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Dress for Success Cincinnati moves to Textile Building

The Textile Building is now home to Dress for Success Cincinnati and 4th Street Boutique. The two businesses moved just 100 feet from their old downtown home of 10 years.
DFS opened its new doors yesterday, only 13 days after taking possession of its new space. The layout of the old space wasn’t ideal, says Julie Smith-Morrow, CEO of DFS Cincinnati. But in the new building, 4th Street Boutique is on the ground floor, and the DFS programs are all on the ninth floor.
“We hope that our clients will feel inspired by the new space when they come in,” says Smith-Morrow. “As always, we’ll be very welcoming, and will meet them where they are.”
DFS Cincinnati is one of 127 affiliates in 15 countries that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools to help them thrive in work and life. It was founded in the Queen City in 1999, and has served more than 11,000 women in the area. 4th Street Boutique sells women’s new and gently-used clothing, and its net proceeds support DFS.
“We’re really excited about the move—it’s something we’ve wanted to do for years,” says Smith-Morrow. “We’ve had lots of help from the community, which has helped us succeed. We hope to be able to help women get to work, keep their jobs, develop careers and be successful in life.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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Mohr Animal Acres adds food truck to organic meat offerings

Beef, lamb, turkey, chicken and duck are all graze happily at the Mohr family livestock farm in Urbana, Ohio—Mohr Animal Acres. Now, not only does the farm provide retail cuts of meat to farmers' markets in Cincinnati, owner Trudy Mohr recently launched a food truck business.
This past winter, Mohr decided her family needed to start a food truck—Bistro de Mohr—to better serve their customers.
“I saw food trucks on TV, and it made sense with what we were doing,” Mohr says. “We’ve been selling cuts for a while, and we do a lot of specialty sausages, and we cook those sausages, so it seemed like a natural progression for us.”
So far, Bistro de Mohr has only set up one time, but Mohr recently joined the Cincinnati Food Truck Association and will be at an event in Washington Park on May 17.
Along with her two sons and daughter, Mohr serves up grass-fed beef, pastured lamb, turkey, chicken and duck on the food truck. Their meats contain no MSG, and their homemade sausages are all hand-mixed.
“We try to be as environmentally friendly as we can,” says Mohr. “We want to educate people and cook new and different things.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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Montgomery knitting store moves to OTR

On April 3, former Montgomery knitting store Fibergé moved to 1407 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. It will be hosting its grand opening event May 17.
In September of 2010, the year Fibergé owner Norma Lawrence Knecht moved to Cincinnati, she left her corporate job and opened the Montgomery location. She decided to move her store to OTR because she wants to contribute to the revitalization efforts in the neighborhood, says Margaux Ayers of MCA Marketing.
“Norma wants to contribute to the arts community in OTR,” Ayers says. “She likes OTR because of the established arts community. People already have an appreciation for the arts here.”
Lawrence Knecht started to knit a few years ago and found she was good at it. The artsy craft also helped her better control her anxiety and quit smoking, Ayers says.
Ayers says Lawrence Knecht is excited to bring beginning knitters into Fibergé and help people understand the art of knitting. Beginning knitting kits start at $20.
Fibergé sells Spud & Chloe, Blue Sky Alpacas and Rowan yarns, and offers hundreds of patters for one-of-a-kind garments and accessories. Lawrence Knecht also offers knitting classes, private lessons and daily project assistance—no appointment needed.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Food trucks to vend in OTR sites, including Washington Park

The Mobile Food Vending Program began as a pilot program in 2010, with food truck zones at Fifth and Race streets, Court Street and Sawyer Point. Since its inception, MFVP has expanded to Fountain Square, the University area, and most recently, Washington Park and Over-the-Rhine.
Last Wednesday, City Council passed MFVP into law. In 30 days, there will be new breakfast and lunchtime food truck zones at Washington Park for three trucks, a nighttime zone in OTR at 12th and Clay streets for two trucks, plus a streamlined application and easier payment options for vendors.
“This is great news for food trucks,” says Emily Frank, president of the Cincinnati Mobile Food Truck Association and owner/operator of C’est Cheese food truck. “It shows that City Council supports food trucks and wants to see them around for many years to come.”
Frank says CMFTA targeted OTR for two reasons. The organization has a great working relationship with 3CDC, and they want to help promote Washington Park as a lunch spot. Bistro tables and chairs will be set out so customers don’t have to sit on the ground.
Food trucks have wanted to vend in OTR at night for several years, but haven’t been able to. The Night Owl Market sets up in a parking lot some weekends, but food trucks were looking for other places to park to reach a wider customer base.
“There’s a great late-night scene in OTR, and we’re thrilled to now be able to provide more fast, casual food options for everyone,” Frank says.
Changes were also made to the application and payment options for food trucks. First, the $25 application fee was removed. Second, the $1,000 permit fee that once had to be paid in full, can now either be paid in full or be split into two payments of $600. The new option does end cost more, but it allows for flexibility for truck owners, who can now purchase only six months for $600.
CMFTA is excited about their new vending opportunities, and later this year, they plan to tackle other areas of downtown, such as the Contemporary Arts Center, the Taft Theatre and the Duke Energy Convention Center, Frank says.
On May 17, there will be a press event at lunchtime in Washington Park to kick off the new food truck zones.
By Caitlin Koenig
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New beer, food trucks highlight 35th year of Taste of Cincinnati

Many locals are familiar with Taste of Cincinnati, but for the 35th year, there are a few changes to the event. New features include the Taste of Cincinnati Experience; Tastings, Tappings and Tours by Christian Moerlein; and Food Truck Alley.
“For one weekend, Taste of Cincinnati is the biggest nightclub in town,” says Patrick Sheeran, VP at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “With food, drink, music, rides and games, there’s truly something for everyone.”
Taste of Cincinnati will be held May 25-27 along Fifth Street from Vine to Broadway, and will feature food and drink from 45 area restaurants as well as 70 live entertainment acts. There will also be various rides and games; admission to the event is free.
Taste will feature 10 of Cincinnati’s signature restaurants, including 20 BrixRuth’s Chris Steak HouseDaveed’sOrchid’sThe PalaceTano and Graeter’s, which will feature intimate dining and live music. Chefs from participating restaurants will be on-site for three-hour increments each day, and representatives will also be in the area with samplings and cooking demonstrations. Taste will be located in P&G Gardents at Fifth and Sycamore streets.
Christian Moerlein is now the official beer of Taste of Cincinnati. The brewery will be serving up a handful of its signature beers at the Moerlein Beer Garden on Fountain Square, plus specialty kegs of dry hopped cask-conditioned ales—“Pins and Firkins”—that will be tapped every two hours. Taste of Cincinnati visitors will be offered free one-hour tours of the Christian Moerlein Production Craft Brewery at 1621 Moore Street in Over-the-Rhine.
“Christian Moerlein has deep roots in the city, and has become a resurgent brand,” Sheeran says. “It fits with the event, plus the city is in the midst of a resurgence itself.”
Taste of Cincinnati is also adding food trucks to the event—local food trucks will be taking over North Broadway just off of Fifth Street. Food Truck Alley will feature food from Café de WheelsC’est CheeseEAT Mobile DiningGold Star Chili MobileMellow Mushroom and Sugarsnap!
Apart from adding new events, Taste of Cincinnati will be making a $10,000 donation to the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State to refurbish its teaching kitchens. The money for the donation will come from the fee local restaurants pay to be part of Taste of Cincinnati, and the event will then match that amount.
“Here in Cincinnati, many of the city’s best restaurants employ graduates of Cincinnati State,” Sheeran says. “We want to help the school, so we can continue to have the great food we have here in town.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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Tom+Chee hopes to expand brand on 'Shark Tank'

On National Grilled Cheese Day, April 12, Tom+Chee founders Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush announced to the public that they will be appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank. The show features entrepreneurs who pitch their ideas to famous and successful business leaders for investment opportunities.
Ward and Quackenbush started Tom+Chee with their wives, Jenny and Jenn, in 2009 when they served grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup to ice skaters at Fountain Square. A year later, they opened their first restaurant on Court Street; they opened a Tom+Chee at Newport on the Levee in 2011, and one on Walnut Street in 2012. They’ve also recently opened two locations in Louisville—a third is under construction—but they want to expand their brand beyond the Tri-State area.
On the show, Ward and Quackenbush will pitch Tom+Chee to Mark Cuban, media and sports, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Barbara Corcoran, real estate; Daymond John, fashion; Kevin O’Leary, educational software; and Robert Herjavec, technology. Their goal is to secure investment and take Tom+Chee global.
Tom+Chee has already been featured in an episode of Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation and two episodes of Amazing Eats, and its grilled cheese donut was named one of the Best Sandwiches in America by the TODAY show. It was also featured on CBS’s The Chew.
Look for Ward and Quackenbush on Shark Tank May 17 at 9 p.m.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Bakersfield OTR team to open new restaurant across from The Brandery

Joe Lanni and his business partners have had great success with their Over-the-Rhine restaurant, Bakersfield OTR. They recently expanded their brand to Indianapolis, opening a second Bakersfield on March 11.
And by the end of the dog days of summer, they plan to open another new restaurant on Vine Street: The Eagle Food and Beer Hall.
The name directly relates to the new business' physical space. It will occupy a former Post Office. Since the eagle is the symbol for the United States Postal Service, Lanni thought it would be cool to resurrect the symbol.
The Eagle will serve American fare, with a specialty in fried chicken, Lanni says. There are also plans for a burger and three or four other sandwiches, plus soups and salads. And as the rest of its name suggests, The Eagle will also serve up great beer.
“When we opened Bakersfield, there wasn’t much open on Vine Street,” Lanni says. “We wanted to open there because we liked the plans for the neighborhood, and in time, it did take off. We’ve enjoyed being part of that growth, and want to continue to be part of OTR with our new restaurant.”
By Caitlin Koenig
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Emery lights back up April 12-14

Dance, art and music fill the Emery Theatre in Over the Rhine this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Contemporary Dance Theatre as well as the return of MusicNOW.

The theatre, which was donated to the city in 1908 thanks to the charitable trust of Mary Emery, is currently owned by the University of Cincinnati and leased to the Emery Center Corporation, which manages the Emery Center Apartments. The theater, a replica of Carnegie Hall, is one of only three remaining halls in the nation designed with perfect acoustics. The Requiem Project: The Emery, a site-specific 501c3 founded in 2009, is working to re-establish the historic space as an event venue and interdisciplinary arts and education center. 

After going dark for the winter months as negotiations continue over the building's future, the theater hosts two major public events this weekend.

MusicNOW's first-ever art show runs in the Emery's gallery spaces through the weekend. It features pieces by Cincinnati natives Jessie Henson and Nathalie Provosty, both of whom currently work out of New York. Sunday, MusicNOW founder and The National member Bryce Dessner makes a special appearance at the Emery for a performance during a gallery party from 4-6 pm.

In addition to the MusicNOW events, the Emery also welcomes the April 13 anniversary gala for the Contemporary Dance Theatre, which was founded in 1972 by current artistic director and local dance icon Jefferson James. David Lyman plays host during the celebration, which features video, photography, costumes and more. 

While the future of the Emery and efforts to revive it remain unclear, at least for this weekend, there's a chance to enjoy an amazing local space being used for all the right reasons--to celebrate the local arts community and its connection to the broader artistic and cultural landscape of our time.

The MusicNOW exhibit and Bryce Dessner performance are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the CDC gala available here.

By Elissa Yancey
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Quan Hapa refines menu, atmosphere on Vine Street

David Le and his business partners, brothers Duy and Bao Nguyen, are known for the traditional Vietnamese fare at Findlay Market’s Pho Lang Thang. But the trio wanted to bring Asian street food to Vine Street.
Quan Hapa, an Asian gastropub, opened the week before Christmas. “Hapa” is the word for someone who is part-Asian, which is perfect because the restaurant’s fare is a mixture of the best dishes and drinks from Korea, Vietnam, Japan and Hawaii.
The restaurant is small, but comfortable and relaxed, with its menu displayed on a chalkboard.
In the few months it’s been open, Quan Hapa has already adapted based on early feedback. “We felt that things were a bit confusing when we first opened,” Le says. “For the first few months, there was a bit of a lack of identity in our food and the atmosphere.”
Le and his partners no longer serve “street food” on $16 plates. Instead, the food is served in baskets and condiments can be found on the tables. They also revamped the price points of many of their dishes to try and find the balance between the perception of value and the amount of food, Le says.
Le and the Nguyen brothers aren’t chefs, so they’re working with Billy Grise, a trained chef, to fine tune every dish. And you won’t find Pho Lang Thang’s bahn mi at Quan Hapa.
Some of Quan Hapa’s popular dishes include a Vietnamese-style Ramen, a Japanese-style pancake and Bun Bo Hue, which is a traditional soup from the Imperial city of Hue. As far as drinks go, diners like shochu, which has a Korean or Vietnamese vodka, fresh squeezed juice and soda water in it, Le says.
“As the first Asian restaurant on Vine, we wanted to introduce people to traditional Asian fare,” Le says. A few months after Quan Hapa opened, Kaze joined them in Over-the-Rhine.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Just three units left in award-winning Schickel Design Company's Bakery Lofts in OTR

Schickel Design Company recently won a Star Award from the Over-the-Rhine Chamber in recognition of its architecture projects in OTR. The firm’s most recent project is Bakery Lofts, which is located at 1421 Race Street.
“It’s wonderful to be recognized for our overall work in Cincinnati and OTR,” says Martha Dorff, Bakery Lofts’ project architect.
Bakery Lofts was built in the mid-1800s, and housed a bakery for about 100 years. It was originally a mixed-use building with first-floor commercial space and residential units above, but Schickel Design, 3CDC and Graybach Construction have redesigned the building and turned it into nine condos.
The one- to three-bedroom condos range in price from $155,000 to $350,000; and although most of the units are under contract, there are still three available.
William Schickel started the firm in Loveland in 1948; it moved to its current location in OTR in 2005. Schickel Design is known for renovations and new construction projects, architecture, space planning, development, interior design, stained glass, environmental graphics and art consultation.
Other projects completed by Schickel Design include the City Home Cincinnati project, City Home Race, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Chapel of the Holy Child and Peace Place at the hospital’s Liberty Township campus, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Dixmyth Lobby and Main Street.
“As a company, we see a bright future for Cincinnati, and great growth for it and cities like it,” Dorff says. “It’s geographically beautiful and a great place to live and work. It’s a city that people want to move back to and raise a family.”
The city is hosting a ribbon cutting for Bakery Lofts on Thursday at 10 a.m.
By Caitlin Koenig
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CORE Resources wins Star Award for job creation

Every year, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber awards a handful of businesses for their strides in categories like Property Development, Nonprofit of the Year, New Business of the Year and Business of the Year. This year, CORE Resources won in a new category, Job Creation of the Year.
CORE—a builder and developer of retail, office, restaurant and healthcare facilities—was founded in 1990. In 2010, it employed nine people; today, CORE has 34 employees and plans to hire 10 more in 2013.
“We’re thrilled to be having a growth spurt and hiring people again,” says President Paul Kitzmiller. “We hope that with further recognition in the community, CORE’s services can help grow the surrounding community and further participate in revitalization.”
For the past few years, CORE has been involved in revitalization and renovation projects in OTR. Some of its OTR projects include the Color Building (home of CORE’s office), KAZE, Quan Hapa and Washington Park. CORE is getting ready to start the renovation of Eli’s BBQ on Vine Street and the apartments above.
At Sixth and Walnut, CORE has worked on the Righteous Room, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and Nada. They’re getting ready to open Sotto, and in the next 30 days, they’ll be opening Boca. CORE is also the general contractor for the anchor restaurant at U Square at the LoopKeystone Bar and Grill.
“In the future, we want to be involved with more projects and help create a wonderful neighborhood,” says Kitzmiller.
By Caitlin Koenig
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MOTR owners plan to turn Woodward Theater into music venue

About six years ago, the owners of Over-the-Rhine’s oft-frequented MOTR began looking for a larger space for concerts. And they found one right across the street: the Woodward Theater.
“When we brought MOTR to OTR, we wanted to insert the local music community into the arts and culture discussion in Cincinnati,” says MOTR co-owner Dan McCabe. “By expanding across the street, that discussion gets a little louder.”
MOTR has been the OTR hotspot for free music for the past few years, and the Woodward will help attract larger bands that are too big to play MOTR. The concerts at the Woodward will be ticketed, with advance tickets available.  
“We want to see people from outside Cincinnati to see what OTR is,” says McCabe. “Musicians that play the Woodward will be coming from cities like New York, where the cost of living is high. They might consider relocating to Cincinnati, which has a great support base for musicians and the platform to build a crowd base. It’s also centrally located for touring.”
The Woodward’s new owners also want it to be used as more than a music venue. “I’d love to show films and host private events too,” says McCabe. “OTR is an event-driven neighborhood, and we want the Woodward to be a resource to the community.”
The Woodward has been used in recent years as an antiques warehouse, and hasn’t been an active storefront for a long time, says McCabe. In the next few weeks, construction will begin on the theater’s façade, including getting the lights on the outside working.
McCabe and his business partners are still working on plans for the inside. “We basically have a white box on the inside with a balcony, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
This year is the Woodward’s 100th birthday—it opened on June 18, 1913. The guys of MOTR have a big event planned for the building’s birthday, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Mason design firm sets up office in Over-the-Rhine

For 45 years, Bayer Becker’s civil and transportation engineers, landscape architects, planners and land surveyors have served the Tri-State area. And last month, the design firm opened an office in Over-the-Rhine.
“There’s a commitment to the urban core here in OTR, and we want to be part of it,” says Mike Dooley, an associate at Bayer Becker. “We want to be closer to the clients we work with and new talent.”
Founded in 1968 by Joseph Bayer and Keith “Sandy” Becker, the firm has served a variety of local and national clients and has consulted on projects in the public and private sectors. The OTR office is Bayer Becker’s fourth office in the Cincinnati area (its home office is in Mason, and there are smaller offices in Fort Mitchell, Ky., and Oxford, Ohio).
Bayer Becker’s new office is in the historic Saengerhalle building next to 3CDC and across the street from Washington Park. The firm looked at buildings in the Central Business District, but the opportunity arose in OTR to be near local architects and other design firms, says CFO and Vice President Tim Bayer, who is the son of founder Joseph Bayer.
“There are lots of businesses and entertainment here, which was very appealing to us,” Bayer says. “We want to be part of strengthening the community’s employment and aesthetic aspects.”
Currently, Bayer Becker is doing land surveying on several properties for 3CDC; they’re in the middle of the bidding process on a property in OTR near the casino. Yard House at The Banks was also a Bayer Becker project.
Bayer Becker wants to be a good business citizen and be active in the OTR Chamber of Commerce and be part of other business associations and endeavors in the business community, says Bayer. “Our goal is to continue to strengthen the community through employment, be part of celebrating client success and help improve downtown Cincinnati.”
The firm wants to help continue enriching the community, and later this month, they’ll be sponsoring the Urban Awakenings series, which focuses on four Cincinnati neighborhoods that are dedicated to revitalization and rejuvenation.
“We want to help OTR be a model for other communities,” Dooley says.
By Caitlin Koenig
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Lexington's newest craft brewery brings new brews to Cincinnati

Although there won’t be a West Sixth Brewing taproom or beer garden in the Cincinnati area, beer lovers will still be able to buy the new brewery’s beer around town.
West Sixth opened in Lexington on April 1, and founders Ben Self, Brady Barlow, Joe Kuosman and Robin Sither have already seen the demand for their beer go through the roof. “We’ve had people drive down from the Cincinnati area just to buy our beer,” Self says.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area was the last part of Kentucky that West Sixth added to its distribution network—the taproom and beer garden are in Lexington, and West Sixth’s beer is available in Louisville, too.
The quartet has heard from lots of retailers, bars and restaurants that they’re excited to be getting West Sixth’s brews, Self says. West Sixth beer became available locally about two weeks ago. The brewery kicked off its expansion at Cincy Winter Beerfest, which featured the West Sixth IPA and Deliberation Amber.
West Sixth does things a bit differently than other breweries, Self says. It’s the only brewery in Kentucky to can its beers; and Self and his co-founders are not only committed to brewing great beer, but to giving back to the community. They give six percent of the brewery’s monthly profits to local charities and nonprofits to support environmental packaging efforts and rehabilitation projects in Lexington.
You can order West Sixth’s beer at Gordo’s Pub in Norwood and Bakersfield in Over-the-Rhine. You can also purchase it at:
By Caitlin Koenig
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Taste of Belgium expanding, using SoMoLend to fund venture

Jean-François Flechet opened Taste of Belgium in Findlay Market in 2007; four years ago, he expanded his restaurant venture to Columbus’s North Market, and a year and a half ago, he opened a full-service Belgian bistro on Vine. In the next few months, there will be two new Taste of Belgiums in the Cincinnati area—a full-service restaurant on Short Vine near UC, and a waffle counter at Friendly Market in Northern Kentucky.
The Short Vine location is on the first floor of a brand new building that includes 120 apartments. The waffle counter at Friendly Market is the only food vendor in the first phase of the market. It’s right on the edge of phase 2, which is ideal for future expansion, Flechet says.
Taste of Belgium on Short Vine will have a menu very similar to the one on Vine Street, says Flechet. But it will have more affordable options at dinnertime, such as chicken and waffles and bar food.
“There will be a bigger focus on the bar, with both Belgian and Belgian-style beer sourced from local breweries,” he says. Flechet wants to attract the college students who live around Short Vine, which is a different demographic than his customers at the bistro and Findlay Market.
Taste of Belgium is slated to open in early May at Friendly Market, and on Short Vine during the first week of July.
Flechet isn’t going the traditional route for financing his new business ventures. Instead, he’s working with local crowd-sourcing start-up SoMoLend to raise a portion of the funds for the restaurant. He wants to promote crowd-sourced funding as a viable alternative source of financing for small businesses.
“When I opened Taste of Belgium on Vine, it was hard to get financing,” says Flechet. He wasn’t able to obtain a loan from the bank, but the building’s landlord got one through 3CDC. In turn, the landlord charges high rent to recover the loan. The North Market location was financed by a loan from a small business lender who Flechet has been working with for four years.
SoMoLend connects small business owners who are in need of a loan with investors who are looking to make a return on their investments. The organization allows borrowers to get loans from customers, friends and family members. It allows lenders to make a difference on a more local level.
“SoMoLend has been promoted on a national level, but not much on a local level,” Flechet says. He’s trying to get the word out to his customers that he’s using SoMoLend and bring more users to the lending service.
The Taste of Belgium crowd-sourcing campaign launches March 11. If you want to contribute to the campaign and are a customer, friend or family member, sign up on SoMoLend’s website.
By Caitlin Koenig
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