May brought some great new restaurants to Cincinnati, from an East Walnut Hills coffee shop and wine bar serving “American tapas” to a new downtown cafe and market and a vintage gas station-inspired diner. While we said goodbye to a couple of our favorite Queen City eateries, the Cincinnati food scene also scored several wins throughout the month. Queen City will soon get a Roy Roger’s restaurant, plus the local brewery has produced the most expensive beer in the world.
Shires’ Cafe diner and market open downstairs from The View at Shires’ Garden Downtown
A new cafe and takeaway market opened in the center. Ignite Entertainment, the team behind The View at Shires’ Garden, a rooftop drink and dine venue at the City Club Apartments in the city center, held the grand opening of the Shires’ Cafe on May 14, located on the first floor of the same building. The cafe offers everything from homemade pastries, cocktails and kombucha to local Pneuma coffee, sandwiches and Che’s empanadas (Ignite also works with Che). The market section features snacks, drinks, and even T-shirts for purchase, as well as various small items such as Tylenol and toothpaste. A lounge area adjacent to the cafe allows guests to enjoy “choosing at your own pace, working out of the office, or relaxing and having a drink.” 309 Vine Street, downtown. shirescape.com.
Wine Bars & Cafes Symposium Offers ‘American Tapas’ in East Walnut Hills
The symposium opened on May 6, but was closed a few days later due to a leaking sink. The wine bar and café finally reopened on May 11, and according to co-owner J. Matt Nickels, they’ve been going strong ever since. East Walnut Hills has a casual, Hemingway cafe-style vibe. The space includes a main dining room with a lounge known as The Nest, a private dining and event space called the Rumpus Room, an outdoor patio and three Symposium Bars. Each bar offers something different: one serves coffee (with a shockingly cheap $3 latte), another serves drinks, and finally snacks. Known as “Birdtails”, their cocktails are delicious, original and bird-inspired, such as Magpie Gin and Tonic, Macaw Mojito and Bird on a Wire Espresso Martini. The Symposium currently serves breakfast and dinner, and the owners hope to add lunch soon. Created by co-owner and chef Aaron Owen, their menu currently includes croissants, overnight oatmeal, and ricotta toast for breakfast and dinner, small plates, and charcuterie they call “American tapas.” 2835 Woodburn Avenue, East Walnut Hills. Symposium cinnati.com.
Vintage gas station-inspired Ford’s Garage Burger opens in Rookwood
The Florida-based Henry Ford-affiliated beer and burger chain, like the Ford Motor Company, opened at Rookwood Commons & Pavilion on May 5. home – is an official licensee of the Ford Motor Company and takes advantage of this aspect by channeling a “1920s gas station/no-go lane”. The 7,600-square-foot restaurant seats 270 and serves a menu of black angus beef burgers flavored with “natural aged cheeses, fresh toppings and sauces on handmade Ford’s Garage logo buns.” 2692 Madison Road, office 115, Norwood. fordsgarageusa.com.
The owners of Empanadas Aqui announced in a Facebook post on May 11 that the Taste of Cincinnati festival on Memorial Day weekend will be the last day of operation for their food truck. The Mason store closed in January and co-owner Brett Johnson said he has since switched careers and the food truck has become his second job. He also wrote that the chef and truck manager recently quit to take care of family members. Although Johnson said they were already planning for this to be Empanadas Aqui’s final year, they pushed back the closure due to these issues. “We love you all and we are honored to meet you all. Thank you for your support over the past 8 years. It’s a bittersweet but welcome change. We will miss being a part of your life and your families as many of you have invited us to cater for your weddings, birthday parties, proms, corporate parties and important events!” read the post.
Half Day Cafe closes its Wyoming location due to labor shortage
Half Day Cafe will close its Wyoming establishment after 16 years. The owners of the café made the announcement in a video posted on Facebook, stating that they could not staff the establishment “we just can’t hire staff to work; we tried”. Half Day offers breakfast and lunch seven days a week with items like ghetta okroshka, shrimp and grits that diners can still enjoy at their Mason establishment, which they say is fully staffed. The message was signed with the words: “God bless you for supporting us and our business; we sincerely thank each of you. We look forward to meeting you soon.”
More news about restaurants in Cincinnati:
Fast food chain Roy Rogers to open restaurant in Cincinnati
Western-style fast food chain Roy Rogers, named after the Cincinnati actor and cowboy, plans to open a restaurant in Queen City this year. Founded in 1968, this historic franchise is known for dishes like fried chicken, roast beef sandwiches, and their iconic Double R burger, a quarter-pound American cheese and ham burger on a Kaiser bun. He also opens his famous “Fixin’s Bar” at a local restaurant, where customers can top their burgers with the seasonings and vegetables of their choice. The new establishment is due to open in Kleve in the winter of 2022. The opening is part of a 10-restaurant deal with local restaurant franchise group One Holland Corporation.
Even though Northside Urban Artifact didn’t set out to create the world’s most expensive beer, they managed to do so with their latest creation, Astronaut Food Blackberry & Blueberry. Described as a fruit tart, the brand new beer is made from over 1,000 pounds of freeze-dried blackberries and blueberries. The high price of $1,100 per barrel is due to the roughly 11 pounds of fresh fruit it takes to produce just one pound of freeze-dried fruit used in Astronaut Food. Do you have deep pockets? The latest batch of Astronaut Food Blackberry & Blueberry by Urban Artifact is available at Northside Brewery (1660 Blue Rock Street), their online store and select retailers. Despite the cost per barrel, four packs of Astronaut Food will cost you just $30.
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