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In the rearview: Looking back at our best-read stories of 2017 and beyond


All things considered, 2017 was a pretty great year — especially for businesses, residents and leadership in Greater Cincinnati. As usual, there were too many great stories to uncover in a weekly publication, but our top stories certainly gave us an insider look at historic CVG growth, cherished local bookstores and our growing shared economy. Then, there were buildings, breweries, coffee shops, charity and so much more.

What was your favorite Soapbox story of 2017? What types of coverage would you like to see more of next year? Drop us a line at feedback@soapboxmedia.com and let us know how we can make 2018 an even bigger success by sharing the stories of our one-of-a-kind Greater Cincinnati region.

Happy browsing, and happy holidays from the Soapbox team!

Photo: Soapbox Archives

1. Greater Cincinnati’s top 30 must-try food trucks (May 20, 2014)
Okay, so we realize this story is not from 2017 —  not by a long shot, as a matter of fact. But Cincinnati sure loves its meals on wheels, and this doozie shows up time after time among our most-read stories since our founding in 2008.

Take a look at local food trucks that have come and gone, as well as those that still reign supreme over Cincy’s summertime food scene — and, as always, let us know about your new favorites and we’ll cover them next year!

Photo: Soapbox Archives

2. Soapdish: Why can't the West End be Cincinnati's next breakthrough neighborhood? (Jan. 26, 2016)
In something of a look forward, back in January 2016, longtime Soapbox columnist Casey Coston offered a critical look at Cincinnati's "next hot neighborhood," the West End. This burgeoning enclave is just a stone's throw from Over-the-Rhine, but its tortured history often overshadows its supply of single-family homes and proximity to downtown and OTR. Take an interesting look back at how the ongoing gentrification of Cincinnati’s urban core continues to play out in these modern times — and decide for yourself: Which neighborhood is next?

Photo: Soapbox Archives

3. Wiedemann Brewing owner now planning a taproom and beer garden in St. Bernard (July 17, 2016)
This much-read item from summer 2016 represented a look forward at a project that is now slated for completion. The organizers at Wiedemann Brewing, after years of planning, broke ground in August on a $3 million Bohemian-style beer garden in St. Bernard. The complex, which is expected to open early next year, will be located at 4811 Vine St., in the former home of Imwalle Memorial Funeral Home. Look for continuing Soapbox coverage of this long-awaited project in the coming weeks.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

4. OTR's Play Library offers toys and games on loan, helps Cincy settle into global sharing economy (March 7, 2017)
Things got communal in the spring, when we wrote about Cincinnati’s so-called "sharing economy," which offers everything from cars to clothes and kayaks for rent or purchase. We also told you about OTR's Play Library, a People’s Liberty grant winner that's applying the sharing concept to toys and games, with side effects that include more fun, less waste and a closer-knit community.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

5. Soapdish: Revisiting 1313 Vine, from beer hall to night club to entrepreneur hub and beyond (March 28, 2017)
Casey Coston took things (partially) underground in March, exploring one of Cincinnati’s finest examples of adaptive reuse at its most challenging. The building at 1313 Vine has played host to a number of entertainment venues over its 170-year history. Now home to Cintrifuse’s Union Hall, the property’s still-intact lagering cellars foretell a future that echoes Cincinnati’s fun-loving past.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

6. Local musician opens coffee shop and jazz club in Walnut Hills (May 9, 2017)
In a move to make Walnut Hills the center of jazz in Cincinnati, local musician Brent Gallaher and his wife Vanessa founded Caffe Vivace, a combination coffeehouse and jazz lounge, on the first floor of the Trevarren Flats development on E. McMillan.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

7. Coming Clean: 5 Questions with Aaron Sharpe of WNKU (May 16, 2017)
Many listeners are still reeling from the October shuttering of WNKU, one of Greater Cincinnati’s best-loved independent radio stations. Before the station played its last song, Soapbox sat down to talk with longtime fixture Aaron Sharpe, who weathered the blow and is moving on with a new project to celebrate his love of music, food and life in Cincinnati.

Read more about Sharpe’s forthcoming project, Lucius Q BBQ, coming soon to Pendleton.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

8. Ohio's best used bookstore hiding in Cincinnati's backyard (May 23, 2017)
May also brought news of the Friends of the Public Library, which was founded in 1957 and its Hartwell warehouse location, which continues to offer used books, audio recordings and vinyl records at deep discounts to local residents. Soapbox dove deep into what just might be Cincinnati's best hidden-gem bookstore.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

9. Speakeasy-style cafe to join DeSales Corner business boom (June 20, 2017)
In June, we told you about an Art Deco-style building located at 1535 Madison Rd. on the southwest edge of DeSales Corner in East Walnut Hills that will soon be restored to its former charm, welcoming a restaurant and speakeasy-style bar. The project is being undertaken by the team behind Northside bars The Littlefield and Second Place.

“A relaxed alternative to the OTR scene.” That’s how Michael Berry, part-owner of the new bar and restaurant, describes the emerging neighborhood of Walnut Hills. Berry is keeping the name of his new venture under wraps for now.

Photo: Soapbox Archives

10. Look behind the scenes at CVG, a city within a city (Aug. 15, 2017)
In August, we took a trip through Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, in many ways a city unto itself. Check out the resulting photo essay and companion video, which details the hub’s more than 60 retail shops, 460-person staff, curated public art and fast-growing passenger transport stats and figures.
 

Read more articles by Hannah Purnell.

Hannah Purnell is a lifelong Northern Kentuckian who writes extensively about regional issues related to arts and culture, politics and economic development. 
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