EAT (out)

Dining Outside: Cincinnati Patios (Part 1)

There’s just something special about outdoor patios.  When the weather is right, I love sitting outside with friends and family.  Stepping outside the traditional four walls of a restaurant provides a sense of freedom; it’s just easier to breathe deeply, to lean back, and to relax.  When we’re more relaxed, we tend to linger, enjoying the company of others.  Thankfully, we have plenty of wonderful outdoor dining opportunities in Cincinnati.  Some include incredible views of the city while others, the garden patios for example, offer lights strung from trees, flowers, and comfortable seating. It’s impossible to cover them all in one blog post, so I’m hoping this is the first in a series of patio posts.

Cabana On The River

Located along the Ohio River, this Westside hotspot is perfect for relaxing by the water with a great meal, drinking out by the tiki bar, or playing sand volleyball with friends.  I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get here.  The environment reminds me more of a beach vacation spot than a Cincinnati restaurant.  A storm blew in on the night we ate at Cabana On The River and it was stunning to watch.  If the weather does turn, no worries; there’s a large covered dining area that still provides a pretty nice view.  If you want something fun and casual, this is your place.  Plus, Cabana has live music on the weekends.

Cabana On The River

Incline Public House

The first time I ate at Incline Public House, I was blown away by the panoramic view!  I think I went back four times in two weeks with various friends and family members.  Incline Public House became an obsession! Located in Price Hill, Incline Public House gets it name from one of the historic (and super steep) Cincinnati inclines operating in the late 1800’s.  Like most of these places, you can dine inside, and if you don’t like a wait, it’s an option. But, I would much rather grab a drink and wait because the view from this 1400 square foot deck is spectacular!  With an in-house smoker and a brick oven, the menu is strong too (and so are the cocktail/craft beer offerings).

Incline Public House

Kaze

A Japanese gastropub and sushi bar, Kaze, located in OTR, is a gem.  Yes, the restaurant is beautiful inside, but the patio is simply special.  It’s like an enchanted garden; even though it’s located on a busy street, the fenced in patio feels far away from the hustle and bustle of OTR.  I also appreciate the variety of seating at Kaze.  There are tall tables with benches and stools, round patio chairs with low tables, tables for two, and tables for groups.  Part of the patio is covered, but the majority is open.  Don’t miss the short rib dumplings, pork belly buns, and ramen.  Yum.

Kaze

Hofbrauhaus

Who doesn’t like a German Biergarten? With traditionally decorated rooms, live music, men wearing lederhosen, and beer brewed on-site, Hofbrauhaus is a great time whether you eat inside or out.  Located in Newport, KY, Hofbrauhaus sits across the street from Newport on the Levee.  One of the things I most enjoy about this patio is the space.  The tables are long and spread out; I never feel like I’m in somebody’s business (or vice versa).  There are plenty of trees with white lights to keep the conversation going well into the evening so there’s no need to rush!

Hofbrauhaus

Left Bank Coffeehouse

Serving up Deeper Roots coffee, Left Bank Coffeehouse is full of unique, artistic touches.   There’s a flower lined patio in front of the shop and a beautiful deck to the side.  All the outside seating at Left Bank is charming, calming, and cozy.  This is the perfect place to relax with a good book or delve into deep conversation with a friend.  This family owned coffee shop, located in Covington, KY, is a neighborhood favorite.

Left Bank Coffeehouse

MadTree

MadTree’s new location in Oakley is killer.  The exposed brick walls, open air ceiling, and colorful flowers redefine what the typical warehouse space feels like. It’s industrial and warm all at the same time.  This is great place to sip craft beer, to bring a dog, to play games, to listen to live music, and to relax in an adirondack chair.  Even the non-drinking friends will enjoy a casual afternoon or evening spent hanging out at MadTree.  This patio is great for friends, dates, and large groups alike.  Tip: Don’t miss out on Catch-a-Fire Café’s wood-fired pizzas located inside!

Mad Tree

Rhinegeist

Holy views, Batman!  When I saw a picture someone else posted of the rooftop bar at Rhinegiest, I couldn’t wait to go!  Rhinegeist, a local brewery in OTR, is known for hosting all kinds of special events from Art on Vine to Trivia Nights to charity events.  The huge, open floorpan is perfect for cornhole and ping pong matches.  But, this new addition . . . this rooftop deck . . . well, it’s astounding!  Basically, I want to live there!  Think 360 degree views of Cincinnati.  You can see downtown, Clifton, Mt. Auburn, and more.  Although no food is allowed on the roof, it does have its own bar! (Please know that my night time pic does not do it justice).  

Rhinegeist

There are so many places in and around the city with amazing patios. I could never cover them all in one post.  In fact, I’ve already got a few more incredible outside dining (and drinking) places lined up! However, I would LOVE for you, the reader, to comment on this blog post by including your favorite places for outdoor seating! Using your recommendations and discoveries, we can build a great patio resource for those of us who can’t get enough of outdoor dining.

GO THERE (A place with a nice patio)!  TRY THAT (Dining outside and sharing your experience)!

Kaze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EAT (out)/ EXPRESSO

Cincinnati Coffee Roasters

These past few rainy days have provided the perfect excuse to grab an extra cup of coffee.  Really, any type of weather is coffee weather. When it’s hot, grab a cold brew. When it’s cold, grab a cappuccino.  But when you drink, drink local!  Even when we travel, one of the first things we research is local coffee roasters.  We are always in search of an incredible cup of coffee, and an incredible cup of coffee comes from freshly roasted beans.I’ve said this many times, but I am a huge believer in supporting local businesses and Cincinnati has some of the best!  Today I’m talking about local coffee roasters in the Cincinnati area.

Why local roasters?

I’m not a professional coffee roaster, but I’ve watched professionals roast coffee and I’ve taken coffee classes (all at local roasters).  Here’s my takeaway: roasting coffee is equal parts art, science, and passion.  Nothing compares to a fresh cup of coffee and by buying locally roasted coffee, you know it’s fresh.  Each bag is marked with a roasting date!  To ensure the best cup of coffee, you want to use coffee within two weeks of that roasting date.  This is what you find from local roasters and not from coffee sitting on a shelf in a warehouse.  Local coffee roasters are also careful and conscientious about sourcing their beans.  Many of our Cincinnati Roasters have relationships with farmers; they buy direct ensuring that workers are paid fair prices in safe working conditions.  

We have so many great roasters in Cincinnati and while I’d like to eventually cover them all, I’m going to start by highlighting what I love at a few of my favorite roasters.

Carabello:

Located in Newport, KY, Carabello Coffee is a philanthropic roaster.  Carabello donates portions of their proceeds to several different charities.  The older I get, the more important it is for me to consider where my money is going and what it is supporting.  I know when I get coffee from Carabello, it’s fair trade and often farm direct.  The owners, Justin and Emily Carabello, have built relationships with farmers in Nicaragua. This is responsible sourcing at its best.  I’m also a huge fan of Carabello’s Analog Bar.  Basically, baristas serve up coffee cocktails, provide tastings, and demonstrate different brew methods in a small group setting.  Carabello also has a relationship with Braxton Brewery and if you have not yet tried Braxton’s Starter Coffee, check it out!  Oh, and the cold brew on nitro served up at Braxton (roasted by Carabello) is the smoothest, creamiest, most delicious cold brew that ever was!  Carabello Coffee shop is a bright, clean, inviting environment to spend time with friends!  If you stop in, be sure to check out Bello’s Bike Pops as well!  The Vietnamese Latte is my go-to gourmet pop.  I’m positive you will love this local roaster.

Coffee Emporium:

Coffee Emporium, one of the oldest coffee houses in the Cincy area, is the first local roaster I fell in love with after moving to Cincinnati.  Coffee Emporium brews up a consistently great cup of coffee every single time.  This place pays attention to detail and their level of experience is remarkable.  Roasted in downtown Cincinnati, Coffee Emporium roasts high quality beans in small batches; I dare you to smell those beans when you open a bag of coffee from Coffee Emporium. Heavenly!  You can sit down and enjoy coffee from Coffee Emporium in one of their two locations: Hyde Park and Downtown.  I go to Hyde Park because it’s close to my house, the patio(s) are super sweet and cozy, and the baked treats are always fresh.  Downtown is nice because it serves up a strong food menu, has a more industrial feel, and is always alive with customers.  In addition to roasting, serving, and selling coffee, Coffee Emporium also has speciality teas.  And, any fans of New Riff Distillery will like the Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee made in collaboration with Coffee Emporium and New Riff Distillery.  

Urbana:

Urbana coffee began their roasting journey at Findlay Market.  In fact, Urbana still does all their roasting at Findlay.  The owner, inspired by growing up in Venezuela, spending some time in Italy, and seeing the Vespa Apes (three-wheeled light commercial vehicle) in action, began with the Urbana Mobile Espresso Bar! You can see this mobile coffee bar at Findlay and other local events and venues. In addition to Findlay Market, Urbana has two other locations: Pendleton and East Walnut Hills.  Both coffee shops are welcoming, bright, and modern.  When you stop by Urbana, try the Flat White (espresso, steamed milk, microfoam); it’s super creamy and delicious.  And, like the other coffee shops mentioned in this post, Urbana serves up some melt-in-your-mouth treats like Almond Croissants, Banana Bread, and Scones (also made locally)!  

Luckman:

I think what I appreciate most about Luckman is that it’s a great cup of coffee served up in a no frills environment.  The baristas are friendly and knowledgeable, and they can make pretty much any coffee drink even if it’s not on their menu.  Luckman’s roasts their coffee in Mount Washington and plays well to the locals with their Little Miami Blend (an homage to the Little Miami River) and their Peg Leg Jim Blend (a dark roast with a sense of humor).  Best part? The owners of Luckman care about their customers and take time to get to know them!  You can enjoy a cup of Luckman’s at two locations: Mount Washington and Anderson Township.  And, the Anderson Township location has a drive-thru!  Score!

Other notable local roasters include: Lookout Joe, La Terza, Deeper Roots, Seven Hills.  While I haven’t covered all of these in this post, I’ve had a great cup of coffee from each!  Many of our local coffee shops in Cincinnati serve up coffee from these roasters as well!  When you shop local, drink local, and support local, you’re making your money matter.  

I own a shirt that says: Stressed. Blessed.  Coffee Obsessed.  If I had to be obsessed with something, I’m certainly glad it’s an incredible cup of coffee!  Find me at a local coffee shop and I’m a happy woman.  Cheers to my fellow coffee addicts; we know what’s good in life.

GO THERE (Carabello, Coffee Emporium, Urbana, Luckman)!  TRY THAT (Supporting local Cincinnati Roasters)!
Urbana Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato