Dan Korman’s general store, Park + Vine, is not only a nucleus for the city’s green movement, but his recent addition of an all-vegan lunch menu that relies on seasonal and local ingredients (with Melissa Cox Howard at the helm) has created a community crossroads for veg-heads and omnivores alike.
Dusmesh Indian Restaurant There a handful of really good Indian restaurants in Cincinnati and Dusmesh is my favorite. The service is incredibly genuine and friendly, and the staff knows how to accommodate vegans. 944 Ludlow Ave., Northside, (513) 221-8900
Green Dog Café I have dreams of Park + Vine and Green Dog Café being neighbors. It would be so lovely, given the environmental bent of both businesses. My favorite dish here is Green Chow Chow Curry. It’s made with sautéed spinach and mushrooms, green curry, coconut milk, and cilantro over brown rice with socca. And then there are the French fries with truffle oil. Be still my beating heart! 3543 Columbia Pkwy., Columbia-Tusculum, (513) 321-8777, greendogcafe.net
La Mexicana Anyone who complains about the lack of authentic Mexican food has likely never heard of La Mexicana in Newport. Still, this little restaurant has good word-of-mouth given that I usually run into someone I know whenever I go. I love the guacamole and that I can add pumpkin flour and huitlacoche to vegetable tacos and burritos. 642 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 261-6112
Myra’s Dionysus Myra’s is my overall favorite restaurant in Cincinnati; a soft spot along a busy street across from the University of Cincinnati that takes me to another place. I started eating here when I was in college. Along with Clifton Natural Foods, Myra’s helped me transition to a vegetarian diet 25 years ago and feel normal and special along the way. Myra’s is known for its delicious soups, but I’ve yet to find a better baba ghanoush, and I love the spicy gado gado! 121 Calhoun St., Clifton, (513) 961-1578, myrasrestaurant.com
Orchids at Palm Court Along with the all-vegan Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, this is the most elegant dining experience I’ve had. I’ve been here for a Cincinnati E.A.T.S. event and on a date. The staff may have treated me with slightly more attention than my omnivore companions. 35 W. Fifth St., downtown, (513) 421-9100, orchidsatpalmcourt.com
The Rookwood Bar & RestaurantI ate here as a kid and young adult until it became Porkopolis. When it reopened as The Rookwood in 2009, I reached out to see how we could pair the restaurant with Park + Vine for an event. We called it Sustainable Sunday. More than 20 people walked from the store in Over-the-Rhine to The Rookwood for a vegan Sunday brunch prepared especially for us. I fell in love immediately. They have a divine fried tofu dish and a relatively new vegan menu that wows. 1077 Celestial St., Mt. Adams, (513) 421-5555, therookwood.com
Riverside Korean I love Riverside Korean. I like to take out-of-town friends and family here. The spicy tofu dish is divine and the side dishes [banchan] that proceed dinner are a meal on their own. The pan-fried vegetable and tofu dumplings are accessible to most palates. 512 Madison Ave., Covington, (859) 291-1484, riversidekoreanrestaurant.com
Senate I’d be a complete fool to leave Senate off my list. I go for my own namesake bean-lentil hot dog—The Dan Korman (I forgo the goat cheese and bun, which isn’t vegan). It’s a complete honor to have a food item named after you, especially one that’s plant-based in a meat-based world! 1212 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-2020, senatepub.com
Thai Express This is the best Thai food experience I’ve had in Cincinnati. My favorite dish is pad see ew, stir-fried rice noodles in dark soy sauce. Instead of egg and sliced meat, I go for tofu. The two women who own and operate this little restaurant are consistently delightful. 213 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, (513) 651-6900
Loving Hut I rarely get to Loving Hut, but love that an all-vegan restaurant can persevere in our city. I skip the meat analogues and go for the raw menu items—especially the blueberry cheesecake and soup—while sitting in the front window overlooking Montgomery Road. 6227 Montgomery Rd., Pleasant Ridge, (513) 731-2233, lovinghut.us
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