Slice of Cincinnati: My Dad's Place

click to enlarge My Dad's Place in St. Bernard
My Dad's Place in St. Bernard

Located in the heart of St. Bernard, My Dad’s Place has everything customers expect from a small town diner — crinkle cut fries, thick and juicy burgers, double decker sandwiches, homemade soups, fluffy pancakes and breakfast all day — on the cheap.

My Dad’s Place started because, well, owner Dave Roll’s father owns the building the restaurant is housed in. The space originally housed Dave’s Pub, but the business was sold after Roll’s son Tyler Rapien was born. After the space fell into disrepair as Boomerang’s Bar and Grill, Roll decided to buy it back and start a family-run restaurant.

“St. Bernard has been needing this for so many years,” Rapien says.

Roll and his son stepped up to fill the void of local restaurants, despite the fact that neither of them have prior restaurant experience. The menu was brought to life by Pam Bishop, the former owner of Pam’s Diner in Colerain (now Frank’s Diner).

Rapien, a senior at Roger Bacon High School, says managing the restaurant comes easy to him because he is a people person. Next year he will continue to manage the restaurant while he attends Northern Kentucky University to study marketing.

If you grew up in St. Bernard like me, or a small neighborhood just like it, you probably have a thing for small diners. While many people from around the neighborhood absolutely love Chili Time (including my grandfather, who ate there almost every day), I am one of the Naridans who is willing to face the look of shock on others’ faces when I say I am not a big fan of that spot.

Thankfully, My Dad’s Place offers traditional comfort food with the same low prices. For only $4.75 you can get a cheeseburger with slices of thick, premium bacon. The burgers are surprisingly thick and filling for how inexpensive they are, and very tasty.

For those who like breakfast, the pancakes are as big as your face, sweet and fluffy. A stack of three with your choice of breakfast meat is $6. My Dad’s Place’s most popular dish is the goetta, egg and cheese hoagy for $4.25. Glier’s goetta, a fried egg and American cheese pack the hoagy bun for a treat that’s appropriate any time of the day. It’s no wonder the sandwich is even popular during dinner hours.

My Dad’s Place also serves Philly cheese steak sandwiches, chicken Phillys and reubens, as well as a variety of salads. In short, there’s something for everyone.

What makes the restaurant unique is the friendly feel customers are greeted with immediately after walking inside. All staff are pleasant and helpful — this is thanks to the fact that the restaurant is family-owned and operated.

“When you walk in here it doesn’t feel like a restaurant to be honest,” Rapien says. “It doesn’t matter where you are from; you are family to us.”

You do not have to be from St. Bernard or missing Pam’s Diner in order to enjoy My Dad’s Place. It is a nice stop for anyone craving comfort food at a great price in a friendly atmosphere.

While My Dad’s Place has only been open for a little more than a month, it has already enticed a string of regulars and a packed house on its first day. This was largely thanks to Rapien’s marketing on Facebook.

“The whole friggin’ town was here,” Roll says. “We had people still waiting for food at 10 even though we closed at 9.”

No worries — I waited less than 20 minutes for the food I ordered. This is quite impressive considering the grill is quite small. Rapien says there are plans to expand the building to make the small kitchen larger in the future.


MY DAD’S PLACE is located at 4501 Vine St., St. Bernard. More info: 513- 448-0030 or facebook.com/Mydadsplacestbernard.

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