December 23, 2021

25 of the Hottest New Restaurants and Bars That Opened in Greater Cincinnati in 2021

The pandemic has not been kind to the hospitality industry. While many bars and restaurants have been able to weather the storm of health restrictions, supply chain shortages and staffing issues, some have been forced to close their doors (the Ohio Restaurant Association says more than 3,000 have shuttered across the state in 2021). But it hasn’t all been a downer. The Queen City has also welcomed plenty of new places to drink and dine this year. Just in case you missed them, this list offers a taste of what’s new to taste here in Cincinnati.

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Anjou
2804 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
Named after Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, this cocktail bar aims to offer “familiar flavors introduced in a different way,” says co-owner Chris Wolfe. And the drinks live up to that credo with colorful compositions and botanical incorporations. For example, the She-Wolf is a delightful concoction, featuring Old Tom Gin and pear, ginger and elderflower liqueurs. It is a vivid purple color and comes served in a tumbler with a rose-shaped ice cube.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Anjou

2804 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills
Named after Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, this cocktail bar aims to offer “familiar flavors introduced in a different way,” says co-owner Chris Wolfe. And the drinks live up to that credo with colorful compositions and botanical incorporations. For example, the She-Wolf is a delightful concoction, featuring Old Tom Gin and pear, ginger and elderflower liqueurs. It is a vivid purple color and comes served in a tumbler with a rose-shaped ice cube.
The Baker’s Table Bakery
1001 Monmouth St., Newport
Despite the struggles of the pandemic-riddled past year on local small business, it's clear that the team and reputation behind The Baker's Table was strong enough to not only pull through, but also find themselves in a position for growth. Chef David Willocks and his wife Wendy Braun have opened The Baker's Table Bakery, right across from the beloved restaurant. The menu features sourdough breads, pastries, espresso and sandwiches as well as farm-to-table pizzas and sustainably made Italian wines.
Photo: Provided by The Baker's Table Bakery

The Baker’s Table Bakery

1001 Monmouth St., Newport
Despite the struggles of the pandemic-riddled past year on local small business, it's clear that the team and reputation behind The Baker's Table was strong enough to not only pull through, but also find themselves in a position for growth. Chef David Willocks and his wife Wendy Braun have opened The Baker's Table Bakery, right across from the beloved restaurant. The menu features sourdough breads, pastries, espresso and sandwiches as well as farm-to-table pizzas and sustainably made Italian wines.
Cackleberry
Mobile pop-up
Squeezed into a bite-sized vintage trailer, husband-and-wife duo Nate and China Kautz serve eggy breakfast sandwiches as Cincinnati-based pop-up Cackleberry (a term for a hen’s egg). The petite menu blends Queen City staples with Filipino-fusion ingredients to offer options like the Lolo, with longanisa sausage and atchara pickled slaw, and a goetta sandwich called the Porter with muenster cheese and mustard aioli. The food truck parks in various locations on weekends and operates until all sandwiches are sold out.
Photo: Provided by Cackleberry

Cackleberry

Mobile pop-up
Squeezed into a bite-sized vintage trailer, husband-and-wife duo Nate and China Kautz serve eggy breakfast sandwiches as Cincinnati-based pop-up Cackleberry (a term for a hen’s egg). The petite menu blends Queen City staples with Filipino-fusion ingredients to offer options like the Lolo, with longanisa sausage and atchara pickled slaw, and a goetta sandwich called the Porter with muenster cheese and mustard aioli. The food truck parks in various locations on weekends and operates until all sandwiches are sold out.
Cafe Mochiko 
1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
This Japanese-style pop-up run by Elaine Townsend and Erik Bentz has been a local favorite for years, and the duo opened their first storefront in East Walnut Hills in spring of 2021. The shop specializes in a fusion cuisine known as “yoshoku,” which borrows elements from Asian and Western cooking styles. A pastry chef, Townsend focuses on the daytime baked goods, crafting items including a delicious ube halaya (purple yam) croissant, various melonpan and loaves of shokupan. At night, the dinner menu offers options like a Hokkaido Smash Burger, shoyu ramen and intermittent specialities including a beloved Cincinnati-chili-style ramen.
Photo: Francisco Huerta

Cafe Mochiko

1524 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
This Japanese-style pop-up run by Elaine Townsend and Erik Bentz has been a local favorite for years, and the duo opened their first storefront in East Walnut Hills in spring of 2021. The shop specializes in a fusion cuisine known as “yoshoku,” which borrows elements from Asian and Western cooking styles. A pastry chef, Townsend focuses on the daytime baked goods, crafting items including a delicious ube halaya (purple yam) croissant, various melonpan and loaves of shokupan. At night, the dinner menu offers options like a Hokkaido Smash Burger, shoyu ramen and intermittent specialities including a beloved Cincinnati-chili-style ramen.
Copper and Flame
1115 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pour-your-own-drink concept Copper & Flame opened in the former Rook OTR space in June. The bar boasts 68 different taps of draft beer, plus craft cocktails and wine, all priced by-the-ounce and poured by the individual. But don't expect to see familiar brews. Copper & Flame is highlighting rare beer varieties that you likely won't find on draft lists around the neighborhood. Just load money onto an RFID card when you enter and use that to buy your drinks. In addition to sips, the bar offers a menu of elevated street food, with a fusion of Central/South American and Southeast Asian flavors.

Copper and Flame

1115 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pour-your-own-drink concept Copper & Flame opened in the former Rook OTR space in June. The bar boasts 68 different taps of draft beer, plus craft cocktails and wine, all priced by-the-ounce and poured by the individual. But don't expect to see familiar brews. Copper & Flame is highlighting rare beer varieties that you likely won't find on draft lists around the neighborhood. Just load money onto an RFID card when you enter and use that to buy your drinks. In addition to sips, the bar offers a menu of elevated street food, with a fusion of Central/South American and Southeast Asian flavors.
Gulow Street
1614 Hoffner St., Northside
Gulow Street is a cozy yet sophisticated bar and restaurant located at the corner of Hoffner and Gulow streets (the establishment's namesake). Gulow Street's food menu is small but mighty, offering seven dishes ranging from breakfast to dinner, with stand-out items including sesame noodles, a pimento-stuffed breakfast sandwich, rigatoni bolognese and a cheeseburger. The cocktail menu sports signature craft cocktails ranging in spirits from bourbon and vodka to gin, including a popular take on a Moscow mule that’s infused with fresh carrot juice. The bar/restaurant also has a dog-friendly patio.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Gulow Street

1614 Hoffner St., Northside
Gulow Street is a cozy yet sophisticated bar and restaurant located at the corner of Hoffner and Gulow streets (the establishment's namesake). Gulow Street's food menu is small but mighty, offering seven dishes ranging from breakfast to dinner, with stand-out items including sesame noodles, a pimento-stuffed breakfast sandwich, rigatoni bolognese and a cheeseburger. The cocktail menu sports signature craft cocktails ranging in spirits from bourbon and vodka to gin, including a popular take on a Moscow mule that’s infused with fresh carrot juice. The bar/restaurant also has a dog-friendly patio.
Fillo
1505 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Serving up an assortment of flaky, buttery pastries and a robust menu of Mediterranean offerings, Fillo Greek Bake Shop brings a slice of Greece to Over-the-Rhine. The café is named after phyllo, the thin pastry dough included in so many of the eatery’s menu items. The restaurant is a full-fledged family affair — husband-and-wife duo Evan and Evi Papanikolaou operate Fillo with their daughters. Customers can expect delicious standards like baklava, but Fillo also serves lunch items, including a halloumi panini and a classic Greek lamb kebab. To keep it authentic, an ice cold Mythos beer pairs well with any lunch entrée.
Photo: Provided by Fillo Greek Bake Shop

Fillo

1505 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Serving up an assortment of flaky, buttery pastries and a robust menu of Mediterranean offerings, Fillo Greek Bake Shop brings a slice of Greece to Over-the-Rhine. The café is named after phyllo, the thin pastry dough included in so many of the eatery’s menu items. The restaurant is a full-fledged family affair — husband-and-wife duo Evan and Evi Papanikolaou operate Fillo with their daughters. Customers can expect delicious standards like baklava, but Fillo also serves lunch items, including a halloumi panini and a classic Greek lamb kebab. To keep it authentic, an ice cold Mythos beer pairs well with any lunch entrée.
Mid-City
40 E. Court St., Downtown
Mid-City moved into its spot downtown off the recently refurbished Court Street Plaza in early October. Helmed by the same team as popular Over-the-Rhine bar Longfellow, the self-described “small, relaxed restaurant” serves easy eats, classic cocktails and vintage dessert, including a baked Alaska with Fernet and mint chip ice cream. On the savory side, there’s a chicken and artichoke skewer, a griddled English muffin with pickle butter and the Mid-City Plate with assorted meats including a frankfurter and pork belly and loin, with potatoes and sauerkraut.

Mid-City

40 E. Court St., Downtown
Mid-City moved into its spot downtown off the recently refurbished Court Street Plaza in early October. Helmed by the same team as popular Over-the-Rhine bar Longfellow, the self-described “small, relaxed restaurant” serves easy eats, classic cocktails and vintage dessert, including a baked Alaska with Fernet and mint chip ice cream. On the savory side, there’s a chicken and artichoke skewer, a griddled English muffin with pickle butter and the Mid-City Plate with assorted meats including a frankfurter and pork belly and loin, with potatoes and sauerkraut.
Mighty Good: Meat n’ Three
1819 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Mighty Good: Meat n’ Three opened its door just outside Findlay Market in early October. The restaurant offers “simple, delicious, fresh, Southern food at an approachable price.” As the "Meat n’ Three" title implies, customers choose one meat and three sides (family-style and vegetarian options are also available). Proteins range from Mississippi pot roast to spare ribs and sweet-tea-brined turkey, with sides like macaroni casserole, hominy grits, fried okra, hot slaw and more.
Photo: Catie Viox

Mighty Good: Meat n’ Three

1819 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Mighty Good: Meat n’ Three opened its door just outside Findlay Market in early October. The restaurant offers “simple, delicious, fresh, Southern food at an approachable price.” As the "Meat n’ Three" title implies, customers choose one meat and three sides (family-style and vegetarian options are also available). Proteins range from Mississippi pot roast to spare ribs and sweet-tea-brined turkey, with sides like macaroni casserole, hominy grits, fried okra, hot slaw and more.
Mama’s Mornings
621 Main St., Covington
Drawing inspiration from Andy Warhol’s “Birth of Venus” (modeled after Italian artist Sandro Botticelli’s original masterpiece), Mama’s Mornings is the pastry and espresso bar portion of a forthcoming larger concept from Northern Kentucky restaurateurs Emily Wolff and Paul Weckman (Otto’s, Frida 602, The Standard, Larry’s). Chase Maus, who helmed the recently shuttered rose&mary bakery, is behind the menu of baked goods, which include goodies like tiramisu donuts, custard buns with polenta custard and pine nut croissant sticky buns. Mama’s itself is slated to open in 2022 with a menu that “draw(s) on the classics, but ‘brighten(s)’ them up,” Wolff tellsCityBeat.
Photo: Provided by Mama's Mornings

Mama’s Mornings

621 Main St., Covington
Drawing inspiration from Andy Warhol’s “Birth of Venus” (modeled after Italian artist Sandro Botticelli’s original masterpiece), Mama’s Mornings is the pastry and espresso bar portion of a forthcoming larger concept from Northern Kentucky restaurateurs Emily Wolff and Paul Weckman (Otto’s, Frida 602, The Standard, Larry’s). Chase Maus, who helmed the recently shuttered rose&mary bakery, is behind the menu of baked goods, which include goodies like tiramisu donuts, custard buns with polenta custard and pine nut croissant sticky buns. Mama’s itself is slated to open in 2022 with a menu that “draw(s) on the classics, but ‘brighten(s)’ them up,” Wolff tellsCityBeat.