February 04, 2022

33 Black-Owned Cincinnati Restaurants You Should Have Tried By Now

From barbecue joints to Caribbean cuisine and bakeries to Southern-style eats, the Queen City is full of delicious Black-owned eateries to explore. 
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Just Q'in
975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Owned by Matt Cuff, Walnut Hills barbecue joint Just Q'in is "committed to the mission of Faith, Love and BBQ," and offers their smoked brisket, ribs, chicken and more coupled with classic barbecue sides. Grab it by the plate or by the pound for catering. The Just Q'in team also recently launched a ghost kitchen called Burger Love Cincy.
Photo: Lindsay McCarty

Just Q'in

975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Owned by Matt Cuff, Walnut Hills barbecue joint Just Q'in is "committed to the mission of Faith, Love and BBQ," and offers their smoked brisket, ribs, chicken and more coupled with classic barbecue sides. Grab it by the plate or by the pound for catering. The Just Q'in team also recently launched a ghost kitchen called Burger Love Cincy.
BlaCk Coffee Lounge
824 Elm St., Downtown
This coffee shop is from the owners of BlaCk OWned. Their popular house “Wakanda” blend is a mix of Ethiopian, Rwandan and Brazilian beans. They also offer tons of espresso drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos which can all be made with non-dairy milk alternatives. If you're hungry, the also have a small menu of pastries and other eats.
Photo: Elizabeth Davis

BlaCk Coffee Lounge

824 Elm St., Downtown
This coffee shop is from the owners of BlaCk OWned. Their popular house “Wakanda” blend is a mix of Ethiopian, Rwandan and Brazilian beans. They also offer tons of espresso drinks like cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos which can all be made with non-dairy milk alternatives. If you're hungry, the also have a small menu of pastries and other eats.
Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey
9039 US-42, Union, Kentucky
This restaurant is inspired by the trappings of the American frontier and California's 19th-century gold rush. At Boomtown, the true delight comes plated. The signature biscuit isn't a run-of-the-mill thousand-layer flaked baked good. It's a buttery, soft disc with a close crumb and a browned, lightly bubbled top that no breakfast chain can compete with.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey

9039 US-42, Union, Kentucky
This restaurant is inspired by the trappings of the American frontier and California's 19th-century gold rush. At Boomtown, the true delight comes plated. The signature biscuit isn't a run-of-the-mill thousand-layer flaked baked good. It's a buttery, soft disc with a close crumb and a browned, lightly bubbled top that no breakfast chain can compete with.
Ollie's Trolley
1607 Central Ave., Over-the-Rhine
Located in a bright yellow and red trolley car, Ollie’s Trolley is a soul food staple in the Cincinnati area. Ollie's serves a variety of smoked pork, including ribs, turkey tips and pulled pork, plus plenty of sides, like collard greens, buttered corn and potato salad.

Ollie's Trolley

1607 Central Ave., Over-the-Rhine
Located in a bright yellow and red trolley car, Ollie’s Trolley is a soul food staple in the Cincinnati area. Ollie's serves a variety of smoked pork, including ribs, turkey tips and pulled pork, plus plenty of sides, like collard greens, buttered corn and potato salad.
ESSEN
1 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine
ESSEN is no ordinary take-away. Sure, the kitchen serves up soups, salads and sandwiches like any other respectable establishment. But there aren't any chicken Caesars or ham and Swiss sammies to be found here. In fact, ESSEN doesn't stock any meat, dairy or eggs at all: The entire menu is plant-based. Chef Yasel Lopez, a graduate of the University of Havana with a degree in food science and a resume that lists stints in restaurants from Cuba to Lexington, got creative and crafted a menu to appeal to not only vegans but also vegetarians and omnivores alike.

ESSEN

1 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine
ESSEN is no ordinary take-away. Sure, the kitchen serves up soups, salads and sandwiches like any other respectable establishment. But there aren't any chicken Caesars or ham and Swiss sammies to be found here. In fact, ESSEN doesn't stock any meat, dairy or eggs at all: The entire menu is plant-based. Chef Yasel Lopez, a graduate of the University of Havana with a degree in food science and a resume that lists stints in restaurants from Cuba to Lexington, got creative and crafted a menu to appeal to not only vegans but also vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Maize OTR
1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Maize specializes in a unique fusion menu that honors traditional recipes from across Latin America, with an emphasis on Venezuelan cuisine. The restaurant takes its name from maize, a corn flour dating back some 10,000 years and first utilized by indigenous Mexicans. The flour serves as the basis for the arepas, cachapas and empanadas served at Maize.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Maize OTR

1438 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
Maize specializes in a unique fusion menu that honors traditional recipes from across Latin America, with an emphasis on Venezuelan cuisine. The restaurant takes its name from maize, a corn flour dating back some 10,000 years and first utilized by indigenous Mexicans. The flour serves as the basis for the arepas, cachapas and empanadas served at Maize.
Esoteric Brewing Co.
900 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Esoteric Brewing, Cincinnati's first minority-owned brewery, is located in the 1930s Paramount Building, part of the Paramount Square development at Peebles Corner. The 6,000-square-foot public space features an Art Deco speakeasy vibe, with lounge chairs and cocktail tables. Because the brewing equipment is housed in the basement, a viewing space has been carved out so customers can look down into the brew hub.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Esoteric Brewing Co.

900 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Esoteric Brewing, Cincinnati's first minority-owned brewery, is located in the 1930s Paramount Building, part of the Paramount Square development at Peebles Corner. The 6,000-square-foot public space features an Art Deco speakeasy vibe, with lounge chairs and cocktail tables. Because the brewing equipment is housed in the basement, a viewing space has been carved out so customers can look down into the brew hub.
Katch the Kitchen Restaurant & Bar
4172 Hamilton Ave., Northside
After operating as a food truck for some time, Katch opened a brick-and-mortar in Northside in March of 2021. Their menu consists of everything from French toast to lamb chops and for just $6 you can grab a bacon-stuffed loaded breakfast burrito.

Katch the Kitchen Restaurant & Bar

4172 Hamilton Ave., Northside
After operating as a food truck for some time, Katch opened a brick-and-mortar in Northside in March of 2021. Their menu consists of everything from French toast to lamb chops and for just $6 you can grab a bacon-stuffed loaded breakfast burrito.
King's Way Cafe
3550 Montgomery Road, Evanston
King's Way Cafe is a breakfast and lunch spot in Evanston that serves tasty dishes like the Royal King, French toast or biscuits with bacon, sausage, eggs and potatoes with a side of fruit. They even have a Vegan King made with vegetables and topped with avocado and fried carrot strips.

King's Way Cafe

3550 Montgomery Road, Evanston
King's Way Cafe is a breakfast and lunch spot in Evanston that serves tasty dishes like the Royal King, French toast or biscuits with bacon, sausage, eggs and potatoes with a side of fruit. They even have a Vegan King made with vegetables and topped with avocado and fried carrot strips.
Conscious Kitchen (Temporarily Closed)
2912 Short Vine St., Corryville
Located on Short Vine near the University of Cincinnati campus, this health-conscious eatery offers a chef-crafted menu of items like the portabella mushroom burger; "aquatic" egg rolls with salmon spinach and feta; hearty salads; and even carrot fries.

Conscious Kitchen (Temporarily Closed)

2912 Short Vine St., Corryville
Located on Short Vine near the University of Cincinnati campus, this health-conscious eatery offers a chef-crafted menu of items like the portabella mushroom burger; "aquatic" egg rolls with salmon spinach and feta; hearty salads; and even carrot fries.