Tusculum Grille was named one of Cincinnati's top 20 pizza places by WCPO. The crust on the eatery's signature pies is just like the ice under a misbehaving child or penguin in danger: thin. Its Italian-style specialty pizzas range from a meaty buffalo-chicken edition to the veggie version that's one-upped by a vegan veggie version. Salads and sandwiches accompany the pizza offerings.
After a miscellany of incarnations since the building's assembly in the late 1880s, York Street Café in Newport billets a first floor restaurant, second floor lounge, third floor art gallery, and fourth floor art studio. If the weather cooperates, loaf on the garden patio for lunch and share a Swiss Fondue or Mediterranean conversation platter with a friend ($18). The homey interior cuddles the dining area with bookshelves rife with treatises and doohickeys. Settle in for dinner, peek at the wine list, and warm your insides with modern comfort food like vegan polenta packed with sautéed vegetables and pumpkin seeds ($18-$23) or a sandwich supplied with a side of homemade green bean casserole ($12). York Street Café regularly schedules live entertainment for a complete night out.
Bred on Louisiana-style cooking, local restaurateur Grant Gieseler was dismayed by the lack of quality southern fare in the Cincinnati area. He and his business partner Blake Gieseler founded Bayou Fish House to introduce the area to fresh fried fish and hearty gumbo. Diners can grab meals to go or kick back at the bar or seating area and tell exaggerated tales about the biggest fish they ever ate. The eatery's walls sport a paddle, a life preserver, and various aquatic tchotchkes to remind fish of their home.
In 1589, Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria established a Hofbräuhaus, or "court brew house." Made in compliance with the Bavarian Beer Purity Law, pours for Wilhelm and his court were made with only three ingredients: hops, malt, and water. More than 400 years later, the brewers at the American Hofbräuhaus still abide by those rules and recipes. Wilhelm's ghost and a living German brewmaster supervise Hofbräuhaus' in-house production, which yields four year-round varieties, as well as seasonal specials such as an Oktoberfest beer.
To complement those classic quaffs, cooks craft traditional German cuisine from local and imported ingredients. House-made bier cheese smothers Bavarian-style nachos, bacon and mushroom sauce covers schnitzels, and red apple kraut pairs with sauerbraten's slow-braised beef. Diners can dig in and practice their best "Prost!" inside a traditional bier hall, where flat-screen TVs surround wooden communal tables and live accordion music frequently soars to the rafters. Hofbräuhaus also hosts guests inside a quieter dining room or on the bier garden, a shaded outdoor perch overlooking the Newport waterfront and Cincinnati skyline.