The Greek metaphor played itself out again last summer when the Phoenix re-branded and hired chef Jeremy Luers to lead them out of the proverbial ashes. A fixture in the kitchen at Boca and then Enoteca Emilia, Luers has created an intimate, clubby lounge and dining venue in the Presidents Room.
What was the inspiration behind the name? When [the Phoenix restaurant] took over the building in 1988, they named this the Presidents Room. I believe it was the president’s [of the original Phoenix Men’s Club] office at one point.
You planned to open your own place in the old Boca location in Oakley. What happened? My wife and I met there, and we were hoping to strike a deal, but it wasn’t the right place or the right time.
So what made this job the right one? When I walked in here I was taken aback [by the architecture]. There’s been a huge upswing downtown and I think this is a unique spot.
Will we see a specific Cincinnati influence on the Presidents Room menu? Nothing direct—not to say never—but there’s no goetta in here, no Skyline chili on top of everything.
Your choucroute garni royale isn’t a menu staple around here. What’s the story there? My family gets together every New Year’s Eve for sauerkraut and pork, so I wanted to do a restaurant version, designed to feed two to three people. It’s a dish for those with an impressive appetite.
The Phoenix, 812 Race St., downtown, (513) 721-8901, thephx.com
Originally published in the July 2014 issue