Owner of Walnut Hills pub aims to revive area

Posted at 11:13 PM, Nov 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-12 23:13:58-05

CINCINNATI -- While the name might be misleading, the mission is not.

Ron Reblando, owner of Angst Coffeehouse and Pub in Walnut Hills, is giving his establishment a rebirth of sorts in a neighborhood working toward rejuvenation. He owned and operated Angst 20 years ago before having to close it in 1999 to focus on his family. Now, he and his wife, Nicole, are giving it a second chance at life.

The reopened coffeehouse and pub combo sits around the corner from Walnut Hills’ popular Fireside Pizza, and Reblando has big plans for “Angst 2.0,” as he calls it. His focus is hyperlocal – all beers are local and the coffee beans are sourced from independent Cincinnati companies such as Coffee Emporium and La Terza. Patrons are likely to find a Mt. Carmel, a Listermann or maybe a Weidemann on one of their 10 taps at any given time.

The inspiration for his food harkens back to his childhood growing up in Los Angeles. Reblando, who moved to the United States at age 9 with his parents from the Philippines, remembers riding the bus with his mother, smelling the meat cook and buying street tacos from hole-in-the-wall vendors.

“If I’m going to open a place up and I’m going to be there, it’s going to serve food I love and what I love about L.A. and my childhood,” he said.

Food at Angst is a throwback to the owner's childhood in Los Angeles. Photo by Leah Fightmaster

But the local focus isn’t just reflected in Angst’s fare. Reblando wants to use the coffeehouse and pub as a meeting place for community members to come together, regardless of their background, and get to know each another as one neighborhood. As a member of the Greater Cincinnati Independent Business Alliance, he’s working with independent businesses across the city to revitalize the local economy.

“We’re promoting independent businesses because we want to keep dollars local,” Reblando said.

Although he lives in nearby Mount Auburn, Reblando saw the push to improve Walnut Hills and liked the diversity within the community. He began working with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, and he took that involvement one step further when he opened Angst within the new Walnut Hills Community Entertainment District.

Reblando has big plans for the place. In addition to locally sourcing his coffee and beer, he wants to build up the surrounding community by using Angst as a sort of staging place for small, independent business owners. He is looking at featuring pieces by local artists, hosting a holiday fair for Cincinnati-based vendors and considering a farmer’s market in the spring for neighborhood gardens.

Angst isn’t just open to those looking to sell their wares. Reblando is turning it into an “authentic community” center by hosting groups such as Queen City Bike, which recently conducted a regular meeting there. Future programming could include open turntable nights, DJ nights and a poetry slam to bring people from across all interests in and “build community one conversation at a time.”

“Walnut Hills has a rich history. My kids go to school in these neighborhoods, and I want to help the community where I live, work and where my kids are growing up,” he said.

If You Go
What: Angst Coffeehouse and Pub
Where: 2437 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills
When: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday; noon-1 a.m. Saturday; noon-midnight Sunday