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24-hour eateries


By Allyson Jacob · September 15th, 2004 · Where Are They Now?
Vol. 7 Issue 35
Vol. 7 Issue 35

Then: In 2001, CityBeat sent a team of roving, hungry reporters out on a late-night binge to check out 24-hour eateries in Greater Cincinnati. The team turned up five local (non-chain) all night dining rooms and weighed in on the food, service and atmosphere. Unfortunately, we didn't follow up on heartburn. The consensus three years ago: "Twenty-four hour food joints do more than simply fill a void between 2 and 6 a.m.

for hungry customers. They provide entertainment, too. Not to mention fodder for social commentary and personal reflection as well." (Issue of July 19, 2001)

Now: Happily, all five establishments -- Anchor Grill, Camp Washington Chili, The Pepper Pod, Chili Time and Chaucer's -- are going strong. They still cater to the late night/early morning crowd, still serve a majority of breakfast food all day and, despite the ups and downs in the economy, still report that business has been "steady."

Sadly, a major face on the all-night dining front has departed -- Morton Chapman, Anchor Grill's owner and founder, passed away in 2003. His daughter Carolyn continues to run a tight ship in Covington, making sure that the third-shift clientele is well-stocked with goetta and cheese omelets. Despite the loss of the captain, Chapman says business "hasn't seemed to change. We get mostly the same people in."

Bill Barton, Pepper Pod owner, says he's seen a lot of changes in the 35 years he's been manning the counter. "Lots of places have come and gone," he says, referring to businesses, factories and eateries. "This is our 49th year of business."

Barton doesn't want to change a thing. "I've got five kids, all in business with me," he states proudly. "I hope one of them will take over when I'm gone."

It's all about the chili at Chili Time on Vine Street. Gary Stidham co-manages the restaurant where he's worked for the past 27 years and says business has been "pretty good." He still sees good crowds at lunch and dinner and of course during the wee hours of the morning. "I've got not plans to close," he states. "I want to make it another 27 years."

For the night owls in the Greater Cincinnati area, that's welcome news.

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