As a man who grew up on the river, the grandson of a boat builder, Dick Blakeslee knows all about the sea and its creatures. Blakeslee even owned a former ship store on the river, the Sun DEK Marina, but his dream was always to own a restaurant, so he turned that store into a snack bar, and from there, it continued to grow. Now it's a full-service gourmet steak and seafood restaurant with a full raw bar overflowing with clams, oysters, and shrimp and seafood entrees including broiled salmon and fish tacos.
Situated right on the water, The Oar offers views of boats bobbing, whether you’re seated on the outdoor patio or in the nautical-themed dining room. Its wood paneling, sailboat art, and crisp white linens evoke the decor of a luxury yacht. Even during the wintertime, the riverside eatery brings cheer with views of the annual Christmas boat parade—a heartwarming display of twinkling lights and Santa riding up and down the river at the top of a water-ski pyramid. The tradition, which brings thousands to the river every year, was actually something dreamt up at The Oar 10 years ago.
"Treat folks special." That was the mantra of Country Kitchen's founder, Bill Johnson, a mere teenager with an eighth-grade education when he moved to Cincinnati in the 1930s. But by the end of that decade, both Bill and his aspirations had done a great deal of growing up. With some experience flipping burgers beneath his belt, Bill and a friend opened their own restaurant?Country Kitchen. It was the first time Bill could put his treat-folks-special philosophy into practice as he pleased.
Today, Country Kitchen no longer sells burgers for a nickel apiece. But Bill Johnson's legacy still lives on in friendly customer service at each of the restaurant's locations?they now span the country. And Bill's preference for simple, homestyle grub is still apparent in the menu: pancakes for breakfast, burgers and sandwiches for lunch (or supper), and country-fried steak or roast turkey for dinner.
At Rudi’s Bar and Grill, it's easy to lose track of time when faced with the eatery's combination of sports, beer, and finger-licking grub. Ten TVs encircle the bar, surrounding the place in the sights and sounds of the season’s sports, from basketball or football to competitive snowball fighting. Hungry customers can thwart their stomach’s growls with a menu of classic American bar fare. Appetizers such as fried mac and cheese, spinach dip, and sliders precede traditional and boneless wings, black-and-blue cheeseburgers, and pulled-pork sandwiches. On weekends, live music permeates the crowd, which grows throughout the night thanks to a lack of cover charges.
There's always something going on at Village Idiot Pub, where drink specials abound and live music takes the stage each weekend. A menu of pub grub tempts diners with starters such as lobster wontons and mac 'n' cheese wedges, along with beefy burgers topped with bacon and jalapeños. For finger-licking eats, the pub also prepares chicken wings in 11 sauces, from trademark buffalo to the super-spicy atomic.
Adorned in their signature denim shorts, black tank tops, and Timberland boots, the Canz-a-Citi Girlz greet each Canz-a-citi Roadhouse guest. In between handfuls from endless bowls of complementary popcorn, diners can munch on wings slathered in scorching “Dirty Canz” hot sauce, burgers with one, two, or three 5.2-ounce bacon-topped patties, and fried Twinkies or Oreos. More than 200 kinds of canned beer, 20 drafts, and colossal cocktails such as sangria or jungle-juice fishbowls wash down each bite until 4 a.m., seven days a week.
Wood hues, brick walls, and a metal roof create the roadhouse atmosphere, as does decor such as license plates covering the ceiling, a beer-can-lined bar, and old hubcaps patrons can use to reflect light while tanning in the parking lot. Up to 60 TVs also broadcast UFC bouts and accompany visitors during weekly karaoke in each restaurant.