While seasoned staples like Gas Light Café, Everybody’s Records, Pleasant Ridge Chili, the Loving Hut and Queen City Comics have kept the Pleasant Ridge business district afloat, the strip of Montgomery at Ridge Road with its vacant buildings has remained somewhat sleepy.
In the past few years though, new establishments including Nine Giant Brewing, Share: Cheesebar, Casa Figueroa, Molly Malone's, The Overlook Lodge and Red Balloon Café + Play have joined the community. Over-the-Rhine restaurant Revolution Rotisserie recently announced it will be opening in PR.
Emily Frank of Share: Cheesebar, which is set to open in August, has lived in Pleasant Ridge for the past four years. After moving back to Cincinnati to be with her family, she started a food truck (C'est Cheese), and her love for all things cheese lead her to open the Cheesebar in her neighborhood.
These plans were put on hold after a horrific accident that led to a trying recovery. Yet, she was encouraged by her Pleasant Ridge neighbors. She says the “community was insanely supportive” throughout her long recovery.
Frank is a self-proclaimed “Ridger” through and through and couldn’t be happier about the developments.
Brandon Hughes, co-owner of Nine Giant, landed in Pleasant Ridge in what he calls a “Goldilocks” situation. The space and the neighborhood were just what he and his brother-in-law were looking for. Huges felt that at the time, the business district was underserved.
"We wanted to be part of a community and liked the idea of a revitalization,” he says. Nine Giant recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.
While newer businesses are filling in the gaps, the senior establishments have been standing strong for decades.
Matt Parmenper who’s been with Queen City Comic almost since it opened in 1987, is encouraging yet skeptical of all of the booming new businesses. “It’s great. It does seem trendy. Hopefully they do well.”
Longtime resident Dave Smith grew up in Pleasant Ridge, and he still lives there with his wife Debbie. “I’m excited about the city in general. It’s fun to see it coming back to life; fun to see people and businesses moving back here.”
Smith has watched the business district thin out. Although it’s never been totally empty, he describes the Pleasant Ridge he grew up in as a vibrant business district that declined with the opening of Kenwood Mall.
"Gaslight Café is a favorite watering spot of the locals, and Everybody’s Records has been there a long time too."
There are still open spaces and local businesses are showing more interest. While parking is tough, there are plans for more strategic public parking in the making.
The neighborhood is hosting its Pleasant Ridge Day/Night from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Check out the event's Facebook page for more info.