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Beyond the Curb turns its urban living showcase attention to Newport

The Catalytic Fund hosted the first Beyond the Curb event in Covington in April and will return Sept. 27 with a focus on Newport. Beyond the Curb’s one-day, self-guided tours aim to promote urban living by showcasing and marketing Northern Kentucky’s river cities as one urban area with a variety of residential options.
“Northern Kentucky’s urban offerings have their own character, and there’s plenty of new development and redevelopment projects to explore, all within walking, biking and shuttle distance of downtown Cincinnati,” says Tara Ford, manager of development services for The Catalytic Fund.
The Catalytic Fund has been working to help revitalize NKY’s river cities, emphasizing the area’s urban lifestyle with walkable neighborhoods, small business districts, parks, markets and views. Like Covington, Newport has a lot to offer: dining and nightlife at Newport at the Levee, the aquarium, a number of festivals and of course great views of the river and the Cincinnati skyline. Beyond the Curb hopes to enhance these features and expand people’s concepts of where to live in the Tristate.
Properties were chosen to appeal to all ages and price points. The tour includes high-rise condos and apartments with views of Cincinnati as well as renovated single-family homes in the heart of Newport’s historic districts.
“The trend of urban living has become a movement in the region, and people can enjoy a night out for dinner or weekend brunch, even if they’re not ready to pack up and move downtown,” Ford says. “The Catalytic Fund seeks to showcase the residential opportunities and nearby amenities to potential residents who are interested in affordability, great views, safety, and a fresh take on the urban experience.”
Properties featured on the tour include:
Riverboat Row
SouthShore Condominiums, 400 Riverboat Row
Vue 180 on the Water, 300 Riverboat Row
East Row
823 Overton St.
The Hannaford, 803 E. Sixth St.
934 Hamlet St.
306 Park St.
404 E. Fourth St.
908 Columbia St.
1115 Isabella St.
Monmouth Row, 415 Monmouth St.
311 York St.
913 Monmouth St.
Early bird tickets are $15 and are available for purchase here; day-of tickets are $20. Beyond the Curb Newport will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, with day-of registration beginning at 10 a.m. at the Carnegie Event Center, 401 Monmouth St.
The next Beyond the Curb event will be in Bellevue and Dayton in the spring, followed by one in Ludlow next fall.

Covington renaissance continues with new downtown restaurant

Downtown Covington has seen a recent surge in redevelopment efforts, including the expansion of Gateway Community & Technical College, the renovation of the Mutual Building and Hotel Covington and the introduction of Braxton Brewing. Baron Shirley, a local entrepreneur, is adding to the city’s new offerings by opening Inspirado at 715 Madison Ave.
Shirley has been looking for a restaurant space for a long time and originally scouted locations in Over-the-Rhine. But rent was high, he says, and there are already so many restaurants there. So he began to look elsewhere and eventually focused on Covington.
“There’s so much good going on here, and I wanted to bring a beautiful space with good food, craft beer and cocktails,” Shirley says. “Think of it as bringing a little bit of OTR to Covington.”
Shirley’s idea for the restaurant stems from a conversation he’s had with his wife over and over.
“We always ask each other, ‘What’s for dinner?’” he says. “I wanted to expand on that and offer a menu with something for everyone.”
The restaurant’s menu will feature a globally inspired menu with comfort foods from all over the world. Shirley says there will be some regular favorites, including a burger, hot brown and BLT.
Shirley partnered with Pandemonium Gallery to create an art gallery within Inspirado with art by local artists. In the near future, the second floor of the building will feature an art gallery and wine bar. And even though Inspirado won't be open for lunch on Saturdays, but it will offer a wine painting class during that time.
When Inspirado debuts on Sept. 16, it will be open for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and for dinner 5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Transform Cincinnati announces six finalists, puts them in front of potential funders

Transform Cincinnati, an initiative that connects people with great ideas to those who have the money to make the ideas happen, held its first call for submissions in June. Each submission had to have a measurable, long-lasting impact on Cincinnati, be sustainable, be large enough in scale to be truly transformational and be supported by a group or organization that could see it through.

The program was developed by businessman and arts patron Richard Rosenthal, who realized that since the early 1800s Cincinnati has benefited from the engagement of community “investors,” or people who gave of themselves and their resources to elevate the region.

“While we are fortunate to continue to have many generous individuals, there is a need and an opportunity to enhance the ranks of these significant, individual funders of regional initiatives and to facilitate the development of ideas that inspire, engage and involve new generations of funders and investors,” Rosenthal says.
Six proposals were recently announced as Transform Cincinnati finalists from a pool of 150 entries, and those six groups now will pitch their ideas to investors. On Sept. 30, Transform Cincinnati hosts a Marketplace event that will be much like the TV show Shark Tank, where the six finalists will present to a group of investors who could make those ideas become reality.
The finalists are:

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise
4C for Children wants to create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The program, still in development, aims to ensure that every child in the area has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.
Activate Ziegler Park
3CDC plans to expand Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine. The existing park would be renovated into five acres of community space to include a neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, a multi-use recreational field and a playground.
Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund for Walnut Hills
The Cincinnati Development Fund plans to create a fund to accelerate jobs and redevelopment in urban communities beyond Over-the-Rhine, beginning in Walnut Hills. CDF would support the idea by advising on financing, investing its own money and leveraging other funding sources to complement the initial investment.
End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020
Lighthouse Youth Services plans to develop a multipurpose center in Walnut Hills that would provide housing and services for youth, including an emergency homeless youth shelter and new units of permanent supportive housing as well as a range of services that are meant to get youth off the streets. The ultimate goal is to eradicate youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
Precision Cancer Care
UC Health and its cancer institute want to revolutionize cancer outcomes in Cincinnati by leveraging breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery and biological model systems. UC’s goal is to rank the city among national leaders in new and personalized cancer-care advances, then spread those discoveries across the world.
Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs
Cintrifuse, in partnership with the Health Collaborative, plans to establish a consumer healthcare venture studio that will be dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the area in order to incubate, nurture and commercialize ideas.

“We hope that together we can think bigger and do more than we have before,” Rosenthal says. “Transform Cincinnati is working hard to identify and facilitate connections between organizations with big ideas and the investors and funders with between $1 million and $10 million who can help make them happen. We’ve heard from organizations that the process has already helped them to seek new collaborations and to become more focused on how to bring their ideas to life. We’ve heard from investors who never before thought of themselves as having the wherewithal to invest in bigger ideas and now recognize they can do so.

“It’s both gratifying and motivating to recognize that Transform Cincinnati has unlocked a new way to help the region become one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.”

Transform Cincinnati has drawn on the experience and involvement of leading community organizations such as ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, the Jewish Federation and United Way.
If you’re interested in investing in one of these six ideas, register here before Sept. 28.

Fuel Cincinnati awards micro grants to 3 community programs

Fuel Cincinnati, the grant-making arm of Give Back Cincinnati, recently awarded grants to three local nonprofit organizations to help them launch new ideas or projects focused around education, community building, diversity and the environment.
The long-running Cincinnati Film Festival received a $2,500 grant to expand its offerings during the nine-day event, scheduled this year for Sept. 10-20. The 100-film festival will begin with a special invitation-only screening, followed by shorts, features, narratives and documentaries as well as filmmaker workshops, post-film Q&As and an awards ceremony.
Pub Inc., a resource center for new and professional authors, also received a $2,500 grant. The organization’s mission is to challenge authors to envision the future of entrepreneurship while also providing them the tools to make publishing their work a reality. Pub Inc. targets low-income authors in order to provide a secondary source of income to help them become more self-sufficient and not rely on public assistance.
A $2,500 grant was awarded to Under the Stars, a weeklong outdoor immersion program that will help foster fun, friends and family for recently emancipated youth. The program will be held at YMCA Camp and will help kids face the future by helping them build strong support networks, teach them networking skills, connect them with mentors and introduce them to resources within the community.
Fuel Cincinnati is also launching a new campaign, #WeFuelCincy, to highlight how community leaders have used and are using their vision, passion and ideas to make the city great. Stories will be shared via social media as well as on Fuel Cincinnati’s website.  

New donut bar joins lineup at Xavier's University Station development

Xavier University welcomed students back to school this week with new offerings at University Station, the mixed-use development at Dana Avenue and Montgomery Road that features a 180-unit apartment complex as well as 46,000 square feet of office space and 39,000 square feet for retail.
The $54-million development boasts a larger campus bookstore, Graeter’s, Starbucks, Gold Star Chili and now a new donut shop.
Top This Donut Bar opened on Aug. 16 and, much like frozen yogurt shops, offers customers the chance to customize their donut. The shop’s cake donuts are made on-site in a variety of flavors, but donuts aren’t the only thing you can top.
Customers can choose a donut, cinnamon roll or crispy rice treat as a vessel for the toppings of their choice. Toppings range from the typical (candy pieces, chocolate chips and coconut) to the more inventive, like Andes mints, bacon, Fruity Pebbles, peppermints and fresh fruit. There’s also a variety of icing flavors to pick from, including caramel, chocolate, pink and white.
Top This also serves the perfect accompaniment to donuts, with coffee or cold milk on tap.
There are plans to open three more Top This locations in Anderson Township, West Chester and Northern Kentucky later this year.

The Cure Starts Now beer & wine festival relocates, adds art element

The Cure Starts Now hosts its sixth annual Beer, Wine & Food Festival fundraiser this weekend, providing an opportunity to sample 80 craft beers and wines, try food from a number of vendors and enjoy music from local acts. By the end of the summer, The Cure Starts Now will have received over $5 million in research funding to help find a cure for childhood cancers.

The festival has been outgrowing its location in Glendale and organizers wanted to add a number of new elements, so they’ve moved it to downtown Wyoming, where it’s expected to draw its largest crowd yet.
“Wyoming allows us the space to grow, and the city deeply believes in our mission, which speaks volumes when trying to execute an event,” says Brooke Desserich, founder of the Cincinnati chapter of The Cure Starts Now.
Also new this year is the Street Chalk Art exhibition, which will feature artists recreating masterpieces from Edward Hopper, Michelangelo and Monet in the street. Kids will also have the chance to try their hand at a masterpiece and draw alongside the professional artists.
With this addition, The Cure Starts Now goes back to its artistic roots. When the founder of the nonprofit’s daughter Elena was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she used drawing as an outlet. Her painting entitled “I Love You” was installed in the Cincinnati Art Museum next to a painting by her hero, Pablo Picasso. That painting became the organization’s first fundraiser and now serves as the inspiration behind its logo.
“We’re proud to be bringing art back into our events through the Street Chalk Art exhibition in memory of Elena and all children who are battling cancer,” Desserich says. “Art is what built our charity, and being able to offer these masterpieces in a unique way will be incredible.”
A number of local breweries and wineries will be present, including Bent Tree Winery, Burnet Ridge Winery, MadTree Brewing, Rivertown Brewing and Stone Brewing Co., as well as offerings from popular national craft breweries and some sneak peaks of seasonal brews.
Food will be available for purchase from Best Thing Smokin, Distasi Banquet Center, Just Jerks, Fireside Pizza, Pit to Plate BBQ, Renegade Street Eats, Schell’s Sweet Sensations, Urban Grill Food Truck, Wicked Hickory and Wyoming Meat Market.
The Beer, Wine & Food Festival will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 28 and from noon to midnight on Aug. 29, with The Websters with Ricky Nye highlighting Friday night and The Carter New Band on Saturday. Non-tasting admission is $10 and tasting admission is $30, which includes a wristband and five tasting tickets.
For the first time, there’s also a VIP experience available for purchase. Guests will receive unlimited tastings and a commemorative glass and are invited to a VIP reception 5-6 p.m. on Friday. The cost is $50, and you must be 21 or older to purchase the VIP admission.

College Hill partners with Saint Francis Group for key development project

The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC) has been focusing on strengthening its central business district over the past few months. A new mixed-use development is in the works at the corner of Marlowe and Hamilton avenues, as is a 100-space parking lot between Cedar and Marlowe avenues.
College Hill also received $175,000 from the Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation for facade improvements, which will help well-established buildings update signing, lighting, windows and doors.
On top of that, CHCURC recently signed a preferred developer agreement with Saint Francis Group and the City of Cincinnati for a large mixed-use project at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road. Jeff Raser of Glaserworks has been selected as lead architect.
The 7.5-acre site was totally cleared in 2014, when the former Kroger building was demolished for future development. Eastern Star also used to sit on the property, but that was demolished in 2012.
The development will bring residential, retail and office space to College Hill. Although plans are still in the works, the next four to eight months will reveal the project's name, cost estimates and construction schedule.

Business grants aim to help OTR entrepreneurs grow customer base

Four Over-The-Rhine businesses recently received funds through the Business Innovation Challenge Grant and the Business First Grant, both of which aim to help local businesses grow and help strengthen OTR’s economy.
“The Business Innovation Challenge supports existing OTR businesses by helping them flourish, expand and ultimately grow new products and services,” says Emilie Johnson, president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber, which helps facilitate the grants. “The mission of the Business First Grant is to help benefit the city by strengthening the local economy, increase business and employment opportunities and animate the sidewalks of OTR.”
The Business Innovation Challenge Grant launched in April 2014 to focus on existing businesses. Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR, MOTR Pub and Cincy Shirts each received $1,000 from Fifth Third Bank to develop their new business strategies over the next six to eight months.
Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR plans to create a new guided Segway tour of OTR and downtown to feature public art and art institutions. MOTR Pub is interested in creating and hosting an online OTR interactive parking map. And Cincy Shirts hopes to create a wall of stadium seats for their in-store T-shirt display as well as develop a line of stadium seat furniture.
Artichoke, a new kitchenware store planning to open at 1824 Elm St., received a $10,000 Business First Grant. The grant offers unique businesses that are new to OTR the opportunity to open, expand or grow their services in the neighborhood.
Artichoke will be housed in a renovated, historic brick Italianate building near Findlay Market. The store will offer cookware and have a demo kitchen to showcase recipes featuring produce from market vendors.

Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses

A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.

Three restaurants from popular chef/operators opening in downtown 84.51 Centre

The 84.51° Centre, located downtown along Race Street between Fifth and Sixth, has made a name for itself as 3CDC’s first foray into office building development, even as the building’s name changed.

When the parking garage opened in late 2014, it was the first in downtown Cincinnati to include charging stations for electric cars in its design. At that point the building was known as the Dunnhumby Centre, new headquarters for the expanding consumer research company.

Shortly before employees starting moving in in the spring, Kroger Co. acquired Dunnhumby USA and rechristened it 84.51° after the new building’s longitudinal coordinate. Reports of the creative, open office space design have been glowing.

Now come details about the development’s ground floor, which is being devoted to three new restaurants from some of Cincinnati’s most beloved chefs and restaurateurs, making it a go-to culinary destination as well. All three have relationships with 3CDC through their first restaurants.
“Restaurants create vibrant streets by driving a high volume of traffic all hours of the day and night; create safety through volume; and benefit the soft goods, retail and service businesses that surround them,” says Anastasia Mileham, vice president of communications at 3CDC. “Restaurants service people who live and work in the neighborhood as well as attract people from outside the neighborhood.”
Jose Salazar is opening Mita’s this week as a contemporary Spanish- and Latin American-inspired concept that gets its name from Salazar’s grandmother. The menu will feature tapas, ceviches, crudos, cured meats, paella and large plates as well as a wine list that will be curated to include one of Cincinnati’s largest Spanish wine collections.
The restaurant will occupy a 6,000-square-foot space at the corner of Fifth and Race streets and will be open for dinner 5-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; the bar will serve drinks until 1 a.m. on the weekends. Salazar plans to add lunch service later this fall.

Salazar’s first business, Salazar Restaurant & Bar, has been a hit in Over-the-Rhine since opening in a renovated 3CDC building at 14th and Republic streets.
Christian Piatoso
Over the next few months, Piatoso, who owns Via Vite on Fountain Square, is opening two new restaurants. The first is in Hyde Park and will feature an Italian-inspired menu; the other will be in the 84.51° Centre to focus on more American fare.
The downtown name is under wraps, but Piatoso says the menu will feature 7-ounce steakburgers, hand-cut fries, spikeable custard milkshakes and beer. He plans to be open for lunch and dinner and has a vision for the inside of the restaurant’s interior that will draw customers in from the street.

Thunderdome Restaurant Group
Owner/operators of three Over-the-Rhine restaurants — Bakersfield and The Eagle in 3CDC developments as well as Krueger’s TavernThunderdome Group is planning a fast-casual spot at the 84.51° Centre that will open late this fall. The 9,470-square-foot space will focus on breakfast, brunch and lunch but will also serve dinner.
Although details are still being finalized, the restaurant will have a full bar and potentially be open seven days a week.

Music Off McMillan to reinforce creative placemaking in Walnut Hills

On Aug. 8, the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation is launching a new creative placemaking initiative made possible by a two-year $100,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, which was facilitated through LISC. Price Hill Will also received a grant for similar activities there.

WHRF has created a work plan for initiatives that focus on economic development, physical improvements and cultural awareness.
Music Off McMillan will take place on the streets of Walnut Hills every Saturday in August and September, leading up to the Cincinnati Street Food Festival on Sept. 26. Street musicians will perform in front of Brew House, Fireside Pizza and The Greenwich as well as inside the venues.
Music Off McMillan will help emphasize the neighborhood’s music culture while boosting pedestrian traffic between local restaurants and bars.
“This is the first step in getting people to come back to Walnut Hills and get used to walking the area, visiting local businesses,” says WHRF Development Officer Joe Sandmann.
There are already a number of creative placemaking initiatives in Walnut Hills, such as the Five Points Biergarten and the neighborhood’s youth ambassador program.
“We are beginning the process of taking a cultural inventory of Walnut Hills to inform our creative placemaking programming,” Sandmann says. “Through this grant, our ability to engage the community will increase.”
WHRF is working to identify people in the community who will be valuable stakeholders with a lot to offer but haven’t been very involved with past events. WHRF plans to continue its artist-led, community-focused initiatives that can help with the economic development and creative placemaking going on in the neighborhood.

Covington's bicentennial continues with neighborhood bicycle tour

Originally set for July 12 but rescheduled due to weather, Covington’s Bike-Centennial Tour will be held on Aug. 8 in conjunction with the city’s summer-long celebration of its 200th birthday.
The guided bicycle tour will offer three different routes for riders of different skill levels, all departing from the Covington Farmers Market at Third and Greenup streets.

The 10-mile ride, which is for more advanced riders, will travel south to Latonia and stop at 10 locations, including the Licking River Greenway, Meinken Field, Latonia Elementary, the BMX site at the Bill Cappel Sports Complex, the Boys and Girls Club, the Hellman Lumber site, Goebel Park and downtown Covington.
The 5-mile loop is for intermediate or beginning riders and stops at several sites in Latonia. For young riders, the 2-mile route is a trip to Goebel Park and back. All rides begin between 9 and 10 a.m., with the first 10-mile ride beginning at 9:10 a.m. and the last ride, the 2-mile ride, at 9:50 a.m.
Covington’s Bike-Centennial Tour came about as the result of a partnership between Renaissance Covington, Center for Great Neighborhoods, City of Covington, Reser Bicycle Outfitters and Roebling Point Books & Coffee. The groups wanted to showcase Covington’s parks, landmarks and ongoing projects in a new and exciting way.
Basic bike checks will be provided day-of by Reser Bicycle and free helmets will be provided by BRIDGES Inc., as a helmet is required to participate in the event.
Although pre-registration is closed, you can sign up on race day: $10 for adults, and kids are free. For more information, visit the Bike-Centennial Tour website.

Crossroads raising funds to renovate Old St. George Church near UC

Crossroads recently purchased Old St. George Church, which is located at 42 Calhoun St. in Clifton Heights, with plans to renovate the historic building. When completed next year, the former church will host services for Crossroads Clifton, one of the organization’s five worship locations in the Tristate.

Crossroads Clifton currently holds Sunday services at Bogart's on Short Vine but is limited in the number and time of services due to the venue's concert schedule. By moving to the Old St. George campus adjacent to the University of Cincinnati, Crossroads will be able to be open seven days a week.
Crossroads purchased the 142-year-old building from the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation for $871,000. It joins a number of historic churches around Greater Cincinnati being rehabbed and redeveloped, though perhaps the only one coming back to life as a worship center.
Samuel Hannaford built the Roman Catholic Church in 1873. St. George served the Clifton Heights and UC communities until 1993, when the Archdiocese of Cincinnati decided to close the building due to declining attendance. It was then purchased by Christian Ministries Center and housed a community and arts center for a few years.
The building's twin steeples and other parts of the building were damaged by a fire in 2008 and are in need of repairs. Crossroads' renovation plans will stick with the building's original design and retain much of the stained glass and architectural features.
Designs include an 800-seat auditorium, which would make it the largest non-athletic event space in Uptown; a coworking area; lecture space; and a place for outdoor events. Crossroads hopes to attract about 2,000 people per week, and not just for church services — curriculum includes workshops, small group meetings, Go Cincinnati projects and the Whiz Kids tutoring program.
Old St. George also needs a new fire alarm and sprinkler system; a new roof; upgraded heating, cooling and ventilation; updated plumbing and electric; and asbestos removal. Crossroads plans to add video screens, lights, projectors and a sound system to bring the facility up to date.
There's a fundraising campaign underway to raise $11 million for the building’s renovation.

Several local food truck owners taking next step and opening storefronts

Food trucks have become the meal-on-the-go option for Cincinnatians, whether it’s a business lunch or community event. After establishing themselves and their menu offerings, a number of those food truck owners are now expanding their businesses and opening brick-and-mortar locations.
Share Cheesebar
6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
Emily Frank, owner of C’est Cheese food truck, is planning to open a cheese retail shop this fall in Pleasant Ridge’s Sixty99 development next to Nine Giant Brewing. The shop will be part retail and part cheese bar, with a large selection of products and a rotating variety of cheeses, wine, beer and fresh bread.
Frank started C’est Cheese in 2011, when there were about 10 food trucks on the streets of Cincinnati. Today there are about 60, and she decided to use her love of cheese to introduce another venture in the city.
“I’ve always been a huge lover of cheese but have always been a bit intimidated by most cheese shops,” she says. “There are so many choices, and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming and I’m hesitant to ask questions in order to learn more.”
Share Cheesebar will have a relaxed atmosphere, where customers can come in and enjoy a cheese or charcuterie plate or a glass of wine. Cheese will also be available for purchase to take to a party or home for dinner.
“The name ‘Share’ is really what we want people to do in the space,” Frank says.
Even though Frank is starting another venture, she will continue serving up the cheesy goodness from Blanche, her food truck.

Urbana Café
1206 Broadway St., Pendleton/OTR
Daniel Noguera purchased a Vespa Ape in 2013 and converted it into a mobile espresso café that’s a Findlay Market staple on the weekends. Now Noguera plans to open a brick-and-mortar café in October next to Nation Kitchen + Bar in the Pendleton area next to Over-the-Rhine.
Urbana Café will serve high-quality espresso-based drinks as well as a limited food menu with both sweet and savory options.
Noguera plans to continue his mobile coffee business and currently has two Vespas roaming the streets of Cincinnati. He has plans to expand the mobile side of his business to a nearby city, such as Louisville or Columbus.
1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
Chef Alfio Gulisano and his partner Scott Lambert, owners of Alfio’s Buon Cibo in Hyde Park, recently started a food truck called Che Empanadas. They’re expanding on that concept and planning to open a restaurant based on the Argentinean staple of pizza and empanadas.
Che!, which means Hey!, will open its doors in Over-the-Rhine in the fall. The restaurant will feature a large bar with Argentine wines by the glass and craft beer options as well as an outdoor dining area with a parrilla, a large outdoor grill that will feature a rotating variety of grilled meats.
The restaurant will also have an ordering window that opens onto the street, where customers can get empanadas and pizza during late-night hours.
5164 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge
The owners of Catch-A-Fire Pizza opened a café inside of MadTree Brewing in February. It’s an extension of the food truck, and the menu features items infused with MadTree beer.
Dojo Gelato
1735 Blue Rock St., Northside
Dojo Gelato has been a staple at Findlay Market for six years, and next spring owner Michael Christner plans to open a stand-alone location in the old J.F. Dairy Corner in Northside.
Christner will continue to serve his gelato, which has become a Cincinnati favorite, but will also expand Dojo’s menu with twists on traditional ice cream favorites. That menu will eventually be served at the Findlay Market location as well, as all of Dojo’s production will be moved to the new Northside location.
O Pie O
1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
While not a food truck, O Pie O will be expanding beyond its Findlay Market pop-up roots with a brick-and-mortar store opening soon at DeSales Corner. The store is currently hiring workers.
The pie shop will feature both sweet and savory options as well as a small menu of soups and salads. Wine, craft beer, coffee and ice cream will also be served as accompaniments.

Restaurants from Chicago and Indianapolis entering local dining scene

Cincinnati’s restaurant scene isn’t just exploding with locally owned eateries, as restaurateurs from other major cities are taking an interest as well. In the next few months, two new restaurants — Indianapolis-based BRU Burger Bar and Chicago favorite Giordano’s — are coming to the area.
Neither restaurant has a concrete timetable for opening, but foodies should expect a new burger place and new Chicago-style deep-dish pizza by early next year.
BRU Burger Bar, popular in Indianapolis and Lexington, Ky., will open downtown. Owners Tom and Mike Cunningham, Cincinnati natives who operate Cunningham Restaurant Group, have signed a letter of intent for a 4,400-square-foot space at Sixth and Walnut streets, the former home of Cadillac Ranch.
BRU’s menu includes a number of burgers as well as a chili appetizer, fresh salads and sandwiches.
Giordano’s is expanding beyond its current base of Illinois, Indiana and Florida, adding locations in Cincinnati as well as Phoenix and Minneapolis. The company, which is known for its deep dish pizza, plans to open at least two restaurants in Cincinnati and is scouting sites in Kenwood, Liberty Township and downtown.
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