Tableside With Ryan Santos

Akron native Ryan Santos got his first taste of Cincinnati while earning his degree in graphic design at DAAP, but it was his four-year-old pop-up restaurant, Please, that put him on our food map. In February, Santos took his commitment to the next level, announcing that he’ll open a brick-and-mortar operation in spring 2016, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Will Please keep the five-course prix fixe model?
We’ll probably offer a three-course menu to introduce people to the format.

That sounds fancy.
We like to do creative food that’s also really delicious, but still keep everything approachable.

What inspires your creative dishes?
A lot of what we do is inspired by working with farmers here in town. If we have a creative block we head out to the farm to walk around with the farmer and taste things. Visuals also play a big role—sometimes just seeing all the colors and textures can inspire an idea.

Name an interesting dish you’ve done.
Our desserts get a little weird. In the past we’ve done a chanterelle mushroom ice cream and paired it with apples and brown butter and some oats. Once people tasted it, they loved it.

The Kickstarter campaign really came through for you.
As soon as I launched it, I was like, “It’s too much money.” So when we hit the goal it was pretty amazing. I’m very thankful.

Catch Ryan Santos at Savor Cincinnati. Grab tickets and find out more here.

Originally published in the May 2015 issue.

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