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Martin & Marilyn Wade's ambitious OTR development is underway


Much of the development in Over-the-Rhine has been spearheaded by large organizations like 3CDC and Urban Sites. But private developers are coming on the scene now, and they're not just renovating private residences.

Martin Wade, owner of Rookwood Pottery, and his wife Marilyn are working to redevelop a large swath of OTR at Walnut and East Liberty streets, where their proposed $75 million project will include the historic Grammer’s German restaurant. Phase I is underway on existing properties along Walnut between 14th and Melindy streets, with 21 apartments to be completed by June.
 
The Wades have been acquiring OTR property since 2007, when they purchased Grammer’s from former Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell and tried to run it as a bar and meeting space. It closed in 2011.
 
Their ambitious three-phase, mixed-use project will include a total of 100 apartments, 40,000 square feet of office and retail space and four single-family townhomes.
 
Phase II sits just north of Melindy, which will be turned into a pedestrian street. This portion of the project will include demolishing part of Grammer’s complex to make way for new construction, but part of the restaurant’s façade and the bar will be preserved. The first floor will include 6,000 square feet of retail, with 16,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and 24,000 square feet of commercial space and eight apartments on the third floor. There will also be 157 parking spaces of parking both underground and on street level.
 
Another part of Phase II will be four single-family townhomes on Clay Street, each with its own garage. Wade hopes to break ground on the second phase by the third quarter of this year, with construction finishing in 2017.
 
The Phase III will include 68 two- and three-bedroom apartments behind the Vine Street Kroger on the west side of Walnut. The entire project is slated to be completed by 2019.
 
Craig Gossman of the Gossman Group is the project architect, Megen Construction Co. is the general contractor and Urban Sites will be the property manager.  
 

Reds stadium adding features ahead of Opening Day, MLB All-Star Game


Great American Ball Park is undergoing a number of changes this winter, including the addition of a new bar, to help prepare for the MLB All-Star Game on July 14. The $4.5 million renovation is slated to be completed by Opening Day, April 6.
 
The Bootlegger bar is being added on the first-base side of the lower-level concourse in the area that houses Skyline and LaRosa’s. Those dining options will remain, though Penn Station will move to the concourse on the third-base side.
 
The bar will give fans the feel of walking into an old-time bar. Inspiration for the design came from the bar behind the lower-level blue seats at the Reds’ former home, Riverfront Stadium, which was based on the beer garden that Boss Cox, who was part of Cincinnati’s political scene at the turn of the century, ran in Over-the-Rhine.
 
The Bootlegger will offer liquor and beer, including some craft beer options, but it won’t have as many craft options as the existing bar on the third-base side.
 
The second major renovation this winter has been the upper level Riverfront Club, which was previously a white-tablecloth dining option. It will now be called The Handlebar and feature covered seating that's exposed to the outdoors.
 
In addition, the concession stand facades along the concourses on the first- and third-base lines are getting facelifts. They'll look more like actual storefronts, with brick fronts.
 
The Reds are also creating Retail Row at the main entrance, which will create a space for retail kiosks down the third-base concourse to the entrance to Gapper’s Alley. Retailers include game-used merchandise, a Reds Hall of Fame stand, regular Reds retail merchandise, a Reds Community Fund booth for Split the Pot raffle tickets, a season ticket holder booth and a stand for the Reds Heads kids club.
 

Pop-up chef Ryan Santos opening brick-and-mortar restaurant


For the past five years, Chef Ryan Santos has been operating Please as a pop-up restaurant at venues around the city. Now he plans to open a brick-and-mortar storefront under the same name.
 
Santos’ love for cooking began 10 years ago when he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
 
“I learned to cook from scratch with a lot of dietary restriction,” he says. “I quickly fell in love with cooking, and when my health improved I started training in kitchens around the country and in Europe.”
 
The restaurant’s menu will look a lot like it does now, with a five-course and a three-course offering. The bar will also offer different a la carte options. Please will be open for dinner, and Santos says he’s still working on a daytime component but that it won’t be your typical 11 a.m.-2 p.m. lunch.
 
“We hope to bring a new format and experience to food that doesn’t currently exist here,” Santos says. “Our approach to food and the dining experience is made up of all of the things I’ve loved during my travels domestically and abroad.”
 
Once open, Please won’t host pop-up dinners any longer, but Santos plans to continue doing private dinners for customers, where he comes to and cooks in their home. Santos is also toying with hosting new pop-up concepts and is working with Sierra Laumer of forkheartknife, who would host brunches in the space.
 
Santos says Please will open roughly a year from now at an address to be determined — he's looking at possible locations in Columbia Tusculum, East Walnut Hills, the Findlay Market area and elsewhere in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Please's Kickstarter campaign to help raise restaurant funds ends on Feb. 5.
 

New single-family housing project coming together in Northside


Over the past 11 years, there have been several larger single-family developments in Northside — Northwind by Potterhill and Rockford Woods and Virginia Place, which were both CitiRamas by In-Line Development. Large land parcels further from the business district became available and attractive for larger for-profit developers, and about 100 new homes have been built and sold.
 
Infill, nearer to the central business district, is harder to come by. The lots are smaller and disconnected and can take years to assemble into potentially larger projects.
 
Five new single-family houses will soon be developed at the northwest corner of Fergus and Lingo streets in Northside. The Cincinnati Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CNCURC) received the first parcel of land for the project in 2006 and purchased the remaining three parcels by 2013.
 
Northside was chosen for the development because of its character and to add diversity to its new housing stock. Most of Northside’s residential projects in recent years have been apartments.
 
“Much of Northside’s success is due to the diversity, creativity, compassion and involvement of residents and business owners,” says Stefanie Sunderland, executive director of CNCURC. “As an organization, CNCURC strives to provide different housing options for the growing eclectic population interested in relocating to the community or wishing to establish more permanent roots in the neighborhood.”
 
D-HAS Architecture Planning & Design partnered with Great Traditions Land & Development Company for the project, which is part of D-HAS’s City Series. The project is being funded through the presale of the homes.
 
The two- and three-bedroom houses will have detached garages and will range in size from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet. Prices will start in the mid-$200,000 range. Potential homebuyers will be able to choose from 12 different exterior options and various floor plans. There will also be an option for a third floor and accessory dwelling unit that would expand the house to 3,000 square feet and raise the price to about $350,000.
 
A groundbreaking date hasn’t been set yet, but it's expected that construction on each house will take about six months to complete.
 

Federal grant to help kick-start Ohio River Trail West development


The proposed Ohio River Trail West was recently awarded over $1 million from a federal congestion mitigation/air quality grant, which along with $261,000 from the city’s bicycle program and other funds will go toward completing Phase I. The ultimate goal for the trail is a 20-mile off-road bikeway and greenway that connects Smale Riverfront Park downtown to Shawnee Lookout in North Bend, as well as an eight-mile loop around Shawnee Lookout.
 
These initial funds will be used for much of the 3.7-mile portion of the trail extending from the Evans recreation area near Lower Price Hill and around the Gilday-Riverside recreation complex.
 
“Lower Price Hill is on the threshold of exciting things,” says Tom Croft, co-chair of River West Working Group.
 
Work on the new Sixth Street viaduct was recently finished, which reconnected Lower Price Hill with the surrounding area. Oyler School, which is a pre-K through high school learning and community center, went from having an 85 percent dropout rate to having an 85 percent high school graduation rate. Plus the Incline Theater next to the Incline Public House is on track to be completed by summer.
 
River West Working Group, which deals with matters of land use that affect the western riverfront and the nearby greenspaces, is interested in the positive developments along the river, including industrial, transportation and recreational developments.
 
“As development has progressed along the western riverfront, it became clearer that there were recreational assets on the west side, and that there was no real link among them,” Croft says.  
 
A western riverfront trail as been part of public policy since 1969, says Dave Zelman, co-chair of River West Working Group. In 2008, the organization decided that it was important to start somewhere and adopted the Ohio River Trail West as one of its major projects.
 
“The river is the city’s greatest asset and is a key to commerce, recreation and a way of life,” Zelman says. “Our vision is to refocus on the western riverfront and provide multiple new opportunities for vibrant uses, including working, living and playing, in a way that makes the area a regional attraction.”
 
The Ohio River Trail West could eventually link to trails that run north up the Great Miami River.
 

Pure Romance to run downtown pop-up shop throughout February


Just in time for Valentine's Day, Pure Romance hosts a pop-up shop, Truly Sexy, Feb. 6-28 on the first floor of the Cincinnati Bar Association's downtown building. The 4,000-square-foot shop will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 225 E. Sixth St.
 
Truly Sexy is the company's first pop-up boutique and is geared to increase brand awareness and introduce new consumers to the brand and what it has to offer, says CEO Chris Cicchinelli.
 
Pure Romance doesn’t plan to open a permanent retail location, but there may be other month-long pop-up boutiques in the company’s future.
 
“If this model is successful, we would consider expanding to other large cities, like New York, Chicago and L.A.,” Cicchinelli says.
 
The shop will offer Pure Romance’s bath and beauty lines, massage oils and lotions, creams, enhancement products, adult toys and its all-natural line. The company will also be introducing its newest line, the Masterpiece collection, at Truly Sexy.
 
The Masterpiece collection is inspired by the books and upcoming film Fifty Shades of Grey. It features higher end toys and items that have become popular since the books’ release, including a collection of decorative masks, whips, floggers and ben wa balls.
 
Truly Sexy will also host private after-hours "Boutique Shopping Experiences" for groups of 20 or more. To schedule an event, contact Suzanne Murray at rsvp@pureromance.com or 513-205-7662.
 

Chicago transplant bringing new restaurant, sense of community to OTR


Nick Pesola started his business idea, rotisserie chickens, at Findlay Market last summer. In a few weeks, he will be opening the doors of his brick-and-mortar restaurant, Revolution Rotisserie & Bar, at 1106 Race St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
“When I moved to Cincinnati for work, I lived in Oakley and stumbled upon OTR at a friend’s recommendation,” Pesola says. “I fell in love with the neighborhood. It has a good blend of urban and neighborhood and reminds me of Chicago. There are also lots of entrepreneurial things happening as well as transplants like me. Why wouldn’t anyone want to live in OTR or start a business here?”
 
Originally, Pesola set out to do a healthier take on gyros, which are popular in his native Chicago. But after a few tastings, he realized chicken was the way to go. He started with an eight-bird rotisserie at Findlay Market and increased to a 40-bird rotisserie because he kept running out.
 
He also thought he'd be selling whole and half chickens more, but he became known for pita sandwiches. And so Revolution was born.
 
The menu will feature eight pita sandwiches that showcase the versatility of chicken, all topped with vegetables and homemade sauces and made with FreeBird chicken, which is sourced from Amish and Mennonite farms that raise chickens humanely and free of hormones and preservatives. There will also be a potato bowl with mashed potatoes or tater tots, gravy, cheese and chicken on top, and the menu will be rounded out with four salads and a la carte sides like garlic mashed potatoes, cinnamon applesauce, creamed corn, roasted seasonal vegetables and pita chips and hummus.

Revolution will also have a full bar, so customers can have a sandwich and craft beer or a punch-style cocktail.
 
The 1,500-square-foot space has been home to two different cafes and has been completely transformed to fit Revolution’s needs. Pesola installed a hood for the grill top and rotisserie as well as a full bar with 10 seats.
 
“I wanted the space to have a unique identity that was competitive in OTR,” Pesola says. “We’re doing our best to compete in the market and doing something different with a genuine feel.”
 
Not only does Pesola want to be known for his food, but he's also excited about being a great employer and helping his employees receive an education and learn transferable skills.
 
“I want to contribute to the community,” he says. “People come to my door all the time asking for a job, and I’m exploring that. I want to leave OTR a better community than before I opened Revolution. I’m all about improving everything around you and seeking to understand before doing something.”
 
Pesola is funding Revolution on his own, but he's set up a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise $6,000 to offset some start-up expenses.
 

Formerly blighted corner is harbinger of Pleasant Ridge redevelopment


Pleasant Ridge’s signature property at the corner of Montgomery and Ridge roads is in the midst of a $2 million redevelopment. Once finished, 6099 Montgomery Road, or Sixty99, will be home to Cincinnati’s newest brewery and other businesses that add to the neighborhood’s entertainment district.
 
The two-story building dates back the 1800s, when it was a stagecoach hotel. In the late 2000s, it fell into foreclosure and sat vacant for several years. The Pleasant Ridge Development Corporation (PRDC) began to look for opportunities to redevelop and formed a partnership with Gene Levental of Cincinnati Premier Realty.
 
In 2011, PRDC won a $200,000 Neighborhood Business District Improvement Project grant from the city and used the money to purchase the building. Phase I of redevelopment included shell stabilization of the building and preparing it for future tenants.
 
“Since securing our entertainment district license, it’s always been a vision of PRDC to supplement the existing business mix with more destination businesses,” says Jason Chamlee, president of PRDC.
 
In addition to Nine Giant Brewing, two existing tenants will remain in the building: a salon above the brewery and an insurance company. There are currently three spaces awaiting tenants, which Chamlee says he hopes will be food- and beverage-based businesses.
 
“The new model of using these types of businesses as anchors can be replicated,” he says. “It used to be the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, but food and beverage businesses are the ones that will drive traffic.”
 
The three remaining storefronts vary in size, and two of the three have a shared wall that could be removed to create a larger space.
 
PRDC wants to show Cincinnati that there are great opportunities for investment and development within Pleasant Ridge and help raise the profile of the business district.
 
“We’re hoping to increase Pleasant Ridge’s customer base with this development,” Chamlee says. “We’re a very strong community, but we’re small. We’re targeting our larger nearby neighborhoods and beginning to draw people in from outside. With that, we’re working to bring attention to Pleasant Ridge. We’re trying to raise the district’s profile and the awareness of the area in the city.”
 

Nine Giant to expand local craft beer growth into Pleasant Ridge


Nine Giant Brewing will open its doors this summer in Pleasant Ridge’s newest development, Sixty99, at the prominent corner of Montgomery and Ridge roads. The brewery is the brainchild of brothers-in-law Michael Albarella, a self-proclaimed beer nerd, and Brandon Hughes, who has a business background.
 
While on a yearly family trip to North Carolina, Albarella and Hughes hatched a plan to start a brewery. This was before MadTree and Rhinegeist, and the two felt that Cincinnati was ripe for a craft beer revolution.
 
“We were definitely onto something,” Hughes says.

He quit his job last April, and he and his wife moved back to Cincinnati to start making Nine Giant a reality.
 
When Nine Giant opens its 3,400-square-ft. facility, it won’t be launching flagship beers. Instead, each of its eight taps will be dedicated to a certain category of beer — there will always be a tap dedicated to pale ale, but it could be a German pale, an American pal, a Belgian pale or something more exotic like a chile-spiked pale ale, Hughes says.
 
“We’ll revisit beers over time, but we want to have room to experiment and to have fun and offer customers a great experience every time,” he says.
 
Albarella and Hughes will also be creating beers with lower alcohol contents, although that doesn’t mean all of the beers will be "session-style," or beers lower in alcohol so you can drink more in one session. There will be high-gravity styles alongside more session style beers, and there might be an imperial IPA with a 7.5-8 percent ABV, which isn’t a session beer but is lower than most double IPAs on the market.
 
“As a taproom-only brewery, we want people to be able to try a number of our beers at one time,” Hughes says.
 
Nine Giant is also a snackery and will offer a menu of 8-10 small plates that pair well with its beers. The final launch menu isn’t set in stone yet, but Hughes says there will definitely be a charcuterie plate and riffs on traditional American bar foot, including pomme frites and deep-fried housemade pickles. Sliders might make the menu, and there will be heavy Mexican and Central American influences.
 
“We’ve always envisioned ourselves being part of a neighborhood, a community,” Hughes says. “Pleasant Ridge was perfect. The local residents really rally behind local businesses, and the support and well wishes we’ve received since announcing the brewery have been amazing. The area has a ton going for it, with affordable housing, a new elementary school and great accessibility. We’re really excited to be part of the larger economic revitalization of this proud neighborhood.”
 

Northside church renovations to yield brewery, theater, event space

Urban Artifact, formerly Grayscale Cincinnati, recently purchased the old St. Patrick's church in Northside, which was most recently home to Queen City Cookies. Plans are to renovate the church property into a brewery and event space by spring. Urban Artifact was also working on a project at the old Jackson Brewery in Over-the-Rhine, and their plans for Northside contain some of the same program elements.
 
“The church has the same reused aesthetic as the Jackson Brewery,” says Urban Artifact’s Scott Hand, who is serving as construction manager and architect for the project. “It’s a great architectural space, and preservation is big for us.”
 
The Northside property includes the church and nearby gymnasium and rectory, totaling over 20,000 square feet. The church will have a 200-seat theater upstairs in the sanctuary and a taproom, bar and smaller event space on the ground level. The gym will be home to the actual brewery, and the rectory may be the site of a future restaurant.
 
Bret Kollmann-Baker and Scott Hunter are focused on the brewery part of the project, along with Hand and his business partner, Dominic Marino. Kollmann-Baker says the taproom will have 8-12 of its own beers on tap as well as a full liquor license. The plan is to offer something for everyone and to create unique beer cocktails to introduce people to the beer.
 
There are also plans to distribute the beer to Northside bars.
 
Urban Artifact is bringing other Northside businesses into the space. New Edgecliff Theatre will perform upstairs. Groundwork Cincinnati, which is in charge of the Mill Creek bike path, is renting part of the rectory for office space and its educational outreach program.
 
Hand also hopes to create a courtyard biergarten, something that will help bring the project to the forefront of the open container entertainment district that's in the works for Northside. Urban Artifact purchased the St. Patrick property as one parcel, which means that it requires one liquor license.
 
“This facility is perfect,” Hand says. “There’s lots of density and historic elements in the neighborhood, and it would benefit from a larger venue like this. There’s nowhere that can hold 700 people here. We also get to be Northside’s brewery (and) to be the brand for local pride.”
 

CGN grant money makes creative Covington projects possible


The Center for Great Neighborhoods recently announced the recipients of eight Creative Community grants, which total over $35,000. The grants will go toward artistic and creative projects in Covington, with six of them happening in its Westside neighborhood.

216 Pike Art Wall ($5,000)
A new wall across from an open lot at 216 Pike St. will be used to display public art. The wall will include flower boxes, lighting at night and an overhang to shelter people and the artwork. Christopher J. Meyer will curate the art and will solicit work from local artists and rotate the display on a monthly basis. The art wall will prevent non-resident access to the lot, which will help improve what's been a nuisance space that attracted negative attention.

Analemmatic Sundial & Solar Light ($5,000)
David Rice will use the sun’s rays to address safety in Westside. The interactive sundial will be a 12-foot-by-6-foot half-circle, and people will use their bodies to provide the shadow-casting object to tell time. The other part of the project is installing a solar light on top of the sundial to illuminate the parking lot on Orchard Street, making it more safe and inviting.

Art on 12th ($4,321.25)
Julia Martin will install lighted artwork in the windows of an empty building on 12th Street. The original art will be created by Martin or by students in one of her community art classes. The space will also feature an Art Walk to view the pieces as well and create safety through community interaction.

B Visible: See and B Seen ($4,595)
The Coder and Maker Group for the Kenton County Library will host workshops for Covington residents and students to create clothing and bike accessories that will increase the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. There will also be a fashion show to celebrate Bike Month and Covington’s bicentennial.

CYC Crosswalk Campaign ($3,175)
The Covington Youth Commission will address safety for kids and other pedestrians on the streets around John G. Carlisle Elementary School by installing artwork in the crosswalks. They’ll be working with artist and Holmes High School teacher Donny Roundtree and youth leaders in the school's BLOCK program to design and paint the crosswalks.

Goats in Goebel ($5,000)
Gus Wolf and Lauren VanDyke Wolf will bring goats to the hillside in Goebel Park to eat and eliminate overgrowth and invasive plant species.

Orchard Park Swing ($5,000)
A group swing will be permanently placed in Orchard Park, which is currently a vacant lot. Lauren DiFulvio Wolf will donate her photography skills to hold a one-day community session and then display the prints in and around the park to attract attention and remind visitors of the neighborhood’s energy and diversity.

Pones in Public ($3,500)
The grant will be used to fund eight Pones Inc. performances that will encourage families, groups and strangers to express creativity. The performances will be free and integrated into existing community activities.
 
The funding for the Creative Community grants is made possible by The Kresge Foundation, which has given CGN a multi-year grant for creative placemaking initiatives in Covington. Other Kresge-funded projects include improving the 12th Street corridor, the rehabilitation of the historic Hellmann Lumber Mill, creating more housing opportunities and continuing to combat blight and stabilize the city.
 

Findlay Market creating incubator kitchen to help food entrepreneurs


Findlay Market took control of an Elm Street property two weeks ago, and construction is slated to begin on the market’s 8,000-square-foot incubator kitchen in May. The project will yield five industrial kitchens that will help launch and grow food-related businesses.
 
The Corporation for Findlay Market raised $2.5 million for the project and will charge between $16 and $20 per hour for use of kitchen space. The pricing structure isn’t finalized yet, but there will most likely be an additional fee for storage and tool or utensil rental.
 
“We’re excited to expand our mission to provide more resources to food entrepreneurs,” says Joe Hansbauer, president and CEO of the Corporation for Findlay Market. “The market is already a premiere location to start and grow a food-related business, and the kitchen will further remove barriers for those who are looking to launch a new idea or grow an existing successful business.”
 
Findlay Market is also focusing on removing barriers to entry for low-income and minority food entrepreneurs.
 
“I want to help them achieve their dream of starting a business and leverage their skills for making great food,” Hansbauer says.
 
The kitchen will also be used for different events, such as pop-up restaurants, cooking classes, healthy eating education and supporting farmers who are looking to make value-added products from their produce.
 
“An incubator kitchen has long been in the master plan for Findlay Market, and we’re excited to finally make it a reality,” Hansbauer says.
 
The kitchen, located at 1719 Elm St., will be completed by September at the earliest or December at the latest.

Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce is offering a tour of Findlay Market's pre-construction incubator kitchen site 4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 12, followed by a happy hour at Rhinegeist Brewery. Get details here.
 

O Pie O opening at DeSales Corner in East Walnut Hills


Cincinnati’s first pie bakery plans to open its doors this spring in East Walnut Hills. O Pie O will occupy the space at 1527 Madison Road at DeSales Corner.
 
“We want to be a gathering place for friends, families and neighbors, and we can’t think of a better place for a pie shop,” Lou Ginocchio II says, O Pie O’s co-founder and marketer.
 
Ginocchio’s partner Ian Sobeck is O Pie O’s chef and baker. The intention all along was to open a physical shop, but Sobeck had to figure out how to make pies for a lot of people. Once he got that figured out, he went down to Findlay Market and set up a tent to start selling.
 
O Pie O’s menu will feature sweet and savory pies that will rotate on a seasonal basis. On the sweet side, there will be fruit, custard and nut pies as well as small pastries made from Sobeck’s pie crust. Pies can be served a la mode or in pie shakes. The savory menu will feature pot pies, quiches and tortas, plus smaller savory options like empanadas and samosas.
 
The pies will be the cornerstone of the menu but will be complimented by soups, salads, wine, craft beer, coffee and ice cream. Lunch and dinner will be served during the week, with brunch in the mornings and a limited late-night menu.
 
O Pie O is currently available at Findlay Market, Sprout Market & Eatery, Park + Vine, Reser Bicycle Outfitters and Clifton Natural Foods. Ginocchio says they plan to continue these relationships after O Pie O opens.
 
“We have a lot in common with them,” he says. “They’re in energized neighborhoods and want the same kind of future in Cincinnati where small businesses not only thrive but are good neighbors.”

O Pie O plans to have an event at their space on Pi Day, which is March 14, even if it's before the shop is officially open.
 

Ruth's Parkside Cafe owners hoping to host American Can reunion


Built in 1921, the American Can building in Northside was home to the American Can Company, which manufactured can-making machines. After the company closed in 1963, it reopened as the Cleveland Machine Company, which used the first floor for machining purposes.
 
The building then sat vacant for almost 30 years, until it was redeveloped into 110 apartments, Ruth’s Parkside Café and Fisher Design.
 
Since Ruth’s opened in October 2013, customers have come in whose parents, relatives or themselves worked at American Can. In its heyday, the company employed about 2,500 people. Restaurant owners Mary Kroner and David Tape want to keep those memories alive by hosting an American Can reunion of sorts.
 
For now, Kroner is gathering a list of people who are interested in the idea. She’s working with a professor at the University of Cincinnati who specializes in local history, and she wants to hear what others remember about their time at American Can.
 
Details haven’t been ironed out yet, but Kroner plans to have the reunion on a Sunday (when Ruth’s isn’t open) and pass around photos, memorabilia and stories about American Can as well as learn a little more about its history.
 
If you’re interested in participating in or learning more about the American Can reunion, please email Mary Kroner at info@ruthscafe.com.
 

Newport coffee shop expanding into the space next door


Newport’s Carabello Coffee launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to raise $40,000 to purchase and renovate the next-door storefront, as well as its current space, for a new space totaling about 2,500 square feet. Since opening in 2013, Carabello has grown by about 80 percent over the past year.
 
By purchasing the building next door, owners Justin and Emily Carabello will be able to build a new roastery, training lab and slow bar. They also plan to add a larger kitchen, office and dry goods storage area.
 
“The slow bar in the new space will allow us to focus on brewing manually and put more of an emphasis on process and discussion,” Justin says. “It will be like a shop within a shop with two bars — one a social cafe devoted to curated items and signature drinks that we don't currently offer, and the other will be a slow bar for coffee geeks."
 
The slow bar, which will be located between the main café and roastery, will have limited hours at first to really focus on the education of coffee drinking.
 
“We’ve been able to introduce people to specialty coffee by doing small things like only brewing single cups in Clever Coffee Drippers after 11 a.m. and offering classic-sized espresso drinks, as well as Chemex brewing,” Justin says. “We’re able to talk to people about coffee and be a very approachable coffee shop.”
 
Carabello’s roastery will be moved to the prime spot in the building and be clearly visible from the sidewalk and the street. A new area will be designed for wholesale customer training, classes and staff cuppings, as well as work stations for customers who want to stay and work for a few hours.
 
The Carabellos are working with Work Architecture + Design, a smaller firm that specializes in historic adaptive reuse projects. Renovations will include gutting the current space and change the floor plan. Justin says the two buildings were separate but were joined together on the deed at some point. He plans to blow a hole in the brick wall that separates the two spaces and connect them internally.

"We hope our expansion will help to further economic development in the Monmouth Street business district," Justin says.

The Kickstarter campaign ended Dec. 30 and beat its goal, raising over $42,000.

Carabello will remain open during the renovation process and hope to have both spaces fully operational by early fall.
 
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