and mascots that are racist, predominantly those with negative references to Indigenous Americans. In December, the Cleveland Indians announced that the team would take a new name and mascot before the 2022 baseball season; it had retired the controversial Chief Wahoo mascot beginning with the 2019 season and currently uses a stylized “C” on its uniforms. Anderson High School is still in the process of removing all references to

its former mascot. After more than 80 years on the scene, the board says the Native American caricature will be “phased out in stages” during the 2020-21 school year.

BEST WORST “IN MEMORIAM” SUPER BOWL SNUB

The Cincinnati Bengals are calling foul on the NFL for ignoring a city legend who passed away last year. On Feb. 8, just a few hours before the kickoff for Super Bowl LV and shortly before Miley Cyrus began her TikTok tailgate performance, the Bengals tweeted their dissatisfaction with the National Football League for omitting Ken Riley from its “In Memoriam” segment during the previous night’s NFL Honors awards show. The “In Memoriam” segment highlights influential players, coaches, back-office team members and others who passed away during the previous year. Singer Leslie Odom Jr., best known for his role in Broadway’s Hamilton, performed during the segment. Riley, a cornerback who spent his entire career with the Bengals, died in June 2020. “We are extremely disappointed Ken Riley was not featured in the ‘In Memoriam’ segment during last night’s NFL Honors,” the Bengals tweeted. “Ken left a great impact on the Bengals and the NFL. His legacy deserves to be honored among the greatest to ever play the game.” bengals.com.

BEST OTHER NEW BIKE TRAIL

A new .6-mile bike and walking path on the southern edge of Lower Price Hill was unveiled in August. That swath of pavement, part of the planned Ohio River West Trail, could someday allow Price Hill residents to ride the roughly 2-and-a-half miles downtown in a matter of minutes — a key, non-automotive link between the West Side and the city’s core, says Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. The path between Evans Street and State Avenue is also part of more ambitious plans. Supporters hope that, over the next decade, the Ohio River West Trail will eventually stretch 26 miles all the way to Shawnee Lookout Park, which sits on Ohio’s border with Indiana. And more progress to the east could take riders to the Loveland Bike Trail someday.

BEST OUTDOOR DANCE CLASSES

Cult-favorite dance/workout studio DANCEFIX by HBDC started offering live and pre-recorded virtual classes when the pandemic hit. But they also took things outdoors. Dance classes were held at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Blue Ash or on Schmidlapp Lawn at The Banks so fans could get their fix — even in winter. dancefixcincinnati.com.

BEST DORA DISTRICT TO GRAB A BREW AND RIDE YOUR BIKE

The flat, paved Loveland Bike Trail/ Little Miami Scenic Trail is a joy to pedal — even more so when you stop at a local bar for a drink to-go. Loveland is a DORA district, or a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, meaning you can grab a cocktail or beer from a participating establishment — in a branded cup — and sip while you stroll; just make sure you don’t go beyond the established boundaries. lovelandoh.gov.

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BEST FC CINCINNATI EMLS PLAYER BY SEAN M. PETERS

W E S T E N D S TA D I U M : : F R A N C I S C O H U E R TA

Cincinnati is home to one of the most promising and accomplished players in Major League Soccer’s electronic division (aka their esports team). Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry represents FC Cincinnati on the pixelated soccer field as their premier eMLS signing, a role he adopted in 2019. Thornsberry is magnificently good at FIFA video games, so much so that he’s won sizable cash prizes and international distinction for his lightning-fast thumb work. He’s triumphed in five North American championship tournaments since he began playing competitively and there seems to be no end in sight to what he’ll accomplish as a pro gamer. “My first professional match was in July of 2018 in Miami, Florida. It was a tournament for all players in the U.S.A. and the winner of the tournament got a one-year contract with Paris Saint Germain’s (PSG) esports team. I managed to win the tournament, which was unreal to me because it was my first official tournament I’d ever been a part of,” Thornsberry says. “I got started in esports just by being a normal kid playing FIFA. I played it all the time growing up because soccer — or football, whichever you prefer — has been my favorite sport since the time I was walking. Once I started doing well, I entered some online tournaments

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against other good players and did well and it led to where I am today.” Thornsberry plays under the handle “FiddleFCC” while representing the team in official matches. The name Fiddle makes him easily searchable among other eMLS competitors, but it also leads to a recurring question he gets from fans. “The main question I get asked is how I got the name ‘Fiddle’ and the answer to that is I had my friend make me a name on Xbox when I was 13 years old and he made it ‘Fiddleton,’” Thornsberry says. “I kept it for a long time and then when I got signed to PSG, decided to shorten it and keep the name Fiddle.” But it’s not the name eMLS fans are drawn to, it’s the consistent display of talent and dedication to the game that Thornsberry is known for. As it stands, he’s won the 2017 Coca-Cola eCopa USA Championship, the 2019 North American Gfinity Championship, 2020 eMLS League Series 1 and League Series 2, and the FIFA 20 Summer Cup Series North America; Thornsberry also represented the U.S. Mens’ National esports team in three friendlies against Mexico, Brazil and Spain. “I think that the one thing that sets me apart from other competitors is my experience,” Thornsberry says. “I’ve been in many tense situations that sometimes I’ve overcome and sometimes crumbled in that have made me into the competitor I am today and I think that helps me, because learning from experience is very important.” Curious what a pro gamer’s setup is like? The esports field demands high-end gear in some cases. Want to be an esports contender? Don’t skimp on the monitor. “My gaming setup is mostly similar to what other FIFA players have. I have both Xbox and PlayStation because I play FIFA


G O R D O N “ F I D D L E ” T H O R N S B E R R Y : : PA I G E D E G L O W

on both,” Thornsberry says. “I have a nice PC that I use to record and stream my gameplay on. Controller-wise, I use a SCUF Vantage controller when playing on a PlayStation.” “I think anyone trying to take gaming seriously needs a gaming monitor,” he continues. “There is a big difference when your monitor has low-response time so that when you click a button on the controller it then happens right away on the screen.” The past year took a toll on so many different industries and the esports realm is no different. While matches were able to continue online, there was a noted deficiency in in-person tournaments, a draw that attracts large crowds across the country.

“The one thing I’m looking forward to is being able to travel for events again. Due to the pandemic, all of our tournaments have been online, so looking ahead to the future, I would really like to play in-person tournaments again. As for online, our eMLS Cup Final is at the end of March and it is a very big competition for me with strong competitors, so it’s another chance to get some silverware for the club.” Watch Gordon “Fiddle” Thornsberry compete at twitch.tv/ FiddleGT. For more on FC Cincinnati, visit fccincinnati.com. For more on the eMLS, eMLS League Series and eMLS Cup, visit MLSsoccer.com/eMLS.

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Your next great discovery is waiting. cincymuseum.org

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Best Of Cincinnati 2021 | CityBeat  

Best Of Cincinnati 2021 | CityBeat