Cover Story: Where Do You Go for the After Party?

Restaurants for sobering up or winding down

Feb 28, 2007 at 2:06 pm
Scott Beseler

Shanghai Mama's is popular with service workers

If you've ever worked as a waiter or bartender, you know that the hours are long, the tips aren't necessarily dependable and when you get off there are very few places open that want to serve you.

Perhaps you've tired of Taco Bell and want to seek out your fourth meal somewhere with real forks. Two local restaurants have found their niche serving those who serve.

Shanghai Mama's serves Chinese food, but what makes it a great place for those who work or party late is that it stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends. Kenny Wang, an assistant manager explained, "Waiters come here and relax. It's a good place to hang out. We get people from a lot of top restaurants in the city, and we take care of them."

He noted that partiers also like to come to sober up. Stop by any Friday night or Saturday morning about 2 a.m. (216 E. Sixth St., Downtown) and you'll find a large group of regulars.

Also, as Wang explained, "People are attracted to our hours, but the food is good too. You can't get the kind of traffic we have if the food isn't good."

Another service industry hangout is Chili Time (4727 Vine St., St. Bernard), which specializes in Cincinnati Chili — but again their biggest specialty item is late night hours. They stay open until 4 a.m. A night server at Chili Time explained, "Sure, there's fast food late at night, but people actually want to sit down and be served, not eat in their car."

In addition to tables and waiters, Chili Time has a wide array of menu options. The server defined their ambiance and menu as "diner-esque." She also said that, aside from service industry folks, they get a lot of partiers and even people coming from late night private events like weddings and proms.

The rush is between 1:30 and 3 a.m., so be careful or you might not get a table. If you're a Chili Time regular, though, you'll just find a table with some people you know and take a seat. It's that kind of place.