If Jimmy Gibson has his way, as Jimmy Gibson nearly always does, when you walk into a bar in downtown Cincinnati, you can expect more than bland, alcohol-soaking bar food.
After operating fine restaurants in New York and Washington D.C, as well as Jeff Ruby’s kitchens, the high-energy, high-creativity Gibson has crafted unique menus for three establishments developed by one real-estate company, OCG Group.
With a small menu of Quality Bar Grub
already served up regularly at FB’s, look for a different mix of hotdogs, sliders and mac and cheese taking off next month a Launch/Lunar. Add his newest restaurant, Jimmy G’s, which is slated to open next month next to Lunar
, and you begin to see the master plan: a vibrant entertainment district west of Vine Street, or ‘WeVi,’ as Gibson and his partners call it.
“We are trying to show people that there is more the downtown than Vine and Main streets, but more than anything, we are happy for the city,” says Ryan Goldschmidt, part owner of Lunar. “We are really happy to be able to be a part of the renaissance of the downtown Cincinnati area.”
Focusing mostly on the 24-36-year-old professional crowd, OCG group wants to fill a growing niche with distinctive destinations. “There is such a rebirth and movement in downtown, we are trying to fill that niche with high quality food and drink. It doesn’t matter if it is a shot of cherry vodka, a slider or a steak, we will provide the best,” Goldschmidt says.
Both Gibson and Goldschmidt believe young professionals want quality food. They are also more open to try new things. Gibson describes his new place, Jimmy G’s, as, “Leave it to Beaver, meets Mad Men, meets Pan Am, meets Hell's Kitchen.”
Maybe a little confusing, but Gibson connects to young professionals, from atmosphere to food. Jimmy G’s will be a “protein-centric” menu featuring small plates. “You will be able to be in Thailand on one plate, the Caribbean on the next, Milwaukee on the next and Nice on the last. There will be something for everyone.”
With a career in fine dining behind him, Gibson was ready for change and enjoys having fun as he develops new menus.
“When you go into a upscale restaurant, you feel like you have to sit up straighter, tighten your tie to where you are choking, worry about which fork to use . . . that’s not any fun,” Gibson says.
Still, Gibson won’t slack on quality. He knows that his background and reputation means expectations will be high. “As soon as you start to accept anything less than what you’ve done in the past, you’re on the way down the other side,” Gibson says. “You may as well go work at a country club.”
By Evan Wallis