The good news on Main Street is that KALDI'S COFFEEHOUSE will re-open with new owners, beginning with a "soft" opening featuring full bar, coffees and a limited menu during Final Friday July 29. The soft opening will continue throughout August, building the menu and seeking customer feedback until the official opening on Final Friday in August. Besides sprucing it up with a fresh coat of paint and bringing in some new equipment, owners JEREMY and COLLETTE THOMPSON are dedicated to preserving Kaldi's original bohemian bookstore presence. "What Kaldi's was as a community gathering place and showcase for local art and music, we want it to continue to be," says Collette, "although we are committed to improving the service." This is the first venture as restaurant owners for the young West-side couple, who chose Kaldi's because of their personal passion for downtown Cincinnati. With a background in neighborhood development and historic preservation, Collette says their long-term goal is to use the model of the national Main Street program (a community-driven, comprehensive methodology used to revitalize older, traditional business districts throughout the United States) as a tool to strengthen the economic development of the Main Street business district within the context of historic preservation and community self-reliance.
"When I moved here from Pittsburgh, Jeremy (a Cincinnati native) could not wait to show me Over-the-Rhine and tell me its history," Collette says. "We always imagined focusing our efforts here in some way, so when Kaldi's became available Jeremy felt it was an opportunity to realize his passions." Jeremy, a 1998 graduate of Queen City Culinary (a satellite program of the Culinary Institute of America), has worked his way through the management side of the food industry, including several years with Aramark managing stadium vendors. "It's the world of beer and hot dogs, which doesn't leave much room for creativity," says Collette.
"Jeremy has always known that part of his life journey was having his own restaurant." In addition to a new menu and improved service, the Thompsons intend to divide the rooms into separate art galleries, one for adult professionals and the other for young artists from area high schools and colleges. Live music will return with local Jazz and Bluegrass, and Kaldi's will be a venue during the MidPoint Music Festival in September. Customer surveys will be collected during August to shape Kaldi's menu and define "what's important to the community." Info: 513-241-3070. ...
Also during the July 29 Final Friday on Main Street, CAFECITA will host a goodbye party to thank customers for supporting the small coffee/gallery/retail shop since it opened in 2003. The owners originally intended for Cafecita to be an antique store with a side business of coffee; now they've decided to redirect their efforts to Internet antique sales rather than a retail store. Their decision is strictly personal, they say, not affected by the fluctuations of Main Street's economy.