This story is featured in CityBeat's Sept. 20 print edition.
Hyde Park Square recently welcomed a new neighborhood restaurant, Parkside, that’s serving food and drinks alongside a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Parkside may remind you of another restaurant a few minutes away in Mount Lookout, Delwood, and that's because they're both owned and operated by Trevor Snowden, a native Cincinnatian who loves to work, play and eat where he lives.
Snowden’s two restaurants aren't his first foray into the restaurant industry. "I've been in and out of restaurants for years," he said. His first restaurant job was at the beloved Cincinnati establishment LaRosa's, where he worked throughout high school and college. After graduating college, he took some time off from working in restaurants. In 2012, he returned to the scene working for Thunderdome Restaurant Group as part of the original opening crew for Bakersfield in Over-the-Rhine. From there, he spent time traveling around and helping to open new Thunderdome restaurant locations, including in Indianapolis and Columbus
After a few years in this position, he decided to take a break from traveling and leave Thunderdome. "I wanted to come back home to Cincinnati," he said. But he wasn't done with the restaurant industry.
From his time working in Over-the-Rhine and chatting with customers, Snowden knew people from Oakley, Mount Lookout and Hyde Park often traveled to restaurants downtown to eat, so he jumped at the opportunity to open Delwood on Mount Lookout Square in 2019. Having lived in both Hyde Park and Mount Lookout, opening restaurants in the area was for more than just business. "I live here, and I love spending time between Hyde Park and Mount Lookout," said Snowden.
Once Delwood opened, it quickly became a neighborhood hit. Snowden often took time to chat with diners and get their feedback, which inspired his next move. "Whenever we talk to people, I'm always wondering what other things we need in the area, and people said just keep opening other restaurants," he said. And so he gave the people what they wanted by opening Parkside in the former Cork & Cap location right on Hyde Park Square.
If you're a fan of Delwood, you'll notice similarities between the two spots, one of which is Delwood's fan-favorite classic double cheeseburger on both menus. Another similarity between the two is the overall decor and mood, which can be described as a modern and welcoming vibe where you'll often run into a neighbor or two. "I really wanted to have that similar vibe that Delwood has," said Snowden. "I'm trying to find that balance of… I don't want it to be too casual, but I don't want it to be too fancy. I want it to be a no-brainer."
Even though the two locations share a visible bond, Parkside stands on its own legs with a menu consisting of dishes you won't see at Delwood. For example, it's housemade pimento cheese served as a dip or atop a cheeseburger. For all the menu recipes, Snowden works with his kitchen manager at Delwood and Parkside, Jenni Shine, whom he met years ago while working for Thundersome and deems a rockstar.
“It's a collective process with Jenni and I,” said Snowden. "My wife and I enjoy going out; we enjoy traveling. When we travel, I basically find a lot of things that I like and say, 'Jenni, can you do this?'” This is exactly how Parkside’s pimento cheese recipe came to life. Snowden recalls working on four or five different recipes at his house with Jenni, where they ultimately took things they liked from each one to make the final version currently on Parkside's menu.
And while he's quick to say it's not a Peruvian restaurant, you'll see influences on the menu thanks to Trevor growing up in a household with a Peruvian mother and his travels to Peru. "We just wanted to add some of those amazing flavors," said Snowden. "Things that when I spend time in Peru or things growing up in my home that my mother cooked, we kinda add those things here and there." Some items on the menu featuring these robust and spicy flavors are the Peruvian empanadas, made with ground beef and an in-house seasoning blend, and the aji verde slaw that tops the beer-battered cod fish tacos.
The menu also features filling and flavorful salads, like the Parkside Chopped, a delightful mix of romaine, tomato, red onion, avocado, chickpeas and goat cheese, all drizzled in a honey dijon vinaigrette. Snowden also makes it a point to include heartier vegetarian plates, like the Parkside Veggie Burger, made with a falafel veggie patty topped with a roasted garlic aioli. The location also offers a list of draft and canned beers, wines and housemade cocktails, including fresh-made margaritas (that can be made spicy) and minty mojitos.
Another highlight of Parkside is the beautiful outdoor patio space that allows diners to watch the hustle and bustle of vibrant Hyde Park Square while enjoying food and drinks. "There's something about that patio at Parkside," said Snowden. "People absolutely love it."
As an owner of a restaurant, Snowden enjoys getting to know the customers who come in and welcomes the feedback he receives (he even manages both locations' social media accounts and often quickly and enthusiastically responds to queries). "I want it to feel like you're coming over and hanging out at my house," he said. "I want feedback. I want people to tell me if something's not right. That is wildly important to us."
Since their opening in July, Snowden says things have been going well, and he's excited to be a part of the neighborhood. "We are incredibly excited to be in Hyde Park Square," he said. "We're trying to build something fun and exciting. We do this because we love it."
Parkside, 2637 Erie Ave., Hyde Park. Info: parksidecincy.com.
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