Looking for a new place to wine or dine? WCPO Digital has the details on 9 new restaurants and bars opening in the Tri-State in the next few months.
1) Mr Hanton's Handwiches
Lovers of Mr. Hanton's Handwiches will no longer have to chase down a food truck when they're hankering for a gourmet hot dog. The owners of the popular mobile Cincinnati restaurant are opening a non-moving location on July 8.
Established in 2010 by owners and operators Brian and Awilda Hinton, Mr. Hanton's Handwiches brings a fresh twist on traditional hot dog fare by offering unique varieties of meats and toppings.
The eatery started as a food cart and then grew to a mobile food trailer. But the Hintons say they're business is still growing.
"From the very beginning, everything we did was geared toward one day doing something bigger," Brian Hinton said.
Brian said investors have approached him with the idea of making Mr. Hanton's a chain, and he's already looking at possibly opening a second location in downtown Cincinnati.
Some items on Mr. Hanton's menu include the "The Smokehouse," which is a play on a BBQ bacon cheddar dog, and the "Smokin' Hot Chick," which is a chicken apple sausage topped with house made habanero mustard, BBQ sauce, bacon and chopped onions.
While Mr Hanton's new location has a scaled down menu compared to the food truck, customers can still create all their favorite menu items that are missing.
All they have to do is ask.
"They will become underground menu items," Awilda Hanton said. "The only exception is the gyro, which is completely coming off the menu and being replaced by our Shamma Lamma Ding Dog."
What is the "Shamma Lamma Ding Dog," you ask?
It's a lamb sausage topped with tzatziki sauce, tomatoes, chopped onion and celery salt. It's like a gyro but in hot dog form.
The restaurant will be mostly carry-out with a few places to sit. It will be located at 249 Calhoun Street, across from the University of Cincinnati main campus in the U Square @ the Loop development.
Prices will range from $3.85 to $9 depending on what you order. The restaurant will be open at 11 a.m., seven days a week. Mondays through Wednesdays it will close at 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays it will close at 3 a.m.
And for fans of the food truck, the Hinton's say not to worry: The truck is still cooking.
Next page: Cheap chicken for OTR
2) The Eagle Food and Beer Hall
With the success of Bakersfield OTR, a Mexican-influenced eatery with a focus on tacos, tequilas and whiskeys, co-owner Joe Lanni decided it was time to open up another shop on Vine Street.
He wanted a casual place with a large beer selection and lots of fried chicken. That's when the idea for The Eagle Food and Beer Hall was born.
"When we signed up for Bakersfield, there really was not a lot going on in the neighborhood and we felt like we were taking a big risk" Lanni said. "The neighborhood just blossomed and it's just been so exciting to see all of the new restaurants open up down here and Washington Park."
The Eagle Food and Beer Hall will specialize in fried chicken and American sandwiches, which Lanni said is something no one else is doing in the area.
The Eagle Food and Beer Hall will not be open for lunch when it opens around Labor Day. Lanni plans on being open for dinner six days a week until midnight during the week and until 2 a.m. on weekends.
Everything in the restaurant will be priced under $10.
"We're trying to make it affordable," he said. "A place people could come, have a great time. We want to be a fun neighborhood place."
The restaurant is opening in a former post office across from the Brandery – the one with the eagle symbol on it, which is where Lanni came up with the name.
"It's a very American symbol. Our food is going to be American in style. We just figured, what the heck, it would be a good name," he said.
Next page: Newport has a new resident
3) The Still
Larry Hemsath, the owner of a 10,000 square-foot bar on the West Side of Cincinnati known as the Pirate's Den, said he plans on bringing a unique flavor to Newport on the Levee with his newest hangout.
When developing The Still, a bourbon-themed restaurant and tavern opening in Newport, he wanted a bar that offered great music and fun -- but he also craved the best bar food in town.
"You can go to any bar and get your burgers and your staple items," Hemsath said. "But we're trying to bring bar food to the next level."
That's why he hired Executive Chef Vitor Adrue.
Hemsath said Adrue is the No. 1 chef in Cincinnati when it comes to urban food.
"He's been everywhere," Hemsath said. "We're a bar, but we're going to have great food."
The Still will offer a wide arrangement of bourbon, wine, beer and cigar tastings. The signature appetizer, Hemsath said, is going to be bourbon-glazed shrimp and grits.
Food will be priced at about $8 to $12 for appetizers and could reach $25 for some entrees.
The Still overlooks the Ohio River, is 7,700 square feet and will have 15 high-definition televisions to accommodate sports lovers. Hemsath co-owns the Still with John Carnevale, who owns and operates Saxby's Coffee at Newport on the Levee.
Hemsath said the Still will have wider exposer than the Pirate's Den thanks to Newport on the Levee's "destination feel" -- so he wanted to include a more eclectic range of music.
"Instead of it just being the party dance, we're going to have rock and country," Hemsath said. "We'll have live entertainment and live bands throughout the week."
The Still will open in the first week of July and be open Monday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. The business is opening in the same location that previously hosted Jefferson Hall, which closed in April.
Next page: One of the top chefs opens up shop
After working for The Palace Restaurant in the historic Cincinnatian Hotel and later moving his talents to Abigail Street on Vine Street, Jose Salazar decided the time was right to open his own place.
Aptly named Salazar, the new restaurant is scheduled to open in Over-the-Rhine in the first week of September if everything goes as planned.
"The atmosphere is sort of a modern bistro," Salazar said. "The food is new American. It won't have a geographical destination. Everything I serve will be really farm-inspired and seasonal."
Salazar said his menu will always be changing, and meals will be based on seasons.
While certain proteins will remain on the menu, the accompaniments will change to reflect the month.
But that's all Salazar will reveal about his menu, which is in its early stages.
"I've been in the planning stage for quite a while," Salazar said. "We'll play it by ear."
Salazar grew up in Queens, New York and his parents are both Colombian.
In New York, he worked with several talented chefs and developed a unique cooking style that uses Spanish, French, Japanese and even Italian elements.
Salazar, which is moving into a space at 14th and Republic Street, will be open Monday through Saturday at about 5:30 p.m. for dinner only. It will close at about 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Salazar plans to create lunch hours after a few months of being open. The restaurant will be 1,300 square feet with about 45 seats including the bar.
Next page: U Square goes Asia
5) Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House
Residents and students living near University of Cincinnati's main campus are getting a very unique neighbor when Elephant Walk Injera & Curry House opens at U Square @ the Loop this summer.
Ethiopia native and Cincinnati resident Genet Singh said she plans to open Elephant Walk in mid-August so she can serve a fusion of Ethiopian and Indian classics that will be both inexpensive and good for you.
"All the food we make will be fresh and every day it will be fixed starting from scratch," Singh said. "Our goal at Elephant Walk, deeply from the bottom of our hearts, is to fix food that is not only reasonably priced, but is very healthy. "
The restaurant will be located in a 3,156 square-foot space on West McMillan Street and will have an open kitchen so customers can watch their food being prepared.
Almost all the ingredients on the menu will be purchased daily from organic shops in the Mason area, Singh said.
Singh decided on the name Elephant Walk because of how her culture views the elephant.
"The elephant is a very reserved, powerful and mellow animal," she said. "It's delicate, but very powerful. We figure our food will resemble that."
One of Singh's signature dishes will be the Doro Wett, which means chicken stew in Ethiopian. From the Indian portion of the menu, Singh will have fresh bread called Injera. She will also serve fresh juice made from scratch.
For between $2.99 and $3.99, Elephant Walk's chefs will prepare Sambusa, which is bread stuffed with the vegetables and/or meats of your choice and lightly fried.
Dinner prices will range from $9.99 to $13.99. Elephant Walk will be open seven days a week. Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. During lunch hours, customers can order from the menu or grab food from a buffet.
"We're an upscale restaurant, but we're around the university and hospitals," Singh said. "We'll be serving people who want to go in and out and have a quick meal."
Sunday through Thursday, Elephant Walk will hold dinner hours from 5 to 10 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, dinner will be from 5 to 11 p.m.
Next page: A new place to get (local) craft beer
6) The Brass Tap
When Cincinnati native Mic Foster visited Florida and stumbled upon the Tampa-based craft beer bar The Brass Tap, he said he knew it would be perfect for the Queen City.
"I thought they had it all really well put together," Foster said. "I didn't see any point in reinventing the wheel. I thought it would do spectacular here in the Midwest."
The 2,650 square-foot bar will have 80 craft beers on tap, 300 bottled and canned beers and 16 premium wines.
While the primary focus of The Brass Tap will be American craft beer, it will serve some imports. Foster added that it comes with a big campaign to support local brewers.
"Of our 80 taps, a minimum of 20 are going to be from local and Cincinnati breweries, which I think really separates us from our competitors," he said.
The Brass Tap, which is opening at U Square @ the Loop near University of Cincinnati's main campus, will also take beer requests on its Facebook page.
But it's not all about alcohol. The Brass Tap will also have some food on its menu -- like pretzels and pretzel crust pizzas.
"People crave them," Foster said. "They're so good."
There will be about 20 to 25 televisions for sports fans. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, The Brass Tap will also feature live music.
Foster said he chose U Square for The Brass Tap's location because it was a great fit.
"I really like the U-Square development," he said. "I think the professionals there and the students will really enjoy the concept."
The Brass Tap is scheduled to open at 241 Calhoun Street in early August and will be open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday hours will be from noon to 2 a.m. Sunday's hours will be from noon to midnight.
Next page: Hibachi returns
7) KIJI Steakhouse
If you thought downtown Cincinnati was missing some hibachi grub, then you're in luck: KIJI Steakhouse is on its way.
The new restaurant, being developed in the former space of Benihana, will feature 14 hibachi tables and a menu filled with Asian classics.
Joe Wang, president of Fuji Steak House, is opening shop at 126 E. Sixth Street, in the area known by many as "restaurant row."
Judie Guttadauro, vice president of sales and leasing for Realty Network Plus, says KIJI should open in about three months and is currently in the construction phase.
She said KIJI will have a similar design and feel to Wang's Fuji Steak House restaurants.
Guttadauro brokered the deal to have KIJI built on Sixth Street, and says she's very excited about its spot in the city.
"There's lots of activity at Sixth Street," Guttadauro said. "People like to dine when they go to events. We wanted to bring them a good hibachi place."
KIJI is one block from Fountain Square and the Aronoff Center and sits near Igby's, Boca, Sotto and Nada. Guttadauro hopes KIJI's prime location will allow it to blossom.
The finished restaurant will be about 5,000 square feet and seat about 150 to 160 customers.
The menu at KIJI will be very similar to the menu at Wang's Fuji Steakhouse, which has locations in Florence, East Gate, Fairfield and Hyde Park. However, KIJI will not serve sushi.
To view Fuji's menu to get a good idea of what to expect, click here: http://www.gofujihouse.com/fujimenu.pdf
Next page: Who doesn't love a donut?
8) Holtman's Donuts
Three generations of donut making expertise will find its way to Over-the-Rhine with the opening of a Holtman's Donuts this summer.
Holtman's will open at 1332 Vine Street on the first floor of the Trinity Flats building. The store will be run by Danny Plazarin, the grandson of Charles Holtman, who opened the first Holtman's Donuts in 1960.
Danny's parents, Toni and Chuck Plazarin, operate two Holtman's stores -- one in Loveland and another in Williamsburg, Ohio. Toni is the daughter of Charles Holtman.
The new location will likely be open from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. most days. While there is no exact date set, owners estimate they might open in early August.
For more information on Holtman's, visit www.hotlmansdonutshop.com.
Next page: An upscale sports bar gamble
Another upscale restaurant is coming to Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati.
Heraea, a sports restaurant and lounge, will open in the fall.
Casino officials said Heraea is owned and operated by The ONE Group and will be the third and final restaurant to open inside the casino.
Heraea will feature a restaurant and lounge with a DJ booth and "cutting-edge" audio/visuals.
The restaurant is inspired by the Heraean games, the first athletic competition for ancient Greece.
"We're thrilled to be partnering with Horseshoe to open our unique sports-driven restaurant concept, especially in such a great sports city like Cincinnati," The ONE Group CEO Jonathan Segal said. "Heraea is perfect for people who are looking for a place to catch a game, a great meal or a fun night on the town."
The outward-facing restaurant will seat about 190 and is located next to the casino's main entrance.