This week I stumbled upon a place that has turned out to be one of my favorite lunch spots in Cincinnati: FAUSTO inside the Contemporary Arts Center. And when I say “stumbled upon” I almost did!
After coming out of the underground parking garage on Sixth Street, I was one block from Fountain Square and could smell the fresh bread baking inside a sandwich shop to my left. Then I looked down and noticed a grey oval sticker on the sidewalk that read: “FAUSTO AT THE CAC. Coffee, Morning Bites, Lunch, Cocktails, Wine, and Dinner.” That sounded appealing enough but then along the bottom was “Cincinnati’s Favorite Brothers.”
Who are Cincinnati’s favorite brothers
? They are Austin and Tony Ferrari, owners of wine and coffee shops, restauranteurs, and an expanding hospitality business. The brothers decided to keep the Fausto name as an homage to their father and great uncle who owned a barbershop just around the corner from where FAUSTO, the restaurant, now resides.
The restaurant’s focus is California cuisine, and the brothers use seasonal, locally sourced, and sustainable food.
The Iced Honey Latte and the Dirty Chai Latte.
As I walked in, I was warmly greeted by the barista and started my lunch with an Iced Dirty Chai Tea Latte, which is a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso. I was pleasantly surprised and must say it was one of the best chai drinks I’ve had in Cincinnati. I checked out their Instagram account and learned they use a special espresso blend crafted by the brothers themselves.
I ordered the Sakura Farms steak sandwich, a delicious combination of Sakura Farms steak, apricot miso marinade, ratatouille, arugula, pickled eggplant, and crispy shallots. I also ordered the chicken salad sandwich, made with house-made chicken salad with tarragon, mustard, pistachios, and grapes.
I was blown away. Other lunch menu offerings vary from chilled local cucumber soup, grilled country bread from Allez bakery with sherry brown butter to Caesar, wedge, or Ohio tomato and corn salads.
Currently, the museum’s famous “Shark Girl” art installation sits outside the restaurant entrance. This is the Contemporary Arts Center after all.
FAUSTO at the CAC sidewalk sticker on Fifth Street downtown.
Stop in for lunch Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or keep an eye on their website
for announcements about special “Final Friday” dinner parties.
After you enjoy your meal, pick up one of their homemade chocolate chip cookies for later and explore the art upstairs.