Restaurateur Jon Zippersteain — the man behind Japanese gastropub Kaze in OTR and sushi/steakhouse Embers in Kenwood — is slated to open the new Mercer OTR on Nov. 4.
The Mercer, at corner of Vine and Mercer streets (on the ground floor of the Mercer Commons apartment complex), will be a casual, European-influenced bistro with seating for up to 60.
"This restaurant was inspired by the sophistication and Mod sensibilities of '60s cinema, which idealized and often parodied 'The Sweet Life' a la 'La Dolce Vita'," says Zipperstein in a recent press release. "There is a vibrant lifestyle here in OTR that we want to echo. I want people to think of The Mercer as a living room for the neighborhood."
Chef Dan Stoltz will interpret rustic Italian-European dishes — like duck-leg cassoulet, porterhouse for two, short ribs, risotto and chicken saltimbocca — in a modern, contemporary way. All pasta, including garganelli, will be made in-house.
On the bar end, the full-service bar — overseen by head mixologist Greg Wefer — will seat 40 and include Prohibition-era favorites like the Americano (Campari, Aperol, sweet vermouth and lime) and a Blood Orange Sazerac (rye, Solerno and blood orange bitters), plus a diverse wine list and local and craft beers.
The restaurant is slated to open on Nov. 4 and will be — get this! — accepting reservations. Make them at opentable.com or call 513-381-0791.
The Mercer OTR, 1324 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-0791, facebook.com/TheMercerOTR.
CityBeat is resurrecting our popular "Look Who's Eating" column, where we ask local chefs and food industry insiders where they've been dining and what is exciting them about Cincinnati's current culinary culture. This month, we talk to Ryan Santos.
Local Frisch's restaurants are celebrating the birthday of founder David Frisch with a day of free food on May 3. Frisch opened The Mainliner in 1939, the area's first year-round, drive-in restaurant. Nine years later, he opened Big Boy on Central Parkway. To honor his birthday, dress up like Big Boy — checkered pants/overalls and all — and get a free Big Boy platter; come partially dressed, get a Big Boy sandwich. The offer is only available for dine-in customers. A printable costume is available here.
And, like any good food festival, Washington Platform will also be hosting oyster-related contests and events, including a pearl count contest and trivia. (All special event donations go to the Saint Francis Soup Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine.) Check your shells for a "Big Red 28," and win $28 in Washington Platform gift certificates.
Or get in on one of their oyster specials. For $28, sample any three dishes from their "Oyster Munchies" menu after 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. And from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, enjoy a buck-a-shuck. Get fresh-shucked oysters for $1, along with happy hour drink prices.
Download the Oyster Festival menu here.
Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, 513-421-0110, washingtonplatform.com.
Cameron Serrins: A. Cook it and they will "come.” B. Think organic. C. I’m only in it for the money. D. Love what you do, do what you love.
IR: Who do you cook for; yourself, or the diner?
CS: Both. I wouldn't be here without them and vice-versa.
IR: Who influenced you most in the kitchen?
CS: A. Anyone who has gave me tasty food is an influence. B. My mom. C. Meals with friends who introduce me to traditional dishes from their families and home. D. Girls I wanted to like me — kinda kidding, but there is some truth in it.
IR: What changes have you made to Lavomatic since taking over?
CS: A. I’ve made it more vegetarian/vegan friendly. B. I’ve added more features. C. The menu is a bit lighter and there are more snackier options. D. There’s more in-house product being made and we’re using more local meats, veggies and cheeses.
IR: Spring has finally sprung. What seasonal items can we look forward to seeing on the Lavomatic menu?
CS: A. Cadbury eggs — just kidding ... maybe. B. Shoots, sprouts and fresh greens. C. All things pea. D. Everything organic I can get my hands on.
IR: What does your day off look like?
CS: Ha ha, day off? We might not always be open for business but... I'll go skateboarding and think about food, play guitar and sing about work; I sleep and hear the ticket printer filling the rail.
IR: What tools do you find essential in the kitchen and why?
CS: Fire and knives.
IR: If you could cook for anyone in the world, who would it be?
CS: Nikola Tesla.