Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.
The Olive and The Grape's two locations celebrate the cuisine of the Mediterranean by packing shelves with vinegars and more than 30 olive and grape-seed oils from Spain, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, and many other countries. Other products include seasonings to flavor grill rubs, marinades, and salad dressings and more than 50 types of pasta. Staffers also load up carriers with an assortment of their highest-selling products, including aged pomegranate vinegar, grape-seed oil, and garlic-herb seasoning, along with suggested recipes and pet names for select items.
As a young Lebanese man living in Cincinnati, Andy Hajjar found himself longing for the tahini, mint, and feta flavors of his family’s home cooking. Once his mother and brother joined him in the US, the three of them decided to start a deli. Their corner establishment quickly burgeoned into an award-winning restaurant, Andy’s Mediterranean Grill, where they continue to share family recipes without asking relatives to adopt every diner first. Their talent with seasoning lamb—which they grind, chop, marinate, and even serve tartar, if a diner orders in advance—landed Andy on WCPO Channel 9, where he showed the audience how to make lamb burgers. When preparing skewers of charbroiled tenderloin, cilantro-flavored sea scallops, and flatbread pizzas, the kitchen also relies on fresh ingredients and house marinades. Diners can also sip dozens of beers or wines, including some from Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey, as they relish the old-fashioned coziness of a wood-burning stove and the modern joys of a flat-screen television. On weekend evenings, belly dancers appear, and on any evening guests can lounge on black-and-red striped cushions in the wood-paneled hookah room. The Hajjars also sell marinades, salad dressing, and Turkish coffees through Andy’s International Market, which helps customers stock the pantry in their own apartment, home, or sandcastle.
Ken Cappelletty and Fred Moor, the men who man Ken’s Flower Shops, didn’t grow up dreaming about buds and stems. Raised by a local policeman, Ken likely spent more time playing cops and robbers than sniffing the neighbor’s rosebushes. It wasn’t until he helmed the cash register at a neighborhood florist in L.A. that he discovered his knack for design. Here, he started to see flowers as more than just plants, viewing them as art supplies that happen to smell nice. When Ken returned to Ohio, his parents helped him launch a small shop that arranged blooms in the morning and delivered them in the afternoon. Two years later, in 1967, his friend Fred took some of the reins, helping him grow the business into three local stores affiliated with FTD and Teleflora. From this labor of love, a legacy began to take root. At each shop, seasoned designers incorporate customers’ requests into birthday bouquets, wedding corsages, and gift baskets filled with wine, house-baked cookies, and stuffed toys cute enough to melt hearts and plush enough to sop up the mess. Their talent and creativity takes center stage as well, whether they’re filling vases with orchids, crafting wreaths from roses, or building bouquets from singing balloons. To this day, Fred often answers the phones, discerning customers’ style preferences from friendly chats rather than pilfered diary pages. To make giving easy as getting, the shop’s wares can be delivered locally or internationally, seven days a week.
Once a ramshackle ice-cream store with a loyal Akron following, today Zack's Fire and Ice serves barbecue along with its cones with help from new owner and former pastor Randy Stewart and his wife, Kathy. The Stewarts have lived in the Southwest and up and down the East Coast, so rather than adhere strictly to any one regional barbecue style, they synthesize their favorite elements from a number of traditions to create an eatery with the welcoming spirit of a backyard cookout. The kitchen slow smokes brisket, ribs, pork, and turkey breast and slathers them with sauces such as honey and apple bourbon. Frozen treats such as sorbet and frozen yogurt stay chilly at the ice-cream counter alongside hard-packed ice cream in flavors such as pumpkin pecan, oatmeal cookie, and Superman, designed to freeze enemies’ brains faster than a speeding bullet.
The Winans family has been making lives a little sweeter for more than a century. During the Great Depression, townspeople would flock to the family?s bakery in Piqua with their sugar rations. Owner Wayne Winans would take that sugar and turn it into freshly baked cookies?a small pick-me-up at a time when even small pick-me-ups were a luxury. Years later, Wayne?s sons, Max and Dick, carried the family torch into the 1960s, when the first Winans Fine Chocolates & Coffees was born.
Today, the Winans family continues to do what it does best at three Ohio locations. All of the business?s chocolates are handmade, with no preservatives or fillers, and never cryogenically frozen. The family?s emphasis on freshness carries over to their coffee, too, which has frequently been named the area's best by the readers of the Dayton Business Journal and the Dayton Daily News. The secret is in their roasting process?their small, 15-pound roaster requires them to roast the beans in small batches, which leads to a more consistent product. Once the beans are ready, coffee artisans carefully combine them with other roasts to create a vast assortment of flavors, which includes 11 house coffee blends, 12 flavored coffees, and even more seasonal selections.