Best Of 2020

Best Pop-Up Made Permanent: Kiki College Hill

This past August, Kiki College Hill opened its doors after a spell of planning, fundraising, pop-ups and patience. Former owner of Kaze izakaya (RIP), Hideki Harada and his wife Yuko were Monday night pop-up regulars at Northside Yacht Club for two years, slinging quick-to-sell-out bowls of ramen while they made their vision of a new brick-and-mortar a reality. The opening of the restaurant in a renovated bank proved the community’s support for this long-awaited arrival in previously ramen-less College Hill. That week’s turnout made it difficult to grab a table and even more difficult to hold it together while waiting (not-so) patiently for a bowl of noodles. It’s not that the space is small (it seats 65); it’s that so many ramen-lovers and frequenters of NSYC had been waiting years for the arrival of this ramen spot. There are nine appetizers and two varieties of ramen on the current menu, but it isn’t lacking; it is focused with a bit of something for everyone, veg-heads, meat lovers and gluten averse included. Choose between shio ramen — a chicken broth with pork belly, negi), a tea-marinated egg and rayu (chili oil) — and kimchi ramen, featuring housemade kimchi and tofu. All those years in the making have made Hideki and Yuko’s restaurant worth the wait. Kiki College Hill, 5932 Hamilton Ave., College Hill, kikicincinnati.com.