Montgomery Inn has seen a lot of famous faces over the years; Johnny Cash, Brittany Spears, Cameron Diaz, countless professional athletes, and every US president since Gerald Ford. The real stars, though, are the restaurant's award-winning ribs. Founders Ted and Matula Gregory started serving them in the late 1950s using Matula's homemade barbecue sauce. The ribs were an instant hit with diners and earned their first official accolades from the Cincinnati Post in 1968.
Years later, Montgomery Inn has expanded both its menu—specialties now include housemade Saratoga chips and barbecued spring chicken—and locations, but the ribs still steal the show. In recent years, they've been lauded by The Today Show, CNBC, and Fox News. The restaurant has even their own grocery line, so customers can enjoy their ribs and sauces at home.
At Local's Sports Bar & Grill, the food options are numerous and appealing, but it might be the party room that's most appetizing. In that private space, guests who reserve it can lounge back in leather recliners and watch one of five flat-screen TVs. They can even enjoy it catered, as servers can tote in plates of New York strip steak or shallot-encrusted salmon, quite exquisite options at a bar scene. Local ingredients make up a significant amount of the restaurant's culinary roster, and when they're not busy making burgers, the staff celebrates sports by airing NFL Sunday Ticket, ESPN Full Court, and MLB Extra Innings.
Setting up shop in a formerly run-down launderette, Lavomatic Cafe provides an opportunity to dine on hearty fare without attracting uncomfortable leers from surrounding shirt-folders. Charming exposed pipes and soft tones accentuate Lavomatic’s décor, which creates a perfect setting for sampling the establishment’s well-stocked wine bar. The menu offers a modest yet satisfying selection of comforting classics with a twist, like when grandma gets tipsy and mixes acids with bases. Start with small bites such as chicken lollipops with honey mustard, bourbon barbecue sauce, and spicy garlic sauce ($8.95) or tater tots with truffle, chive, bacon, and cheddar ($7.49). Warm up with tomato bisque and grilled cheese ($7.49) or a fish sandwich with fennel apple straw on rye ($11.49). Refresh the palate with a fusion of flavors thanks to the meatloaf cupcake with country green beans and mashed potatoes ($12.95) or a pork chop with mushroom hash and red-wine caramel ($18.95). Sharable sides such as cornbread ($3.25) and mac 'n' cheese ($6.95) are also available.
Bars are great spots for declaring preemptive thumb war on unsuspecting foes, so you’ll need to stockpile rations for a lengthy campaign. Sidebar’s menu offers plenty of options, including appetizers such as onion straws ($5.95), quesadilla rolls ($5.95), Juan Parnello’s queso dip ($5.95), and Sidebar wings (6 for $4.95, 12 for $8.95). Dig your mouth-shovels into a tasty burger that’s hand-pattied daily with 80/20 Black Angus beef. Burger options include the Soprano (pizza sauce, onion, and two cheese sticks, $7.50), the Devil’s Advocate (spicy ranch sauce, sliced jalapeno, and provolone, $7.25), and the Double Jeopardy (two patties with your choice of cheese, $8.50). Sandwiches such as the Roebling Reuben ($7.95) are also available, as well as 12” pizzas such as buffalo chicken ($9.95) and The Big Bill with onions, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and double cheese ($12.95).
Housed in a historic and picturesque building, Olives serves up a wide array of upscale American noshes in both its spacious dining area and its wood-ensconced bar. Fork brandishers can unfold the wild-mushroom-and-artichoke strudel nestled inside a greek pastry ($7.95), or savor the Berry Goat salad—teeming with mixed greens, pine nuts, and sun-dried cranberries (half size, $4.95; entree size, $7.95)—by staring at it for 48 minutes before imbibing it. The blue-cheese-encrusted new york strip ($19.95) packs a juicy wallop of carnivorous flavor inside its 12 ounces, and the Aloha Express pizza ($10.95) whisks taste buds to the Hawaiian islands on a train of pineapple, canadian bacon, red onions, and mozzarella cheese.