The 'gastrofication' of OTR: A bittersweet bite to the restaurant boom

Here’s one way to measure Over-the-Rhine’s evolution: Stand at the intersection of Vine and 15th streets and soak up the views north and south.

Facing south, you’re seeing urban renewal anchored by a dozen trendy restaurants and bars. Make a 180-degree turn, and you see a snapshot of the poverty, neglect and drug use that have plagued the neighborhood for a generation.

As Over-the-Rhine’s rejuvenation pushes north along Vine, we’ll continue tasting the bittersweet of gentrification, baked into the mushrooming restaurants and wine bars catering to the tastes and wallets largely of people who don’t live in the neighborhood.

Those who pay attention to the eat scene—namely, Cincinnati’s discerning food bloggers—are excited by OTR eateries planned to open in the coming months. These same keen pallets are also, to varied degrees, sour on a side-by-side trend: This growing bounty of high- to middle-brow restaurants and wine bars neglects and squeezes out elements of OTR’s storied culture and character.     

Call it gastrofication.



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