It’s almost here, Cincinnatians — Opening Day 2012 takes place Thursday. The beginning of
the Reds’ season is one of several cultural celebrations that the
Queen City does bigger than most other places (is it really possible
that another city gets down like our triumvirate of Opening Day-Taste
of Cincinnati-Oktoberfest?). As such, downtown Cincinnati will be
poppin’ off, as bars, restaurants and attractions attempt to engage
some of the locals who might only visit the business district for
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade starts at 1 p.m., followed by the game against the Miami Marlins at 4:05.
The following is a list of more than 40 downtown businesses offering food and drink specials for Opening Day, according to Downtown Cincinnati Inc., the non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting downtown businesses.
Blue Wisp: Located right on the parade route at the corner of Race and 7th streets, the newly relocated Jazz club/restaurant will have its kitchen open all day, with happy hour specials including $2 Red drafts. Four big TVs and live music after the game. 700 Race St., 513-241- WISP.
Holy Grail: One of the new restaurants in The Banks, the Holy Grail will host several live radio broadcasts before and after the game, along with its typical food and drink offerings. 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, 513-621-2222.
In Between Tavern: Opens at 10 a.m. and offering $5 bottled beer. 307 Sycamore St., 513-621-7009.
The Lackman: Venture into Over-the-Rhine and taste the Gateway’s resurgence, or just a happy hour draft starting a 4 p.m. 1237 Vine St., 513-381-0741.
Lunar Lounge: This space-themed upscale lounge will open early and host DJs from Q102 and will have the game on its numerous TVs. 435 Elm St., 513-381-2573.
Mainstay Rock Bar: One of downtown’s best live music bars will offer happy hour deals from 4-9 p.m. 301 W. Fifth St., 513-721-7625.
Mynt Martini: Located on Fountain Square, Mynt will offer its new lunch menu starting a 9 a.m., along with plenty of TVs and live music. 513-621-6968.
Penguin Dueling Piano Bar: Plenty of TVs, plus $2.50 well drinks and $3 domestic beers. $5 cover. 441 Vine St., 513-621-2800.
The Righteous Room: Open at 1 p.m. with half-price drinks from 4-8 p.m., along with TVs and a DJ spinning at 10 p.m. 641 Walnut St., 513-381-4408.
Scene: Another of downtown’s hot night spots, Scene will be opening early to offer the game on TV. 637 Walnut St., 513-381-4327.
Tina’s: This corner bar will offer food and beer specials, starting at 8:30 a.m. 350 W. Fourth St., 513-621-3567.
Whisky Bar Cincinnati: The first 150 patrons will get a free Opening Day CD mix, and the bar will give away tickets to Opening Day before the game. $5 for a shot and beer, $3 Reds shots and more specials. 537 E. Pete Rose Way, 513-721-9227.
RESTAURANT AND BAKERY SPECIALS:
Abby Girl Sweets: “Reds” Velvet cupcakes and other flavors. Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 41 W. 5th St., 513-335-0898.
Boi Na Braza: Ten percent off lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and open for dinner from 5-10 p.m. 441 Vine St., 513-421-7111.
Café de Paris: This quaint sandwich shop offers a variety of coffee, cappucinos and lattes along with breakfast sandwiches and muffins, just around the corner from the parade’s route on Race Street. 17 Garfield Place, 513-651-1919.
Cincy’s on Sixth: Cincy’s will be celebrating its grand opening, with ticket giveways to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert and a Cincinnati Reds game. 9 a.m.-midnight. 41 W. Sixth St., 513-621-6200.
Findlay’s at the Hyatt Regency: “Make your own Bloody Mary” bar plus a breakfast buffet. 151 W. Fifth St., 513-579-1234.
Good Dog: $1 off Ballpark hot dog. 633 Main St., 513-381-2907.
Grecos: Opening Day tailgate with live music. $10 includes parking, cover and one free Grecos Signature Cincinnati Pork Green Chili Taco. Hamburgers, hotdogs and full lunch menu will be available throughout the day from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. 700 W. Pete Rose Way, 513-721-3663.
Greek to Me: Opening Day special “Buy a gyro, get a second gyro for $1.” 125 E. Court St., 513-422-4976.
It’s Just Crepes: Featuring "Go Reds" crepe with raspberries and vanilla cream for $3.99. 39 E. Court St., or 151 W. Fourth St.
J. Gumbos: Chicken Etouffee and Spinach Mushroom Etouffee is the $5 big bowl special. 425 Walnut St., 513-429-4549.
Johnny Rockets: Serving breakfast and regular menu before, during and after the game. 191 E. Freedom Way, 513-834-6110.
Blue Pizza: Open at 11 a.m. with an
all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $7.50 that includes fresh
salad, homemade soup, soft drink or water, and all the pizza you
want. Buffet open until 2 p.m. Open for business all day and night.
35 E. Seventh St., 513-381-7777.
McCormick & Schmick’s: Opening at 11 a.m. and featuring two happy hours from 4-6:30 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m. featuring a range of appetizers from $1.95 to $4.95. 21 E. Fifth St., 513-721-9339.
Moerlein Lager House: Hosting the Fuller Ford Opening Day Party from 11a.m.-4 p.m. with free music by the Naked Karate Girls. 115 Joe Nuxhall Way, 513-421-2337.
Morton’s: Open at noon with a great view of the Opening Day parade from windows overlooking Fifth Street and Fountain Square. Offering full menu in the dining room and bar bites in Bar 12*21. 441 Vine St., 513-621-3111.
Nada: Full patio set-up and ready for pre- and post-game goers. 600 Walnut St., 513-721-6232.
Nicholson’s: $2 Bud and Bud Light bottles and "Red Leg Bombs" for $4. 625 Walnut St., 513-564-9111.
Palomino: “The Big Red Flatbread” returns with four cheese spread, sliced hot Italian sausage links, roasted yellow peppers, dollops of bold smokey Ketchup and a sprinkling of fresh herbs, for $6. 505 Vine St., 513-381-1300.
The Phoenix: Opening Day Ballpark Buffet with hotdogs, brats, metts, popcorn and peanuts from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. for $14.95. $2 domestic bottles and $4 imports. $4 call liquor and $6 premium. Also, parade seating will be available. 812 Race St., 513-721-8901.
Plum Street Café: Lunch service available until 5 p.m., with the bar remaining open late-night. Big TVs. 423 Plum St., 513-651-4341.
Rock Bottom Brewery: Open at 9 a.m. and serving Donut Cheeseburgers on the patio. Located on Fountain Square. 513-621-1588.
Senate: This OTR hotspot is open from 11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. for lunch. Dinner begins at 4:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. serving Reds-related gourmet hot dogs. Full bar available. 1212 Vine St., 513-421-2020.
Servatii’s: Open 6 a.m.-5 p.m. serving baseball decorated cookies at both downtown locations and passing out pretzel sticks at the Local 12 booth during the Reds Rally on Fountain Square. On Fountain Square and 41 E. Court St., 513-241-7500.
Snappy Tomato Pizza: Free Busken cookie with purchase while supplies last. The buffet is $6 and includes all you can eat pizza, salad and drink, or a baby beast personal pizza pepperoni or plain cheese for $4.69. 330 Walnut St., 513-241-9888.
The Squirrel: Free Busken cookie with purchase while supplies last, along with a sandwich, chips and drink special. 344 Walnut St., 513-721-1128.
Streetpops: This new popsicle shop will celebrate its grand opening this week. Open noon- 6 p.m. on Opening Day with 50 cents off all red popsicles. 1437 Main St., 513-446-7505.
Taste of Belgium: Open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch (Taste of Belgium) and 5-10 p.m. for dinner (Belgium Bistro). Outdoor seating with delicious Belgium waffles available. Offering Reds cookies and chocolate dipped mini-waffles on a stick. Happy hour from 5-7 p.m. 1133 Vine St., 513-381-4607.
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill: Serving lunch and dinner all day in an American-themed space. 145 E. Second St., 513-721-8629.
Tot Dogs: Open 11 a.m. 634 Vine St., 513-345-3056.
Trattoria Roma: Free appetizer with the purchase of two main courses. Offering a full bar and a late night menu. 580 Walnut St., 513-723-0220.
Walnut Street Grill: Open 11 a.m.-midnight. Enjoy a 3 Olives party downstairs and a Budweiser party upstairs. All drink specials will be effective all day and will include wine, beer and liquor specials, plus $2 pints of red beer. 631 Walnut St., 513-241-0707.
Washington Platform: Open before and after the parade. 1000 Elm St., 513-421-0110.
Wicked-wich: "Reds home run combo" featuring red garlic tomato soup and quarter pound all beef Nathans dog for $7.79. 425 Sycamore St., 513-421-9424.
Congratulations to Chef Daniel Wright of Senate and Abigail Street! Wright won Food & Wine’s People’s Choice competition for Great Lakes Region’s Best New Chef. Wright’s work is wowing locals and filling his two hip Over-the-Rhine eateries out the door with eager diners. Nice to bring this recognition home again, following The Palace’s Jose Salazar’s victory in 2011.Also hot news today: Burnell’s has opened in Mayberry’s former spot at 917 Vine St. Chef Nathan Jolley has begun his new venture with lunch service, Monday through Friday from 10:30am to 2:00pm. The menu is online at http://www.burnellscincy.com/Lunch.html.
We still love Mayberry! Be sure to visit Chef Josh Campbell in his new location at 1211 Main St. We were there for Sunday brunch a few weeks ago. The food was better than ever, and the people are sweet as pie. Follow Josh on Twitter @mayberrycincy.
Food & Wine magazine has named two of Cincinnati’s finest young chefs as runners-up for the title of "Most Talented New Chef in America." Daniel Wright of Senate (and Abigail Street) and José Salazar of The Palace are both outstanding, talented chefs who do Cincinnati proud and can truly hold their own against the other eight Great Lakes nominees — seven from Chicago and one from Indianapolis. Since this is a People's Choice award, you can cast a ballot and help bring home this worthwhile recognition of our local dining scene.
Here's a link to the voting, and may the best chef win!
The grilled cheese-n-tomato soup gods at Tom + Chee are no strangers to the spotlight. Since its inception in 2009 as a food tent on Fountain Square, the comfort food joint has gone on to expand to two permanent locations and has been featured on Man vs. Food Nation and Amazing Eats. They even boast a food challenge called The Baker's Dozen: a mad dash to consume a tray full of their famous grilled cheese donuts. So what's next for Tom + Chee? A reality show, apparently.
The restaurant has been teasing the idea via social media and today released a video previewing the show:
Sure, it's a little cheesy (but what else would you expect from a restaurant with the diary ingredient in its name?) and lacking in the production/sound department, but I'm admittedly an automatic fan of all things T+C.
It's a great message to share — small-time businesses really can become successful even in a crappy economy. And with fun characters like Andre, it certainly won't be a boring show. Speaking of, did we just discover Golden Voice 2.0? Entertainment Tonight, are you watching?
Keep your eyes peeled for more Tom + Chee updates, and keep your belly filled with their delicious creations.
Sushi Bears, located in Findlay Market’s Historic Market House, offers Indian and sushi cooking classes for $80 per couple. Led by experienced chefs, the classes for two show proper cooking techniques and dissolve the mystiques surrounding Indian/Asian food cuisines over an hour and a half. You get to choose between the two cuisines and (of course!) there are vegetarian and vegan options for both — just be sure to tell the chef when you schedule your class.
In an effort to curb the copious amounts of money I spend on Indian take-out every month, I opted to take my date to the Indian food class. I scheduled our cooking class on a Wednesday; Findlay is pretty calm during the week (I wouldn’t recommend the weekend because it’s busier and noisier), and coupled with the warm weather, the mood was perfect. Inspired by the market’s intimate atmosphere, I was ready to get down on some good cooking.
We walked up to the counter and our chef was getting the food and tools together, ready to teach. With five years of Indian cuisine cooking experience under his belt, Chef Joshua Stewart was knowledgeable, funny and he (somehow) made cooking Indian food seem effortless.
Over the course of 75 minutes we learned about different spices and ingredients used in popular Indian dishes, how to prepare those ingredients and how to make paneer cheese. By the end of the class we made three different dishes: saag paneer (a creamy spinach dish topped with Indian cheese), golden curry (a base sauce used in around half of all Indian food recipes) and masala (curry with tomato paste and spices). We topped a bowlful of rice with the trifecta of sauces, sprinkled it with homemade cheese and dug in.
In addition to the cooking classes in the Market, the folks at Sushi Bears teach group classes in homes, serve food and drinks to market-dwellers and cater parties and events. Next time you’re at Findlay start off with the wheatgrass lemonade ($2.49), one glass has the same nutritional content as a pound of green leafy vegetables. For a meal try the chicken curry naan-wrap ($5.95) — that’s right, it’s like a burrito, only substitute the tortilla with fluffy naan and a heap of your favorite Indian dish inside. If you’re looking for more traditional Indian cuisine, try the chicken curry meal ($7.95). The portion sizes are pretty big, so be prepared to make some space in your fridge for leftovers.
Judging by the food baby in my date’s stomach (he finished his whole plate), I didn’t need to make room in my fridge. I had a feeling my leftovers would be gone by the end of the evening, and I wouldn’t be the person who ate them. Luckily, Chef Joshua sent me home with a DVD providing step-by-step instructions on the Indian dishes so I can recreate them at home.
Store Hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday
Full Disclosure: CityBeat's discount gift certificate program, Perkopolis, offers a half-price deal on Sushi Bears rolling classes, though it was not the inspiration for our intern to try out the class. For more information, go here.
Greater Cincinnati Independent restaurants will present their annual Spring Restaurant Week March 12-21. Each year during this event, local eateries offer diners special deals on a sampling menu. If you've been wanting to check out some new (or classic) area restaurants, this is the perfect chance to taste lots of dishes without dropping major cash.
This year's event features 27 local restaurants including Vito's Cafe, Jag's, Local 127, The Golden Lamb and The Midwest Culinary Institute's on-site restaurant, The Summit. Each spot offers a three-course tasting menu for $26.12. There will also be wine pairings from William Hill Estate Winery and cocktails by OYO Vodka, produced in Columbus using Ohio-grown ingredients.
Eating local gives diners the opportunity to experience Cincinnati's own "flair," but it's more than just a great way to show "team spirit" for your hometown. Money spent at independent businesses is stretched farther and filters back into the local economy. And when restaurants like La Poste and Lavomatic cook with locally sourced ingredients, it creates a chain effect of funds remaining within the Greater Cincinnati market. Meta-local!
Greater Cincinnati Independent also presents a yearly Fall Restaurant Week. Gift certificates and rewards cards are available at eatlocalcincy.com. Go here to check out all participating restaurants for March's event.
Here's the dish on hogs: they rank among the smartest in the animal kingdom and despite the phrase "pigging out," they actually savor their food. On March 1, National Pig Day, Americans across the Midwest don snouts, dress in pink and "eat like pigs" to celebrate their intelligence and contributions to mankind.
Chef Julie Francis at Nectar Restaurant has been offering Dinner Clubs for years. It’s her creative way of building customer loyalty and breaking out of the menu rut every now and then with something completely different. The dinner club menu is generally based on a seasonal ingredient: beets, garlic, honey, pork. Always local, always top quality. Next Thursday, Jan. 26, the menu’s based on one of my favorite foods: beer.
Gregg Wilson from Premium Beverage Supply worked with Chef Francis to develop a menu using beer or beer ingredients in every dish.
Dinner club starts at 7 p.m. and the cost is $60 per person. There will be three beers featured to drink with the dinner as well at an additional charge. Make reservations by calling 513-929-0525.