March 05, 2020

20 New Restaurants and Bars That Opened in Cincinnati This Winter

It's tough to deny the Queen City is growing fast. With new eateries and drinking destinations popping up at every turn, it's certainly easy to miss when a new spot opens its doors. This past winter, we may have seen a few establishments close, but fear not, there are plenty that have emerged in their place. From sophisticated Italian eats to New Asian cuisine, a mouthwatering new sweets shop and a tequila bar, these are Cincy's hottest new spots.
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20 New Restaurants and Bars That Opened in Cincinnati This Winter
Pepp & Dolores
1501 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pepp & Dolores is the latest from Thunderdome Restaurant Group — the team behind The Eagle, Bakersfield, Currito and Maplewood Kitchen and Bar. The Italian eatery is inspired by Sunday dinners at Thunderdome co-founders Joe and John Lanni's grandparents' house. “We designed the space to have a timeless look and feel with elements of a classic cafe or bistro from the early to mid-20th century on the first level and a lower level that is darker, cozier and reminiscent of a New York City supper club,” says John Lanni. The menu features housemade pastas — like spaghetti and meatballs dubbed “The Sunday Sauce”, a butternut and mascarpone pasta and a lobster and squid ink pasta — along with a focus on shareable dishes, salads and bread.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Pepp & Dolores

1501 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pepp & Dolores is the latest from Thunderdome Restaurant Group — the team behind The Eagle, Bakersfield, Currito and Maplewood Kitchen and Bar. The Italian eatery is inspired by Sunday dinners at Thunderdome co-founders Joe and John Lanni's grandparents' house. “We designed the space to have a timeless look and feel with elements of a classic cafe or bistro from the early to mid-20th century on the first level and a lower level that is darker, cozier and reminiscent of a New York City supper club,” says John Lanni. The menu features housemade pastas — like spaghetti and meatballs dubbed “The Sunday Sauce”, a butternut and mascarpone pasta and a lobster and squid ink pasta — along with a focus on shareable dishes, salads and bread.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Mesa Loca
2645 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
Stepping into a spot left vacant by Cock & Bull Hyde Park, Mesa Loca is a standout new addition to Hyde Park Square. Serving expertly prepared Mexican fare in a cool, contemporary setting, the eatery offers a menu of shareable bites and an excellent cocktail list with fresh-squeezed juices.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Mesa Loca

2645 Erie Ave., Hyde Park
Stepping into a spot left vacant by Cock & Bull Hyde Park, Mesa Loca is a standout new addition to Hyde Park Square. Serving expertly prepared Mexican fare in a cool, contemporary setting, the eatery offers a menu of shareable bites and an excellent cocktail list with fresh-squeezed juices.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
e+o New Asian
645 Walnut St., Downtown
e+o Kitchen opened its New Asian eatery downtown at 645 Walnut St. in February. The concept continues the theme of the original Chicago location with "The Food Buddha," aka chef Rodelio Aglibot, overseeing the new restaurant. He is also the executive chef of both Cincinnati e+o locations (the first is in Hyde Park). The menu features a New Asian concept that blends the cuisine of the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam and more with "contemporary techniques and inventive ingredients."
Photo: Tony Frank

e+o New Asian

645 Walnut St., Downtown
e+o Kitchen opened its New Asian eatery downtown at 645 Walnut St. in February. The concept continues the theme of the original Chicago location with "The Food Buddha," aka chef Rodelio Aglibot, overseeing the new restaurant. He is also the executive chef of both Cincinnati e+o locations (the first is in Hyde Park). The menu features a New Asian concept that blends the cuisine of the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam and more with "contemporary techniques and inventive ingredients."
Photo: Tony Frank
La Ofrenda
30 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine
Gorilla Cinema Presents, the group that created Tokyo Kitty and the Video Archive (among others), opened a retro Mexican cinema bar concept near Findlay Market in December. Inspired by the owner’s grandparents and his time growing up in Texas, the bar serves up tequila, mezcal and sotol in its small indoor space. There's also an outdoor patio.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

La Ofrenda

30 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine
Gorilla Cinema Presents, the group that created Tokyo Kitty and the Video Archive (among others), opened a retro Mexican cinema bar concept near Findlay Market in December. Inspired by the owner’s grandparents and his time growing up in Texas, the bar serves up tequila, mezcal and sotol in its small indoor space. There's also an outdoor patio.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Ghost Baby
1314 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine
This subterranean nightclub/music venue opened beneath the streets of Over-the-Rhine this winter. The venue holds 160 guests and is located several stories below Vine Street in a 170-year-old lagering tunnel formerly used by Champion Brewing (beer was aged and cooled in lagering tunnels before the advent of refrigeration). The historic, dimly-lit space, which has been vacant since the 1850s, features soaring ceilings with stone archways and decor that is adorned with "crushed velvet and unpredictability," according to a release. Guests can expect an immersive experience with art, design, cocktails and music, plus cheeseboards and cannoli. 
Photo via Instagram/heymichelle1

Ghost Baby

1314 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine
This subterranean nightclub/music venue opened beneath the streets of Over-the-Rhine this winter. The venue holds 160 guests and is located several stories below Vine Street in a 170-year-old lagering tunnel formerly used by Champion Brewing (beer was aged and cooled in lagering tunnels before the advent of refrigeration). The historic, dimly-lit space, which has been vacant since the 1850s, features soaring ceilings with stone archways and decor that is adorned with "crushed velvet and unpredictability," according to a release. Guests can expect an immersive experience with art, design, cocktails and music, plus cheeseboards and cannoli.
Photo via Instagram/heymichelle1
Enoteca Emilia
110 S. Second St., Loveland
Enoteca Emilia reopened in Loveland in late November after closing its O’Bryonville location in 2016. The Italian eatery offers several gourmet pastas including the black pepper pappardelle, artisanal pizza like the veal sausage pizza, a variety of salads, entrees, elevated bar snacks and desserts. 
Photo via Facebook/EnotecaEmilia

Enoteca Emilia

110 S. Second St., Loveland
Enoteca Emilia reopened in Loveland in late November after closing its O’Bryonville location in 2016. The Italian eatery offers several gourmet pastas including the black pepper pappardelle, artisanal pizza like the veal sausage pizza, a variety of salads, entrees, elevated bar snacks and desserts.
Photo via Facebook/EnotecaEmilia
EMMA
3227 Riverside Drive, Columbia Tusculum
EMMA: Wine With Friends is an approachable new wine bar and shop located in Cincinnati's East End. The bar opened in December and features over 40 different wines on tap that are available via a self-service platform so that visitors can explore and taste at their own pace. In addition to wine, guests can enjoy a cocktail at the bar or grab a bottle or six-pack of beer to go.
Photo: Provided

EMMA

3227 Riverside Drive, Columbia Tusculum
EMMA: Wine With Friends is an approachable new wine bar and shop located in Cincinnati's East End. The bar opened in December and features over 40 different wines on tap that are available via a self-service platform so that visitors can explore and taste at their own pace. In addition to wine, guests can enjoy a cocktail at the bar or grab a bottle or six-pack of beer to go.
Photo: Provided
The Kitchen by Butler’s Pantry
50 E. RiverCenter Blvd., Covington
The Kitchen by Butler's Pantry is the first new concept from Covington chefs Mitch Arens (formerly of Hotel Covington) and Stephen Williams (of Bouquet). The concept uses locally sourced ingredients to create Southern classics. Menu items include: The Kitchen “Benedict” (toast, braised greens, cottage ham, poached eggs), stuffed French toast (Sixteen Bricks challah bread, butternut squash cream cheese, brown sugar tuile) and the Southern Sink (cheddar grits, corned beef, poblano relish, herb salad, over-easy egg) among others, including goetta balls with chow chow sloppy sauce.
Photo: Provided

The Kitchen by Butler’s Pantry

50 E. RiverCenter Blvd., Covington
The Kitchen by Butler's Pantry is the first new concept from Covington chefs Mitch Arens (formerly of Hotel Covington) and Stephen Williams (of Bouquet). The concept uses locally sourced ingredients to create Southern classics. Menu items include: The Kitchen “Benedict” (toast, braised greens, cottage ham, poached eggs), stuffed French toast (Sixteen Bricks challah bread, butternut squash cream cheese, brown sugar tuile) and the Southern Sink (cheddar grits, corned beef, poblano relish, herb salad, over-easy egg) among others, including goetta balls with chow chow sloppy sauce.
Photo: Provided
Ruby’s Chocolates
3923 Isabella Ave., Oakley
Ruby’s Chocolates is a sweet-lovers wonderland. They offer made-from-scratch (and with lots of love) desserts ranging from their decadent truffles — with flavors like turtle truffle, cookies and cream and key lime pie — to extravagant “Joy Sticks,” which are pretzels enrobed with caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, and other toppings, plus brittle, buckeyes and more.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Ruby’s Chocolates

3923 Isabella Ave., Oakley
Ruby’s Chocolates is a sweet-lovers wonderland. They offer made-from-scratch (and with lots of love) desserts ranging from their decadent truffles — with flavors like turtle truffle, cookies and cream and key lime pie — to extravagant “Joy Sticks,” which are pretzels enrobed with caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, and other toppings, plus brittle, buckeyes and more.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger