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by Ilene Ross 11.05.2015 19 days ago
Posted In: Brunch, local restaurant, News, Openings at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
josh campbell

New Chef to Take Ownership of Django Western Taco

Chef Josh Campbell takes over the popular Northside taqueria at the start of the year

There’s a new chef at Django Western Taco, and as of the beginning of the year, he’ll also own the joint.

After stints in both The British Virgin Islands and New York City, chef Josh Campbell, formerly of Cincinnati restaurant Mayberry, has returned to town and has found a home at the popular Northside “Cowboy Cuisine” restaurant. For now he’s running the kitchen, but he’s also made a deal with long-time restaurateur Jens Rosenkrantz to buy the place. 

“I think it’s a great fit,” Rosenkrantz says. “I’ve been looking to have someone take it over for a while, and having known Josh for years, going to Mayberry all the time, and his style of cuisine, and his style, I cannot think of a better fit for this place.”

With the recent departure of Django executive chef Andrew Mersmann to Oakley’s Red Feather, the timing for the move was perfect for both Campbell and Rosenkrantz. "I came back from NYC and was just figuring out what I wanted to do, I didn’t know if I really wanted to run another restaurant, and I found out that there was gonna be a transition and I got a hold of Jens," Campbell says. "He closed down Mayberry with me, was there on the last day with me, so I did my due diligence to see if this was something I wanted to get into.”

There will be some immediate updates to the décor, including a larger bar area, and Campbell is working on his new, more seasonally driven menu, although he promises that the most popular items like shrimp tacos will stay.

The restaurant will also be bringing back Sunday brunch and will now be open for lunch on Monday and dinner on Sunday.


by Colleen McCroskey 07.15.2015 132 days ago
Posted In: local restaurant, Openings at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
calle sangria

Calle Cantina Now Open in Mount Adams

Sprout and Mazunte combine forces to create a Mexican cantina on the hill

Mount Adams welcomed another new eatery last week with the opening of Calle (kai-yay), a Mexican street-food cantina in the Pavilion Street spot that formerly housed Tap and Go. 

Whit Hesser of Sprout and Mazunte owner Joe Wamsley teamed up to inject some culinary diversity into the top of the hill, focusing their concise menu on huaraches, a snack that’s as ubiquitous on the streets of Mexico City as hot dogs are in New York. They’re kind of like if tacos and pizza had a delicious street-food baby: an oblong masa (corn dough) flatbread, smothered in Mexican staples like chorizo, salsa, cilantro, queso fresco, onions, potato and anything else you could want to pile on. 

Calle will be offering three different types of huaraches: pollo verde, barbacoa and rajas (pepper), in addition to house-made chips, guacamole and roasted-chipotle salsa. They’ll also have eight draft beer taps, a limited wine selection and both their margaritas and red and white sangrias are made in-house — a smart decision, given that Mazunte’s sangria is arguably the best in the city. 

“It’s simple, efficient and delicious," says Wamsley. Salud.

Calle is located at 950 Pavilion St., Mount Adams. Current hours are 5-midnight Wednesday-Thursday (chips only late-night); 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday (full menu). More info at callemtadams.com or facebook.com/callemtadams.
by Maija Zummo 04.03.2015
Posted In: Alcohol, Bar, Cocktails, Openings at 11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
sundry and vice_aaron conway

Apothecary-Themed Cocktail Bar Sundry and Vice Now Open

A new concept and a new place to drink in OTR

Back in the day, doctors and pharmacists used to treat everything from colds and stomach aches to fainting spells and typhoid with alcoholic elixirs and tonics — wine for the plague, absinthe for intestinal parasites, bitters for indigestion, brandy for just about everything. So it makes sense that Sundry and Vice, Over-the-Rhine's newest cocktail bar, has adopted a vintage apothecary theme. 

The bar, which held its grand opening on March 27, serves fresh cocktails with housemade spirits, syrups and other concoctions. House cocktails include Dr. Shiloh's System Vitalizer ($11), with mezcal, lime, pineapple, ginger, Peychaud bitters and soda, and pre-Prohibition classics like a Clover Club ($11), with gin, raspberry, lemon and egg white. They also have local beer, non-local beer, wine and housemade sodas dispensed through a vintage fountain soda draft arm.

The interior, which is designed to hold 55 patrons, features an era-authentic storefront with antique jars, bottles and other assorted medical ephemera, including vintage prescriptions on the wall (for classics like cocaine, a former painkiller and dandruff cure). There are seats at the bar, as well as leather booths, exposed brick, era-appropriate Jazz music and a ton of mood lighting.

4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sundry and Vice, 18 W. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/sundryandvice.

All photos by Aaron Conway

by Maija Zummo 03.02.2015
Posted In: Food news, Openings, local restaurant, News, Cincinnati at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jean-Robert's Le Bar a Boeuf Opens Today

After a slight delay, the French neo-bistro opens in the Edgecliff building

Jean-Robert de Cavel's latest venture, the whimsically titled Le Bar a Boeuf (literally translated to "beef bar"), opens today in East Walnut Hills' Edgecliff building (2200 Victory Parkway). The neo-French bistro will only be open for dinner to start, with lunch and brunch service following shortly after. 

“It’s taken us a little longer to open than we anticipated," says de Cavel in a recent press release. "We have a wonderful team in place and we are ready." 

The restaurant, which was originally slate to open in November, will feature a new take on classic French and American dishes. The atmosphere — a funky 70-person dining room and 20-24 person separate lounge, designed with help from HighStreet — is more casual than Table, with the intent that everybody will be able to share (at least the appetizers). A 35-person patio, with panoramic views of the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky, will open when the weather warms.

"It's not a classic bistro, like when I did Jean Ro," de Cavel told CityBeat in November. "This neo-bistro is something from the past you are familiar with but in a modern way." 

The menu features everything from escargot to calves liver and macaroni and cheese to ground steaks, with entree prices in the $11-$25 range. CityBeat dining writer Ilene Ross got a sneak-peek dinner at the restaurant this past weekend. She tried everything from the steak tartare and the lamb and beef burgers to snails in parchment and a pot de crème, saying "It. Is. Perfect." 

Le Bar a Boeuf's Chef de Cuisine is Mirko Ravlic with sous chef Travis Reidel, both from Table. Table's wine director Evan Abrams has developed the moderately priced and global wine list. The bar will also serve classic cocktails, and local, import and domestic beers. Local hospitality expert Richard Brown, who worked with de Cavel at the Maisonette and Jean-Robert at Pigall’s, serves as general manager, assisted by Leslie Brunk.  

The Edgecliff previously hosted restaurants, including The View, all of which rested on the laurels of location. De Cavel's vision is different. "I never want to promote the view; the view, for me, it's an extra," he said to CityBeat in November. "It's an extra thing. I want it to be a fun restaurant; a destination restaurant. Fun for the younger generation to the older generation."

Le Bar a Boeuf's current hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are available for early seating times (5:30, 5:45 and 6 p.m.). For more information, call 513-751-2333 (BEEF) or follow along on Facebook and Twitter @baraboeufcincy.

by Maija Zummo 08.04.2014
off the vine cold press

New Cold-Press Juice Bar Coming to OTR

Off the Vine will feature cold-press juice made from fresh produce and herbs

Big news for local juice fans. Cold-press juice bars are a new staple in most big cities — follow any model, actress or fashion blogger on instagram and you'll see oodles of the stuff from places like Venice Beach's juice bar Moon Juice. 

Now, locals Annie McKinney, Cydney Rabe and Steve Vickers are bringing the trend to Cincinnati with their new OTR juice bar Off the Vine (1218 Vine St., OTR, facebook.com/otvcincy).

"Cydney, Steve, and myself firmly believe that healthy eating is vital to a healthy and happy life," says McKinney. "Juicing is such a fantastic way to easily absorb important nutrients — nutrients that the vast majority of Americans lack from their diet." 

Off The Vine will offer cold-press juices made from fresh produce and herbs. Cold-pressing is a form of juicing that basically uses extreme pressure to juice produce, without adding heat. Heat possibly denatures the enzymes, vitamins and minerals in the vegetables; cold pressing preserves the health benefits while also squeezing out more juice than traditional methods. Off the Vine juices will range from $8-$11, a pretty standard price for cold-press. They'll also be making their own vanilla cashew milk.

"We have three different 'levels' of green juice," McKinney says, "from a basic spinach and apple to a hardcore, all-vegetable juice. Something to please the person who has never tried a green juice before to those who are looking for an intense blend of greens."  

Off the Vine will also be offering juices cleanses with a daily series of five juices and one meal-replacement nut milk as a "kick start for people looking to rid their bodies of the toxins that build up from poor eating habits," McKinney says. The group will also offer support for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

They plan to open this fall, possibly in September. Follow their progress at facebook.com/otvcincy.

by Maija Zummo 05.28.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Indian, local restaurant, News, Openings at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
swad indian

Former Dusmesh Owners Open New Indian Restaurant

Swad North Indian cuisine open six days a week, with lunch buffet

For die-hard Dusmesh fans, the former owners of Dusmesh Indian in Northside have opened a new Indian restaurant in North College Hill called Swad. 

After seven years of ownership, the family sold Dusmesh to new owners in July 2013 and have recently opened Swad — which translates to "tasty" —  a 110-seat dining establishment with 16-seat patio in the old Van Zant building. The menu focuses on North Indian cuisine with options for vegetarians, vegans and non-vegetarians alike, including their Thali, three special different curries and a creamy raita. They are currently in the process of obtaining their liquor license, so the restaurant is BYOB (with no corking fee). Free parking is available out front and in back.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday with a lunch buffet from 11 a.m-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.1810 W. Galbraith Road, North College Hill, 513-522-5900.

by Maija Zummo 04.25.2014

Tom+Chee Newport on the Levee Grand Reopening

Saturday celebration to benefit Awesome Fathers Taking Roles

Purveyors of delicious grilled cheese and grilled cheese donuts Tom+Chee are hosting a grand reopening celebration at their Newport on the Levee location. 

The all-day Saturday affair (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) will feature family-friendly entertainment; a raffle benefiting Awesome Fathers Taking Roles, a nonprofit dedicated to educating fathers and role models in homes of children with special needs; and the unveiling of Tom+Chee's latest grilled cheese donut creation, the Choco Bacon Bliss, which features bacon, chocolate, mozzarella and chocolate mascarpone cheese on a donut. 

When owners Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush opened their flagship Levee location in 2011 in a former burrito joint, they did little more than clean and paint the space. Now, they've completely reconfigured the location to increase seating, update custom tables and flooring, added side panels to the patio and redesigned the kitchen to increase speed.

Grand Reopening Schedule of Events:
  • 10 a.m. Ribbon cutting
  • 11 a.m. Give away/prizes/games all day
  • 3-5 p.m. Tableside magic shoes by Wizardz Magic Theater
  • 5:30 p.m. Thank yous
  • 5:55 p.m. Raffle Grand Prize Drawing (grand prize is a hotel stay at Comfort Suites in Newport, tickets to the Newport Aquarium and gift cards to Tom+Chee)
  • 6-7:30 p.m. Performances by Circus Mojo


by Jessica Baltzersen 04.17.2014
Posted In: Alcohol, Beer, Food news, Cincinnati, News, Openings at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
_over the mountain_ wall by the frameshop

HalfCut Beer Cafe Grand Opening Friday

HalfCut pours its first beers for the public tomorrow

HalfCut Beer Café invites beer lovers to take their taste buds on an explosive journey as they celebrate their opening to the public April 18th.

The cafe — on Walnut Street in Over-the-Rhine, attached to the new taco shop Gomez Salsa — will offer growlers to-go plus beers to sample and drink in-store. Customers walk up to the counter to chat with a knowledgeable beer-ista and then choose the style and flavor of beer they want to indulge in. Then, they have the option of choosing to enjoy their beverage either at the bar or to-go in one a HalfCut growlers. For those in a super hurry, they also have a to-go only window on 12th street.

The interior of the cafe was inspired by a cross-country road trip. HalfCut wants to instill a sense of adventure in its customers via wall artwork by local store Frameshop and a 20-foot mural stretching across their exposed brick wall by Neltner Small Batch that pays homage to beer and the beer-making process telling the story of how beer got from the farm to your hands.

1128 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, halfcut.com.







by Maija Zummo 03.27.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, Events, local restaurant, News, Openings at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
blaze fast fired pizza

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza Coming to Mason

Build your own pizza

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, a fast-casual build-your-own pizza restaurant, is coming to Mason mid-May.

Using the assembly-line format (similar to Chipotle, Fusian, etc.), each guest can walk down the counter and create their own custom-built pizza, fired in a blazing oven and ready in 180 seconds. Each customer starts with a house-made 11-inch crust and then selects toppings — either from existing menu options or customized. Housemade sauces include classic red and white cream plus unique choices like barbecue or pesto. Toppings range from grilled chicken and crumbled meatballs to standard veggies plus arugula, pineapple and several cheeses, including vegan.

Every Blaze Pizza restaurant makes its own dough from scratch, using a recipe that requires a 24-hour fermentation period. But if you don't want that crust, they also offer a gluten-free choice. The menu also features fresh salads, signature lemonades and house-made S’more Pies. 

Order online or head to the 73-seat restaurant.

Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, 9341 Mason-Montgomery Road, Mason, blazepizza.com.
by Kathy Valin 03.12.2014
Posted In: News, Openings at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
hen of the woods banana

Hen of the Woods Underground Preps for a Brick-and-Mortar Location

The underground comes above ground

It was midday a couple Sundays ago and the weather was getting iffy in Cincinnati. Winter was having one last go at it. My husband Jon and I had already stocked the kitchen of our OTR abode. Normally, we would have just settled in and waited it out.

But luckily for us, our snow day was going to get a little brighter: I had booked reservations at Hen of the Woods Underground. 

Hen of the Woods (it’s a type of mushroom) is the brainchild of Nick and Kim Marckwald. The duo (Nick is the chef and Kim manages services) recently purchased the old J.B. Schmidt contractor space at 1432 and 1434 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. They have ambitious plans for a restaurant and urban market there. As a run-up, they have been holding “pop-up” brunches since January in Main Street’s Street Pops space (closed for the winter months). And the very last one was scheduled for Sunday.

Now, this is just a hop, skip and jump from us, so the weather was not a concern — or was it? 

Just to be sure it was all going to happen given the poor road conditions, I sneakily walked our puppy by the space, which was holding the first of two seatings that day. The windows were properly steamed up, I could glimpse small tables of people inside and the most wonderful smells wafted from the slightly propped open door. 

When we arrived an hour later, our table was waiting. We were among about 10 guests. Our first course was a refreshing juice du jour — Meyer lemonade with ginger and cilantro flavors, and a jalapeno ice cube floating in the jelly jar glass.

Next, we were offered coffee. Deeper Roots Coffee’s Ryan Doan stood at the counter carefully pouring from what looked like a tiny watering can into a Chemex coffee maker. The brew was deep and rich without being acidic. 

During the next hour or so, we were offered three courses and a dessert prepared by the clearly visible staff. Each was meticulously described by our server— most times it was Nick or Kim.

First came a beautiful refreshing plate made from lemongrass, tapioca, mango, fingerlime, almond, ginger and pea shoots.


Next up, another precisely plated combo — lovely pink-edged beet cured salmon was draped over a crispy seared rice cake on a bed of leeks and shiitakes with a horseradish and basil sauce.

Next, the brunch got down to business because, what’s brunch without bacon and eggs? Hen’s take on eggs Benedict was a fat, wobbly egg sitting on top of a concoction with Woodlands “back bacon” lardo, English muffin, frisee and Hollandaise, served on a wooden slab made of black walnut. One poke with my fork sent yellow yolk running hither and yon amidst the gathering of elements. 


Finally, a rich bread pudding, with banana, sesame, chocolate, dulche de leche and pine. In the only misstep of the entire production, the crisp decorative chip had a distinct lack of flavor. 


I’m not usually a fan of little-plate meals and such as a fill-in for a meal. They often just tease, sending you out the door looking for something else to eat. This time? Not the case. We walked home in the ice and cold, happy and full, ready to hunker down and slog through the last of winter. 

I am so waiting for spring, and also for Hen of the Woods to begin doing impromptu servings in their new space while it is under construction. Nick and Kim assure me they’ll be doing it as soon as the permits are in order. The sooner the better for me!

Follow Hen of the Woods news on their Facebook page.