The hills — around here, anyway — are alive with the sound of music! Everyone is singing this week in honor of the World Choir Games, which, you’ve got to admit, have actually become the Very Cool Thing that our civic leaders were predicting. It’s nice to see the city filled with people, arriving from all over the globe, enjoying Cincinnati and all it has to offer.
I suspect that a choir, like an army, travels on its stomach. These singers are going to need sustenance! Snacks! Skyline! Right? Yes, they should probably taste Cincinnati chili while they’re here, the way you’d expect to eat a beignet in New Orleans or a cheese curd in Wisconsin. And I’m sure that the choirs are welcome to burst into song over their three-way if the oyster crackers inspire them. But when I was trying to think of where to send Choir Games visitors to dine, the obvious answer seemed to be Vito’s Café in Fort Thomas.
Vito’s has very good food, but their unique attraction is that they are the place with the singing servers — and not shabby ones. These are top-quality professionals and music students who wow diners with their talent. Accompanist Piano Pete has just about every crowd-pleasing song imaginable in his repertoire, and gladly accepts requests (especially for tips!). One of Vito’s singers, Katherine Jennings, is in the Choir Games as part of the team from St. Xavier Church, and Vito and his wife, Mary, hope to attend Jennings’ event and the St. Andrew’s Episcopal event in Fort Thomas.
I spoke with Vito himself to see what he has planned for Choir Games visitors and, needless to say, he’d already given it a lot of thought.
He’s developed a special 2012 World Choir Games menu for participants and audiences. If you show your participant credentials or an audience ticket stub, you can order from the special menu, which features a three-course meal for $20.12, plus tax and gratuity. The first course, a house salad, is followed by a choice of entrees: Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Marinara, Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti Marinara or Fettuccine Alfredo with or without chicken. The dessert is Chocolate Decadence Cake with Raspberry Sauce and fresh whipped cream.
“Choirs should come and bring their friends,” said Vito. “If they’d like, they can do a couple numbers ‘open mic.’ The singing will be more enthusiastic than it is even when your husband is here.”
Trust me, that’s enthusiastic. But if Vito’s fills up and you have to go elsewhere, there are other restaurants with Choir Games specials. All require credentials or ticket stubs, and some of them are really worthwhile.
Arnold’s Bar and Grill, Downtown: 10 percent off and free trading pins.
Bistro on Elm, Millennium Hotel, Downtown: 10 percent food discount.
Boi Na Braza Steakhouse, Downtown: $10 off dinner.
Cricket Lounge, Cincinnatian Hotel, Downtown: 15 percent off menu.
Grill at the Palm Court, Downtown: 10 percent off lunch or Sunday brunch
Other restaurants offering special prix fixe menus include Morton’s Steakhouse in the Carew Tower. They’re offering a three-course dinner for two for $120 that includes your choice of Caesar or Morton’s salad, a six-ounce Filet Mignon with your choice of three seafood entrees (Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, Scallops wrapped in bacon or Shrimp Alexander) plus any side dish and your choice of dessert. Whoa. With side dish choices like Bacon and Onion Macaroni and Cheese or Parmesan and Truffle Matchstick Fries, you’d better sing an entire opera after that, Pavarotti! It does sound delicious.
For a list of Choir Games specials all over town where Choir Games competitions and Friendship concerts are being held, check the Cincinnati Regional Tourism website at cincinnatiusa.com. Remember that you must present a Choir Games ticket, wristband or credentials to get these deals.
CONTACT ANNE MITCHELL: [email protected]