With CityBeat’s Dining Guide hot off the presses, you’d think there’d be nothing new to report on the local eating front, but you’d be wrong. The food scene just keeps booming, and you need a scorecard to know the players. Here’s some news, and an important June-time reminder.
Covington is hot right now, with three new eateries happening or about to happen, and here’s the weird, wild coincidence. The names all start with “W” (cue Twilight Zone theme).
The first one, which I have visited and can personally attest is wonderful, is Wunderbar(1132 Lee St., Covington). This former dive bar, close to the 12th Street exit off I-75, has a whole new air about it since they banned smoking and started serving very authentic, delicious German cuisine — and just about every morsel is made in-house. Homemade sausages, homebaked German pretzels and breads, even homemade mustards. It’s impressive.
I tried a curry wurst, which I wasn’t expecting to like (Curry? In a sausage?), but I loved it — and loved the side dish of roasted Brussels sprouts even more. Listen to this recent nightly special: roast pork shoulder with brezel knodel (pretzel dumplings) and arugula salad with apple, pine nuts, onion in a Riesling vinaigrette. Where are you going to find a meal like that for $15? And beer? Oh, they’ve got that — including a good selection of German imports. Wunderbar’s location is about seven blocks south of Covington’s quasi-German Mainstrasse, but this is the real deal.
Next, there’s a new six-days-a-week lunch eatery very close to the Covington branch of the Kenton County library. Wolf & Co. Bistro(14 E. Fifth St., Covington) is in a quiet, mid-block location that doesn’t really jump out at you, but is worth finding. The staff is gregarious, and the food is impressive. My favorite was a cup of fresh pea and mint soup topped with a dollop of freshly made ricotta cheese that could have been served in a five-star restaurant. Fresh, creative and just perfect.
On the server’s recommendation, I tried the grilled Tuscan sandwich; a panini filled with white bean hummus and kale on Shadeau Bakery bread. It was just delicious, with a sprinkle of salt. Next visit I’ll try the Caprese sandwich with housemade pesto. With Wolf & Co.’s approach to top quality ingredients, I’m sure it will shine.
Whackburger(715 Madison Ave., Covington) is the last W in Covington’s alphabet soup. This burger joint promises fresh ingredients and interesting menu options, including turkey burgers and black bean burgers, with toppings like jalapeño peppers with grilled onions and mustard sauce, or fried green tomatoes with pepperjack. Much anticipated, especially by concertgoers from the Madison Theatre across the street, they’ve had a few unforeseen delays. Looking in the window, though, the space is finished. They may be whacking burgers before this edition hits the newsstands. Check for updates at facebook.com/WhackBurger.
Don’t forget that Father’s Day is coming up on June 17. If you’re lucky enough to have a dad nearby, then load him into the pickup truck and take him out for a meal. A meal with beer, because dads love food and beer, guaranteed.
The wait is long at Moerlein Lager House (115 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks), but you can make reservations through their website at moerleinlagerhouse.com. The Lager House is an amazing spot and Dad will enjoy a stroll around the new Smale Park. There’s plenty of parking nearby.
Alternatives? I’m going to suggest Mayberry(1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine). Chef Josh Campbell, a dad himself, makes the kind of food a guy likes to stick a fork into. Small plates you can combine, like beef cheek with green tomato, cheddar, horseradish and house barbecue, porchetta with white bean, olive, feta, kale and pear mostarda. Mayberry also features Hudepohl’s Summer Pilsner, a less-sweet alternative to some of the big brewery summer offerings.
And please don’t be boring and take your Dad to Montgomery Inn for the zillionth time. Instead, grab a cold six-pack of his favorite locally brewed beer and take him to Eli’s BBQ (3313 Riverside Drive, East End), where the pulled pork will rock his world, and he can listen to genuine vinyl records playing the songs of his youth (if he had a really cool youth, and I bet he did). Food and Wine Magazine recommended Eli’s as their Best New BBQ in the Midwest: Pit Masters and Grill Geniuses. Dad’s gonna love you, child.
CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: [email protected]