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In the end, Orb crossed the finish line first, the field favorite winning the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby in just over two minutes’ time. Mud caked the horse and his jockey, Joel Rosario, who rode the young colt to victory for trainer Shug McGaughey and the Phipps family owners (cousins Ogden Mills Phipps and Stuart Janney III) on a day that saw steady rainfall and very little else. Despite their prominence in the horseracing industry, Orb's triumph on Saturday was the first Derby victory for both parties, a fact that was obvious on their faces in the post-race ...
Unsolved Mysteries: Vera Ava’s Final Days
We had too many mysteries to fit in the April 2013 issue--so enjoy this bonus tale. Sure, grifters are a dime a dozen. But our town hosted one of the biggest. And she may still be here, tucked away in a pauper’s grave. In September of 1891, a disheveled, barefoot woman attempted to lodge at the Gibson Hotel. She identified herself as “Miss Vera Ava” and claimed she’d been inexplicably transported to Cincinnati from Chicago. Obese, dramatic, and disoriented, Vera Ava cut a striking figure. But in short order police had another identity for her: the notorious Madame Diss Debar—a ...
Unsolved Mysteries: Reptiles in Residence
We had too many mysteries to fit in the April 2013 issue--so enjoy this bonus tale. Some 60 years ago, a handful of Italians emigrated from Lake Garda, outside of Milan, to East Walnut Hills. Now the family spans generations, with thousands of descendants. But after all this time, they’re still mostly east-siders. The immigrants in question are unique—so much so, they’ve been given their own special name: the Lazarus Lizards. Known everywhere else as European wall lizards, they were “imported” by George Rau, a member of the Lazarus family. As a kid, Rau smuggled the reptiles to Cincinnati after ...
Fit to Serve: Jeannie Murray
A bartender at JeanRo Bistro for six years before settling in behind the bar at Jean-Robert’s Table in 2010, Jeannie is one of the most popular bartenders in the city, a vivacious redhead quick to a laugh and with a heavy pouring hand. As one of six children, she believes growing up in a large family prepared her for the world of restaurant service, giving her an ability to adapt to people easily. The very first restaurant I worked at was The Echo in Hyde Park. I was in high school and the youngest one there. The food was good ...
Fit to Serve: Leonardo Cangiano
A native of Italy, a “citizen of the world,” Leo Cangiano delivers his “no table left behind” hospitality at Nicola’s with genuine warmth, an infectious laugh, and a lot of humor. “I do cheesy really well,” he says. The 34 year-old father of two refers to his Highland Heights, Kentucky, home as “Kentuscany.” Everyone in America thinks that all Italians grow up in a cooking family. OK—honestly, it’s true. But before I came to America I thought all Americans wore cowboy boots and hats and drove a big Cadillac with horns on the hood. My uncle owns a restaurant ...
Fit to Serve: Kelly Lough Phillips
My interview with Kelly Lough Phillips began with an e-mail from her husband and business partner Bryant Phillips, who called her “one of the most capable restaurateurs I’ve ever known.” Lough began her service career at Gold Star Chili at the age of 10, and now, at 35, is the Director of Operations for JKBD, the partnership that owns and operates two restaurants, La Poste Eatery in Clifton and Django Western Taco in Northside. Not only did Phillips open two successful restaurants in two years, she did it while pregnant each time, and even survived being struck by lightning during ...
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