Three New Cincinnati Restaurants To Try in Fairfax, East Walnut Hills and Wyoming

Karrikin, Station Family and Branch each bring something fresh to the Cincinnati dining scene

click to enlarge Station Family + BBQ - Photo: Provided by Station Family + BBQ
Photo: Provided by Station Family + BBQ
Station Family + BBQ

Station Family + BBQ

The team behind Wyoming’s CWC the Restaurant — chef Caitlin Steininger, her sister and front of house Kelly Trush and their business partner Karen Klaus — have expanded their empire with a second neighborhood eatery. The new Station Family + BBQ opened Dec. 7.

“Station Family + BBQ is the place that Caitlin, Karen and I — the three of us as business partners — that we want to go with our kids,” Trush says. “Collectively, we have 10 children with ages ranging from 4 to 14 and this is the place that we want to go to where we, as adults, can connect and have space for our children and kind of camp out if we want, but also have really good food. In our neighborhood.”

The food menu, created by Steininger, features five main proteins smoked on site, plus seasonal sides and desserts. Right now, the menu lists proteins from Cincinnati sausage to brisket, pulled pork and salmon available naked (by the quarter pound) or as a platter ($8.50-$12.50), served with two sides. Sides include macaroni and cheese, homemade apple sauce, braised greens and caramelized onion gratin. 

The building that houses the eatery, well known in Wyoming as the former Sturkey’s restaurant, has been completely renovated. Guests can get traditional table service in the old Sturkey’s bar area — which they did keep — or move to the dining room for a more casual, modern take where you can walk up, order and then have a seat at a communal table to wait for your food to arrive. Or head to the game room for ping-pong, shuffle board or wall games.

The bar menu features signature cocktails — the current crop is named after the construction crew with options like “The Bearded Man,” with Disaronno, fruit and simple syrup — beer and wine on tap, bottled beer and a special collaboration brew with Valley Vineyards made especially for Station Family. “(The beer is) called 1908, which is the year the building was built to be the fire station for the neighborhood,” says Trush.

The restaurant is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, with Friday lunch and Saturday brunch hours. Brunch features Steininger’s twist on familiar dishes, like goetta made from smoker scraps, and clever cocktails. Station Family + BBQ, 400 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, cincystation.com.

click to enlarge Karrikin Spirits Co. - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Karrikin Spirits Co.

Karrikin Spirits Co.

Karrikin Spirits Co., a “grain to glass” distillery and restaurant located in Fairfax, opened its doors to the public on Dec. 6.

The distillery, named for the “compounds found in the smoke of a forest fire that stimulates dormant seeds to sprout,” is a one-stop-shop for a variety of housemade spirits and beverages like vodka, gin, agave, rum and fruit brandies as well as hard sodas, non-alcoholic sodas and beers. Guests can order craft cocktails, wine and various flights at Karrikin’s bar or even purchase bottled spirits to take home.

In addition to beverages, the restaurant — helmed by chef Jared Bennett, formerly the executive chef of downtown’s Metropole — offers a menu of sharable plates with dishes like charred beets and fromage blanc, butternut squash spaetzle and day boat scallops with rutabaga and quinoa. 

The dining area includes two formal spaces on either side of the kitchen-bar, which has a view of the wood-fired grill, and a lounge area with an eclectic grouping of chairs and couches upon which guests can sip, dine and hang out.

The team behind the distillery comes from across the Queen City and includes — among others — Jeff Hunt, founder of MadTree Brewing; Mike Florea, former executive chef and operating partner at Maribelle’s eat+drink; and Eric Baumann, former vice president of Moerlein. Karrikin Spirits Co., 3717 Jonlen Drive, Fairfax, karrikinspirits.com.

click to enlarge Branch - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Branch

Branch and Night Drop

The team behind The Littlefield has opened a new concept in East Walnut Hills in the former Art Deco Central Trust Bank Building at the corner of Woodburn and Madison avenues. 

Branch is the restaurant portion of the space and is located upstairs while Night Drop, the bar, is located downstairs. Both have a focus on local art with mosaics, chandeliers and murals created by Cincinnati artists.

The menu at Branch is overseen by executive chef Shoshannah Anderson and offers a self-proclaimed mix of “classic and contemporary American with ethnic influences” as seen in dishes like Israeli chickpea salad, a lamb and beef burger with tomato jam and the Fra’Mani Italian sandwich. Branch is open seven days a week for dinner and for brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Head bartender Giacomo Ciminello, formerly of Sundry and Vice, oversees the drink menu and cocktails run the gamut from drafts to house to classics with options including the themed Cosigner (Fernet Branca, Cappelletti and soda) and Revolving Credit (gin, fennel, lemon, blackberry and egg white). Branch and Night Drop, 1535 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, eatatbranch.com.

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