October was a big month for restaurant openings. In Pendleton, a new Italian eatery set up shop on one of the city’s most elegant corners; a comfort-food-focused Irish pub replaced a beloved, family-oriented barbecue joint in Wyoming, and an ambitious, chef-driven rooftop spot opened in Covington.
Several of the closings last month weren’t necessarily goodbyes so much as pivots. The owners of a popular barbecue restaurant in Milford decided to combine it with a breakfast restaurant they also own, while a bakery in Newport will transform into a cooking school while still offering its most popular items at its sister restaurant right across the street.
Read on to learn more.
Cincinnati restaurants that opened in October
Opal is the third restaurant from Bill and Morgan Whitlow, who also own Rich’s Proper and Hangry Omar’s. The new eatery offers 360-degree views of downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. A wood-burning oven churns out wood-fired broccoli with halloumi cheese, beets and everything bagel spice; koji dry-aged duck breast served with wheatberry hominy, preserved cherries and a cane syrup gastrique, and trout with Marcona almonds, fennel and tonnato (an Italian fish sauce), among other delicious-sounding items.
535 Madison Ave., Covington, 859-261-0629, opalrooftop.com.
Birdie’s Coffee Co., Norwood
Owned by Pete and Miranda Ventura, who also own a residential and commercial remodeling company nearby, Birdie’s is a coffee shop offering espresso drinks and pastries.
4030 Forest Ave., Norwood, 513-382-5740.
Red Leprechaun Irish Pub, The Banks
The centerpiece of Red Leprechaun, a new Irish pub that opened at The Banks, is the hand-carved bar that spent 52 years inside an Irish pub north of Dublin that opened in 1957. The pub, which is the brainchild of Daniel Scott and Brian Duffy, the latter from Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” fame, also features old-fashioned pub fare such as shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and a traditional Irish breakfast, along with burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. Here’s hoping that, like a true Irish pub, they can also pour a perfect pint of Guinness.
20 W. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, redleprchaun.com.
Gilligan’s on the Green, Wyoming
Another Irish-themed restaurant and pub that opened is Gilligan’s on the Green, a collaboration between the owners of Ivory House and West Side Brewing. The menu includes a whimsical take on shepherd’s pie wherein the beef is seasoned in a Cincinnati chili spice rub, as well as a grilled cabbage steak with roasted red potatoes and malt vinegar aioli, Galway spiced mussels in pickled chili tomato broth, beef stew and leek and potato soup.
The brewery component of Gilligan’s will be an offshoot of Westwood’s West Side Brewing. The name honors West Side co-owner Joe Mumper’s great-grandfather, Martin Gilligan, who, after fleeing the potato famine in Ireland, became the head gardener for Christian Moerlein, founder and CEO of Cincinnati’s largest brewery at the time.
400 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, gilligansonthegreen.com.
Roman-style pizzas, cacio e pepe and a nice wine list can now be found on the corner of Pendleton that was formerly home to Boomtown Biscuits. Razzo owners Christy Wulfson and Michael Giufoil, who also own Bar Saeso, in Over-the-Rhine, were well aware of the corner’s significance when they decided to take over the space. They worked with local chefs Alex Plattner, of St. Francis Apizza fame, and Jordan Anthony Brown to come up with a well-curated menu that can provide either a light bite after work or a full dinner.
1201 Broadway, Pendleton, 513-493-2806, razzo.pizza.
The Galley on the Levee, Newport
The Northern Kentucky food hall features locally owned stalls, including Asian street food from Stick and Buns, which serves bao buns, bibimbap and Korean fried chicken, and Los Tacos Hermanos, which features tacos, tortas and carne asada fries. The taco stall is owned by Mapi De Veyra, the former executive chef at Quan Hapa for eight years and co-owner of Decibel Korean Fried Chicken.
You can also enjoy smoked meats and sides at Four Mile Pig, owned by Alexandria residents Robert and Tammy Viox. The Viox family also operates Zaria Italian Street Eats, which serves pizza, pasta and Italian street wraps inside the hall.
For more on the Galley, read this far more detailed piece by my Enquirer colleague Jolene Almendarez.
1 Levee Way, Newport, newportonthelevee.com/the-galley-on-the-levee.
Cincinnati restaurants that closed in October
Fifty West Brewpub, Columbia Township
What was supposed to be an ambitious new restaurant headed by one of the city’s best chefs will close just months after it opened. Fifty West Brewpub, which some of us might remember as the former Heritage Restaurant (am I dating myself?) will close on Nov. 11, according to a post on Fifty West’s Facebook page. The brewery and taproom across the street will remain open.
Under the leadership of chef Jackson Rouse, the Brewpub served a menu meant to pair with Fifty West beers, including blackened salmon and wild mushroom bolognese. According to the post, the space will still be available to rent “for private events such as wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate happy hours, retirement parties, celebrations of life, or however the space can best fit your needs.”
Kings Way Cafe, Evanston
“It is with great sadness that on October 29, 2023 we will be closing for good,” the owners of Kings Way wrote on Facebook. The breakfast and lunch restaurant opened three years ago and was known for a menu of breakfast items that included a biscuit casserole, omelets and breakfast burritos. No reason was given for the closure.
B & A Street Kitchen, Over-the-Rhine
The popular breakfast and lunch standby had its final service on Oct. 12. Owners Jim and Norma Kerns opened B & A in 2012, naming it after Jim’s mother, Barbara, and Norma’s mother, Aurora. No reason was given for the closure.
All Hail the Biscuit, Milford
Owners Josh and Nicole House said they will shutter their scratch biscuit concept restaurant, which opened in 2021, to focus on their other business, Pickles & Bones Barbecue, which will soon relocate into the All Hail the Biscuit space. “We are open until Nov. 4 and will reopen as Pickles & Bones Barbecue after Thanksgiving,” the owners said via a Facebook post. The good news is that the new Pickles & Bones will offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and will continue to offer the same biscuits.
McK’s Barbecue, Covington
After six years in business, McK’s announced its closure via a sign on the window. Its other location in Liberty Township is also closed. McK’s was known for its slow-smoked meats: pulled pork, barbecue chicken and brisket.
Bakers Table Bakery, Newport
To avoid confusion, Bakers Table, the Newport restaurant known for its stellar farm-to-table cuisine, isn’t going anywhere. It’s the two-year-old bakery across the street that’s closed. That’s still a blow to the Newport community given the bakery’s popular breakfast service.
While weekday regulars will be sad to see it go, Baker’s Table will begin offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, so you’ll still be able to secure the egg sandwich I wrote about earlier this year. From now on, the bakery building will be used for production and a classroom where you can sign up for bread, pastry and pizza-making classes.