This is what guided Myra Griffin of Myra’s Dionysus as she ventured to open her own restaurant near the University of Cincinnati campus in 1977. She wanted create a unique eating experience in the Cincinnati area. Kicking off the next big thing isn’t easy, though, and to keep it fresh, Myra saw to it the menu has an array of ethnic food.
“…I realized how little meat other cultures used and how much better it was for you,” she says. “Thus I became a much more vegetarian restaurant.”
When most people think of food in a college town, greasy quick meals and sandwiches from McDonald's come to mind. Myra didn’t want that. In fact, one of her main criteria for a location was a college town, for open-minded individuals who would enjoy her healthy, vegetarian alternative to standard college cuisine. “Healthy does not mean it can't taste good,” she says. That’s what she strives to deliver for every meal.
Myra’s other point in opening Dionysus was to craft an atmosphere where people could bring their families and enjoy themselves, again a notion not widely thought of in a college town. One would think more of fun drinking locations or places to get a quick bite but not somewhere you’d bring a child.
Myra’s Dionysus is a place where one family in particular has created a tradition — four generations have enjoyed Myra's cooking. That is service that’s hard to compete with. Dionysus is a kinetic place as well. It’s always moving forward, adapting new dishes to the proverbial arsenal. Myra enjoys the challenge of coming up with new dishes. She draws on cultures around the world, relishing in diversity.
“It has been a case of trying things, if they work, keep them; if not, change,” she says. At Myra’s Dionysus, the goal for the restaurant is to entertain people through atmosphere, customer service and good conversation. Myra has her degree in education, so teaching her employees was simply second nature. Seeing workers solve issues together and have a great time doing it is what helps drive the business ahead of the rest.
Myra’s Dionysus is an interesting establishment. It’s healthy, odd, has history but plays on contemporary trends. Myra makes sure all of these aspects and more show off to the outside world to bring in anyone willing to give one of her dishes a try. All Myra wants at the end of the day is a good experience for people involved.
“The fun is in seeing others enjoy what we have to offer,” she says.
Myra's Dionysus is located at 121 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights. Go here for menu, hours and more information.
As far as changes, the restaurant will be extending its hours to include lunch (starting Nov. 5) and Saturday brunch (starting Dec. 7), which will feature a make-your-own bloody mary bar. Chef Johnson will also be updating the Local 127 menu to include more seafood and beef choices with seasonal preparations, plus adding a bar snack menu with pork belly bites, devils on horseback (a pub snack with a fruit like dates wrapped in bacon), fries inspired the by the In-N-Out Burger chain and more.
And for fans of the "local" in Local 127, fear not: Chef Johnson will remain true to the restaurant's pledge of serving responsibly sourced foods, according to the press release.
Local 127 is located at 413 Vine St., Downtown. For more information visit mylocal127.com.
"What's going to make us different is our culinary staff," Stephens writes. "Constant ideas of recipes, ice creams and cookies are going to make some waves for sure in the area. We will also be listening to the public, so if you have a great meatball recipe, bring it down and we can give it a try."
Packhouse will be located on Monmouth Street in Newport. Their current projected open date is Jan. 28, so keep an eye on the restaurant and get more details here.
Taste of Belgium has announced that it's partnering with the Great American Ball Park to become the "Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds." (Do any other teams have an official waffle? Didn't think so.)
Starting on Opening Day, fans can now grab a Belgian waffle with toppings such as sweet cream, fruit or chocolate during a game, starting at just $5. If fans are looking for something more savory (with a bit more protein), Taste of Belgium is also offering their signature chicken and waffle combo. Add a side of twice-fried frites (Belgian french fries) for the complete experience.
“We at Taste of Belgium are honored to be counted among the Cincinnati brands supported by Great American Ballpark,” Taste of Belgium owner Jean-François Flechet said in a recent press release. “Our food has been embraced with open arms in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Friendly Market in Florence, Ky., and now we are delighted to show the best fans in baseball how to eat like a Belgian.”
Great American Ball Park also offers local food favorites including LaRosa's pizza and Skyline chili plus beer from local brewery Rhinegeist. The Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds goes on sale Opening Day at Great American Ball Park in Section 130 of the Ballpark, near The Kroger Fan Zone.
Waffle – $5
Chocolate & Cream Waffle – $7
Strawberry & Cream Waffle – $7
Waffle & Chicken – $10
Frites – $7
Taste of Belgium also has local locations in Over-the-Rhine, on Short Vine, in Findlay Market and in Florence, Ky.'s Friendly Market. Full-service bistro, 1133-1135 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; Clifton, 2845 Vine St., Corryville; Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine; and Friendly Market, 10050 Norbotten Dr., Florence, Ky., authenticwaffle.com.
According to an article in LA Weekly, Cincinnati-based McDonald's franchisee Lou Groen invented the Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962. Apparently, he was having an issue selling his burgers to our huge Catholic population during Lent.
So he called up McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and explained his dilemma, suggesting they try selling a fish sandwich instead. Kroc said OK, but only if they also tested his invention: the Hula Burger, a slab of grilled pineapple and cheese on a cold bun. Kroc and Groen had a contest to see which would sell better. The fish sandwich won and fast-food fish sandwiches were born to the happiness of pescetarians, Catholics and cows nationwide. Wonder what would have happened if the pineapple burger won?
Read the whole article here.
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.
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.
Japanese gastropub Kaze will be expanding its hours to include lunch beginning on Black Friday (Nov. 29). The restaurant will now open at 11 a.m. and stay open through their regular dinner hours ('til 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday; 'til 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday).
The new lunch menu will include some dinner favorites plus a bento box or a sashimi lunch plate with Chef Hideki's freshest seafood and rice. All items range between $8-$23, with cheaper starters and cups of soup. And the restaurant will also be offering the option of lunch reservations plus outdoor winter seating in their heated garden patio.
For those of you who don't need a cocktail at lunch, Kaze will also be offering a selection of "mocktails," mixtures of their regular cocktails sans booze, along with their regular full-service bar.
Kaze is located at 1400 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. More info at kazeotr.com.
Thank You for nearly Twenty Years!
God Bless You!
'Far better it is do dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.' -
The couple purchased the restaurant from restauranteur Nora Dempsey — the Nora in Chez Nora — in 1994. Since then, they updated the multi-level restaurant adding an outdoor patio, expanded kitchen and menu and purchased the adjoining building to add a 60-person dining room and banquet room. One of their big draws, the rooftop patio overlooking downtown Cincinnati, is part of the original building and was the site of five nights of live Jazz a week.
Those looking for live Jazz nearby have several options, including Dee Felice Cafe (529 Main St., Covington, deefelice.com) or the Blue Wisp (700 Race St., Downtown, thebluewisp.com) over the river. As far as their famous crab cakes are concerned, Main Bite (522 Main St., Covington, mainbiterestaurant.com) in MainStrasse offers a crab cake appetizer with remoulade and lemon greens.
The couple hopes to partner with other MainStrasse restaurants to honor any remaining Chez Nora gift certificates. The 11,750-square-foot building is listed with Huff Commercial Real Estate for $1.2 million.