CINCINNATI — If you had to name your favorite food from your favorite place, what would it be?
Danny Holbrook knows: It’s a very particular apple dumpling. The one that used to be on the menu at Hathaway’s Diner when he was a kid. As the owner of the place now, he knew what he had to do.
“Heck yeah,” he said, “I still love the apple dumpling, and we added it back.”
He added it back at a very special time. About a month ago, Hathaway’s moved from its mall-facing storefront in the Carew Tower to a street-side space. The windows with the big “Hathaway’s Diner” neon sign let people know it’s there for business. And Holbrook says they seem to be finding it.
“We are way busier than we were, for sure,” Holbrook said.
Fans of the long-time Cincinnati staple are happy to hear that.
When blogger Michelle Dorward Jones worked in the Tower years ago, Hathaway’s was a group “go-to” for lunch.
“We were there three times a week,” Jones said, “It’s just iconic and wonderful, and when they brought it to the new spot, it’s a great location with a view now. And they still have Geneva.”
She was talking about Geneva Huff, who’s been a server at the diner for 42 years. The menu has a burger in her name, which she recommends with a smile.
But it’s not just about the food (I personally suggest the pancakes). Hathaway’s new digs take you on a trip back in time. Pictures from Cincinnati days gone by grace the walls, and the tables have a ‘50s feel. It’s fitting when you consider the diner was born in 1956.
According to Holbrook, its newest chapter might not have been possible if Frisch’s hadn’t recently vacated its mostly re-done downtown store where Hathway’s is now. The space was move-in ready to continue a very specific mission.
“We don’t serve fast food,” said Kitchen Manager Darryl Thomas, “We serve good food fast.”