Good barbecue is all about the sauce. When Robert “Big Bob” Scott perfected his mom’s famous sauce, customers clamored for it so intensely that the family went from offering samples in grocery-store parking lots to creating the eatery now known as Scott’s BBQ. The menu centers around traditional barbecued meats perfected over four generations. Instead of soaking, smoking, or tenderizing them with a sterile cowboy boot, the kitchen seasons its pork ribs and chicken well before searing them over a charcoal grill. From-scratch side dishes such as creamy coleslaw and collard greens complement the Big Bob’s smoky sauce. Even the desserts are made from scratch, concluding meals with 7-Up pound cake and peach cobbler.
Known for its collection of more than 300 cookie jars, Riley’s Restaurant presents a menu brimming with hearty American fare. Breakfasters can greet a spinach-and-cheese frittata, a fluffy egg dish that bears spinach, portobello mushrooms, and melted swiss cheese on its soft yet substantial shoulders, accompanied by fruit and a fresh-baked muffin ($7.99).
In a dining room with blue walls and green booths, patrons of TC Thai Cafe can savor Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine, all prepared without a trace of MSG. Cooks crush peanuts for pad Thai, simmer duck in rich panang curry with avocado, and blend fresh pineapple and cashews into fried rice. In cold weather, diners can warm up with bowls of flavorful Vietnamese pho.
The wood-paneled walls at SmoQ are full of vintage photos of renowned southern barbecue chefs, but that’s only one way the restaurant pays homage to the southern barbecue tradition. The other way is the smell, created by the molasses-brined chicken, hand-rubbed ribs, and spiced sausage basking in the wood smoker for up to 14 hours. The process infuses both succulent slabs of meat and the dining room with a sweet, smoky aroma.
SmoQ’s slow-cooked ribs earned praise from Cincinnati.com and were called “Best In Show quality” by Cincinnati Magazine, which also deemed the chicken wings “quite possibly the best in the city.” In addition to the meats, the chefs also send southern staples such as corn succotash to the smoker. At the end of the meal, SmoQ finishes in southern style with bread pudding crafted from Maker’s Mark sauce and glazed donuts.
At Expressions in Hair, a team of stylists snip and sculpt tresses into fashionable cuts, enhancing them with artful coloring and highlights. They also sew in extensions and micro-bead locks, while their nail techs employ a wide selection of shellac polishes when painting nails or marking which Hot Wheels are theirs. For patrons wanting to expel hair, an onsite aesthetician can wax everything from face and arms to back and legs.
Chefs at Dos Amigos pride themselves on the extensive menu of traditional Mexican favorites, as well as their smattering of unique dishes that customers can rarely find elsewhere. In addition to classics such as succulent carnitas and vegetarian-friendly spinach enchiladas, they harness the natural sweetness of seafood to forge house specialties including lobster chimichangas and fried-shrimp burritos. This family-owned-and-operated eatery also makes it easy to bring the whole clan, allowing kids to eat for $1 on Thursdays and hosting a daily happy hour ideal for atoning after misplacing your in-laws again.
Invented by microbiologist Curt Jones in 1988, Dippin Dots now satisfies sweets-lovers across the world with unique and cryogenically frozen confections. Dive into spherical servings of 10 different flavors, including Oreo, orange sherbet, or mint-chocolate-chip dots, all of which have been flash frozen using liquid nitrogen and an evil eye from Old Man Winter. With two area locations, Dippin Dots silences cross-state stomach rivalries with small ($3.25), medium, ($4.25), and large ($5.25) servings, as well as dot sundaes swimming in caramel and chocolate sauces and buried under a fluffy feather pillow of whipped cream ($4.50). Satisfying eyes and ears with the ping of each pellet scooped into your cup, Dippin Dots’ nontraditional treats signal the next wave in frozen sweets, and will inspire you to start cryogenically freezing other childhood flavors such as ginger snaps and tire swing.