Best Restaurants 2022: Restaurateurs Share the Secrets to Their Lasting Success

We asked these four Best Restaurant owners how they’ve managed to keep delighting Cincinnati diners over the last two decades.
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Our latest Best Restaurants issue celebrates the staying power of nine Cincinnati eateries that appeared on our first Best Restaurants list in 2003 and are still open and serving Cincinnati diners today. We asked these four owners what it means to still be on the Best Restaurants list and to share what’s kept their business successful.

Headshot courtesy Shawn McCoy

Shawn McCoy, The Brown Dog Café

“We strive for consistency and to be cutting edge. To stick around, you have to adjust, be quick on your feet. And talk to your customers, find out what they want. That’s how we started doing our big carryout business. All the office workers around us in Blue Ash were a big part of our business. With so many of them still staying home, we’ve had to try new things—from carryout to take-home meal kits to ghost kitchens. The restaurant business is incredibly nimble; you can do anything you want with it.” —B.W.

Headshot courtesy Boca

David Falk, Boca

“We have three pictures on our wall: one of the space before it was Maisonette, one of Maisonette, and one of the space now. Fine dining isn’t the most profitable business, but everyone got behind Boca because they wanted to bring a world-class restaurant back to 114 E. Sixth St. I think we’ve done that. We go back to the fundamentals of cooking—the things that worked 30 years ago and even 60 years ago—while at the same time evolving. We build on our fine dining foundations. For me, the goal is to be like Beethoven or Mozart, who moved music forward while still drawing inspiration from the past.” —B.W.

Headshot by Catie Viox

Cristian Pietoso, Nicola’s

“Maintaining the brand requires daily high standards at the end of the day. I believe that hard, honest work, core values with a great lineup of food, and service combined with the right atmosphere are key for longevity. Our guests are coming out to our restaurants to enjoy life and the expectations are high. It’s not easy. There are always so many moving components but again we have a solid group of folks in our teams that enjoy what they do and it shows. It has been a hard couple of years for our industry, but I am confident the worst is behind us. People are coming out again and so the future is bright.” —A.D.L.

Headshot courtesy Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

Britney Ruby Miller, Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

“To be able to lead the company that my father built, and to continue his legacy, is an honor and fulfilling beyond words. The Precinct opened before I was born so I have never known a world without a family restaurant or my father’s approach to excellence with everything we do. As much as it’s been a part of my life, it’s also been a part of thousands of life’s milestones and celebrations for our guests in Cincinnati and beyond. I couldn’t be more proud of what our amazing team has been able to accomplish, most notably creating so many lifelong connections within each of our communities.” —A.D.L.

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