After 60 Years in Business, You Learn a Few Tricks

Earlier this week, a local joint on the northern fringes of Cincinnati celebrated 60 years in business. Not bad, huh?

The Root Beer Stand has served hungry folks in Sharonville the same homemade root beer and chili since 1957. This is the kind of spot that does a few things–and does them very well. If you’re looking for root beer that tastes fresh and crisp, this is your spot. If you’re looking for a burger topped with cheddar cheese, nacho cheese, and bar-b-q, this is your spot. And, if you’re looking for a famous hot dog served with everything on it all at once, this is for sure your spot.

By the way, employees make gallons of fresh root beer every day at this joint. Every. Single. Day.

The folks in Sharonville love this restaurant. On any given day during the spring and summer, you’ll find it packed with folks enjoying a few twists on basic fast food. Many say The Root Beer Stand is synonymous with their neighborhood.

Which meant they didn’t let the drive-in’s 60th anniversary pass without a celebration. Not only did the city declare last Monday “Root Beer Stand” day, but city leaders and officials turned out with cupcakes for a root beer toast of 60 years service to the community.

Here’s to 60 more…

College Hill Coffee Co.: Great Beans, Better Atmosphere

It’s no secret that I love coffee. A lot. I’m a writer by trade, so that’s almost a given. Writers drink coffee by the boatload, and I have an avowed addiction to Starbucks.

But I also appreciate those small little local joints, the places were the beans are handpicked, the décor is unique, and the coffee comes with a certain charm. In College Hill, a Cincinnati suburb, no one does that better than College Hill Coffee Company.

Tucked into the main drag, this café, coffee house, and gift shop delights immediately upon entry. This is the kind of place where a writer (like me) could sit for hours working on a manuscript and be perfectly content. Soft music plays overhead, guests can choose from a variety of seating, and the menu goes far beyond a delicious cup of java. Sandwiches, pastries, wine, beer, and desserts all make the list. To the side of the main checkout desk lies a few rows of off-beat shirts, accessories, jewelry, posters, and small gift items. Many of those have direct connections to Cincinnati.

Never been? Put the place on your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Sweet, Savory, and Sophistocated at Maplewood Kitchen and Bar

Last week, downtown Cincinnati got a new offering for the breakfast and lunch crowd. Maplewood Kitchen and Bar officially opened to much anticipation and fanfare.

Located at 5th and Race, the restaurant is uniquely positioned in the middle of a block of prime real estate, right across the street from the downtown Macy’s store. Thunderdome Restaurant Group owns Maplewood, and that rising conglomerate is known around the region for some of the Queen City’s tastiest spots. In case you didn’t know, by the way, Cincinnati is home to a blooming list of fantastic restaurants and bars, and this might well be the time of a culinary Renaissance in the city. Think this is a town only full of Skyline Chili or Greater’s (not that there is anything wrong with that, much love for both)? Think again.

Maplewood Kitchen and Bar is a worthy addition to the dining scene.

The restaurant offers upscale fast-casual, and the spot is more than a deli but less than formal dining. Patrons order at a counter from a selection of sandwiches, salads, breakfast, and brunch staples before taking a seat in the large dining room. Severs then deliver the completed orders a few moments later. Those who want to add some spice to their breakfast or lunch (perhaps making it a three-martini one), can order from a wide selection of alcohol at the bar.

Set against the clean lines, white décor, ferns, and light wood of the décor, the concept works. Maplewood feels crisp, fresh, and cosmopolitan. It helps that the food is great, too, of course.

Time well spent in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.