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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
Free
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.
 
HallZOOween
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
Free
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
Free
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.
 

Uber
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.
 

American Can reunion scheduled for Sept. 27


Since opening in 1921 in Northside, the American Can Lofts building has seen many tenants. It operated as the American Can Company until 1963, then it was the home of Cleveland Machine Company. It was largely vacant for 30 years, but a number of industrial artists had studios there in the 1990s and bands used it for practice space.
 
Now it’s home to loft apartments, Ruth’s Parkside Café and a design firm, and Mary Kroner and David Tape, the owners of Ruth’s, have been plotting a way to pay homage to the building’s past.
 
“Our customers are always interested in the building’s history,” Kroner says. “We’ve had so many people tell us about a relative who worked here or that they themselves did.”
 
Kroner and Tape want to hear those stories, so from 3-5 p.m. Sept. 27 they’re hosting the American Can Factory Reunion. They’ve been given photos and other mementos from people and plan to share what information they know during a short presentation.
 
After that, Kroner says the floor will be open to anyone who has a story to tell about the building.
 
“So far we’ve heard from someone from each era of the building’s life, and we’re excited to share the history with whoever wants to hear it,” she says.
 
Kroner has been in contact with a woman who visited American Can on a tour when she was in grade school, and she still has the bank she was given, which is in the shape of the building. She’s also spoken with a woman who is in her 90s who worked in the building making torpedo shells during WWII.
 
“We’ve had so many people hear about the reunion, and it’s going to be bigger than we ever thought,” Tape says.
 
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
 

Parklets coming to Covington's downtown and MainStrasse


A new People’s Liberty project called Curb’d will set up shop in Covington’s central business district and MainStrasse next spring to turn ordinary parking spaces into miniature parks, or parklets. It’s a concept People’s Liberty tried this summer as a temporary project outside its Over-the-Rhine headquarters.
 
Cincinnati is no stranger to parklets. The first was installed outside of Tucker’s restaurant in Over-the-Rhine in 2012, and a number of them were built along Pleasant Street as part of the pedestrian walkway proposed by UC’s MetroLab. Park + Vine also had a parklet installed last year.
 
Parklets can host any activity from extended seating for restaurants to a swing set or a small movie theater.
 
Curb’d will soon begin accepting applications from Covington businesses that are interested in turning one of their curb-side parking spaces into a parklet. If a business is chosen to receive a parklet, People’s Liberty would match it with an organization that would install it.
 
People’s Liberty will fund five parklets in Covington, including reimbursements to the city for lost parking meter revenue. Each parklet will cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and be active from May to October 2016.
 
Covington was also recently chosen as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2016 Great American Main Street Award. The award is given by the National Main Street Center, whose next step is trimming the number down to five. If Covington makes it to the final round, representatives from the National Main Street Center will come here to shoot a video that will depict why Covington deserves to win. The winner will be announced at the organization’s national conference next year in Milwaukee.
 

Pique provides a new artistic opportunity in Covington


Pique is Covington’s newest artistic space, combining an art gallery, workshops and classes with weekend rental living spaces. Owner Lindsey Whittle and her husband purchased the building at 210 Pike St. with the idea of turning the accompanying storefront into some type of art space.
 
“In the end, we decided we wanted to create a space for artists that had a lot of benefits, a sense of community and the opportunities of art academia outside of art school,” Whittle says.
 
The building itself is also an Airbnb, which she and co-owner Annie Brown say gives guests an immersive gallery experience.
 
“We had to find a way to fund the art space,” Whittle says. “We thought about starting a collective of artists who would chip in to pay for the space and then all help run it, but we realized that we were tired of artists losing money and not making money. So we started talking to people and strategizing a way to afford the space that would help promote artists instead of taking from them. We also wanted people to experience the art in every way they can, and sleeping with it gives the gallery experience a more intimate level.”
 
Pique is designed so that it’s always evolving and changing. The main gallery takes up the building’s entire first floor, which includes a traditional gallery space in front, and as you walk through the space there are smaller rooms that offer a more intimate setting for artwork. There’s also a community gallery that provides space for artists and the community to experiment with displaying artwork.
 
The plan is to have at least six shows in the main gallery each year. The community gallery is more open-ended, and the featured artists can dictate how long the show is up, from a pop-up on a weekend to a week- or month-long exhibit.
 
“We hope to bring awesome opportunities, attention, artists, art, ideas and experiences to Covington,” Whittle says. “To quote the Kid President: ‘If it doesn’t make the world more awesome, don’t do it.’ We want to start a movement.”
 
Whittle and Brown also want to connect artists with other artists as well as connect art and artists to the community.
 
“We hope to be a support system for creative people and hope they will pitch us their crazy ideas,” Whittle says. “We’ll do our best to find ways to help them make those ideas happen.”
 
Currently, Pique is featuring “Supernova Sequential,” a comic book exhibition that highlights the work of self-publishing comic book artists Clint Basinger and Joseph Morris. In the community gallery, there’s a documentation called “Climbing the Steps in INC,” by local artist Jonathan Hancock, who chronicles his experience at the International Noise Conference.
 
Classes and workshops are taught during the week, with the weekends reserved for Airbnb guests.
 

Roundup of neighborhood festivals through the rest of September


The temperature is finally starting to drop, and signs of fall are just around the corner. In response, Cincinnati gears up for the season with a plethora of arts, beer and music festivals.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of our September favorites!
 
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Sept. 18-20
Grab your lederhosen and a stein and head downtown for America’s largest Oktoberfest, which was first held in 1976. The celebration of German-style beer, food and music begins Friday with the Running of the Wieners and includes other events like the Gemuetlichkeit (Goodwill) Games and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.
 
Fifty Fest, Sept. 19
Fifty West Brewing Company hosts its third annual festival that celebrates not only its beer but beer from all over Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For a $10 entry fee you can hear 10 bands on three stages and try beers from 20 local breweries. The event is noon to midnight at Fifty West HQ outside of Mariemont.
 
CliftonFest, Sept. 25-27
There are several new features for this year’s CliftonFest, which has been held along the Ludlow Avenue business district for the past four years. Food trucks, local restaurant specials and kids game areas have been added to the traditional lineup of live music, West Sixth craft beer, arts vendors and fun activities for the whole family. Plus it’s free!
 
MidPoint Music Festival, Sept. 25-27
Tickets are still on sale for MPMF, celebrating its 14th year in Cincinnati. The music fest takes place over three days on 10 stages in Over-the-Rhine and downtown, four of which will host all ages shows. Daily passes are $40 and are available on MPMF’s website and on site.
 
Cincy Summer Streets, Sept. 26
For the first time, Cincy Summer Streets will be held in OTR; there have been two events this summer already, one in Northside and the other in Walnut Hills. Pleasant Street will be car-free between Washington Park and Findlay Market 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and feature fun outdoor activities for the whole family as well as food and drinks.
 
Cincinnati Street Food Festival, Sept. 26
Food trucks have become the norm in Cincinnati, and Walnut Hills knows how to celebrate mobile food in style. The fourth annual event will include a number of local food trucks, live music and local craft beer. Keep tabs on the event’s Facebook page for up-to-date vendor information.
 
Art Off Pike, Sept. 27
Covington has become known for its growing community of artists, and the rest of the Tristate is taking notice. Art Off Pike allows art-lovers the opportunity to browse and shop the works of more than 60 local artists and creatives 11 a.m.-5 p.m. as well as join in on the art making. The event had been centered at Madlot at the corner of Seventh and Washington streets, but this year it’s expanded to the Duveneck Triangle and the Pike Street Overpass.
 

Overlook Lodge to add to business rejuvenation in Pleasant Ridge


Jacob Trevino has years of experience at Molly Wellmann’s bars, as well as Bistro Grace in Northside and the new 16+Bit Bar and Arcade in Over-the-Rhine. He’s also one of the masterminds behind Gorilla Cinema, which brings one-night movie events to different parts of the city. Most recently, Trevino and his crew hosted a Willy Wonka event, complete with candy-inspired food and drink.
 
He’s still working on a permanent home for Gorilla Cinema, but he’s now also planning to open a bar concept, Overlook Lodge, in Pleasant Ridge. The neighborhood has seen an uptick in new businesses, including Nine Giant Brewing and Share: Cheesebar, and Trevino is adding to that rejuvenation.
 
Overlook Lodge is being designed after the mountain lodge featured in The Shining, with lots of wood accents and retro wallpaper as well as a large hearth area. Trevino plans to have live bluegrass and country music on the weekends, which will add to the bar’s intimate setting.
 
The menu will feature rustic craft cocktails with simple but bold flavors. The signature drink, The Hatchet, is made with tequila, ginger and lime and is rimmed in Spanish spices; another drink, The Writer’s Block, will be coffee-based.
 
There will also be a series of “twin” drinks that reference the split personality of Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining.
 
Although Overlook Lodge won’t serve food, trail mixes and jerky will add a twist on your typical bar snacks.  
 
Trevino is aiming to open Overlook Lodge on Oct. 31. Keep tabs on the bar’s Facebook page for upcoming details.
 

Covington to hold new business ribbon-cuttings every Friday


Starting Sept. 11, the City of Covington launches a program for new businesses through which city and community representatives hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies every Friday.
 
New retail and residential options will add to Covington’s current offerings and housing stock. With the success of Braxton Brewing and the soon-to-be-finished redevelopment of the Mutual Building as well as the recent groundbreaking for the Hotel Covington, the city will soon have a plethora of options to live, work and play.
 
The first two months of ceremonies will include openings and groundbreakings for a number of new ventures as well as a few that have relocated within the city. The Sept. 11 ribbon-cutting is for BrandFlick on Greenup Street.
 
BeanHaus, 640 Main St.
Owner Tim Eversole just opened a brick-and-mortar location where BeanHaus first operated in 2006 on MainStrasse. The coffee shop closed in 2010 but continued to operate at Findlay Market, where it has been for seven years. The menu will include breakfast and lunch options with an emphasis on sandwiches and, of course, coffee.
 
Boone Block, 406-422 Scott Blvd.
Development is underway at Boone Block, which was built in 1872. The 24,000-square-foot building will soon offer nine three-level, single-family townhomes ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet.
 
Brandflick, 306 Greenup St.
Launched in 2010, Brandflick is moving into a new space above Roebling Point Books & Coffee. The multimedia company helps businesses grow their brand through video and print media.
 
C U Thair, 614 Washington St.
The hair salon opened in March on Greenup Street but relocated to its current location in June. And it’s not all about hair — the salon’s walls feature artwork by owner Troy Williams that celebrates hair.
 
Flow, 5 W. Pike St.
The men’s clothing store is moving from Scott Street, where it’s been for the past four years, to the Mutual Building. Flow is also expanding and will now have an in-store barbershop, Cutman, in the rear of the space.
 
Inspirado, 715 Madison Ave.
Opening on Sept. 16, Inspirado restaurant will offer something for everyone. The menu features globally inspired comfort foods as well as foodie favorites. Owner Baron Shirley plans to add a second-floor wine bar and art gallery in the near future.
 
Perks on Pike, 222 W. Pike St.
Perks on Pike opened this spring as Uncle Buddy’s Cafe but changed its name over the summer. The space features made-to-order salads and sandwiches as well as coffee, baked goods, soups and juices.
 

Two Cincinnati area breweries expand their distribution areas


Local craft breweries Braxton Brewing and Old Firehouse Brewery recently announced expansions of their distribution areas. For Braxton, that means crossing the river from its Covington base, while Old Firehouse can now offer its beer throughout Ohio.
 
Braxton Brewing
Braxton beer will be available in Cincinnati starting Sept. 10. It was previously available only in Northern Kentucky, with the exception of Great American Ball Park. The brewery will remain focused on brewing operations and its taproom in Covington but will be able to expand into new bars and restaurants via draft in Ohio as well.
 
Now that local production and distribution have taken off, further expansion into other Midwest states is the goal.
 
Braxton is kicking off Ohio distribution at the annual Cincinnati Summer Beerfest Sept. 11-12 on Fountain Square. The event will feature its first Braxton Beergarden, where Braxton products will be on tap.
 
The Rouse family, which owns Braxton, have also partnered with a number of Cincinnati bars and restaurants for launch events — the first is at Jungle Jim’s Fairfield and Eastgate locations on Sept. 12. For an up-to-date list of Cincinnati bars and restaurants with Braxton on tap, check out the brewery’s new mobile app in the iTunes App Store.
 
Braxton also partnered with Neltner Small Batch, which designed the brewery’s branding, for a short documentary film about the business titled Born in a Garage (find more details here).
 
Old Firehouse Brewery
As of Sept. 1, Williamsburg-based brewery Old Firehouse, which opened less than a year ago, started selling its beer throughout the state of Ohio.
 
The brewery’s core beers (Pin-Up Girl, an American blonde ale; Code 3, a red ale; Flash Point, an East Coast-style IPA; Probie Porter, a chocolate and coffee porter; and Hoser Gose, a wheat gose) are now widely available, as will seasonal and limited-edition beers as production allows.
 
Old Firehouse is also expanding its brewery, located at 237 Main St. in Williamsburg. Husband-and-wife owners Adam Cowan and Lori Ward are in the process of purchasing buildings adjacent to the current space in order to expand production and meet demand.
 
Also in the works is the brewery’s one-year anniversary party, scheduled for Sept. 26. Keep tabs on the Old Firehouse website for more information.
 

Former Hellmann Lumber site starts journey to becoming a creative placemaking hub


On Sept. 17, Covington’s Center for Great Neighborhoods will hold a groundbreaking event for its newest venture, the Hellmann Creative Center. The placemaking hub will be the new home of CGN and offer community meeting and event space as well as leasable artist studios.
 
The project is expected to take about nine months, and CGN hopes to move into its new space early next summer.
 
The 13,800-square-foot project is on the site of the former Hellmann Lumber Mill, which has been vacant since 2005. The Commonwealth of Kentucky preserved the building during the widening of State Route 1120/MLK/12th Street.
 
“CGN is renovating the former Hellmann Lumber Mill as part of a multi-year effort to help revitalize the MLK corridor,” says Rachel Hastings, the organization’s director of neighborhood and housing initiatives. “The street suffered significant disinvestment while the widening project, which eventually razed most of the buildings on the south side of the street, was proposed but not implemented for 25 years. Now that the widening is complete, CGN and neighborhood residents are working to bring small businesses and energy back to the corridor.”
 
CGN received a $1.5 million multi-year grant from The Kresge Foundation as part of its creative placemaking initiative, $500,000 of which was designated for the Hellmann project. The remaining funds will be used to integrate arts and culture into neighborhood revitalization activities. CGN also received a number of grants from local foundations, including the Haile Foundation, Mayerson Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the Duke Energy Urban Revitalization Initiative to help fund the $2.2 million project.
 
The Hellmann Creative Center will help make CGN more visible in Covington, providing the organization with a home in a prominent building on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. As part of the relocation process, CGN underwent a branding overhaul to allow staff members and community partners to better describe the organization’s mission for community change. BLDG redesigned the branding, funded in part by The Kresge Foundation and LISC.
 
Since 1976, CGN has helped strengthen Covington as a whole through creative placemaking programs, community organizing events, leadership development, housing development, youth engagement and financial education. CGN equips residents with the tools to discover and develop and gives access to resources that help develop the city.
 

Tour to highlight OTR's beautiful, historic churches


Over-the-Rhine is home to 11 historic churches, including St. Paulus Kirche, Cincinnati's oldest Protestant church. To honor that legacy, Taft’s Ale House — itself located in a renovated historic church — is teaming up with American Legacy Tours and the Over-the-Rhine Foundation to offer guided tours of neighborhood churches.
 
American Legacy Tours will lead two 90-minute tours of five historic OTR churches on Sept. 9: the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which is now Taft’s Ale House, at 1429 Race St.; St. Francis Seraph, 1615 Vine St.; First Lutheran, 1208 Race St.; Nast Community (formerly known as Nast Trinity United Methodist Church), 1310 Race; and Old St. Mary’s, 123 E. 13th St.

“Each church included on the tour is currently serving the OTR community in one form or another,” says Erica Spitzig, attorney at Graydon Head. “The tour will serve to engage participants in the history, character and beauty of the OTR neighborhood while highlighting some of the amenities it has to offer its residents.”
 
The tours will help continue the OTR Foundation’s mission of teaching potential property owners how to successfully redevelop owner-occupied properties in Over-the-Rhine. The Foundation started a program in 2014 that covers property selection, financing opportunities and guidelines for working with historic properties and neighborhoods.
 
The Foundation hosted a Lessons Learned Workshop in June that featured three property owners whose buildings were at various stages of redevelopment. The first-hand accounts helped others who are interested in buying, rehabbing and living in OTR.
 
Tickets for the church tours are $30 and can be purchased on American Legacy Tours’ website. The first tour begins at 6:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m.; both tours start and end at Taft’s, where attendees can enjoy a pint as part of their ticket price.
 
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