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.
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Kamal Kimball is a freelance writer and co-founder of Ampersand Creative Services.