If you want to really see the Ohio River in New Richmond, take Front Street all the way into town from U.S. 52. You’ll pass big old houses until you hit downtown and its central meeting point, Front Street Café. The café-style tables out front are cute, but the life of the restaurant exists on the back patio. There, a huge beech tree makes for one big shaded area where patrons dine while bands play bluegrass, Cajun, folk, or some other similarly rootsy music. All of which is to say that you come to Front Street Café because it’s quaint and people are friendly and there is good music. The food is good, though it doesn’t break any new ground (and for the price, you might not expect it to). The pasta Lafayette—Andouille sausage, shrimp, and red peppers cloaked in a “spicy cream” sauce—is the most adventurous item on the menu, but it’s more Midwestern-sweet than Cajun-spicy. The spinach artichoke appetizer soundly beats Applebee’s more famous version (yes, I’m a fan). The rib eye special was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, but lacked the most basic seasoning; nor did the accompanying homemade mashed potatoes contain the promised hint of garlic. But none of that mattered once we ordered the Ultimate Chocolate Cake, made with five kinds of chocolate plus chocolate syrup. Here’s the thing:Even if the food didn’t knock our socks off, we still had a great time. The staff is attentive and friendly. The music is good. Other diners smile warmly. And when a river breeze stirs the leaves on that big beech tree, there are few places I’d rather be.
Front Street Cafe
120 Front St.
Breakfast and lunch Mon & Tues, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Wed–Sun.
Originally published in the September 2012 issue.