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Mac n' cheese food truck makes its rounds about town

Jarod Maier, the former owner of J. Gumbo’s in Fairfield, decided to close his brick-and-mortar restaurant and launch a food truck. He wanted to take his food to his customers, rather than the other way around.
Chicken Mac Truck did a run at Bunbury Festival, where Maier served more than 2,500 bowls of mac n’ cheese. It officially debuted on June 30 at Rhinegeist for a five-day tour of Cincinnati to help support Fall Feast, a free Thanksgiving Day meal for local homeless families.
A portion of the proceeds from the five-day tour went to Fall Feast; Chicken Mac Truck raised a total of $1,000 for the event.
The menu features a blend of slow-simmered chicken over homemade mac n’ cheese. Chicken options include Bourbon Chicken Mac, simmered in a sweet butter and hoisin sauce; Zesty Chicken Mac, which is beer-stewed chicken with garlic, olive oil, tomatoes and spices; Spicy Chicken Mac, cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with garlic and crushed red pepper; Buffalo Chicken Mac, which is chicken, celery and onion cooked in buffalo sauce and topped with bleu cheese; Honey Sriracha Chicken Mac, cooked in sriracha with honey, garlic and cilantro; and Veggie Corn Stew, which is corn, stewed tomatoes, onions and black beans in a sweet and spicy butter sauce.
Over the next few weeks, Chicken Mac Truck has a number of stops on its calendar. It will be at the Low Cut Connie concert on July 21 at RiversEdge in Hamilton, the Robert DeLong concert on July 22 on Fountain Square, and the Buckle Up Music Festival on August 5 and 6 at Summit Park in Blue Ash.

Price Hill Will: Opening paths to homeownership

Price Hill Will now has a homesteading program that helps working families on their path to homeownership. Prior to establishing the program — which is currently in its pilot phase — Price Hill Will had rehabbed 61 homes through its long-standing Buy-Improve-Sell program.

Buy-Improve-Sell focuses exclusively on the Cedar Grove area and the Incline District, and aims to take abandoned homes “with good bones, and that are strategic to the street,” and turn them back into assets to the community, says Ken Smith, executive director of Price Hill Will.

The homesteading program is an extension of the agency’s existing real estate development efforts. The new program allows Price Hill Will to consider “homes that we wouldn’t otherwise,” Smith says.

Homes can be anywhere in the neighborhood, but must be near code compliance and close to move-in ready. Price Hill Will rehabs the homes to liveable conditions, and then works with partner organizations Santa Maria and the Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio to identify families that could be a good match for the property.

The program is open to families who would not qualify for a traditional mortgage. Families must be able to afford the monthly payments at 30 percent of their total income or less, and be willing to invest sweat equity into maintaining and further improving the home.

After reviewing their monthly budget with the referring organization, families then go through homebuyer education, which is provided by Working in Neighborhoods.

Smith says these steps are important in helping families understand the program requirements and expectations. “We don’t want to put people in a situation they can’t sustain.”

The homes are then sold to the families via a five-year land contract, which is repaid to Price Hill Will in modest monthly installments. The homes are sold at an affordable price that covers the nonprofit's initial investment into the property.

To date, the program has placed two families in homes in the neighborhood. Initially, Price Hill Will had aimed to complete 10 homes in the first nine months of the program.

“The challenge is finding the right homes that we can quickly get code compliant,” Smith says.

As the program moves forward, Price Hill Will is continuing to explore ways to scale it sustainably, while making sure that the homes are attainable for neighborhood families.

“We need people saving working class homes that are affordable,” Smith says. “We can’t let Cincinnati become a city where people who work here can’t live.”

The Center provides grants to seven more Covington creatives

The Center for Great Neighborhoods just doled out $30,000 in its fourth round of Creative Community Grants. Seven Covington-based artists and creatives received up to $5,000 to bring forth their ideas.
Over the next year, The Center plans to do two more rounds of these grants, with each round addressing a different community identified issue or top.
In this round, all grants focused on health and wellness.
Bi-Okoto & Dance Theatre will be using their grant award to provide access to B-FIT with Bi-Okoto classes in City Heights. The classes are a fun and interactive way to introduce kids and teenagers to a healthy lifestyle through culturally-inspired dance fitness. Classes aim to increase cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility while enhancing self-esteem, character development, and nutrition tips.
Over the span of two days at the new Hellmann Creative Center, Luis Laya and James Payne will host a Cultural Culinary Experience. The event will be centered around building community through entertainment and educational cooking techniques that involve open flame and the use of custom fabricated grills, which were created by the two artists. The focus will be on culinary health and educating the community on different cultural styles of cooking, as well as cooking and eating as a community.
David Rice, a Northern Kentucky artist, sculptor and metalworker, will build the world’s first bicycle powered stereoscopic kaleidoscope, entitled Colliding Light. The sculpture will encourage physical activity by captivating people with the synergy of light, color, shape and motion. Rice will work with students in The Center’s summer BLOCK program to gather materials and construct the inner workings of the kaleidoscope.
In partnership with The Center and the Kenton County Extension Office, Annie Brown hosted Healthy Mind & Body Day Camp, a free day camp for elementary kids. The camp was held for three days at the end of the school year and before the start of summer programs run by Covington Independent Public Schools. Kids learned about nutrition, exercise, gardening and composting, and did yoga and made healthy popsicles.
Kids Cook Too, an after-school cooking class that makes eating healthy creative and fun, will teach students the skills, knowledge and experience they need to plan and cook their own nutritious meals and snacks. Project head Laura Murphy aims to help kids take their health into their own hands, and teach them how to find fresh produce and healthy food options in their neighborhood. Kids will create a map, which they can use to teach others and raise awareness about disparities in food access and availability.
Emily Wolff and Make Goebel Great are planning a Pool Party at Goebel Pool in Mainstrasse Village. The goal is to make the pool a more attractive destination that encourages residents to come and enjoy an afternoon with their family. The City of Covington will provide matching funds to make sure pool improvements include large shade structures, picnic tables with umbrellas, a freshly painted pool house, and an artistic installation, which will be designed by Make Goebel Great and will be created and installed by the community.
Caroline Creaghead, a local comedienne, will be starting a podcast called None of Your Business, which will focus on the frustrating and funny parts of living as a working artist. It won’t be an advice show, but will help start important discussions. The Creative Community Grant will fund six episodes, and each will feature a Covington-based artist.

Five Cincinnati projects receive over $9 million in state historic tax credits

The Ohio Development Services Agency recently awarded $27.8 million in state historic tax credits. Twenty-six organizations across the state plan to rehab a total of 39 buildings, which on the state level, will leverage about $261.4 million in private investment.
Many of the buildings that received Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits in this round are vacant and generate little to no economic activity.
Five high-profile projects in Cincinnati received a total of just over $9.3 million in state historic tax credits.  
Crosley Building, 1333 Arlington St., Camp Washington
Received $5 million in tax credits
Built in 1930 by Samuel Hannaford and Sons, 1333 Arlington housed the headquarters of the Crosley Radio Corporation. The nine-story, 300,000-square-foot building (and an adjacent building) will be redeveloped into 324 market-rate apartments. This is the first state historic tax credit awarded to Camp Washington.
Film Center Building, 1632 Central Parkway, Over-the-Rhine
Received $1.07 million in tax credits
In its heyday, the Film Center Building was one of several buildings in OTR that served the film industry. Urban Sites plans to redevelop the first floor of the now vacant building into office and restaurant space. The upper floors will house 46 rental units with a mixture of studio, and one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Market Square II, 1807-1830 Elm St., 127 Findlay St., 1827 Logan St., OTR
Received $1.7 million in tax credits
The second phase of Model Group’s Market Square will include the renovation of 10 historic buildings, as well as one new build. This phase of the project will include 55 apartments, plus 24,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
Strietmann Biscuit Company Building, 223-235 W. 12th St., OTR
Received $1.2 million in tax credits
Built in 1899, these buildings used to house the Strietmann Biscuit Company. After the company moved to a new facility in the 1940s, the building became home to a number of mixed-use and small businesses. It now sits vacant, but Grandin Properties plans to rehabilitate it into office space for 10-15 businesses, with a first-floor restaurant space.
771 and 772 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills
Received $250,000 in tax credits
Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and a few private developers will be working to redevelop three buildings, two of which are historic. The Hamilton Building, located at 771 McMillan, was built in 1883 as a single-family residence. It was converted into apartments, and has been vacant since 1981. 772 McMillan is a mixed-use building with three commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments above; the apartments have been vacant since the mid-1970s, and the ground floor since 2004. Plans include seven apartments and a restaurant or bar at street level. The third, non-historic building is 2504 Chatham St., which will see the rehabilitation of six vacant apartments.

Newly opened Maplewood Kitchen and Bar offers a taste of California

A fresh new restaurant concept, Maplewood Kitchen and Bar, opened downtown on June 20. Located in the 84.51° building on Race Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, Maplewood offers quick but upscale fare that “you can feel good about eating,” says owner Joe Lanni.
Joe and his brother John, along with co-owner Alex Blust, have already brought three other popular dining options to Cincinnati. The owners are local natives, and they aren’t strangers to developing in Cincinnati’s urban core. The trio owns Thunderdome Restaurant Group, the company responsible for Over-the-Rhine staples Bakersfield, The Eagle and Krueger’s Tavern.
Their main offices are off Walnut Street in OTR, and they knew they wanted to open Maplewood somewhere in the area.
“We were looking for somewhere to do this concept, and we were looking for weekday and weekend breakfast business mixed with a strong existing evening crowd," Lanni says. “We just really liked the 84.51° building, and we wanted to be in a spot where the businesses around us are first quality.”
Maplewood is on the same block as two still-new downtown restaurants, Americano Burger Bar and Mita’s.
The restaurant is billed as a “California upscale cafe.” Notable menu items include an avocado Benedict, quinoa cakes with poached eggs, and a living-lettuce salad with freshly shaved vegetables. Entrees range in price from $8 to $14. The menu, designed by general manager and executive chef Bhumin Desai, incorporates superfoods, grains, greens and antioxidant-rich foods throughout.
“We’ve got a healthy slant, but it’s not pure health food,” Lanni says.
Weekend brunch service features a roving mimosa cart stocked with a variety of champagne and Prosseco, freshly pressed OJ, and cold-pressed sweet green juice. The drink menu also includes a specialty Super Green Margarita made with blanco tequila, Cointreau, sour mix, agave nectar and a healthy dose of Super Green juice.
The restaurant currently offers breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday, with plans to add dinner service by mid-July.

Plans announced for The Skeleton Root, the second winery coming to Over-the-Rhine

In the 1800s, prominent lawyer and banker Nicholas Longworth helped develop the Cincinnati hillsides into vineyards, which were known for growing Catawba grapes. By the 1850s, before California was a state, the Ohio River Valley was the largest grape growing region in the country.

The Civil War and the temperance movement hurt Cincinnati’s grape growing industry, and it hasn’t seen a rebirth until now.
The Skeleton Root is the second new winery — along with Revel OTR — that has been announced for Over-the-Rhine. The Skeleton Root will be located just east of Rhinegeist Brewery at 38 W. McMicken Ave.
Before the space on McMicken, The Skeleton Root had a small cellar space on Court Street downtown. Kate MacDonald converted a garage into a winery/cellar space, where she made the winery’s Vintage 2014, which will be released once The Skeleton Root opens. The 2015 harvest was done in the new space.
“Over-the-Rhine chose me in a way,” MacDonald says. “This area of the neighborhood is prime for development, with so many large warehouses that could be converted to produce interesting things.”
Engineer by trade, MacDonald has lived and worked in wineries in Napa Valley as well as locally at Valley Vineyards in Morrow. After moving back to Cincinnati, she knew she wanted to open a winery.
“I love the history of the city, and I’m intrigued by the wine history and how deep and prominent of a region this was pre-Prohibition,” she says. “My goal is to retell the story of the heritage we had, and demonstrate the ability to make it a great grape region again.”
The Skeleton Root will produce all of its wines on-site from grapes straight from local vineyards. Grapes will be harvested and crushed on-site too.
All of the wine-making areas will be accessible to the public in order to give people a connection with the process. A 1,500-square-foot barn located just beyond the tasting room will hold all of The Skeleton Root’s barrels for aging and will lead into the actual winery.
The tasting room won’t be like a typical winery where customers belly up to the bar to taste and buy bottles of wine to take home. The main room, which will be about 2,000 square feet, will be like a comfortable living room with communal seating, couches, laptop bars and Internet. An upstairs loft area will serve as overflow for the tasting room.
“We want people to come in and stay a while,” MacDonald says.
The Skeleton Root will also hold events in the barrel barn, winemaking space and separate conference room for off-site corporate meetings.
All wines served in the tasting room will be The Skeleton Root’s own wines, but MacDonald also plans to support local craft beer. There won’t be a food menu, but she wants to work with local chefs and food trucks to offer demos that focus on pairing food and wine.
The Skeleton Root will have heritage wines from the American Grapes, including a Heritage Catawba and Norton. MacDonald focuses on classic wine production with minimal intervention, which preserves a higher acidity level and has more pronounced fruit. There will be other wine programs too, with a focus on French and European style wines.

Micro-granting organization provides dinner and instant funds to projects

Cincinnati SOUP, a new micro-granting organization, is helping fund ideas locally. But it’s not just a pitch night — it’s a community dinner where attendees provide a small donation and then get to vote on who receives the grant. The funding comes entirely from the night’s donations.
Unlike other funding avenues, presenters don’t need business plan, just a sustainable plan.
“Cincinnati SOUP is extremely grassroots,” Executive Director Herschel Chalk says. “Most of the presenters are community activists, and they have a small project coupled with a burning desire to make their neighborhood or city a better place to live and work.”
Cincinnati SOUP is based off the successful model of Detroit SOUP, another micro-granting dinner that celebrates and supports community initiatives and projects. Its mission is to promote community-based development through crowdfunding, creativity, collaboration, democracy, trust and fun.
“After seeing and hearing more and more about the Detroit concept, we felt that it was something that could work well in Cincinnati too,” Chalk says. “We figured it could be a great way to allow people to establish new relationships and networks, promote action and change, foster dialogue and instill neighborhood pride.”
For a donation of $10, attendees receive a dinner of soup, salad and bread. Before dinners, attendees listen to four project proposals that cover different topics, ranging from art and urban agriculture to social justice and technology. During the meal, votes are cast, and at the end of the night the winning project receives $8 from each attendee’s donation.
There have been three Cincinnati SOUP events so far, with the latest held on June 26 at the Kennedy Heights Cultural Arts Center. Past winners include Karen Davis of Storybook Entertainment, who received $780, and Hope Godfrey of The Butterfly Club, who received $1,120.
“SOUP doesn’t get involved in all of the minutiae and accepts people as they are, where they are,” Chalk says. “It’s based on a simple philanthropic recipe — bring a group of change agents and community activists together, and everyone goes home full, fulfilled and with a renewed sense of community.”
Stay tuned for more information regarding the fall Cincinnati SOUP event. Once it's announced, you can buy advance tickets here.

Local winemakers take their hobby to the next level with OTR winery and wine bar

Winemaking is in Anthony Maieron’s blood. His parents are from Italy, and when they moved to the U.S. his father continued to make wine in the garage.

“I remember all of my dad’s friends coming over and crushing the grapes together and telling stories,” Maieron says. “When I moved back to the area after college, my dad asked me if I wanted to take over the winemaking, and I’ve been making it in Cincinnati for 12 years now.”
He and his wife Jodi, along with friends John and Amy Coleman and vintner Alex Sena, have turned that Italian winemaking tradition into Revel OTR, an urban boutique winery and wine bar. Their goal is to create a space that makes wine more approachable while still sticking true to the old-school Italian winemaking process.
“Everyone in Over-the-Rhine is focusing on making food and drink accessible,” Maieron says. “There’s this perception of wine being an upperclass drink or for the older demographic, but we’re really breaking down those barriers and showing younger people that wine is for them too.”
They purchased a building at 111 E. 12th St. so they could really invest in the community. Wine production will be in the basement, which has the capacity to hold 44 barrels at a time. The first floor will have a wine bar and high-top tables as well as a rail along the outside wall. The second floor will be a more intimate space with casual seating.
Phase II, which Maieron hopes to have ready by next summer, will be a rooftop terrace with additional seating.
Revel OTR’s interior will have a raw and rustic feel with many of the building’s original aspects intact, including the stone cellar walls, exposed brick and plaster and hardwood floors. The bar was also custom-made from salvaged material in the building.
“We’ve done much of the salvage work ourselves and have salvaged everything possible from the building to preserve that historic character,” Maieron says. “We wanted to restore the building and bring it back to life while reusing elements of the building.”
The Maierons and the Colemans want to create a sense of environment that caters to everyone. Revel OTR will be somewhere people can meet up for a glass of wine before or after dinner or enjoy a bottle while waiting for a table at a Vine or Main street restaurant.
Revel OTR will showcase other small-batch, family-owned wineries. It’s hard for small wineries to sell their product at big box stores and still have it be affordable and turn a profit, so Maieron wants to be able to give exposure to those wineries and build partnerships.
Revel OTR plans to open in late August or early September with up to six of their own wines available, including their flagship Sangiovese, with an average bottle price of $26. On any given day, there will be about 20 different wines available by the bottle, carafe, juice glass or flight.
There won’t be an extensive food menu, but Maieron plans to serve traditional Italian wine accompaniments like olives, meats and cheeses.

Annual Northside Music Fest adds hip-hop to lineup

In its ninth year, the Northside Music Fest is Cincinnati’s longest running, independently-run free music event. This year brings 16 bands to three stages at Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave, on June 24-25.
Two of the stages are located inside of Northside Tavern — one in the cozy front room and a larger stage in the main back room — with the third on the outdoor patio.
Jason Snell, Mike Gibboney and Scott Torres founded Northside Music Fest in 2007 as a way to celebrate the neighborhood’s music scene and eclectic identity, as well as a way for all of their friends to play together. Over the years it’s grown from a one-night showcase of local music into a two-day festival featuring local and regional acts.

"What makes Northside Music Fest unique is that it's not a huge ticket festival," Snell says. "It's free, and it's all-neighborhood first. It brings together many communities in and around Northside and truly celebrates our unique flavor."
Previous years have seen bands like the Buffalo Killers, Daniel Martin Moore, James Leg (Black Diamond Heavies), Joan Shelley, Soledad Brothers, Tweens and Wussy. This year, Friday night will have more of a hip-hop/dance flavor, with Open Mike Eagle as the headliner, and Saturday will be more rock and psych-garage, with bands like Eye, Motel Beds and local punk band The Dopamines wrapping up the night.
The two-day festival starts at 7 p.m. on June 24. For the full schedule of artists, visit Northside Music Fest’s website.
If you can’t make it to Northside Music Fest, there will be more free live music at the Northside Rock ‘n’ Roll Carnival July 1-4.

Newport meatball restaurant adds food truck to feed Cincinnati foodies

Packhouse Meats, the meatball-centric Northern Kentucky restaurant with a no-tipping policy, launched a food truck on June 13 to serve at events around Cincinnati and work with different companies to provide lunches for employees.
Packhouse opened in January 2014 in Newport and is known for its inventive meatballs and creative sauces such as the sushi meatball packed with imitation crabmeat, rice, Asian vegetables and sauce wrapped in seaweed. Sauces include habanero cream, basil pesto, mango salsa and a fruited cream cheese, plus the basics — marinara, Parmesan cream, burgundy wine, buffalo and hunter.                                                        
The truck will have two standard meatballs — beef and turkey — and three rotating options as well as vegetarian options. The menu will be similar to the brick-and-mortar Packhouse, which features meatballs served in a bowl over linguini, mashed potatoes, spinach and mushrooms, Brussels sprouts or sautéed broccoli. Meatballs are also available on sliders and salads.
More creative meatball combinations include flan (made with sausage, bacon and flan custard topped with a cinnamon sauce) or peanut butter and jelly, which is a peanut butter and beef meatball topped with a strawberry pepper chutney. These combos will make an appearance on the truck’s menu too, depending on the event.
Keep tabs on Packhouse’s Facebook page for where you can find the meatball food truck.

What's on Tap: When the next round of craft breweries will open their doors

Over the past year or so, the Development section has provided the lowdown on new craft breweries that are planning to open in the Greater Cincinnati area. A few have come to fruition — sometimes even ahead of schedule — while others, it seems, have kept us waiting for beer for way too long.
We’ve rounded up the updates and opening dates for breweries closing in on the finish line.
Darkness Brewing, 224 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
Darkness opened to the public for the first time on June 10, but its grand opening won’t be until mid-July, when its first batch of beer will be tapped and ready for drinking. Darkness plans to open with a Kentucky common ale, a black IPA and a milk stout. Until then, the taproom will be open 4-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1-8 p.m. on Sundays. So head on over to NKY to check out the space and have a pint from Darkness’ curated list of guest taps.
Nine Giant Brewing, 6095 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
Opening day is June 25 at 12 noon. Nine Giant will have a number of beers on tap as well as guest taps from local breweries, plus wine for those who don’t love beer. The brewery’s kitchen, The Snackery, will be serving upscale bar eats, and there will be special events throughout the day featuring unique one-off beers from Nine Giant and other breweries. Be there!
The Woodburn Brewery, 2800 Woodburn Ave., Walnut Hills
You may have visited Woodburn Brewery during a Walk on Woodburn or gotten a sneak peek during the Flying Pig Marathon, but it won’t be officially open and pouring its own beer until later this year. The 4,000-square-foot space will have 36 taps, and beehives for Queen City Bee Co. were just added to its roof.
Bircus Brewing Company, Ludlow
Bircus took a unique angle to fund its venture, utilizing the crowdsourcing platform Seed Invest, and was approved last week to officially produce beer at the Ludlow Theatre. Head brewer Alex Clemens will begin brewing soon using Belgian-inspired recipes. Bircus is also dedicating sales from 26 Mondays to community organizations and the other 26 Mondays to the Circus Mojo Foundation to help fund innovative circus programs and scholarships. (The Ludlow Theatre is owned by Paul Miller, founder of Circus Mojo, and is also a shared practice space for the circus and the brewery.)

Brink Brewing, 5905 Hamilton Ave., College Hill
Announced in February, Brink began the remodeling of its 3,200-square-foot taproom and brewery last week. It’s currently under construction and is slated to open in September.

Tiger Dumpling relocates to The Banks, continuing parade of new tenants

Tiger Dumpling closed its original location in Clifton Heights several weeks ago and plans to open downtown in the fall next to Tervis at The Banks Phase I.
Tiger Dumpling, which had been located next to The Brass Tap at U-Square across from the University of Cincinnati since early 2015, is known for its edamame, soups and dumplings, which are served steamed or pan-fried with a spicy or mild sauce.
The original location was fairly small, with an ordering counter and a few tables for dining in. The new location will be three times larger and will allow Tiger Dumpling to expand its menu. New machinery will be added as well and will automate the last step of dumpling making, quadrupling what the restaurant was able to produce each hour.
Tiger Dumpling is the eighth new retailer announced for The Banks since December. Other new tenants include Tervis, which opened in April; Taste of Belgium and Pies & Pints, which are scheduled to open in Phase II of the development later this summer; and Howl at the Moon/Splitsville, The Stretch and BurgerFi, which all plan to open by the end of the year.

myNKY nano grants to fund creative placemaking projects in Northern Kentucky

A partnership between the Center for Great Neighborhoods and Skyward (formerly known as Vision 2015) will soon yield nano grants for creative Northern Kentucky placemaking projects that will be available for those who live, work or study in Dayton, Florence or Pendleton County.
Vision 2015 changed its name to Skyward last year to better reflect Northern Kentucky’s current five-year work plan, myNKY, the purpose of which is to make Northern Kentucky thrive by connecting education, wellness, business and culture in innovative, inclusive and productive ways.
The grants, which will be available in amounts up to $250, are part of Skyward’s vibrancy goal. The organization wants to help build a region where people from all backgrounds feel included, connected and welcome.
Project ideas could include art walks, music making, bicycle tours, art installations or community parties. But projects can be anything that will incite community building through creative placemaking.
Workshops were held in Pendleton County and Dayton on June 6 and 7, respectively, to provide more information regarding the grants. There is still a workshop for Florence residents on June 21 before the city council meeting in the Florence Government Center, 8100 Ewing Blvd.
Applications and full eligibility details can be found here.

Riverfront bike center offers tours, rentals and other services

Since opening in 2012, the Cincinnati Bike Center has signed up about 30 commuters who ride their bicycles to and from downtown on a daily basis. That number continues to grow and has allowed the CBC to educate the public on its services.
The CBC is underneath the Schmidlapp Event Lawn at Smale Riverfront Park, just at the base of the Walnut Street Steps. There’s a bike runnel so bicyclists can get from the top of the park to the bottom easily. Originally built as a commuter station for downtown workers, the CBC also serves tourists and locals who want to ride along the riverfront or to other neighborhoods.
Members have 24-hour access to a secure, camera-monitored space with bike racks and locker rooms as well as discounts on repairs, apparel and other services. Memberships are available on a daily, monthly or yearly basis and are a great way to try living a less car-dependent lifestyle.
A variety of bicycles are available to rent by the hour or for the day, including cruisers, road bikes, electric assist, kids’ bikes, tandem bikes and bikes that can be driven by a hand-powered crank for the disabled. There are also small, large and extra-large “Quadcycles,” which have four wheels and can seat up to nine people.
The CBC also offers daily bicycle and Segway tours that run along several routes throughout the downtown area and even into Northern Kentucky. Bike tours are 2-3 hours and are $30 for adults, $25 for kids and free for kids 12 and under. Segway tours are 2-2.5 hours long and are $60 per person.
In the near future, the CBC plans to host monthly group bicycle rides, which will be open to the public. Stay tuned to the CBC on Facebook and on Instagram.
If you’re interested in reserving a bike or taking a tour, send an email to info@cincinnatibikecenter.com.

Artichoke cookware store hosting series of cooking classes, demos

Artichoke has been open north of Findlay Market for only about 12 weeks, but owners Brad and Karen Hughes have already had an overwhelming number of inquiries about cooking classes. But they’ve offered only demonstrations so far, not structured classes.
“We’ve done a number of different demos, including brunch, ice cream and strawberry pie,” Karen says. “All of the demos have featured the products we sell and talked about the basics of preparing the dishes, but nothing real in-depth.”
On June 25, Artichoke will host its first summer school cooking class, which will be taught by Chef Anthony Jordan of Invito Personal Chef. Jordan worked under Jean-Robert de Cavel for a few years and then started his own company to focus on healthy eating and tailoring menus and meals to his clients’ dietary needs.
“Findlay Market is a resource no one else in the region has, and it’s so great to be able to partner with the vendors and show it off for this class,” Brad says.
The class will meet at Artichoke and then walk over to Findlay Market, where Jordan will introduce students to market vendors and talk about ingredients. Then the class will go to Market Wines, where they will learn how to select a wine pairing for the menu and purchase a bottle to go with their meal. Back at Artichoke, Jordan will lead the cooking demo around a four-course light summer menu.
The cooking class will be held 4:30-8:30 p.m. and is $65 per person. If you’re interested, contact Brad and Karen at 513-263-1002 or visit Artichoke, 1824 Elm St., to reserve your spot. The class is limited to 10 people.
The goal is to host one cooking class per month, Karen says. But there are a number of other opportunities to come in and see something being prepared in Artichoke’s demo kitchen. A free Father’s Day demo and tasting of bulletproof coffee, which is made with coconut oil and butter, is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 19.
Artichoke partnered with concert:nova for a demo of Julia Child’s Le Gateau au Chocolate, which is being featured in the organization’s one-woman opera Bon Appetit! The demo is at 4 p.m. July 17; tickets are $30 and are available here.
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