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May 3, 2009 06:06 PM

Cincinnati riverfront diners drive-ins and joints?

Hi, chowhounds in the Tri-state!

We are looking for a few good places to have lunch or dinner along the river.

Well, that could be the Ohio River, or the Miamis or the Hocking or whatever. Anyway some fun interesting places to go for a good hamburger or a salad and a couple of beers on a nice day.

Or maybe a glass of wine and a nice dinner in the evening.

On a patio or a deck or a marina along the river(s).

What is your favorite place? Any thoughts? Thanks.

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  1. Here's an out-of-the-way one you might not find otherwise, with a nice view of the river. I've found the food to be a bit hit-or-miss, but if you stick with the basics on the menu you should be fine.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Emm

      Thanks, Emm. I did not realize this estabilshment was near the river.

      Funny thing, I think we tasted their wine at the Cincinnati Wine Festival in March, so we will definitely have to try it!

      1. re: dumas

        The Little River Cafe in Oregonia is on the Little Miami, but the view is mostly the bike path (and bikers, both motor and pedal). It's a good place to stop if one is cycling in the area, but I probably wouldn't drive out my way to go....

        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          The Little River Cafe had a fire a few months ago and is now closed. It's in a flood area and my guess is that the only way it would be allowed to be rebuilt would be to rebuild the damaged structure.

          I drove by yesterday and there was work on what looks like a new garage in progress in back. The house itself is still a shell and is pretty much gutted by fire.

          1. re: donw9876

            Thanks for letting me know. We generally stop by there on one of our long summer bicycle rides, and I would have been very sad (and hungry) to get there and find it closed :-(

    2. I have one: the Train Stop Inn, directly on the Little Miami River.

      It's pretty much a "hole in the wall" but they have a large patio with picnic tables overlooking the river. This is at the ultra-casual end of the scale.

      The place used to have a gorilla in a cage in front of it that smoked cigars - clearly visible from the bike path. The gorilla case and its resident were removed in the 90s.

      1. A few suggestions. These are mainly bars, and the food is uneven:

        -- Cabana on the River, Sayler Park.

        -- Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club, west of Covington in KY. ( Features a Monday "cook your own steak" night. A good friend of mine loves this place.

        -- Rivertown Bar & Grill, on an old boat in the river off Kellogg Avenue, near Lunken.

        My personal favorite is the deck at Don Pablo's in Newport. Cold beer, decent margaritas, chips and salsa, right on the river and a good view of downtown. There's also the deck at the Montgomery Inn-Boathouse.

        1 Reply
        1. re: johnbycz

          Wow, the Ludlow Yacht Club really spruced up since I was last there (1985). They didn't have food back then, but I think that was the era of the old barge that sank later on.

        2. Jeff Ruby's Waterfront has fantastic food, on the pricey side but if you're looking for a nice dinner out on the river that would be my pick. If I'm paying for it myself I'd downgrade to Claddagh's Irish Pub on Newport on the Levy. It's a chain but the food is good, the beer is cold and they have a patio overlooking the river. I'd personally steer clear of Montgomery Boathouse. Kind of touristy and the ribs suck (though the rest of the food is pretty good).

          3 Replies
          1. re: JohnE O

            LBYC sounds very interesting. Thanks for the link. The Train Stop Inn sounds like we have to try it, too. We did try the Rivertown Bar and Grill (last summer) and that was fun. Too bad about the Little River Cafe.

            In the past few years we have stopped into the Newport on the Levee establishments and they do seem to have excellent views. We had dinner one night 3 years ago at the Waterfront and had dinner one time at Mike Finks, too, just to try them.

            But I don't understand why there aren't more places like the Riverftown Marina along the rivers. But maybe there are...?

            1. re: dumas

              Despite the removal of the smoking monkey, last time I went to the Train Stop (a couple of summers ago), it was still quite a “joint,” with a huge patio on the Little Miami. I think you can still rent horses to ride on the adjacent property, and at night you can see the fireworks from Kings Island from there. Don’t expect anything upscale. Grailville is nearby if you want to check out their retreat/organic garden offerings. Can make for a fun day if the weather is good.

              A couple of prospects on the Ohio River that may work for “on-the-water” ambience, although I can’t speak about the food. 4 Seasons is on Kellogg Ave. (east side). Drew’s is across from the Anderson Ferry on the west side, and I always love a ferry ride. If anyone has eaten at either, especially recently, please chime in.

              Dumas, you also mentioned Hocking. Not on a river but definitely worth recommending is The Inn at Cedar Falls, near Hocking Hills State Park in the Athens area. Focused on local food; great patio dining when it’s not too windy. Staying there is pricey, but lunch is reasonable (on those days they are “open to the public.”) They have other food events too.


              1. re: intuitive eggplant

                Thanks for the tips.

                We had family in from San Francisco over the weekend and took them for drinks pn the barge at the Four Seasons Marina on Saturday afternoon. It was a fun place to stop and explore, be out in the fresh air and have a couple of beers. They had a band just starting to play some music, too, so that was fun.

                I think I'd think twice about going there for food, though. We ordered 4 of the appetizers off the bar menu and found them all to be pretty inedible. Oh, well. We weren't really there for the food, but it would have been nice.

                I will work down the list of ideas on the thread as the summer progresses! (and I think I misspoke when I said 'hocking' river, I think I meant 'Licking', didn't I?!)

          2. A tasty new place called Andouille opened in late August on Rt. 52 a little east of New Richmond. I really enjoyed my blackened grouper with crawfish cream sauce over rice with corn bread, as well as the large, crispy frog legs with green onion dipping sauce and spicy cole slaw I split with my friend for an app. She’s been several times and swears by the etouffe, gumbo, fried potatoes, and praline bread pudding. Po’ Boy offerings are fried catfish; bacon & egg; and andouille. They also have a loaded potato with gator. They’re open Tues.-Sun. for lunch and dinner and have outdoor seating overlooking the Ohio River (I believe that’s evenings only) in addition to a spacious interior.

            Anna Ree's Andouille Restaurant
            1329 Rt 52
            You can find the menu here:

            Anyone discover any other additions to this thread over the summer?

            3 Replies
            1. re: intuitive eggplant

              Thanks for the info IE. Is it better Cajun than Redfish on 6th or Dee Felice?

              1. re: JohnE O

                Well, JEO, not sure I can answer that. I believe Redfish downtown is gone (never ate there) and I seem to recall reading that Dee Felice in Covington has changed ownership or chefs (haven't eaten there in many years). I know a lot of people have very particular preferences when it comes to cajun and creole, but if you're looking to get out of the city and give a new place a try, I think Andouille is worth the scenic trip so you can decide with your own palate.

                1. re: intuitive eggplant

                  IE, thanks for the links above and the tip on Anna Ree's Andouille. We will be sure to try that one since we live way out in Anderson Twp. and are always looking for a good place this far east. After we try it, we'll make a note of it here.

                  And thanks for the link to Grailville, too. I have heard about it but didn't realize it served food. In any case, it looks interesting for a visit.

                  We did try 4 Season's Marina 2 times. The first time we took out of towners and had a couple of rounds of drinks and several appetizers. I wish we had refrained from ordering the appetizers, since they spoiled a rather lovely afternoon along the waterfront. The second time we ordered beers and hamburgers, and again we wished we had skipped the food. We do like the place for drinks, though.

                  We haven't yet tried the other bars listed, although we expect to, soon,.

                  One more place I want to mention here (that is really off topic, but somehow apropo, is the Restaurant/Bar at Lunken Airport. We were out there for a flight and then decided to drop in for lunch and found it an interesting place to spend some time. The architecture is interesting and you can sit on the terrace and watch the planes come in. Club sandwich was good, too. A pleasant surprise for us.