Five Guys, Donatos joining the Clifton Heights restaurant mix

If you’re one of those people with an insatiable appetite for more dining option in Clifton Heights then this will be exciting news for you – Cincinnati’s first Five Guys Burgers and Fries location will be opening up along Calhoun Street at the base of the University Park apartment building.

Donatos will also be opening up a location in the same building which will make this their first location in the Uptown area.

Both are going to be great additions since 1) college students can never have enough pizza and Donatos offers some good subs to boot and 2) Five Guys is amazing and will be the first real burger joint for the university area and like I said…great stuff.

With these two new additions it will nearly fill up the street-level retail space along Calhoun Street created by University Park. The majority is filled by restaurant tenants (Panera Bread, Currito, BW3, Potbelly) although there is also a 5/3 Banking Center, FedEx Office, T-Mobile and GameStop. A Ben & Jerry’s closed down last year.

Still lacking in that general area in terms of retail would be an affordable, yet attractive clothing store. I have always said that I think a Aeropostale would do tremendous business there. They used to advertise a lot at university events and their key demographic seems to be college students and that age group. Just throwing it out there.

Also noteworthy is that the Wendy’s inside UC’s Tangeman University Center will be replaced by a Burger King, Jump (asian food) will be replaced by “sushi concept” run by UC’s food services and Freshens will be leaving with a Chic-fil-A taking its spot.

Venice on Vine pizza party & fundraiser

Over-the-Rhine’s Venice on Vine is not only a great place to grab a bite to eat, but it’s also an employment education program of Power Inspires Progress, and on May 8th you can help raise money for the cause while enjoying an all you can eat buffet for just $15.

The Pizza Party will take place from 5pm to 9pm this Friday, May 8th at the Venice on Vine Pizza Parlor (GoogleMap). The event is labeled as “BYOB” and will also have live music. If you’re unable to attend, but would still like to make a contribution then you can make a donation to Power Inspires Progress (PIP) by mailing it to 1301 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. Donations are tax deductible and will benefit PIP’s employment education program.

It is also worth noting that Venice on Vine has made several notable improvements to their Vine Street location recently that include new tile work, signage and window decals. The improvements definitely give the establishment a more permanent feel and add to the character of the neighborhood.

Venice on Vine photo courtesy of Flickr user sarah.szurpicki.

Arts & Entertainment News

Great day in Cincy

This past Saturday was a great day. It started at Fountain Square where I met up with several friends. The Square was crowded, the Reds game was on the LED board, a wedding party posed for pictures and horse-drawn carriages were in high demand.

Chris, Jake and myself went for a walk around Downtown to take some photos and enjoy the beautiful, albeit windy, weather. We eventually made our way over to the historic West Fourth Street area. Just after checking out the progress on the McFarland Lofts project we looked up at the new Parker Flats midrise and saw 5chw4r7z and Ms. 5chw4r7z with a couple friends enjoying their wrap around balcony.

They invited us up to check out their digs which we discovered to be a chic urban living space complete with ‘city doors.’ We arrived just in time to see the Bengals make their first selection in the 2009 NFL Draft and were pleased with the selection of an offensive tackle.

We worked our way back to the Square where Sherman and Chris had dinner on Via Vite‘s rooftop terrace. I worked my way further north into Over-the-Rhine where I met my father for dinner on Lavomatic‘s beautiful rooftop terrace.

Following dinner I met back up with Chris outside of Park + Vine and we walked down to City Cellars where we met a couple more people and had a couple glasses of wine out on City Cellars‘ patio. We then worked our way south, en route to the Cyclones game at US Bank Arena, stopping at Chipotle on Fountain Square for a quick bite for our other friends who had not yet eaten.

We arrive a little late to the Cyclones game and noticed we were already trailing 3-1 which quickly became a 4-1 deficit. Right about this point a t-shirt was launched from a canon in my direction. Making quick use of my eye-hand coordination, I snatched the t-shirt out of the air and savored my prize.

The third period hit and the Cyclones had charged all the way back and tied the game at 4-4. To overtime we went and the Cyclones quickly scored ending the game and taking a 2-0 series lead. After the game finished we split off as our two friends went to JeanRo Bistro for some drinks while Chris and I went to go meet up with Sherman once more in Over-the-Rhine.

Arts & Entertainment Business News

Lavomatic turns 1 and opens rooftop terrace

Lavomatic will celebrate its 1 Year Anniversary and the reopening of their rooftop terrace tomorrow night (4/17) with a pig roast, drinks and a live DJ. The urban food and wine bar will offer the pig roast for $20 and everyone’s favorite OTR Ale for just $2. The fun will start at 8pm in the heart of the Gateway Quarter in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine.

Lavomatic Cafe is located in a former laundromat in a single story building wedged in between multi-story structures on both sides. The rooftop terrace has a great view of the Art Academy and surrounding OTR buildings. The neat thing about it is that the terrace is surrounded by renovated buildings that now boast condos just feet away.

If you haven’t yet been to the Gateway Quarter this may be a great chance for you to get acquainted. Come down a little early and go check out the businesses nearby that are all within a short walk and make for great browsing/window shopping.

Lavomatic on Urbanspoon


1 Night, 12 Kitchens at the Midwest Culinary Institute

The Midwest Culinary Institute (MCI) located at Cincinnati State is one of the nation’s best culinary schools and a gem for the Cincinnati region. On April 26th you have the opportunity to experience great food and wine prepared by the top chefs in Cincinnati while also raising some money for scholarship opportunities down the road.

1 Night, 12 Kitchens will be from 6pm to 9pm on Sunday, April 26th at the MCI (GoogleMap) located on the Clifton campus of Cincinnati State. In addition to the culinary treats, participants will also have the opportunity to visit with MCI faculty, students and explore the school’s 12 teaching kitchens. There will also be a silent auction that will include wine lots, a handcrafted chandelier and tickets for a variety of culinary experiences.

Two of MCI’s kitchen classrooms – Photos from Cincinnati Magazine

The menu, for the evening, includes a terrine of foie gras, medallion of lobster, truffled tenderloin of beef, rum baba and an assortment of French cheeses and petite sweets…making it a perfect evening for our Food Network and culinary lovers (I know you’re out there).

Prices start at $80 for a complete food and wine sampling that also includes tours of all 12 kitchens. A $150 VIP package includes, “an exclusive culinary station, private receptions with the participating chefs and a souvenir apron.” And for those that are willing to put up $250 for a good cause, you will also be treated to a private dinner at the MCI’s Summit Restaurant with Comfort and Chef Timmins.

You can purchase tickets online at Cincinnati Magazine, or by phone at (513) 562-2777. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot early.