0 Comments · Wednesday, February 18, 2015
When a celebrity opens a restaurant,
customers likely fall into two camps: those who only go there for the
celeb brand, or those who actually enjoy the food, drink and ambiance of
a place that happens to be helmed by a famous person.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 18, 2015
When news came out that Katy Perry’s
Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched and highest-rated of any
in history, there was celebration at Lightborne Communications, the
video production services company in Over-the-Rhine.
by Steven Rosen
103 days ago
Posted In: Architecture
at 03:34 PM | Permalink
OTR ranked as one of 10 best Midwest architectural sites by Conde Nast Traveler
is getting more national praise — this time from Conde Nast Traveler, which on
its website in December named OTR one of the 10 best architectural sites in the
Frank Lloyd Wright: Best Architecture in the Midwest,” Ashley Petry writes:Not
too long ago, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood was one of the roughest
parts of town. Now it serves as a case study in successful urban renewal,
thanks in part to its notable architecture. The district is home to a large
concentration of 19th-century Italianate architecture, and those ornate brick
buildings now house trendy restaurants and swanky boutiques. While you’re in
town, swing by the University of Cincinnati, whose new building complex was
designed by architecture firm Morphosis.What
is remarkable about this is the company OTR's 19th Century Italianate
architecture keeps on this select list — except for the Victorian "painted
ladies" of St. Louis' Lafayette Square, the others are all Modernist or
Contemporary masterpieces, many by the world's great architects.These
include Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park as well as
his contribution to Toledo Art Museum's complex; the bedroom at Frank Lloyd
Wright's Taliesin in Spring Green, Wis., as well as his contributions to
Racine's SC Johnson company's headquarters (and home of one of its presidents),
Eero Saarinen's Mid-Century Modernist Miller House in Columbus, Ind.
(owned by Indianapolis Art Museum), Santiago Calatrava's breathtaking 2001
addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Jean Nouvel's 2006 Guthrie Theater in
a random thought here, but if Cincinnati's past architecture is worthy of such
lofty company, should we be putting more thought into getting architects worthy
of those mentioned above for our future projects? Calatrava has done some
amazing bridges and the Cincinnati Art Museum in the past has had ambitious (but
now-stalled) plans for a landmark Contemporary addition.
the full Conde Nast Traveler feature here.
by Nick Swartsell
107 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:35 AM | Permalink
Leelah Alcorn's mother expresses grief in first media interview; Ohio Against the World gets big ups from OSU win; NYPD's massive arrest slowdown
Hey hey Cincinnati! I hope your New Years Eve was as good as mine. I stayed out way too late and had more fun than you should be allowed to have while wearing a suit at CityBeat's speakeasy party. But enough about partying. Let’s get down to business.Carla Alcorn, who has been mostly silent since daughter Leelah Alcorn’s suicide Dec. 28, gave her first interview with media Wednesday. Speaking to CNN, Alcorn expressed deep grief at the loss of the 17-year-old transgender teen from Kings Mills, whose given name was Joshua and who said in a suicide note that she had felt “like a girl trapped in a boy’s body” since the age of 4. Leelah’s suicide has sparked a national conversation about societal attitudes toward gender as well as the high rate of depression and suicide attempts among transgender people. The elder Alcorn told CNN that she forbade Leelah from obtaining medical procedures to help her transition toward more female physical traits because it was against the family’s religion. "We don't support that, religiously," Alcorn's mother told CNN in an emotional phone interview. "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."Controversy has arisen over the way some news outlets, Alcorn’s family and her school have identified Alcorn, using the name Joshua and male pronouns to refer to her. • On a more upbeat note, a local fashion icon got some big attention yesterday after Ohio State beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and clenched a spot at college football’s championship game. As OSU pulled ahead late in the game, ESPN showed a fan in the crowd rocking an Ohio Against the World shirt, a brand dreamed up by Cincinnatian Floyd Johnson. OATW has already gotten a lot of national attention, but screen grabs of the ESPN shot showed up on Twitter and promptly exploded, sending the phrase Ohio Against the World trending worldwide. Full disclosure: I’m a huge OATW fan and own a few of their shirts, one of which I’m wearing as I type, so this may not be unbiased reporting I’m doing here. I could not care less about football (sorry Buckeyes fans) but it’s awesome that great local talent is getting much-deserved recognition. Go get yourself one of those shirts! Just be sure you’re buying the real deal when you hop online to order one and not one of these. Yes, yes, I get it. That’s supposed to be OSU’s font. Still not into it.• Just a heads up: new parking meter times and rates go into effect today. Parking in Over-the-Rhine goes from 50 cents to $1 today, and you’ll have to pay from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in OTR and downtown. The boost will be used to help pay for streetcar operating costs. Don’t fret if you don’t have change, though. The new meters take credit cards. • Tasha Thomas, the woman who was with John Crawford III in the Beavercreek Walmart where police shot him in August, died in a car accident yesterday. The accident occurred about 3 p.m. in downtown Dayton, authorities say. Thomas gained attention last month when a video tape was released showing Beavercreek police interrogating her harshly after the shooting. Crawford's shooting and other police killings of unarmed black citizens, including the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson Missouri, have ignited continuing protests across the country.• Women in Ohio and Kentucky are pushing back against a new form of birth control called Essure offered by major drug company Bayer. Essure claims to be a form of easy, permanent birth control. Sounds great, right? The problem is, the device, which is implanted, has reportedly caused headaches, severe nausea and other symptoms in some women, perhaps due to the fact it contains nickel, which many are allergic to. Women suffering these symptoms claim they were not told about the device’s nickel content. Other women have reported that the device has caused internal damage when it shifted inside their bodies, or that scans by doctors have been unable to find the device after it has been implanted. A number of activists, including women in Ohio, have called for a ban on the product, starting wide-ranging social media campaigns and filing a lawsuit. But doctors and the FDA say they can’t demonstrate a link between the device and health problems. They say the device is safe to use and that problems associated with the implant are probably psychosomatic. • The ongoing national argument over police tactics is having very real consequences within the nation’s largest police force. After a gunman ambushed and killed two officers Dec. 20, New York City police have decreased arrests 66 percent as part of a work slow down, the New York Post reports. The choke hold death of Eric Garner this summer and a subsequent grand jury’s decision not to indict an officer in that death has led to civil unrest in the city, and police have taken offense. The situation intensified when the gunman in Brooklyn murdered two officers last month. Since that incident, officers have protested by turning their backs to Mayor Bill deBlasio at public ceremonies for a perceived lack of support from the mayor. They’ve also instituted a slowdown on their policing and have announced they’ll only be arresting people when they have to — in part for safety reasons, and in part in protest. But think about that for just a minute. Shouldn’t police always approach and arrest people “only when they have to?” The New York Post reports that ticketing for incidents in the city has dropped 94 percent since the murder of the two officers. Arrests for drug offenses have dropped 82 percent. What are the rest of those arrests all about anyway?
by Nick Swartsell
118 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:08 AM | Permalink
OTR parking rates, hours going up; activists protesting racial disparities expand their focus; coming next decade (maybe): an 800-mph transit system
Good morning y’all! Let’s get down to business so we can get through this short holiday week and arrive as quickly and painlessly as possible at the moment when we open our presents. If you park in Over-the-Rhine, be prepared for change. Or, well, not needing change. The city has installed new “smart” parking meters in the neighborhood, as well as downtown, that accept credit cards. But that convenience comes at a price in OTR — rates are going from 50 cents to $1 an hour. The times when you’ll be required to feed the meters in OTR and downtown have also been increased. Starting Jan. 1, the meters will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Meter prices downtown will stay at $2 an hour for now, though City Council has given the OK for City Manager Harry Black to raise them as high as $2.15 an hour. The funds from the increase will go toward operating costs for the streetcar.• Demonstrations continue over police killings of unarmed black men, including John Crawford III, shot this summer in a Beavercreek Walmart. Activists in Beavercreek Saturday briefly caused store management to shut down that Walmart after they staged a “die-in” at the store to protest the fact that the officer who shot Crawford was not indicted. Four of the protesters were arrested. • Meanwhile, some activists here in Cincinnati have begun expanding their focus, taking the issue from the streets to the classroom. On Saturday, more than 120 people packed into OTR’s Peaslee Neighborhood Center for an hour-and-a-half-long teach-in and discussion on issues around race and police use of force. A number of speakers gave presentations on systemic racism, ways to make change and other topics. The teach-in was put together by an informal group of Cincinnati activists who say they will stage more events like it in the future.The issue of police use of force has only gotten more contentious in recent days. On Saturday, a gunman shot and killed two New York City police officers while they were sitting in their squad car. The man earlier shot his girlfriend in Baltimore and fled the city. He had also recently posted threatening messages on social media about killing police officers.Police officials have tied the killings to the large, ongoing demonstrations in New York City and to New York Mayor Bill deBlasio, who has been critical of police since taking office last year. They say the violent act was inspired by ongoing protests. Activists, however, say their movement has nothing to do with the shooter, who may have been suffering from a mental illness. • Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman will be on a taskforce convened by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to study police-community relations and training procedures. Smitherman is one of 16 officials to join the task force, which will focus on making sure officers are trained to know when a situation requires deadly force and how to police racially diverse communities. • Ohio’s minimum wage will be inching up in the new year. The state’s minimum wage level is tied to a consumer price index and will go from $7.95 to $8.10 on Jan. 1. The state has used the index to automatically determine its minimum wage since 2006 as an effort to keep the wage level in line with inflation and other consumer cost increases. Ohio’s rate is already above the national average of $7.25, though it is not high enough to raise most working a minimum wage job full time above the poverty line. • Common Core has lived to fight another day in Ohio. A bill to repeal the federal education standards didn’t even make it to a vote in the Ohio House, which just ended its session. But you know there’s a sequel coming for this epic struggle. Republican State Rep. Andy Thompson from Marietta has vowed to reintroduce legislation killing Common Core next session, and he’s says he’s got backup coming. Several new House members campaigned on keeping Ohio out of the federal standards. Supporters of the new education goals say they help students learn critical thinking skills. Conservative opponents say the standards strip control from the state and local school districts and amount to a federal takeover of education. Other, more left-leaning critics of the standards decry Common Core’s reliance on standardized testing. Grab some popcorn. This drama is going to go on longer than those Lord of the Rings movies. • Finally, do you want to travel around the country at 800 miles an hour? Don’t have enough cash to buy your own fighter jet? Tesla founder Elon Musk may have the answer for you. It’s called Hyperloop: a high-speed land-based transit system that would, in theory, zip people across a nationwide network of routes. Cincinnati and Columbus are both on a map that is included in a 76-page description of the project, though Cleveland got dissed. The first leg of this sci-fi transportation network would be built in California between San Francisco and L.A. for the low, low bargain price of $7 billion. Scientists hired by Musk to draw up the plans say raising the money will be the only big problem — they claim the science already exists to make 800 mph speeds a reality. Musk, who by the way is the same guy who started a company to shoot people into space for profit, has predicted the first hyperloop could be up and running in a decade. Meanwhile, I can’t help thinking about this.
Talking shop with Brian Stuparyk of Steam Whistle Letterpress
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Brian Stuparyk is the owner of Steam
Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-the-Rhine that’s
been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since
opening in 2011.
by Nick Swartsell
129 days ago
Posted In: News
at 09:51 AM | Permalink
Big CUF development gets go-ahead despite controversy; no tax incentives for Ark Park; parking ticket amnesty was on, then off, is now on again
Morning y’all. Let’s get this news thing going.Cincinnati City Council yesterday approved zoning changes for a major, and controversial, development in the CUF neighborhood just south of UC. The project, done by Rhode Island-based Gilbane Development Co., will bring 180 apartments mostly for student housing, townhomes, a 380-space underground parking garage and up to 9,000 square feet of retail space to the spot where the historic Lenhardt’s restaurant was located on McMillan Avenue. The plans are a revision of an earlier proposal that called for called for eight stories on the buildings instead of six and an entrance for cars on Lyon Street which was later removed. Some community members say those revisions still don’t help the project fit in with the residential neighborhood. A group of about 10 residents came to the meeting. They’d like to see something more oriented toward homeowners and long-term renters, they say, instead of students. They’re also highly concerned about parking and traffic in the busy McMillan-Calhoun corridor. Citing these concerns, both council members Yvette Simpson and Christopher Smitherman voted against the zoning changes, though they praised Gilbane for being flexible and taking community opinion into account in revising its plans. The townhomes, for instance, were added by Gilbane as a way to market the development to groups other than students. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at development in CUF next week.• While we’re talking development: Change in Over-the-Rhine looks to be entering a new stage as more developers start talking about single-family housing instead of apartments or condos. The most recent development in this vein — five townhomes are coming to Republic Street in Over-the-Rhine. Three will be newly built, two will be renovations and one is already sold. The 2,400-square-foot units built by John Huber Homes will cost between $400,000 to $600,000 a piece and will feature posh amenities such as rooftop decks and gated parking.• City Council yesterday also passed a compromise on a seemingly innocuous parking ticket food drive initiative that had become the subject of some controversy. Originally, the plan, proposed by Councilmembers Chris Seelbach and Amy Murray, would have offered a one-time amnesty for the $90 cost of a single delinquent parking ticket in exchange for 10 canned food items. But that met with resistance from Councilman Kevin Flynn, who balked at the idea that those who don’t pay parking tickets would be able to get off so lightly. Mayor John Cranley also wasn’t into it, calling the idea “reckless.” A compromise was reached in Council’s Transportation Committee meeting Tuesday. The city will still collect the original $45 parking ticket fee but will waive late charges for anyone who brings in the canned goods. The offer is good from Dec. 15-19 and only applies to tickets from 2014."This is a one-time chance to clear an old debt and do good for your community at the same time,” Seelbach said. “In the New Year, the city will begin aggressive collection of delinquent parking tickets under a new contract with Xerox, but this holiday season you can come clean, make a donation and make a difference.”• University of Cincinnati medical students yesterday staged a “die-in” to protest racial inequality in the nation’s justice system. More than 70 participated. You can read our story on that here. • The state of Kentucky will no longer throw in tax dollars on religious group Answers in Genesis’ Noah’s Ark theme park project in Grant County. Kentucky Tourism Secretary Bob Stewart sent the group a letter yesterday rescinding the state’s offer of up to $18 million in tax rebates because he says the project has gone from a tourist attraction to a ministry. Answers is known for making employees sign statements of faith pledging adherence to the group’s Christian beliefs. Answers also runs the well-known Creation Museum in Kentucky. • Overcrowding at the Hamilton County Jail could determine how long former Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge Tracie Hunter stays in jail. Hunter was sentenced to six months for a felony conviction recently and is supposed to report to jail immediately after Christmas. However, the jail is at capacity and first-time offenders who are non-violent are usually the first to be released under such overcrowded conditions. “I want to make the public aware and everyone aware that this jail is full," Hamilton County Jail Administrator Maj. Charmaine McGuffey told Channel 5 yesterday. "We’ve been full for a number of years. And we’ve been making these hard difficult decisions all along. Tracie Hunter is going to be no different in the decision-making process.”Fifty-six Hamilton County Democrats asked Judge Norbert Nadel, who sentenced Hunter, to defer her jail time until an appeal she has filed can be heard. Nadel refused that request. Hunter’s felony would usually only result in probation, but Nadel cited her stature as a public figure and judge in his decision to apply the harsher punishment.
by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 10:29 AM | Permalink
Election looking dark for Dems; Davis building gets reprieve; Cincinnati vies for international museum convention
Today is the day we Americans go to the polls, check some boxes and get a cool sticker. Some say we also get to choose who governs us, but the jury is still out on that one. Nah, just kidding. These are big decisions! Make sure you’re fully awake and well-nourished by drinking several cups of coffee and bringing three or four donuts, breakfast burritos or slices of last night’s pizza with you into the voting booth. And if you want some friendly advice and fresh perspective on the candidates before you go in and make those fateful decisions, check out our endorsements and election coverage. You’ll find everything you need on the major races and issues on the ballot in the Greater Cincinnati area. Polls are open until 7:30 p.m. in Ohio and until 6 p.m. in Kentucky. Go forth, and please don’t screw this up for everyone.• Before I bombard you with election news, let’s hit the local stuff. The Davis Furniture building will be spared for now. Last night the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board met for seven hours debating the merits of saving the building versus granting an application for demolition from owners the Stough Group. Stough owns the Hanke Exchange right across the street, and bought the Davis building last year at county auction for $150,000. But the cost of rehabbing it seemed monumental, so they decided to apply to tear it down. But other groups, including 3CDC and nonprofit Tender Mercies would like to pay more than that to acquire and rehab the iconic, if foreboding, former furniture store on Main Street in OTR. Things got plenty heated last night, but in the end, preservation advocates prevailed. Stough will have thirty days to appeal the decision, however, so that 20-foot-tall bowling ball mattress guy adorning the building’s south side isn’t out of the woods yet.• So this is pretty cool. Cincinnati is competing to bring an international museum convention to the city in 2019. Representatives from the International Council of Museums visited the city last week to check out the city’s cultural amenities and hotels to determine if Cincinnati has what it takes to host a large, discerning group of museum directors from around the globe. The ICM represents 32,000 members from 137 countries, and if it chooses Cincinnati, they will meet in the United States for just the second time ever. The first time was in New York City in 1965. The convention happens every three years; 2013’s convention was in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2016 meeting will be in Milan. The group toured all the sweet spots in Cincinnati, including Music Hall, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Contemporary Art Center and just about anywhere else in town that has a museum.The convention could bring more than $4 million to the city, which I don’t know, says something about the value of our cultural assets. Maybe go weigh in on Issue 8 or something? Yeah.• As I mentioned yesterday, early voting turnout has been very low this midterm election — even lower than most midterms, which are not usually very busy to begin with. A lot of that has to do with the lack of competitiveness in the races, which started with the complete drubbing of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald by Gov. John Kasich after the wheels came off Fitz’s campaign months ago. FitzGerald is down 28 points to Kasich. If this was a one on one basketball game, that would be a hard deficit to overcome with the time remaining on the clock, requiring multiple three-pointers, a number of personal fouls from Kasich, and Fitz subbing in LeBron James at some point. Unfortunately, this is an election, and that deficit is nearly impossible to surmount. I would still like to see LeBron dunk on Kasich at some point, but it’s a lost cause otherwise. That race kept things frosty for Dems down-ticket as well, with many worthy challengers such as AG candidate David Pepper and secretary of state hopeful Nina Turner running double-digit deficits against their Republican opponents. All that is to say it’s looking like a rout, folks, unless a huge ton of people come down out of the stands and vote. Wow, this extended metaphor got really painful. Yeesh. Just go vote already. • At least one statewide race is pretty exciting, though —State Rep. Connie Pillich is neck and neck with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the race for his seat. Pillich, a moderate Democrat, has focused on her experience as a U.S. Air Force captain and her time at the state house. Mandel, on the other hand, has been playing defense a bit, beating back criticism about some campaign finance questions around a businessman named Ben Suarez and the suggestion that he’s just using the treasurer’s office as a stepping stone to bigger, better things. This one could go either way.• Things aren’t going well for Democrats across the river, as Sen. Mitch McConnell pulls away from challenger Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell is predicting victory not just for himself, but for Republicans looking to take control of the Senate from Democrats. Meanwhile, Grimes is forecasting an upset, but polling over the past few days has shown a growing lead for the incumbent.
by Charlie Harmon
at 12:03 PM | Permalink
Q&A with Steam Whistle Letterpress' Brian Stuparyk
Brian Stuparyk is the owner
of Steam Whistle Letterpress, a shop located in historic Over-The-Rhine that’s
been pumping out hand-pressed cards, posters, flyers and more since opening in
2011. The shop uses vintage letterpress machines, a medium widely used to print
for hundreds of years up until around the mid-20th century.
Steam Whistle is now selling their
main card line nationally after receiving great reception at New York’s
National Stationery Show, and Stuparyk also was a runner-up in ArtWorks’ Big
CityBeat: How did
you originally become interested in letterpress?
Brian Stuparyk: I was originally a photographer, and as I saw
everything becoming digital I became less interested in that and wanted to do
something more authentic. I studied print media in graduate school, and I was
interested in things like letterpress because it’s actually a print, rather
than a print-out. I bought my first letterpress about 15 years ago.
CB: Do you
remember the first print you made?
BS: I remember being at the supermarket right around the time I had
bought that letterpress and I overheard these two older ladies talking about
dissecting bull’s eyeballs in high school. One of them was sort of obsessed
with the shiny blue stuff on the inside of the eyeball and said she had always
just wanted a bathing suit like that. It was in my head when I got back home
and so I made a print about it.
CB: So you
can only print one card at once?
BS: Not only that, but I can
only print one color on one card at once, and most of my cards have at least
three colors. It’s a pretty labor-intensive process. That’s why it costs more
than a Hallmark card printed in China.
repetitive — how does it feel to go through the process? Is it meditative at
BS: Yeah, it can be meditative in a lot of ways. It’s run by foot, so
standing on one leg like a flamingo all day is a little hard on the hips. But
I’m only printing a couple hundred cards at a time right now, so it goes pretty
quick. At maximum speed I can print about 600 in an hour, but that’s
told ArtWorks that you love letterpress for the imperfections. Why is that and
how does that relate to artistic value?
BS: Oh, I don’t know that it adds any artistic merit, but the flaws
give it character that doesn’t come out of a machine. Being handmade, each card
is unique. It definitely adds a certain authenticity to it because, you know,
the color can even shift a little between prints.
medium is simply paper, ink and a press. How would you compare this to other
forms of media like painting?
BS: It is very different. You might spend months working on a
painting and then you only have one and it’s so precious, whereas with a print
I make hundreds at a time. Maybe all together they’d be worth the same as a
painting, but individually they’re that much more accessible. Not only one
person can own it and it isn’t so precious that it needs to have this high
price tag on it.
CB: Why did
you choose Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati to open shop?
BS: If I’d moved to Seattle, Portland, Ore., or New York, I would
just be another letterpress guy doing more letterpress. But here in Cincinnati
I’m the letterpress guy, and there’s a lot going on here.
people say Warhol killed art by revolutionizing mass produced art via prints. Do
you agree with that criticism?
BS: In terms of art, I don’t think so. Print has always been the
democratic medium, something people should be able to afford. The reason
etchings were made was to make reproductions of paintings people couldn’t
afford, so it was always like that. I don’t know that he ruined something that
wasn’t already stinking at the time.
you were originally a photographer, do you think you might ever get into doing
prints of your photography?
BS: Everyone’s a photographer now — everyone in the world has a cell phone.
The world doesn’t need any more photographers. I think what’s charming about
what I do is it’s authentic from the source. I’m not trying to take modern
technology and shoehorn it into a letterpress the way a lot of people do now.
CB: Do you
have a particular interest in vintage things beyond just letterpress?
BS: I definitely have an appreciation for well-made things, things
that were built to last. When I get something, even in the modern age, I have a
hard time not wanting it to last forever. The oldest press I’ve had was built
in 1891, and if it’s well cared for it will literally last forever, and I think
that’s what interests me.
For more information about STEAM
WHISTLE LETTERPRESS, visit steamwhistlepress.com.
by Paloma Ianes
Posted In: Alcohol
at 02:23 PM | Permalink
A Tavola's Aaron Strasser shares his favorite cocktails
A Tavola has
made its mark on Over-The-Rhine with its rustic wood fired pizzas and superb
flavor combinations. What you might not know about the high-end pizza joint is
that its craft cocktails are one-of-a-kind. CityBeat
sat down with A Tavola’s head bartender Aaron Strasser to pick his brain, and
it turns out he is as personable as he is creative and stirs up one hell of a
CityBeat: How did your career in bartending
Strasser: I was a
history major at UC, and my favorite period of time was Prohibition. I found it
very interesting that you could ban one of the greatest things in the world —
the cocktail. I really got into studying that when I was in college. I also
started flavor profiles. I grew up in the kitchen with my mom and she always
baking stuff and I loved tasting all the flavors and figuring out, ‘Oh, you can
pair this with this.’ I got my start here at A Tavola almost four years ago. I
didn't know much, but what I did know is flavor profiles and combinations. So
the owners gave me a chance and allowed me to make the bar what it is now.
CB: What’s your favorite spirit?
AS: I usually go with my whiskeys and
bourbon. Rye whiskey for sure.
CB: What’s the strangest
ingredient you’ve used in a cocktail?
AS: I have a couple. I always saw that
simple syrups were being made with fruits and some herbs and spices, but I
wanted to make a simple syrup out of a vegetable, so I made a red beet and
ginger simple syrup, which goes great with gin. It’s very unique, it’s a
beautiful color and the taste was very interesting. I didn't want to just use
fruit. Another strange ingredient in our new cocktail menu is the jalapeño jam
instead of a simple syrup. It’s a recipe that one of my kitchen people and I
have worked on. I wanted to have something that was sweet and savory. We do a
lot of that as far as combinations go — even in our food — lots of sweet and
CB: Do you see a change in
cocktail culture around OTR?
AS: Oh, yeah, its definitely growing.
There is a lot more appreciation as far as drinks go. A lot of people are not
just ordering cocktails that they know, instead they are actually looking at
the cocktails and asking, ‘What does this place have to offer that I haven’t
CB: If you had to pick one
cocktail to drink for the rest of your life what would it be?
AS: An Old Fashioned.
cherries1 slice of
orange1 sugar cube1 or 2 dashes of
Angostura bitters2 oz. rye or
bourbon whiskeyClub soda
Place the sugar
cube in a glass and add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters and a splash of
club soda. Muddle the the sugar cube. Add whiskey and ice. Stir until sugar is
dissolved. With a lighter, singe a strip of orange peel and pinch the peel to
release oils. Add the orange peel and the Amarena cherries to top it all off.