Sugar N’ Spice Diner Brings Throwback Fare to OTR

The Paddock Hills institution has a second location in an old diner, and everything old is new again.

Photograph by Dylan Bauer

This is the story of a retro marriage at the corner of 12th and Sycamore. The 65-year-old stainless-steel diner was dragged there and opened in 1983. The other half of this couple, the original Sugar n’ Spice restaurant, opened in 1941 and still thrives on Reading Road in Paddock Hills. So now a legendary place is newly married with a vintage space.

Open for breakfast and lunch, there’s nothing surprising on the menu here. Even the more creative dishes have a retro feel, like the BLT Salad (sinful while pretending to be saintly), the Cuddlin’ Puppy (a hot dog wrapped in bacon with cheese and relish on buttered Texas Toast), and the Not So Reuben Reuben (that adds roasted turkey and goetta, making it a monster of a sandwich). There are stacks of wispy-thin hotcakes, the big-as-your-head omelettes, and sizzling burgers.

Photograph by Dylan Bauer
Photograph by Dylan Bauer

Fortunately the Sugar n’ Spice Diner is not charging downtown prices, and you can already see the throwback tab totals are helping attract an appreciative crowd of Over-the-Rhine locals. I still recall the thrill I had as a kid going to the original Sugar n’ Spice and delight to think the Sycamore location gives neighborhood kids that same joy. And every kid, no matter what age, gets a duck. That’s right, your choice of collectible plastic retro ducks. And to fit with these COVID times they’re freshly sanitized before you take your pick. (Reservations are currently available, too.) May the happy couple grow old together.

Sugar n’ Spice Diner, 1203 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 762-0390

Editor’s Note: The original version of this story misstated the original opening date of the diner, which was in 1983.

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