Crosstown Shoutout

Our Great Divide has its roots in religion, class, and race (those highways didn’t help, either). But are all east-siders WASPy blue-bloods? And are all west-siders blue collar Catholics? Not by a long shot. As it turns out, we share a lot of common ground.

Photographs by Kathryn Landis / Illustration by Gluekit

→ You’re Drinking and Throwing Heavy 
Objects, Legally. You’re Probably at…
Bowling alleys are the great equalizer. Norwood’s Stones Lanes and Bridgetown’s Western Bowl might as well have been separated at birth. Western is a bit bigger (68 lanes, versus Stones’s 28), but they both have the same stale smell, ’80s-era furniture, deep-fried bar fare, ice-cold beer—including craft selections now—and will likely look the other way while you gun an indoor cigarette or two. If we ever convene an official east-west armistice, the after-party will be celebrated with frames of 10-pin and buckets of Budweisers.

Stones Lanes, Norwood
Stones Lanes, Norwood’s

Photograph by Aaron Conway

Western Bowl, Bridgetown
Western Bowl, Bridgetown

Photograph by Aaron Conway


→ All Roads Lead to…
Confess: even neighborhood natives can be navigationally challenged on their own stomping ground. So we rely on one of these main arteries as a frame of reference. For west-siders it’s Glenway Avenue; for east-siders, Madison Road. The latter dates back to the early 19th century, when pioneers christened their rutted road after the newly-elected U.S. president. The former has the distinction of being the locale where, in 1949, Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides looked down at the glorious view of the city skyline and came up with a name for his Glenway Avenue chili parlor. The rest, as they say, is history.

→ You’re Proud to Be Buried In…
You know you’re on the west side when the burial ground referred to as St. Joseph New Cemetery dates to 1854. Generations of Irish, German, and Italian Catholics have been interred here (and in the “Old” cemetery two miles away); generations to come can join them in a variety of plots and above-ground crypts. Gate of Heaven Cemetery, in Symmes Township, has a significantly shorter history. Its first interment came in 1948, and its accompanying parish, Good Shepherd, followed a quarter century later. With four archbishops among the burials, and more than 100 priests, these 160 acres are holy grounds indeed.

→ Your Idea of a Classic 
City Park Is…
Mt. Echo Park in Price Hill and Ault Park in Hyde Park share a lot of design DNA: Blossoming pink cherry trees in spring, choice sledding runs in winter, wooded hiking trails, kid-endorsed playgrounds, and historic, rentable pavilions for weddings and private functions. Ault Park hosts several of the city’s most popular events, including its annual fireworks display and the classic car show Concours d’Elegance. At Mt. Echo, one of the greatest displays in the city shows every day for free: the park’s incomparable view of downtown Cincinnati, ribboned by the mighty O-hi-o.

→ You’re in a Huge Crowd of Sweaty People. You’re Probably at…
There are dozens of parish fetes, but nothing on the city’s crowded social calendar is quite like these secular events, both in late June. Cheviot Westwood Community Association runs WestFest, the jammed über-streetfair, on Harrison Avenue. It’s two days long, and can draw up to 30,000 when the weather holds. Meanwhile, sunscreen-slathered hordes watch the adrenaline blowout as runners and cyclists test their mettle on Hyde Park Square for the Hyde Park Blast. Kid activities and adult libations abound at both; expect more live music at the first, more spandex at the second.

→ These are the new kids 
on the block
When Zach Eidson bought Oakley Wines in 2012, he discovered that the young professionals transforming this blue-collar neighborhood wanted what he did: expertly curated, budget-friendly wines served in a hip, welcoming atmosphere. “Oakley has embraced us,” says Eidson. His addition of a lower level bar in 2015 (and introduction of a small Sunday brunch menu) further cemented Oakley Wine’s position as a community-gathering place. “The West side is a little underserved in that capacity,” says Tony Cafeo, co-owner of Incline Public House and Jefferson Social. Well no more. Following on the heels of the insanely popular IPH, Cafeo opened Somm Wine Bar in May, where the neighborhood’s burgeoning community of YPs can partake of Somm’s impressively eclectic menu of wines, plus cocktails, salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie. Yes, you read that right: charcuterie in Price Hill.

→ You’re Hungry, and You Probably Live Within 10 Minutes of…
By this point, each establishment has grown far beyond the constraints of the east-west divide: LaRosa’s has 66 restaurants, from Dublin, Ohio, to Knoxville, Tennessee; Graeter’s has 54 shops and is in 6,000 grocery stores across 46 states. Yet the vibe of each brand still very much embodies its original locale. LaRosa’s, which first opened on Boudinot Avenue in 1954, remains all about Buddy Cards, extra cheese, garlic dipping sauce, and free 2-liters of Coke. Graeter’s, which started in 1868 and opened its first store on East McMillan Street, is still whipping up small batches of French Pot ice cream. Regardless of where you end up chowing down on that Buddy Deluxe or finishing off a pint of black raspberry chocolate chip, you can still tell where it came from.

→ Your Address Weirds 
People Out. You Live on…
Both are narrow, but Devil’s Backbone twists along a breezy ridge above the Ohio while Spooky Hollow plunges into the woodsy Little Miami valley.

Devil’s Backbone vs. Spooky Hollow

Illustration by Jerry Dowling


There’s nothing especially terrifying about either one, unless you happen to teach driver’s ed. Indian Hillians know that Spooky Hollow was once the address of Jazz Age opulence: the grand Fleischmann estate, now the centerpiece of the arts/agricultural nonprofit Greenacres, is there. For Delhites, there’s Hollywood cred: Devil’s Backbone got a nod in the 1993 made-in-Cincinnati flick Airborne as the street where the skate competition takes place. Sadly, filmmakers used the name, but not the location, for the shoot.

→ Can’t Find Your Neighborhood On 
a Map? You’re In…
There is no such thing as Kenwood. Western Hills exists only as a vague, generalized region. Both of these “places” are, in reality, not actual places. The neighborhood of Kenwood—generally recognized as the area around Kenwood Towne Centre—is in fact a U.S. census-designated place in Sycamore Township, utilized solely for housing demographics. The neighborhood of Western Hills  is even more nebulous; it loosely encompasses places and things around Western Hills High School, but with no definitive boundaries. Neither location—despite plenty of name-dropping—is considered a legitimate township or municipality. They are community equivalents of please? and liquid chili—things that make sense only to us. And that’s all that matters.

→ It’s a Friday During Lent. You’ll Be at…
You know you’re in for a good time when a church calls its fried fish “Magnificod.” St. William’s seasons their Lenten fare with parish hospitality and a sense of humor, and that (along with family-friendly entertainment) keeps ’em coming all the way to Holy Week. We have no idea how Hyde Park/Mt. Lookout became Cincinnati’s regional sushi shrine. But every time a harried parent grabs a couple half-price dragon rolls on the way home from work, you can bet she’s saying “Thank God.”

→ Your side of Town’s Mandatory 
Campaign Stop Is…
Campaigning for local office entails an exhaustive cross-neighborhood social calendar. (Those babies aren’t gonna kiss themselves!) Out west, CincItalia, the May festival benefitting St. Catharine of Siena in Westwood, is ground zero: Who can say no to taking a sticker when they’re stuffed with homemade lasagna? In the east, it’s the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market. The pedestrian audience is captive (have you seen the Blue Oven Bakery line?), and pretty consistently city residents who care enough about civic matters to spend their Sunday at a local farmers’ market.

→ So You’re Looking For a New Park…
What do you want—microbrew or a macro view? Cleves’s Community Park is a true community product: funded by user fees, with neighbors pitching in on maintenance and oversight. Part of a former refinery complex, the park abuts the Great Miami River, has soccer and baseball fields, and is a great place to launch the kids’ rockets in the summer and spot a wren in the winter. In Blue Ash, the still-developing Summit Park, covering some 130 acres, is more like a casual after-work chill zone with restaurants, an amphitheater, and artfully placed strips of green. And a big residential development planned next door should make this an even more lively meeting place.

Summit Park
Summit Park

Photograph by Aaron Conway


→ Your Old-School Go-To Shop Is…
If anyone knows how to bob and weave with the changing times, it’s local shop owners. They’ll cultivate a clientele for years, and then a highway will blow through town and rewrite the rules. Raymond Kroner is the third generation to run Kroner Dry Cleaning, which has starched Cheviot’s collars since 1939. And when I-75 carved the city in half, Kroner’s crosstown delivery service became even more important. Likewise with 100-year-old fine linen dealer Gattle’s. According to shop owner John Cheney, whose father bought the business from the Gattle family 40 years ago, big box retailers only pushed the shop’s brand profile further up-market. So if you want the fanciest bedding money can buy, Gattle’s is holding down the local (pillow) fort.

→ Your Chili Parlor of Note Is…
Price Hill Chili may be a west side institution, but they don’t have any intention of resting on their laurels. With recently updated curb appeal, microbrews on offer, and a Poké Ball located right next door in the fountains of the Golden Fleece lounge, they’re keeping current while still serving the same great staples—Greek sausage hoagies and fries with Beltsos family seasoning—not to mention plenty of five-ways. While the indie diner vibe is equally as strong over at Blue Ash Chili, folks are queuing up to take the No Freakin’ Way challenge—2.5 pounds of both spaghetti and chili, followed by 2 pounds of cheddar, and a pound of jalapeños. Eat it all in an hour (without exploding, choking, or expiring) and the bill’s on the house. Because some days a meager six-way just isn’t enough.

→ You’re Riding A Tilt-A-Whirl. You’re Probably At…
From top to bottom, Cincinnati’s amusement park food chain follows thusly: Kings Island, Coney Island, Stricker’s Grove, coin-operated kiddie cars at the mall. Both Coney and Stricker’s Grove are 1920s throwbacks, with classic rides and arcade games, and in Coney’s case, a hella big pool that has cooled the heels of countless Cincinnatians since 1925. The main difference is access: Coney Island is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and hosts big-name events like Paddlefest and Summerfair. Stricker’s Grove is open to the public just a few days a year, and hosts your company picnic. Still, where else can you get gobs of cotton candy and ride rickety roller-coasters for less than it costs to park at Kings Island?

Channel 12's Bob Herzog—one of our West Side MVP's— in the first car of The Teddy Bear coaster at Stricker's Grove
Channel 12’s Bob Herzog—one of our West Side MVP’s— in the first car of The Teddy Bear coaster at Stricker’s Grove

Photograph by Aaron Conway

→ It’s Prom Night. Your Go-To 
Restaurant Is…
Do not be deterred by the Cold War-era apartment building facade. Primavista boasts one heck of a scenic view of our dear city and the carpaccio, fried calamari, and veal Saltimbocca are usually textbook. East-siders often bank on Hyde Park Square stalwart Teller’s.

Illustration by Jerry Dowling
Primavista vs. Teller’s

Illustration by Jerry Dowling


The menu may skew perennially ’90s (baked goat cheese and buffalo chicken eggrolls, anyone?), but if you book as a group you can eat in the old vault. If there was ever a night to cross the Vine Street divide, this is it, kids. Don’t tell me you can’t find a way to occupy yourselves in the back of the limo during the drive.

→ Which Side Am I On?
New, contemporary-style construction, Edison bulb-laden light fixtures, plasma screen display of local craft taps, and an mesclun-topped house burger (with optional gluten-free bun) give the Incline Public House a serious east side vibe. But the unobstructed, expansive city view from the patio is priceless Price Hill. If it’s a dimly-lit, family-friendly, burger joint experience you’re after (a west side specialty), slip into a booth at Zip’s Café, established in 1926, in Mt. Lookout Square. Check the chalkboard for crafts on draft, then grab a cup of crayons off the wall for the kids and know that the Zipburger you order for them today is the same one your grandchildren will get in 20 years.

→ Lost? Look UP for this Landmark
You are driving, listening to that song on the car radio, the one that goes “Oo-oo-oo-oooh Jackie Blue,” when you get lost—you’re not from this part of town—and aimlessly keep on driving. So you look for a landmark that plants you again. Maybe you’re driving deep into the east side, when suddenly you see the profound water tower of Mt. Washington. Its lights are a beacon for planes landing at Lunken, and they can guide you, too. On the west side, it’s good to run into the old WSAI FM radio tower atop Price Hill, which has outlasted WSAI’s FM footprint. And when the guy on the radio announces the song he’s just played, about a girl named Jackie Blue, you may be wandering, but you aren’t lost—not hardly.

→ Not All Car Shows 
Are Alike
Gravelrama in Cleves is as much environment as event: There are drag races, four-wheel drive competitions, and vehicles roaring up Eliminator Hill that will have you picking sand out of your crank case. Plus there’s a ladies auxiliary, families are welcome, camping is encouraged, and your ears will be ringing. Meanwhile, Ault Park’s annual Concours D’Elegance—from the Grey Poupon name on down—announces it’s a fancy car promenade, where exquisitely restored vintage sports cars and gleaming foreign classics from across the country are displayed for collectors, CEOs, and fans of Top Gear.

Gravelrama vs. Concours D’Elegance
Gravelrama vs. Concours D’Elegance

Illustration by Jerry Dowling


→ Your barbershop of choice is…
Do parts go to the left on the east side? Does a straight razor shave rotate clockwise in the west? No. There are only diehard barbershops and the other kind, and we like the former. In Price Hill, we head for Terry Grote’s shop; he’s an Elder grad who has been cutting hair for 50 years and even met his wife Jo Anne on the block. But nobody’s more old-school than Turner Barber Shop in East Hyde Park, opened by Pat in 1968 and now run by his son, David. If tradition isn’t enough, then the price is. Remember—tip like an east-sider, please.

Terry Grote’s barber shop
Terry Grote’s barber shop

Photograph by Aaron Conway

Turner Barber Shop
Turner Barber Shop

Photograph by Aaron Conway


→ Your Go-To Informal Family Reunion Venue Is…
The Elsaesser family opened The Farm in 1950, and since then you may have attended a wedding reception or a wake there. Or both. For the same person. It’s the kind of place that attracts large groups of people in the mood to gather ’round the lazy Susan. Same with Eli’s BBQ, where you’ve taken every out-of-town guest since Elias Leisring opened on Riverside Drive in 2012. Both will lull you and your clan into a comfy food coma, Eli’s with its smoked pulled pork and BYOB policy, and The Farm with its fried chicken buffet and no-tipping rule. Kid-tested, grandma-approved.

→ It’s not a “Shopping Center”…
The people who get paid the big money on the west side are calling the redesigned Harrison Greene project a “lifestyle center.” A gang of restaurants have opened at Harrison Avenue and Westwood Northern Boulevard, and there’s a big office complex coming and a road improvement project on deck. Whatever you call the east side’s Kenwood Collection, you can stop calling it a hulking, rusted-out chunk of bougie blight along I-71: the misbegotten development is nearly done, with restaurants, a Whole Foods, Old Navy, Crunch Fitness, L.L. Bean, and more. Calling it a belated success would be dandy.

→ Your long-awaited town square revival is…
Where does Main Street success smell sweeter? In Westwood, urban planners envision a revived town center with a plan that includes green space renovation and a much talked-about “bowtie”—a patch of land that will create pedestrian traffic and areas for bands and cornhole competitions. Pleasant Ridge’s business district has been a candidate for revival since forever. But now, with the Nine Giant Brewing recently opening and a vintage movie theater next to Pleasant Ridge Chili getting refurbished, there’s even more reason to believe the Ridge is on the rise.

→ And the Next OTR Is…
Two old working class parts of town are getting a fresh coat of paint. Peering west, that would be Price Hill, long a subject of interest to our mayor and local developers who envision a vibrant nabe built around the Incline District. The ongoing success of the fledgling Warsaw Federal Incline Theater points the way forward. Meanwhile, in Walnut Hills, the Peebles Corner Historic District is drawing developer attention, and there’s a $100 million project underway to redevelop the grand former Baldwin Piano Co. building into lofts. Either one would be a good place to go once you’ve been priced out of OTR.

→ Your Political Native Son Is…
Politics is all about perception, and John Cranley could teach a master class in straddling the east-west border. Raised in Price Hill, Cranley still pits himself as a west side champion of the everyman (as you’ll recall from 2013, 65-gallon trash can limits are an assault on the middle class!), and he was one of the developers behind the Incline Public House and Incline Village Condos. But these days he inhabits a Hyde Park home valued at $542,000 and has been seen wearing salmon shorts. It does not get more stereotypically east side than that. Yet his dual stance seems to prevail; in the 2013 mayoral election, he lost nearly all of central Cincinnati, but carried the east and the west.

Cranley vs. Cranley
Cranley vs. Cranley

Illustration by Jerry Dowling


→ Candidate for a Crosstown Transplant
The Aglamesis family has been making ice cream and candy “the sincere way” since two brothers from Greece opened their Oakley shop in 1913. Over the last 100 years they’ve added only one other location—in Montgomery. Citizens of the west should be denied no more! We’re thinking a pink truck with black awning is just the ticket. Now if only there was a truck big enough to deliver to the east side masses all that Bridgetown Finer Meats has to offer: USDA prime cuts of beef, a rotating weekly lineup of gourmet burgers, wildly popular twice-baked potatoes, fresh produce, and an extensive wine selection. We’re getting hungry just writing about it.

→ Your Archetypal ’Hood Is…
Hyde Park is a little microcosm of the east side: Historic town square? Check. Stock of stately houses and apartments? Check. Lots of upper middle class white people? Check and check. Plus, HP hosts the city’s reigning farmers’ market. Across town, Cheviot feels a lot like the beating heart of the west side. The neighborhood is home to huge events like Harvest Home Parade and WestFest, a tidy little downtown-that-could, and dining institutions like Santorini and Maury’s Tiny Cove. Plus, it has not one but two pronunciations: “Chev-wah” (like French) and “Shiviot” (like prison shiv). One is a joke, one is not.

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