As usual, Cincinnati’s dining scene doesn’t stagnate for long. Here are some recent notable restaurant openings you may have missed, as well as a few restaurants that said goodbye.
Get ready to swallow! Japanese-style ramen restaurant Genki Ramen now has a third location in Oakley. The small chain’s newest spot opened on April 18. Genki is growing rapidly, having opened its first Greater Cincinnati location in Mason in June 2020 and its second in West Chester in November 2021. Stop by any of the spots and choose from over 10 different types of ramen – like the shio paitan, which consists of a mouth-watering mix of chicken stock, kikurage mushrooms, bamboo shoots, fish cakes, a boiled egg and barbecue pork. 3200 Vandercar Way, Oakley, www.genkiramencincinnati.com. (Maggy McDonel)
Giminetti Bakery Company
Giminetti Baking Company is experiencing a new life following the announcement of its permanent closure in March after 37 years of activity. A group of local businesses – including Pompilios, KHI Food Brand and Sweet Tooth Premium Ice Cream and Candies – say after the shutdown they got together and took steps to buy the bakery wholesale. Mike Mazzei, co-owner of Pompilios, said in a statement that next year Pompilios will be 90 years old and that the restaurant “has been essentially serving Giminetti’s classic Italian white bread since its inception.” He adds that once he heard that former Giminetti owners Jim Ciuccio and Richard Ferguson were closing up shop, “we knew we had to find a way to keep their iconic bakery alive.” Giminetti Baking, which is expected to be fully operational soon, will have a “customer-centric approach”, according to the owners’ statement. 2900 Gilbert Ave, Walnut Hills, giminetti.com. (MM)
A new burger joint in East Walnut Hills is full of promise. From the owners of O Pie O, Heyday opened in the former pie cafe on April 6. Owner Lou Ginocchio says CityBeat in an email that Heyday will serve a simple menu “using high quality ingredients with employees who get the respect they deserve. You can dine in or take out flat-smashed burgers and a side of Heyday’s unique hand-cut, dry-cured fries. Customers can also indulge in burgers and all the fixings in the restaurant’s dining room, on the terrace or across the street at The Growler House, where they can order the full Heyday menu and have it deliver to their table. 1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, pinnacle.menu. (MM)
Mom is on Main
Covington’s Main Street – the heart of the historically designated MainStrasse Village – is home to one of Greater Cincinnati’s finest assortment of restaurants. The lion’s share of that abundance goes to a group of restaurants known as Otto’s Restaurant Family, run by MainStrasse residents Emily Wolff and Paul Weckman (Otto’s, Frida, The Standard, Larry’s). The duo opened Mama’s on Main on March 4 after renovating the space formerly occupied by Commonwealth Bistro. Mama’s paper-folded menu is unassuming, displaying a handful of offerings under each heading: appetizers and salads, pastas and mains. The goal is to supply the neighborhood with traditional Italian dishes with red sauce, starting with basic spaghetti and meatballs. Simpler dishes include popular standards such as cacio e pepe, rigatoni with vodka sauce, and artichoke and lemon risotto. If you want protein with or instead of pasta, try the Pork Milanese, Salmon Piccata, or Chicken Parmesan. Those without meat can enjoy eggplant parmesan. Mama’s on Main, 621 Main St., Covington, instagram.com/mamas621cov. (Pama Mitchell)
Southern-style restaurant Nolia Kitchen opened on April 19 and serves unique dishes inspired by chef Jeff Harris’ upbringing in New Orleans. Located in the space formerly occupied by Please (famous for its selfie-friendly bathroom and James Beard Award-nominated chef), the dining environment is upscale yet accessible, offering a menu stacked with dishes like barbecue chicken, redfish courtbouillon and Hoppin’ John. All of the side dishes are vegan, and while you shouldn’t expect them to play ragtime or serve hurricane cocktails in fancy mugs, the drinks menu will really let the good times roll, Nope? See the Eats column in this week’s issue for more information. 1405 Clay St., Over-the-Rhine, noliakitchen.com. (Sean M. Peters)
The secrets of the soul
Entrepreneur Candice Holloway brings a taste of her grandmother’s cooking to Over-the-Rhine with Soul Secrets, a Southern-style comfort food restaurant. The fast-casual restaurant, which opened in late April, focuses on soul food with a menu that includes family-recipe fried chicken, fried fish, cornbread, collard greens, Hoppin’ John and macaroni. with cheese, as well as a selection of meat – free dishes like vegan salisbury steak and vegan pie. Brunch will launch this summer with shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and more. For more than a decade, Holloway ran his own consulting firm focused on home healthcare and initially launched Soul Secrets “as a corporate catering service and a way to connect with his teenage daughter”, says a statement. When the pandemic hit, Holloway says she turned away from her business to work full-time on Soul Secrets. “We had started doing pop-ups and we were getting so many phone calls asking if we were open because people didn’t know we were a restaurant-only business. I knew it was time to open a restaurant where we could share all of our family’s recipes with anyone who wanted to try them,” she says. 1434 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, soulsecretscincy.com. (Maija Zummo)
YouYu at Hard Rock Casino
Patrons of Cincinnati’s Hard Rock Casino will now be able to enjoy noodles between sessions at the slot machines. Asian street food-inspired in-house restaurant YouYu opened on May 3. According to a statement, “YouYu offers Balinese, Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes.” The menu includes sections dedicated to sushi, noodles, wok fried dishes and more. Highlights include Korean fried chicken, bulgogi fries, beef brisket and ball pho, Chinese roast duck, and wok-fried tofu and broccoli. For drinks, there’s boba milk tea, Vietnamese coffee, sake, and Asian beers from Lucky Buddha, Hitachino, and Sapporo. YouYu’s leader is Daniel Binghak, who was born and raised in Bali, Indonesia, according to the statement. Binghak, who went to culinary school in Singapore, previously worked at Masa in New York, Morimoto in Philadelphia and the Golden Nugget in Biloxi, Mississippi. Hard Rock Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton, hardrockcasinocincinnati.com. (MZ)
Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition
Pinball and PBR fans will soon have to say goodbye to a favorite Northside haunt. Arcade Legacy announced on its Facebook page that Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition will be shutting down starting May 23. But it’s not all bad news. The gaming group says it has found a great space in Sharonville and will relocate Bar Edition and its existing arcade in the Cincinnati Mall to that location. Once the home of Peg’s Pub, the storefront at 2241 Crowne Point Drive “is almost exactly the square footage of the Cincy Mall and Bar Edition combined,” reads Facebook. “We will retain all business concepts when we move,” the message from Arcade Legacy continues. “We will have all-you-can-eat arcade, pinball and consoles based on admission. We will have an expanded selection of premium pinball machines. We will have a dedicated console and an event room. We will have the media store where you can buy, sell and trade. We will have to eat and drink. We also have other ideas up our sleeve and we will see how they come to fruition. The team will build the new Sharonville space, which was once a pool and darts bar, in June and July, with a tentative reopening in September. arcadelegacyohio.com. (MZ)
April 13 was the last day open for a popular Over-the-Rhine chili spot in Cincinnati. OTR Chile announced on Instagram that it was officially closing. Owner Jim Cornwell wrote in the post that when his team decided to start OTR Chili, they wanted to create “the best Cincinnati chili possible” by using local ingredients and working directly with farmers in the Cincinnati area. He adds that they have also focused on creating the smallest environmental footprint possible with their food. But OTR Chile fans should not give up hope. “We don’t think this is the end of the dream,” Cornwall wrote in the Instagram post, saying his restaurant could pop up elsewhere in the city, perhaps with a new name and new faces. “We hope to see you all again in the near future.” instagram.com/otrchili. (MM)
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