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Local entrepreneurs partner to open Chocolate Bee storefront in Northside

Shalini Latour, owner of Chocolats Latour, and Samantha Gordon, owner of Bee Haven Honey, are partnering to open a retail space and commercial kitchen in Northside. The Chocolate Bee will open at 4037 Hamilton Ave. in November with a grand opening event planned for that month’s Northside Second Saturday.
The 800-square-foot space has a commercial kitchen, which will mainly be used by Latour to make her handcrafted chocolates. The other portion will be dedicated for retail, with both Chocolats Latour and Bee Haven Honey products for sale.
Latour started her business at home six years ago, and as her business grew she rented a kitchen one day a week. She’s been in the market for a commercial kitchen of her own, and having a storefront location made sense as well. She got to know Gordon through the Northside Farmers Market and asked if she’d be interested in sharing a space.
“I live in the neighborhood and really love it here,” Latour says. “I like the feeling of Northside. It’s diverse and eclectic, and I wanted to be able to add to that.”
You can currently get Chocolats Latour at Coffee Emporium in both Hyde Park and Over-the-Rhine, College Hill Coffee Company, Jungle Jim’s, Melt, Park + Vine and Sidewinder as well as at the Northside Farmers Market on Wednesdays. Bee Haven Honey is available at Findlay Market and online.
“It already smells like coffee when you walk in,” Gordon says of the new storefront, which is next door to Collective Espresso, while Cluxton Alley Coffee Roasters operates out of the building's basement. “Add the smell of chocolate, and it will be a heavenly place to shop.”

Oregon brewery brings mobile beer bar to Cincinnati

Greater Cincinnati will host Deschutes Brewery’s traveling bar, Woody, at several stops throughout the week. Although the company’s beer has been available in Ohio since 2014, it’s the first time the 29-foot-long, 3-ton keg will visit.
Woody will have six Deschutes beers on tap and will bring along cornhole boards, a disc golf basket and a disco ball. The beer list is still being finalized but will for sure include Pinedrops IPA, Jubelale, Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Fresh Squeezed as well as a limited beer release.
All beers available from Woody’s taps are $5.
Woody will be at four events around town:

• Wednesday, Oct. 21 (4-8 p.m.): Happy Hour at The Pub at Rookwood, 2692 Madison Road.

• Thursday, Oct. 22 (5-9 p.m.): Pint Night at Jungle Jim’s Eastgate, 4450 Eastgate Dr. South.

• Friday, Oct. 23 (5-9 p.m.): Jungle Jim's Eastgate, also featuring vintage bottles of previous Deschutes releases and specialty draft offerings.

• Saturday, Oct. 24 (12-8 p.m.): Jungle Jim’s Fall Smash, 5440 Dixie Hwy., Fairfield.
Deschutes began operations in 1988 as a small public house in Bend, Ore., and now operates three pubs and distributes to bars, bottle shops and restaurants across the country.
Follow Woody’s travels on Instagram @dbwoody.

Two new projects bringing apartments & retail space to Walnut Hills and downtown

Cincinnati is booming with redevelopment projects that increase new businesses and residential properties in the urban core. Two were recently announced at historic buildings: a new apartment complex coming to downtown and two floors of retail space to the Paramount Building in Walnut Hills.
309 Vine St., Downtown
Over the past year, Village Green Management has been making plans to purchase and renovate 309 Vine St. into 294 apartments and 45,000 square feet of retail and office space. Other planned features include a rooftop restaurant, a pool, a club room and an 11,000-square-foot, street-level grocery store at the corner of Vine and Ogden Place. There’s also the possibility of a coffee shop and wine bar on the building’s first floor.
Earlier this year, the 87-year-old building was added to the West Fourth Street Historic District, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation allows the project to seek federal historic preservation tax credits as well as state historic preservation tax credits.
Once renovations get underway, the apartments could be ready to occupy in 2017.
Paramount Building, Walnut Hills
The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation recently purchased the Paramount Building at Gilbert Avenue and McMillan Street for $750,000 from Morris Investment Group. WHRF has been working to redevelop the McMillan business corridor, with more than $10 million invested in the area.
WHRF is working with the Cincinnati Development Foundation and LISC to raise funds for its renovation efforts, which could cost about $3 million. Federal and state historic preservation tax credits and new market tax credits would fund the project.
Renovations to the three-story Paramount Building would include repairing ceilings and flooring as well as upgrading the rooms and fixtures. When finished, the building will have two floors of commercial space and will house a number of local small businesses. 
The 80-year-old building was developed and owned by the Wurlitzer family. It housed a grocery store and then was operated as the Paramount Theater for three decades before closing in the 1960s, when it was replaced by a pharmacy, which is now a CVS.

20 years ago, the Aronoff Center helped launch downtown's revitalization

This month marks the Aronoff Center for the Arts’ 20th anniversary, with the celebration continuing throughout the year.

Festivities began on Oct. 10 with Center Stage at the Aronoff, a progressive party for the facility’s many donors and benefactors, and a follow-up party was held Oct. 11 for the Aronoff’s 800-plus volunteers. But an anniversary isn’t all they’re celebrating.
About 20 years ago, the area north of Fountain Square now known as the Backstage District was in severe decline — rents were falling, businesses were leaving and vacancies were rising. Fortunately, city leaders saw the need to revitalize the area, and one of the elements that spearheaded those efforts was creating a modern arts center, says David Ginsburg, CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI).
At that time, the State of Ohio was interested in building a performing arts center in Columbus — the Ohio Center for the Arts — but State Sen. Stan Aronoff made an aggressive effort to move the project to downtown Cincinnati. His plan won out, and the building was named the Aronoff Center for the Arts in his honor.
The Aronoff has helped bring together a diverse community during its 20 years, which is what the arts are all about. It became an anchor in the central business district and a magnet for attracting other developments.

Catalyst for development

Before construction of the Aronoff Center was completed, Saks Fifth Avenue considered leaving downtown. But when company officials visited Cincinnati and saw what the new arts center would be like and what it could do for downtown, they decided to keep the store where it was because their customers were also arts patrons.   
At about the same time, DCI was trying to attract new businesses to downtown. Even though Fountain Square wouldn’t look like it does now until 2005, Rock Bottom Brewery became the first anchor there, which eventually helped bring in other businesses and restaurants such as Graeter’s, Via Vite and Nada.
“We believe in Cincinnati and downtown and wanted to be a part of building confidence in the central business district and building Cincinnati’s reputation as a dining destination,” says David Falk, president of Boca Restaurant Group, which operates Nada within the Aronoff footprint and Boca and Sotto around the corner. “When we opened Nada in 2007, the downtown of today was just a dream.”

The Aronoff and the arts

Apart from New York City, the Aronoff Center is home to one of the largest Broadway Series in the country, with a subscriber base of about 16,000. It’s the current home of Cincinnati Ballet, which plans to move to Music Hall when renovations are finished there in order to be closer to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It’s also home to several other resident companies: Cincinnati Music Theatre, Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative, Contemporary Dance Theater, Exhale Dance Tribe and Mamluft&Co. Dance.
“Why we’re here and what we do is to entertain and inspire creativity and imagination,” says Todd Duesing, director of operations for Cincinnati Arts Association, which manages the Aronoff Center and Music Hall. “Our goal is so much more than economic development, but so many other things have happened in this area because of it.”
In 2008, CAA assisted the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau in making a bid for Cincinnati to host the World Choir Games, an international choral competition that’s been held in cities all over the world. Cincinnati won the bid and hosted the Games in 2012, including performances at the Aronoff Center and Music Hall.
“We welcomed the world to the stages here in Cincinnati and became a pinnacle for the arts in the city,” Duesing says. “We beat out countries from all over the world to showcase our city’s strongest assets and became representatives of what Cincinnati does best.”
That type of collaboration is unheard of in most cities, but it’s something that Cincinnati and the Aronoff Center can be proud of.

Downtown as a whole

The Aronoff Center isn’t a single destination attraction, Ginsburg says. There isn’t parking adjacent to the building or a hotel or in-house restaurant. And the facility was planned that way.
Back in the 1990s city and civic leaders wanted to improve the walkability of downtown, so streetscapes were improved and new lighting was added to make the area around Sixth and Walnut streets more inviting. If you pay attention as you walk into the Aronoff Center, the brick pattern that acts as a red carpet into the building continues inside — the building’s architect intentionally added this design to draw people in from the street.
The idea was to build the Aronoff Center and then augment it with private sector businesses to complement it. As a result, a vibrant entertainment district has emerged, with the arts center at its center.
Part of the Backstage District’s appeal is that its overall patron experience builds on that collaborative environment. You can grab a drink and an appetizer at Nada, catch a show at the Aronoff Center, then head to Nicholson’s for a late dinner or to the rooftop of 21c Museum Hotel for a nightcap. Out-of-towners staying at the 21c might not be in Cincinnati for the arts, but the odds of them taking in a show at the Aronoff or checking out the Contemporary Arts Center while here are pretty high.
“The building of the Aronoff really brought a renaissance to this area,” says Van Ackerman, director of marketing and public relations for CAA. “The example of building the Aronoff and the redevelopment that has happened since became a model for other neighborhoods, including Over-the-Rhine.”
Want to help the Aronoff celebrate its birthday? Keep tabs on its website for upcoming events and offers.

Fifty West expanding, adding larger production facility

Fifty West Brewing Company, which opened three years ago next month, recently announced an expansion that will add a larger production facility across the street from its brewpub and taproom at 7668 Wooster Pike.
The newly acquired property was formerly Hahana Beach, a bar and sand volleyball court complex. Fifty West plans to keep the existing volleyball courts and run its own leagues as well as open Fifty West Cycling. The cycling outfit will sell, service and in the future rent bicycles to customers who want to ride along the nearby Little Miami Scenic Trail.
Fifty West’s existing brewpub and taproom will remain as is. Its current brewery setup will be used as a pilot system for specialty, one-off or experimental beers, while the new production facility will focus on its large-scale core beers, which will be brewed in four 40-barrel fermenters.
The larger setup will allow for increased production — about 4,000-5,000 barrels annually, with room to grow. There are also plans to package about 10 percent of the brewery’s beer in 2016.
Construction is expected to continue early next year, with an opening date potentially in the late spring or early summer.

V's Encore Cafe opening Oct. 19 at the Aronoff Center

Not only does this month mark the Aronoff Center for the Arts’ 20th anniversary, a new restaurant will also be opening in the former Busken Bakery space in the building. V’s Encore Cafe, a venture from Vonderhaar's Catering, plans to open by Oct. 19.
The menu will include 10 standard sandwiches, four soups, a number of fresh salads, granola bars and pastries. Everything will be handmade, and the offerings will feature items you can get just anywhere.

V’s will focus on locally made products, with the majority of the products coming from Ohio, like Amish-made cheese.
All carryout items such as napkins, forks and containers will be eco-friendly.
Vonderhaar's and the Aronoff Center have a long-standing relationship, as Vonderhaar's has catered a number of events there. Construction is already underway in the space, creating a more contemporary feel with slate tile and stainless steel.

The cafe will serve breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday.

Ludlow Garage going back to its music venue roots

The Ludlow Garage, which has been a household name in Clifton since the 1960s, is opening its doors again on Oct. 29 as Live! at the Ludlow Garage. The space will have a restaurant upstairs and a music venue downstairs that can seat up to 260.
The building started out as an automotive garage, then became a music venue in the ’60s that was operated by Jim Tarbell and others. It closed in 1971, then was converted to a restaurant; it was most recently home to Olives, which shut its doors in July 2014. Scott Crawford, who has owned the building for eight years, owned Olives and is the driving force behind Live! at the Ludlow Garage.
“This has been in the plans for years,” Crawford says. “When I bought the building, I had a vision for this venue but decided to do a restaurant since the space was already designed for that. I decided it was time for something different, and we’re going to be doing something that isn’t very common.”
The Allman Brothers performed at the Ludlow Garage three or four times in the ’70s and even recorded their Live at the Ludlow Garage album there.
“This building has so much history, but we’re not trying to do what was here before,” Crawford says. “This isn’t the Ludlow Garage of 1970, but we do want to bring back some acts from the past. But that’s far in the future.”
With the restaurant upstairs and music venue downstairs, Crawford is creating two unique spaces under the same brand. The restaurant will feature a dinner menu with two signature dishes and four rotating items, including flatbreads made in a wood-fired oven. There’s a bar upstairs with garage door walls that open to Ludlow Avenue, as well as a bar downstairs to support the music venue.
The seating in the L-shaped basement will resemble that of a movie theater, with rows of theater seats that have tables that pop up to hold drinks. There isn’t a bad seat in the house — the seat furthest from the stage is only 58 feet away. And those sitting in the front row can literally put their drinks on the stage.
There will also be a tapas menu downstairs, again with a staple dish and a few rotating items. Having two different menus allows the kitchen to punch out food faster and further creates individual identities for the upstairs and the downstairs. Waiters and waitresses will provide food and drink service so concertgoers don’t have to get up to visit the bar and miss the show.
Opening weekend is booked solid, with Vanessa Carlton playing the first show on Oct. 29 to kick off her upcoming tour. Matisyahu will perform on Oct. 30, Livingston Taylor on Oct. 31 and Howie Day on Nov. 1. Tickets are available on Live! at the Ludlow Garage’s website as well as the venue’s box office, which will open the last week of October.

Urban Trials 5K obstacle course is designed to push mental and physical capacities

A new kind of 5K obstacle course called Urban Trials is coming to Sawyer Point on Nov. 8. The course was designed by former CIA and FBI agents and will include mental and physical obstacles, taking the typical 5K to the next level. 
“This race is a combination of everything and seeing if people can use their brains while they’re tired,” says Daryn Hillhouse, founder of Urban Trials.
Hillhouse, who is originally from Capetown, South Africa and served in the British military for five years, developed the idea for Urban Trials and pitched it to The Brandery. His startup class there is almost completed, just in time to launch his first event.
Urban Trials participants will begin at Sawyer Point and follow along the river by Great American Ball Park. The course will span the Purple People Bridge, then turn around in Northern Kentucky and come back through Friendship Park, ending again at Sawyer Point.
The course is designed to push participants both mentally and physically, and each obstacle will include a twist of some kind. For example, a set of monkey bars will be painted different colors, and, after completing the monkey bars, participants will be asked how many bars were red. If they don’t know the answer, they have to go back and redo the obstacle.
There’s also a maze, and the solution to the maze can be found within prior obstacles.
The event is open to individuals and teams; teams can pick and choose who they want to compete each obstacle. Hillhouse says Urban Trials is for everyone, no matter their level of fitness or age.
“The most important thing is that we have something for everyone,” he says. “We’re designing the course so that it’s compatible with families with younger kids. It’s not just for those who traditionally do obstacle races — it’s for everyone.”
Hillhouse also wants to give back to Cincinnati. Urban Trials has partnered with The Joseph House, a local organization that provides support for homeless veterans. A breakfast at the Joseph House Nov. 6 will preview and celebrate the race as well as provide a warm meal to homeless veterans. All race participants are invited and encouraged to attend.
In order for Urban Trials to be successful, Hillhouse says he needs 1,000 people to enter. If you’re interested in competing, visit Urban Trials’ website for more information. If you refer a friend to the event, you get $5 cash back, your friend gets $5 cash back and $5 is donated to the Joseph House.

Northside Porch Tour to showcase neighborhood's history and hospitality

Northside will host its 10th annual porch tour at 6-9 p.m. Oct. 10. This year, the tour will include houses along the full lengths of Haight Avenue, North Argyle Place and South Argyle Place as well as portions of Hamilton Avenue. 
Two 20-person horse drawn carriages will tour the route, and tour guides will provide information about the history of the houses and porches. Tours will depart from Jergens Park at 1615 Bruce Ave.
Carriage rides will cost between $4 and $10 depending on the amount you want to spend to support the Northside Porch Tour. You can also walk the route and take in the tour at your own pace.
This year’s tour includes 150 porches, plus thousands of luminaries that will line the route to light the way.
Along with the tour, there will be hotdogs provided by Citizens on Patrol, a youth bake sale and music by Northside’s jazz/blues/funk quartet Evanston Kinney. Food and entertainment will also be set up in Jergens Park.
The tour is made possible by the Northside Community Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provided funds to offset the cost of the live music and the luminaries.

Apple Street Market in the final fundraising stages, hoping to get construction underway next month

Northside’s only grocery store shut its doors for good in 2013. Now the neighborhood is considered a food desert, and residents who don’t have their own transportation must take long bus rides in order to shop at a Kroger in other communities.

The Cincinnati Union Co-op Initiative, along with community organizations and neighborhood heroes, is working to bring a grocery store back to Northside.
“A grocery store will also help make the community more economically vibrant,” says Ellen Dienger, Apple Street Market’s project manager. “Grocery stores are neighborhood anchors, and they help bring in new businesses and residents. With The Gantry apartments coming soon, it’s a huge plus for the neighborhood, and a grocery store will only add to that.”
Apple Street Market, which will reside in the former Save-a-Lot building, should be open in the next year. Approximately 1,100 community shares have been sold, and the next share threshold the group plans to meet is 1,500.
Outside of the community shares and the initial loan, Apple Street Market is raising an additional $500,000, which is part of the project’s overall capital package. The capital package covers everything — building renovations, equipment, merchandise, salaries and startup costs. Right now, the group needs to raise only about $45,000 more in order to meet that goal.
Apple Street Market is currently working on underwriting the loan and hopes to bring that together this month. After that, construction will begin on the building.
From start to finish, construction is projected to take 8-10 months and includes taking out the building’s drop ceiling, replacing the tile floor, painting, redoing the building’s facade and installing equipment.
“The bones of the building are really good, and we’re just sprucing things up a bit and giving it a new feel,” Dienger says.
Apple Street Market also recently hired its general manager, Christopher DeAngelis, who starts Oct. 10. He has 20 years experience in the grocery business and has worked every job from bagger and cashier to the business side. He also has experience with co-ops and will help oversee the market’s launch process, construction and staffing needs.

Newly renovated OTR church is The Transept event space and bar

The former church at the corner of 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine is now home to the neighborhood’s newest event space and bar, The Transept. The facility is already hosting events, and the bar debut and grand opening celebration are still a couple weeks away.

The $4.7 million renovation of the 150-year-old building had been in the works for many years. Michael Forgus, manager of Funky’s Catering, and business partner Josh Heuser, who heads the AGAR promotions agency, have been working on their idea for The Transept since the early 2000s. They took their concept to 3CDC in 2011, and the nonprofit developer bought the building in 2012 with an agreement that within a year Forgus and Heuser would buy it back.

The historic 1868 structure is one of a number of abandoned local churches that have found new life in recent years.
The former German Protestant church has sat vacant since 1993 and was in dire need of repairs. During the renovation process, all of the church’s original wood floors were refinished and the building’s 89 stained glass windows were preserved and repaired.
On the inside, the building is much the same as when it held church services. There are several different rooms that all flow into the transept, dividing the building in half. Now that area will house restrooms and will allow a number of events to be held in the building at once.
The South Tap Room at Transept, the event center’s bar, has a street-level entrance accessible from 12th and Elm. The 1,200-square-foot space will offer a small food menu when it opens Oct. 8 as well as a craft beer and cocktail program run by a local bar operator. It will be open to the public seven days a week.
The main part of The Transept is upstairs and has its own entrance off of Elm. The Assembly is the main floor of the church, and the Gallery is the former church’s balcony. Both spaces are perfect for weddings or concerts, with enough space to accommodate up to 600 people standing.
All of the events held at The Transept, including the bar’s food menu, will be catered by Funky’s.
The Transept hosts a grand opening event Oct. 8 to show off its event spaces, open the bar and raise funds for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. The event is $15 for OTR Chamber members and $20 for non-members and includes appetizers and two drinks. Tickets can be purchased here.

Fall festivals kick into gear this weekend

Now that the region's big-name September celebrations are over, Greater Cincinnati’s events calendar still has plenty to offer on the first weekend of October. And it might just start feeling a little like fall.

Enjoy the last of the season’s Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend and start gearing up for pumpkins, costumes and candy. Or if getting scared is more your speed, head to one of the region’s haunted houses: Dent Schoolhouse, King’s Island Halloween Haunt, Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park or U.S.S. Nightmare.
Donauschwaben Oktoberfest
6 p.m.-midnight Oct. 2; 2 p.m.-midnight Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 4
Donauschwaben Park, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Twp.
Cost: $3
Like most traditional Oktoberfests, the Donauschwaben event features German music and dance, plus a pit-roasted Bavarian pig and chicken and sausage as well as over 25 German and domestic beers.
Friday Fright Nights
7 p.m. Oct. 2
Washington Park, OTR
Bring a blanket along for a horror show double feature of Scooby Doo: Spooky Space Kook and Mars Attacks! A full bar and concessions will be available.
Sunflower Festival
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 3-4
Gorman Heritage Farm, Evendale
$8 for adults, $5 for kids
In its 12th year, the Sunflower Festival is about all things fall. Take a stroll through the fields of sunflowers or take home a bundle of fresh-cut flowers. There’s also a pumpkin patch, where you can pick up a pumpkin to carve at home or to launch in the pumpkin fling. A hayride, carriage rides, a corn maze, face painting and food trucks round out the fun.
Weekend of Fire
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 3; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4
Jungle Jim’s, Fairfield
$10 for adults, $1 for kids, ages 5 and under are free
Make sure to bring some water, because this event will set you on fire. There will be hot sauces from all around the country, ranging from mild to wild. If you dare, try the hottest sauce that you can find.
12-5 p.m. Oct. 3-4 (and every weekend until Oct. 26)
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Avondale
Regular zoo admission
Don your costume and go trick-or-treating among the animals. The zoo’s two rides, the carousel and train, will transform for the Halloween season into the Scare-ousel and the Hogwarts Express.
Bend in the River Music Festival
5-11 p.m. Oct. 3; 12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
The Sanctuary, 2110 St. Michael St., Lower Price Hill
$7 for one-day passes, $10 for two-day passes, free for Lower Price Hill residents and Oyler School students
The two-day festival has a lineup of 12 bands, including Michael Moeller, Sassafras Gap, Royal Holland, Pike 27 and Part Time Gentlemen on Saturday and Todd Lipscomb, Gypsy Stone, Buffalo Ridge Band, Noah Smith, Billy Brown Band, Phoenix and The Almighty Get Down on Sunday. No Cincinnati music festival is complete without food trucks and craft beer, which will be served up by a number of city celebrities.
Hyde Park Art Show
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4
Hyde Park Square
Cincinnati is known for its arts scene, and Hyde Park hosts the largest one-day art show in the city. This year, 207 exhibitors will be showcasing their wares, everything from paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, crafts and multi-media art. After you walk among the artists, grab a meal or a pint at one of the restaurants on the Square.
Art on Vine
12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
Fountain Square, downtown
Held once a month, Art on Vine is another chance for local artists to get their names out there. This is the final one this year to be held on Fountain Square; the event will move indoors on Nov. 8 to its winter location at Rhinegeist Brewery.

Owners of Mecklenburg Gardens start German-inspired festival food business

Tom and Anne Harten, who have owned Mecklenburg Gardens for the past 20 years, recently broke away from the hustle and bustle of running a restaurant to focus on festivals.

They'll retain ownership of the restaurant, but Tom’s brothers are now running it day-to-day. Their new business, BeckHart, brings a twist on traditional German fare to area festivals.
BeckHart’s menu features German-inspired dishes such as a meatball slider covered with beer cheese and served on a pretzel bun, as well as goetta and beer cheese on a larger pretzel bun. Tom also has what he calls the Super Duper Pretzel Weenie, a foot-long hot dog on a 7-inch pretzel bun topped with bacon and beer cheese.
At Mecklenburg Gardens, the potato pancakes are a customer favorite, so Tom decided to do a twist on that as well, since potato pancakes are difficult to do at a festival booth. BeckHart instead serves tater tots that can be topped with beer cheese and bacon bits.
“This is really a chance for us to be more creative,” Tom says. “We don’t have to focus on our set restaurant menu and can venture out and try new things.”
Tom says he’s looked into a food truck or a brick-and-mortar location for the future, but for now he’s sticking with festivals.
“Festivals are only on the weekends, and I want to be busy all week long,” he says. “But it’s hard to find a location that has the same draw as Mecklenburg. It’s a historic gem, and nowhere I’ve seen has that history and character that I’m used to.”
But a brick-and-mortar store isn’t out of the question, he says, just not right now.
BeckHart has been at a number of festivals this fall, including Oktoberfest Zinzinnati and Newport Oktoberfest, and is planning to be at Listermann Brewing’s Oktoberfest on Oct. 9. During the holiday season, BeckHart also plans to return to Fountain Square for Cincideutsch’s Christkindlmarkt, which is held on the weekends beginning Nov. 27. 

Alternative transportation options improve with Jungle Shuttle, Red Bike and Uber

Transportation isn’t limited to just buses and taxis anymore.
Urban living means relying less on cars and more on public transportation, walking and bicycling. Neighborhoods all over the Greater Cincinnati area are becoming more bike-friendly and, as in most large cities, are constantly investigating new modes of transportation.
We all know about Metro and TANK, but what other options are out there?

Cincy Red Bike
In operation for a year, Cincy Red Bike offers a bikeshare program on an hourly, daily and monthly basis. For only $8 a day, you can pick up a Red Bike at any of its 50 locations throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and ride to and from your destination. Annual memberships are also available.

Cincy Red Bike celebrated its one-year anniversary Sept. 15 by revealing numbers that show a total of 88,408 rides over the first year, an impressive 70 percent ahead of its projected 52,000 rides. There were 1,331 annual members, 42 percent over the projected 935 annual members, and a total of 14,767 unique users.

Check out Red Bike’s website for a location map and details. 

Jungle Shuttle
Taft’s Ale House and Cincy Brew Bus recently teamed up to offer a shuttle from Over-the-Rhine to The Banks and back for select Cincinnati Bengals home games. Mike Stokes, owner of Cincy Brew Bus, sees it as an opportunity to teach people about Cincinnati’s beer history and culture as well as a way to bridge OTR and downtown.
On game days, the shuttle will leave from Taft’s at 10:40 a.m. and will make trips every 20 minutes to O’Malley’s in the Alley near Paul Brown Stadium. O’Malley’s is the first bar to offer Taft’s beer outside of the actual brewery, and current offerings include Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale on tap and Cherrywood Amber in cans. Each shuttle rider will receive a wristband for $1 off Taft’s beer at O’Malley’s on the day they ride the shuttle.
The shuttle had its first run Sept. 20 and will operate on Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Jan. 3. It’s free, but you have to register beforehand at Taft’s.

Available in 60 countries around the world, Uber offers rides at lower costs than most taxis. Drivers are contracted and can pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to go.

Download the Uber app on your smartphone, plan out your route and a driver will be along to pick you up. And you don’t have to worry about carrying change or tip money with you — payments are done via the app.   

Coming soon: Cincinnati Streetcar
Streetcar construction is slated to be completed by the end of October in downtown and OTR, just in time for the delivery of the first streetcar vehicle around Oct. 30. The second vehicle will arrive Dec. 11, with the third, fourth and fifth coming afterwards.
Cincinnati Streetcar is a $133 million project featuring 18 stops along a 3.6-mile loop through downtown and OTR. The route connects Second Street at The Banks to Henry Street near Findlay Market. Stops along the way include Government Square, Fountain Square, the public library, Aronoff Center for the Arts, the Gateway Quarter, Music Hall and Washington Park. Plans are for the streetcar to run 18 hours a day 365 days a year.

Federal grant to help Catalytic Fund push NKY redevelopment efforts

Earlier this year, The Catalytic Fund was certified as a Community Development Financing Institution, which made it eligible to apply for funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financing Institution Program.
The Catalytic Fund recently received a $700,000 grant from the CDFI fund. It’s one of three Kentucky organizations and one of 123 across the nation to receive CDFI funds this year.
The money will be used for redevelopment efforts in Bellevue, Covington, Dayton, Ludlow and Newport, including $500,000 for seed money of a $2 million predevelopment fund.
The predevelopment fund is a new tool that will be used for site readiness — studies, plans, acquisitions and investments — that will help make future projects more feasible. The Catalytic Fund currently makes loans to real estate projects from a $10 million loan fund.
It’s not the first time The Catalytic Fund has focused on redevelopment. The organization has been a part of a number of projects in NKY, including the Mutual Building, Pike Star building and the recently begun Hotel Covington renovation. The Catalytic Fund is also the driving force behind Beyond the Curb, an urban living tour that’s been held in Covington and will switch its focus this Sunday to Newport.
The founding of a catalytic development corporation to help stimulate the redevelopment of urban areas was called for in the Vision 2015 Plan, which led to The Catalytic Fund’s founding in 2008. The organization had successful fund capitalization in 2013 and to date has loaned more than $1.7 million to redevelopment projects in Northern Kentucky.
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