Best Of 2022

Best Worst Lunchtime Goodbye

Lunch just won’t be the same in the Central Business District after two decades-old staples closed their doors. Both Total Juice Plus and Fred & Gari’s received an ultimatum from their landlord telling them they had to be out of their longstanding, neighboring storefronts on Vine Street by the end of January this year. The restaurants, which had both been in month-to-month leases, weren’t super pleased about the news — and neither were patrons — with Total Juice Plus’ co-owner Emil Mallat telling CityBeat, “Twenty-four years serving Cincinnati, only to be shrugged off as if we were college tenants in an apartment.” Gari Jager, owner of Fred & Gari’s, said, “I knew that it was going to happen sooner or later, but I didn’t know when.” Total Juice Plus had offered healthy menu items like wraps, freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, and all-natural nonfat smoothies since 1998. Fred & Gari’s had served food since 1987, first as a ZZ’s Pizza Company franchise, then independently starting in 1994 — with a rotating assortment of soups, pizza and classic deli sandwiches. Both establishments were frequent staff and reader Best Of Cincinnati winners. Jager says there may be some hope for Fred & Gari’s, telling CityBeat he’s going to start looking for a spot to reopen after taking a much-deserved vacation.