In a petite 56-seat eatery, the chefs at Café St. Tropez cull fresh ingredients to craft the classic French sandwiches, pastries, and eats that populate the menu. Early risers can replace lingering memories of wailing alarm clocks with the sensations of a Very Berry crepe, a warm amalgamation of seasonal berries and mascarpone sprinkled with vanilla-infused sugar. In the St. Tropez caprese, tomatoes and avocado huddle next to fresh mozzarella as sourdough or wheat toast or a croissant soaks up garlic-infused olive oil like a teddy bear soaks up the sleep-mumbled poetry of children.
At It’s Just Crepes, you’re encouraged to eat with your hands. That’s because every crepe on the menu is folded into what Soapbox Cincinnati calls "a convenient to-go style," eliminating the need for knives, forks, or tiny plate-side catapults. Instead, diners bite straight into the golden-brown bundles, which are stuffed with fillings both savory and sweet. The smoky BLT, for instance, oozes with pepperjack cheese and chipotle mayo, while sweet crepes pack in classic flavors such as Nutella, strawberries, and brown sugar. Utensils can come in handy, however, when attacking one of the eatery’s fresh salads, which meld fresh spinach, chopped romaine, and other greens with diced veggies, cheese, dried fruit, and slices of meats.
Co-owner Keven Paizannoglou founded the first It’s Just Crepes with his wife and partner, Karrah, after realizing how much he missed the crepes he’d enjoyed in his native Greece. Now, more than 20 employees serve up the delectable treats from three trendy dining spots decorated with blue and orange hues and contemporary white furnishings.
La Poste chef, Dave Taylor, has crafted a menu of inventive dishes served with unconventional and delicious sides, as well as myriad quality wines. As in epistolary matters, the menu at La Poste is divided into Postage, Salutation, Body, and Postscript. Fritter away the premeal wait with a "postage" choice of ricotta fritters adorned with candied orange, bathed in black-truffle oil, and served with baby arugula ($7). Hungrier diners can upgrade to the succulent sausage in brioche, served with bacon, frisee, and brown butter ($10), with the option of delivery confirmation from a contented stomach. Amid the trellised windows and casual-but-tasteful arrangements of the restaurant, a glass of pinot noir from Gerard Bertrand ($9) sets off a plate of grilled salmon served with a smoked-paprika ratatouille and simmered in a buerre-rouge sauce ($18).
Taste of Belgium follows an authentic family recipe to make its waffles out of thick dough and coarse Belgian beet sugar. A specialized cast-iron press then crushes the dough into its distinctive waffle shape and caramelizes the sugar in the process. This gives the waffle a rich vanilla flavor and a delightful sweetness that doesn't require syrup. As such, you can eat waffles on the go without plates, forks, or Catholic guilt.
Where the air was once filled with the pounding of hammers and the smell of hot iron, the sizzle of burgers and the scent of maple syrup now reign. Cafe Audrey resides in a historic former blacksmith’s shop whose interior delivers just about what the quaint brick building promises: white-painted wooden chairs and tables, lamps that resemble old kerosene lanterns, and walls lined with vintage photographs. There, families start the day or take a lunch break with soul-food staples such as shrimp po' boys and plates of broaster chicken—named with a portmanteau of “broken” and “toaster”—dipped in crisp, fluffy batter. On the all-day breakfast menu, huevos rancheros and chicken quesadillas add a touch of spice to the morning.
The Post-Tribune highlighted Cafe Audrey as part of the resurgence of the Fort Ben area. Owner Tammy Cunningham didn’t land there by accident: “I wanted a local feel. I wanted to be a part of the community,” she told the paper, adding that the café has built a fan base of “a lot of great word-of-mouth customers” since its 2011 opening.
Like the rooster that graces Sunrise Cafe’s logo, owners Scott and Jenny Horsfield rise with the sun. They spend the early hours of each morning overseeing the café’s kitchen, where cooks crack eggs, sizzle bacon, and whip up housemade jam starting at 6 a.m. Come lunchtime, the staff shifts gears, sandwiching corned beef between slices of bread and tossing spinach with strawberries and housemade dressing. Though Sunrise Cafe has been around for 24 years, it continues to modernize with the times, blanketing its booths and tables with free WiFi and forbidding the use of phonographs.