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by Ilene Ross 03.25.2014
Posted In: Cincinnati, local restaurant, News at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
cameron-serrins

Q&A with Lavomatic's New Executive Chef, Cameron Serrins

Serrins took over the OTR eatery after Josh Campbell left earlier this year

There’s a new face in the kitchen at Over-the-Rhine eatery Lavomatic. The restaurant's former executive chef, Josh Campbell, recently left to pursue another opportunity, leaving his position in the kitchen open. And Cameron Serrins — a Cincinnati native — stepped in. 

“I'm Cincy born and raised," Serrins says. "So many people close to me have left to chase dreams or look for opportunity elsewhere. The open road is beautiful and great for the mind, but so is home. I'm a lifer cook turned chef because I love to learn, share and show my work. One day Josh Campbell called me and said to come talk with (Lavomatic general manager) Brian Firth; I would like what he had to say. Josh was right, and I was welcomed to the Lavomatic team."

Now at the helm of Lavomatic, Serrins is making some very delicious changes. CityBeat's Ilene Ross recently got to chat with him via email about his background, his philosophy and what we can expect to see on his menu. (Outline lettering Serrins own.)

Ilene Ross: What’s your general food philosophy?

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.

 

 

 

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 03.25.2014
 
 
tob reds waffle & chicken

Taste of Belgium is the Official Waffle of the Cincinnati Reds

Grab a waffle and chicken, plain, chocolate or fruit waffle

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.


Full Menu:

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.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 02.26.2014
 
 
mcd1

Cincinnati-Based McDonald's Franchisee Invented Filet-O-Fish

Otherwise, you'd be eating a Hula Burger (cold pineapple and cheese...)

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

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.20.2014
Posted In: Events, local restaurant, Openings at 01:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
packhouse meats logo

Packhouse to Open in Newport

Meatballs and more coming to Northern Kentucky

As the meatball food craze continues, another local restaurant is opening and offering a version of the hand-packed snack. 

Packhouse in Newport, Ky. will be a laid-back place to get a variety of meatballs, according to general manager Kurt Stephens. "We will be offering four staple packs (beef, chicken, pork and vegetarian), along with four to five sauces that compliment our packs," Stephens writes in an email correspondence, "packs" being the term the team uses to describe their meatballs.

"The idea all came about while sitting around one day brainstorming and someone mentioned meatballs," he writes. "We found out some similar shops were having great success in the East. We developed some strong recipes and and are excited to bring them to the people of Northern Kentucky!"

The recipes will come from chef Tom Wenke, who has 30-plus years in the food industry. 

"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."


The menu will include freshly ground packs, fresh salad, soup, homemade ice cream, homemade cookies and floats. There will be an ever-changing supply of craft beer on tap, as well as other booze. Price points will hover around $8-$10, with full-service seating. 

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.

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.17.2014
Posted In: News, History, local restaurant at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
annman_pompilios2_rachel-rothstein

Pompilios Returns to its Past with Bar Rebranding

The classic Newport Italian restaurant updates their back bar

Pompilios, the local Newport, Ky. restaurant famed for its family-friendly Italian fare and appearance in several major motion pitctures (Rain Man, y'all), is rebranding its back bar with the rollout of Colonel Pomps Tavern.

Established in 1933 by Colonel and Mrs. Pompilio, the bar and restaurant was the first to secure a liquor license in Kentucky after Prohibition ended. The back bar was a regular hang for Northern Kentuckians, featuring tiled floors, beveled-glass windows and a handcrafted cherry wood back bar that was built by the Wiedemann Brewing Company in 1886.

According to a press release, current owners Mike Mazzei and Larry Geiger are planning to "return to their past," imagining what the bar would have been like in 1933, when Prohibition ended. In concert with the vision, they'll be stocking a ton of local products, including a large selection of local beer.

"We intend to make Colonel Pomps Tavern a destination," Geiger says in the release. "We are featuring locally crafted beers, our large selection of bourbons, nightly bar food specialties and live music in the Rain Man room on Thursday and Friday nights."

They'll be keeping the bar's popular Monday $5 burger night and adding nights dedicated to flatbread and gourmet meatballs. 

Pompilios is located at 600 Washington Ave., Newport, Ky. They're open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. For more information visit pompiliosrestaurant.com.







 
 
by Jac Kern 01.15.2014
Posted In: local restaurant at 01:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Gold Star Chili Now Serves Doritos Nachos

Your move, Deadspin

Move over, Taco Bell. Deadspin, brace your taste buds and typin’ fingers for a twist on Cincy’s “abominable garbage-gravy.” Gold Star Chili now serves Doritos nachos.

Arriving just in time to sabotage your New Year’s health resolutions, Gold Star has added a Nacho Cheese Dorito-based dish to its menu. The nachos feature Gold Star's signature Cincinnati-style chili atop a mountain of orange-dusted tortilla chips, complete with all the fixins: tomatoes, jalapenos, black olives, a heap of cheddar, sour cream and chipotle ranch dressing. No word yet on a Cooler Ranch version.

The specialty nachos are available through Feb. 23 — Gold Star even has a countdown on its new specialty site, cincinnacho.com.

Patrons are encouraged to snap a nacho selfie with the dish and post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #cincinnacho for a chance to win an Xbox One, iPhone or iPad Mini, airline tickets, concert tickets, a smart TV or, best of all, more free Doritos nachos!

Related:

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 01.06.2014
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
chez nora

Chez Nora Has Closed

Owners Jimmy and Pati Gilliece shutter the restaurant after nearly 20 years

After nearly 20 years under its current ownership, popular MainStrasse restaurant and rooftop Jazz club Chez Nora (530 Main St., Covington) shuttered its doors for good yesterday. Despite having a loyal following, owners Jimmy and Patti Gilliece cited not having enough customers as the reason for the close. 

Their official Facebook page says: 

"Chez Nora 

Has Closed

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.' -

T. Roosevelt"

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.


 
 
by Maija Zummo 11.26.2013
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
eats1_kaze_keithbowers3

Kaze to Expand Lunch Hours Starting Black Friday

The Japanese gastropub offers special menu for holiday shoppers and professionals

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 

Menu:

 

 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 10.29.2013
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 09:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
local127_chef_jf68

Chef Steven Geddes to Leave Local 127

Kyle Johnson will succeed chef Geddes as executive chef on Nov. 5

Effective Nov. 5, Chef Steven Geddes will step down as executive chef of Local 127, the local New American restaurant he has spearheaded since 2009. Geddes' successor will be chef Kyle Johnson, who has a wide-breadth of experience ranging from a Michelin-starred kitchen to extensive travel.

Johnson began his career at Alize in Las Vegas under the tutelage of chefs including André Rochat and Jacques Van Staden. He then went on to be a traveling executive chef for Celebrity Cruises, assisting in menu development for sister cruise line Azamara Cruises. Johnson has staged with notable kitchens including the Picasso and Michelin-starred Guy Savoy but relocated to Cincinnati in 2009 to open Local 127. After the opening, he became executive chef at Paramour, a contemporary American fine dining restaurant in Philadelphia. 
 
"I'm happy to be back in the area and carry on the restaurant that Steve and I created together," Johnson says in a recent press release. "Steve is like a brother to me and one of my biggest mentors. I will miss him greatly and will forever thank him for asking me to embark on this journey."

Geddes, one of just more than 100 certified master sommeliers in the U.S., will remain a consulting master sommelier at Local 127, visiting occasionally, but will ultimately be heading west to continue his work in the food and wine world.


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.


 

 
 
by Maija Zummo 10.03.2013
Posted In: News, local restaurant at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
mayday

Mayday's Menu Goes Gastropub

Northside bar expands its food offerings to include table service, a new head chef and expanded menu

Mayday in Northside has long been known for their gourmet hot dogs and sausages, nestled in a delicious pretzel bun, but after four years of business, the owners — Vanessa Barber and Kim Maurer — are ready to kick their menu up a notch. 

Starting on Monday, Oct. 7, Mayday will have a new, expanded menu developed with head chef Julz Lucas, a graduate of the Midwest Culinary Institute whose previous experience includes Honey, Mayberry and La Poste. With a goal of being a restaurant versus just a bar that serves food, they will add gourmet burgers, homemade oven fries, roasted chicken and seasonal sides, soups and sandwiches to their menu — all of which will still maintain their original focus of using local purveyors and making items in-house, including their bread. There will also still be the customer-favorite late-night dog and snack menu served after 10 p.m. 

“Now that we have a new head chef, we want to take those traditions and expand them to a more diversified menu,” co-owner Kim Maurer says. 

“We have always paid close attention to the details when it comes to our food, but we are finally able to move beyond our signature dogs and add more exciting menu options," adds co-owner Vanessa Barber. "We don’t want to be hemmed into the same identity we started with over four years ago. Mayday is dynamic — just like the neighborhood [Northside] we are so proud to call home." 

The menu expansion will also include table service, a rarity in the bar-food world, again elevating Mayday's status from pub to gastropub. They've also added a new, outdoor biergarten to their two-tiered patio and will be adding more cozy indoor seating as the weather turns colder. 

The new menu will be available daily starting at 11:30 a.m. (beginning Oct. 7) and remain in the $5-$15 price range. 

And Mayday will also still host weekly trivia, dance nights and live music regularly in addition to the food, making them a food and entertainment destination. 

Mayday is located at 4227-4231 Spring Grove Ave., in Northside. Starting next week, their hours will be 11:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday. More info at maydaynorthside.com.  

 
 

 

 

 
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