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Jul 26, 2006 12:09 AM

Cincinnati Nostalgia

I lived in Cincinnati in the late 90's. I'll be returning later this summer for a long weekend. Can anyone tell me if my old favorites are still there? Let's see... The Precinct, Maisonette (heard it moved, then maybe closed?), Izzys, Zips in Mt Lookout (I think that's the area), The National Exemplar, the Palace (if there is it still as good as when Anita Hirsch Cunningham was chef?)

Also any recommendations are appreciated, how many meals can you fit in a long weekend I wonder!?

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  1. Still in existence, probably much like you remember
    The Precinct
    Izzy's (the chain is still open, some locations have closed, others has opened)
    National Exemplar

    Probably changed a bit...not sure how much as I don't tend to spend more than 10 bucks even on a rare top quality lunch
    The Palace.

    Closed for good
    The Maisonette

    The top restaurant in town is now arguably Jean Robert's at Pigalls, owned and run by Jean Robert de Cavel

    Call that my recommendation, as you've almost certainly already been to the chili parlors, Mio's, Aglamesis, and eaten goetta, etc

    1. 90s is nostalgia? Gosh, I was thinking 60s and I know the place I met my wife, the Lakewood Bar on Jefferson is long gone swallowed up by the march of the UC medical campus towards the main campus. The last time I was at the University of Cincinnati the entire center of the campus was torn up for construction and what was surrounding it was almost unrecognizable. I know there was a College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning that I remember buried somewhere under that bizarre addition.

      I would guess Scotti's, the Italian restaurant is also closed.

      So, what is open that might have been around circa 1960s near UC?

      1. Skip Zip's and go here for a seriously fine burger:

        Scotti's is still in business, although I've never been there so can't vouch for the quality. I can't recall anything in the UC area that dates from the 60s.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Emm

          Scotti's in the 60s was a small, deep, narrow restauarnt with red and white checker table cloths and candles in a chianti bottle. The proprietors at the time were old, spoke Italian in the kitchen and probably were from Italy or not too far from. Scotti's was considered then to be the best Italian. It was very basic fare like large plates of spaghetti and meat balls. By today's standards and expectations it would be considered primitive. If it were still in business today I would imagine it would be nothing like the 60's.

        2. It should be mentioned that Jean Robert was chef at the Maisonette in the 1990s, so if it's the food you long for and not the decor, then by all means go to JR's. Also, Pho Paris in Oakley -- which JR operates with the Vietnamese family that owns the Soong Long in Roselawn -- is also terrific.

          As for other recommendations (Slim's, Boca etc.), just search this board.

          1. Well, the CVG Burger Guys unfortunately don't tend to rate a burger well unless the patty is loaded with seasonings, so that in some cases the burger they rate highly really isn't a burger anymore. That said, we agree on the burger at Zola's (Covington in the Mainstrasse district) as being quite good.

            On the other hand, I agree with you (and them, by rare chnce) that the Burger at Zip's isn't so good. For a truly great burger in that part of town, head to Arthur's in Hyde Park Square, particularly on one of their "Burger Madness" nights.

            Had Scotti's lasagna for lunch about a year ago - good but not great.

            In Clifton, it is my belief that Papa Dino's pizza, Mecklenburg Gardens, Martino's on Vine, and Proud Rooster (to name but a few) have been around for ages. Adriatico's has been around for at least 25 years, albeit they are at a new location.

            6 Replies
            1. re: TJ Jackson

              I can't tell if you've actually eaten the Oakley Grill's burger, and I haven't had the one from Zola's. I also can't swear that no seasonings were added to Oakley burger, but if there were they were largely undetectable. It wouldn't fit the "not really a burger anymore" description as far as I'm concerned. I'll stand on the recommendation!

              1. re: Emm

                That's cool - just a warning about the CVG Burger Guys in general. No, I haven't eaten the Oakley Grill's burger yet - stopped in onc just after the kitchen closed, ended up at Arthur's (again) instead :-)

                1. re: TJ Jackson

                  Arthur's menu is so varied, the food quality and service are so dependable, and the prices are so reasonable it merits a discussion of its own. Personally I haven't found any real individual standout items on the menu, but I think it's a great place to go when I'm not sure exactly what I'm hungry for. I know whatever I order will be carefully prepared and tasty.

                  1. re: Emm

                    I'm trying to remember Arthur's...if I've been there or not. In HPS I remember a couple of places. On e was a basic old timey luncheonette place sort of like the Village Kitchen (I think) in Mariemont. Another place was multilevel (maybe originally a house?) And I had a seven layer salad there once. I think there was a sunroom, glassed in porch, or big wall of windows? Is either of these Arthur's?

                    1. re: Emm

                      I'm guessing The Echo is the luncheonette place, and it's right next to Arthur's. I'm not sure about the multi-level place ... the space sounds like Teller's, which is an old bank, but I can't imagine a seven layer salad being on the menu. (At least the small-town seven layer salad I grew up with -- maybe Teller's serves a fancier version.)

                      1. re: Emm

                        For years, the Echo was the ONLY restaurant in the Hyde Park Square with the exception of Zeno's which was in the multi-story building in the area.

                        I have to confess that the average of the patrons of the Echo was well above 60 - and I have not made it back since my grandparents died. The food was always pretty good.