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The Art Is Outdoors at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

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In 1987, Harry T. Wilks bought 40 acres of land in Hamilton, Ohio, and built an exquisite 7,000-square-foot underground home featuring an above-ground pyramid-shaped skylight. Completed in 1992, the home is dubbed The Pyramid House. Wilks gradually expanded his property, and in 1997 he turned it into a nonprofit sculpture park to protect the land from development. Today, for a small admission fee ($8 for adults; $3 for kids ages 6–12), visitors to Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park can get an up-close look at Wilks’s house and enjoy more than 80 contemporary sculptures across 300-plus acres of rolling hills, hiking trails, fields, lakes, and gardens.

Expect to see new pieces by regional and international artists every season. A 10,000-square-foot museum is dedicated to Wilks’s ancient sculpture collection, with art dating back to 1550 B.C. Drive along the paved “Art Loop” to see the sculptures from the comfort of your car or experience the park on foot. We suggest renting a golf cart from the visitor’s center, packing a picnic, and enjoying a socially distant lunch date for two near our favorite sculpture, the enormous orange Abracadabra (above) by Alexander Liberman.

Hydration Station 513 Helps You Strengthen Your Immune System

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As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Cincinnatians continue to look for ways to stay healthy. A newly opened health and wellness facility on Ninth Street downtown may just be the golden ticket. Earlier this month, Chris Jaeger and his wife, Jess, who’s an anesthesiologist, opened Hydration Station 513, an IV therapy spa that specializes in intravascular administration of vitamins, minerals, and medications.

“If you’re feeling better, whether it’s mentally, physically, whatever, data shows that you stand a better chance of fighting any type of illness,” Jaeger says.

For the past year, Hydration Station 513’s team of healthcare professionals has brought services directly to clients’ homes. Now customers can receive IV treatments in a sterile, safe environment with socially distanced seating areas for individuals or small groups.

Of course, an IV treatment is a great way to rehydrate on Saturday and Sunday mornings after a night of drinking, but Hydration Station 513’s service menu tackles a wide range of health and wellness issues, from anti-nausea medicine and energy-boosting B12 vitamin shots to amino acid blends that aid muscle recovery and antihistamines to treat allergies. Other IV treatments include those designed for anti-aging, pre- and post-workout, and migraines.

“We actually thought that the hangover side of the business was going to be the biggest—the people going out and having too much fun who need to rehydrate, but that’s actually not been the case. People are really looking for alternative ways to increase their wellbeing and overall wellness,” Jaeger says. “We’re increasing people’s quality of life.”

Unlike a normal multivitamin, of which you might absorb 20 percent, IV therapy shows instant effects. When you receive a treatment via IV, you can expect to see nearly 100 percent absorption, with the treatment going directly into your blood stream for quick results, Jaeger says.

With proper planning, the spa can accommodate groups up to 20-30 people. So whether you and your running buddies need a little boost after a long week of training or you’re planning a bachelorette party that will likely lead to alcohol-induced hangovers, Hydration Station 513 can help you feel better as quickly as possible.

Artists of All Abilities Can Learn—and Earn—at InsideOut Studio

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Morgan Gattermeyer holds up a small, rectangular sheet of cherry red glass. She’s about to cut half-inch strips to use in a patriotic glass piece, and she demonstrates how to use a glass cutting board and a scoring tool. “It’s gonna sound like you’re scraping nails on a chalkboard. That’s the sound you want,” she says on her July 2 Facebook Live video. Once the glass is scored, she shows how to place running pliers on the glass and squeeze, cracking the glass precisely over the score mark.

Gattermeyer is a 27-year-old working artist at InsideOut Studio in Hamilton. Funded by a combination of Medicaid funds, grants, individual donors, and sponsorships, InsideOut is a bit of an amalgam. It’s a learning environment where adult artists with disabilities can learn techniques ranging from glasswork to painting. It’s a studio where those artists can practice their skills. It’s a retail space where the community can purchase one-of-a-kind pieces made by the artists. And it’s an employer that pays its artists 50 percent of the profits from each piece that sells. The other half goes back to InsideOut for materials and operational costs.

Before the coronavirus, Gattermeyer taught community art classes at InsideOut. Those classes have been swapped for Facebook Live videos, which double as artistic technique demos and a way to promote the studio, its artists, and their work. InsideOut’s primary goal is to provide employment opportunities through art, and to market, represent, and sell the work of its artists, says Kim Neal Davis, retail and marketing manager. “For some, this is their main means of income,” she says.

In the retail space, customers can find anything from paintings to garden art, vases to signage, and night-lights to glass tic-tac-toe games. Plus, local organizations regularly commission pieces from InsideOut, such as glass award stands and mosaics.

Gattermeyer has been an artist at InsideOut for more than three years and says fused glass pieces are her favorite to create. She not only likes to see the puzzled-together project before it’s fired in the kiln and after, but she appreciates what glasswork has taught her. “It’s helped me become more patient,” Gattermeyer says. “When you’re working on a big glass piece or a big painting, it’s more than likely not gonna get finished in one day.”

InsideOut Studio, 140 High St., Hamilton, (513) 857-5658

Dr. Know: The Human Fly, Leaf Laws, and Another Local Answer Guy

My dad wants some help with the details of an incident from his childhood: the “human fly” on Fountain Square. A man climbed several floors outside an office building, drew a crowd, and got arrested. My dad thinks it was in the mid-1950s, and wonders what happened to the guy. —CLIMB EVERY FOUNTAIN

Dear Climb:
Sorry, Dad, but time blurs the memory. It was Government Square, and it was 1947 when John Ciampa climbed out a fourth-floor window of the Traction Building at Fifth and Walnut. Ciampa slithered upwards and downwards, chatting with startled building occupants and waving to the obligatory crowd of gawkers as he avoided several rescue teams. Then, like Rocky the Flying Squirrel, he launched himself across an alley and down to the roof of the Kroger Building next door. (Oh, yes there was.) At the bottom of a fire escape he was met by a Cincinnati welcoming committee, who generously presented him with a pair of handcuffs.

The talented Ciampa, a Brooklyn native, had been hired to promote a traveling rodeo. He was paid $50, half of which covered his fines. Over the years he performed many attention-getting stunts in many cities; sometimes on stage, but more often on the way to jail. News clips about Ciampa’s adventures stop abruptly at age 30, and he died at 48. Watch your step.


I recently moved from Bellevue to Cincinnati, and I don’t know your rules for pickup of leaves. Weekly or bi-weekly? In a bag? Can? Rake them to the curb? The city’s website has some info, but I worry if it’s updated for these “uncertain times.” What’s the latest? —CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LEAF

Dear Falling:
First, welcome to Cincinnati. Unlike Bellevue, we don’t make you submit a form re­questing leaf pickup. Unlike Covington, we don’t ticket you for parking at the curb on leaf collection day. Unlike both, however, Cincinnati requires leaves and yard waste to be in cans labeled “yard waste” or in approved bags, because curbs are reserved exclusively for rude parking. Pickup happens on trash day every other week, when you put out your recycling. Until further notice, each leaf should be carefully wiped with a sanitized cloth. Kidding!

For people of a certain age, your topic triggers nostalgic childhood aromas of burning leaves. Interestingly, Cincinnati’s first leaf-burning bans resulted in protests that mirror today’s face-mask resistance: Totalitarian power grab! Fake science! Protect our precious freedom to spread airborne microscopic particulates! Tattletales and enforcers back then were given Soviet nicknames like Ivan; today they’re called Karen.

WARNING: DO NOT rake leaves into a pile so you can jump in them! Small children only! The leaves provide no cushion whatsoever for adults! Do not ask why the Doctor is so certain of this.


This is a personal question. There’s a new feature on WVXU-FM called “OKI Wanna Know,” where they answer questions about quirky little Cincinnati things. Isn’t this a direct steal of the magazine column you invented? Shouldn’t they have asked you, a radio person, to do it? Is your attorney on this? —OH KNOW

Dear Oh:
First, a correction: This column was invented in 2008 by Albert Pyle. Before his retirement, he was a staggeringly productive and erudite contributor to this magazine. The unbearably exhausting and pressure-filled work of producing this monthly column was only occasionally relieved by his part-time hobby as executive director of the Mercantile Library, a world-renowned Cincinnati treasure since 1835 (perhaps we have confused the time commitments). Your current Doctor inherited the column in 2015, and in the years since has made peace with the fact that the Mercantile Library clearly misplaced his phone number.

Cincinnati has more than enough oddities in its past—rivaled only by the oddities in its present—to occupy the inboxes of several sleuths. Bill Rinehart at WXVU is eminently qualified, having worked in radio news for many years. It takes experience and perspective to know where to look when seeking obscure facts about Cincinnati, plus an ability to punt when a source never gets back to you. We wish Rinehart all the best in his endeavors, and look forward to e-mailing him copies of past columns every time he answers a question we already covered.

Joe Burrow Got Bengaled

It’s good to know that in these crazy, unpredictable times, some things never change. Yes, the spanking new Joe Burrow Era, which filled the greater southern Ohio region with so much optimism lo these many pandemic-laden months, at long last began in Cincinnati on Sunday. And somehow it ended in much the same way games always seemed to end when Andy Dalton or Carson Palmer or Neil O’Frigging Donnell was quarterback—with defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in a previously unimagined and impossibly cruel manner.

 

You know the details by now. After getting rag-dolled by the L.A. Chargers’ impressive pass rush for the first half, Burrow, true to his scouting report, remained poised enough to lead the Bengals (trailing 16-13) down the field with impressive dispatch and efficiency in the final moments. He threw an apparent game-winning touchdown to A.J. Green in the dying seconds, but it was called back on a ticky-tack offensive pass interference flag. Then kicker Randy Bullock, usually automatic inside the 50, did his imitation of Elaine Benes dancing while spasming his short field goal attempt wide right. Bullock said he cramped up while kicking. Next time, have a banana before trotting out on the field there, Randeroo.

So much for the Hallelujah Chorus singing as Burrow trots off the field a winner in his first appearance at Paul Brown Stadium, en route to the Bengals turning magically overnight into the Steelers.

Now for the guarded optimism, beginning with the fact that it literally was Joe’s first time playing at PBS, with no preseason games to so much as rehearse walking in from the team bus to the locker room. Given the inherent lack of cohesion and timing with his teammates and that Green was back after a year and a half on the shelf and it was left tackle Jonah Williams’ first game as well, some sputtering was certainly expected. I know the dream was that Burrow would light up the NFL the way he did the college football playoffs back in January, but that wasn’t realistic given the circumstances.

Despite that, though, he played well. The traits that made him the top overall pick—especially his competitiveness, toughness, and leadership—shone through, especially in that final drive to nowhere. Almost as impressive was the audible he called that resulted in Cincinnati’s only touchdown, a quarterback draw that exploited a wide open middle of the field, with Burrow deftly using his blocker at the second level to get into the end zone.

Of course, he also had some rookie moments, notably an awful pick on a shovel pass in Chargers territory as well as an overthrow of Green that would have been a walk-in score, one that Burrow later said, correctly, a “high-schooler could have made.” Indeed, his sucking up of all blame post-game, in the manner of one Norman Julius Esiason, made you feel better about the mistakes, as Burrow displayed the characteristics that led his teammates to vote him as captain. Let’s just hope he has fewer occasions to do so in the future.

Despite Burrow’s promising afternoon overall, little was different from the frustrating team that went 2-14 last season. At the end of the day, the Bengals scored just 13 points. It was yet another touchdown-free second half, the 10th time that has happened in Taylor’s 17 games as coach (remember when we all railed against the lack of mid-game adjustments during the Marvin Lewis era?). For all the tremendous skill players Cincinnati supposedly is trotting out to support Burrow, their opening day numbers were extremely pedestrian (Joe Mixon’s 69 yards rushing was the high fantasy number for any back or receiver). The defense hung tough and showed signs of improvement, but then they did just that repeatedly in the early stages of last season as well, before the offensive ineptitude on a weekly basis wore them down and out.

One good thing is the team gets to wash away the bitter taste quickly, with the boys lining up Thursday night in Cleveland, a chance to not only put Sunday behind them but also to take some whacks at the hated big mouths to the northeast. The Brownies were poleaxed in Baltimore in the opener, which will likely happen to plenty of teams. But there is pressure on Cleveland, on Baker Mayfield, and on Odell Beckham, who is already the subject of trade rumors one week into the season.

Cincinnati will probably need to stomp the Browns, since they continue to find ways to drop the close ones. One of the precepts in the season preview I wrote last week was that the Bengals, mathematically speaking, were unlikely to lose every one of their one-score games again, as they did in 2019. Well, not so far. Zac Taylor is now 0-9 as a head coach in games decided by fewer than eight points. At some point, this isn’t statistical noise but a thing that matters. Perhaps we aren’t there yet, and the only way to describe this particular one-score loss is “fluky,” but it’s long past time the Bengals and Taylor win one of these tight games already.

We all know the definition of insanity, so that begs the question of who is more nuts—us fans for continuing to watch and cheer for this franchise or the staff for trotting out this sieve of an offensive line year after year? I mean, I knew Bobby Hart would get his lunch, brunch, and multiple midday snacks handed to him by Joey Bosa, thus significantly hampering any offensive scheme the Bengals wanted to deploy. Why didn’t Taylor, Brian Callahan, and Jim Turner? What does Hart have on Turner, anyway? For how long will we have to watch Burrow get walloped by Hart’s man to cry, at long last, “Enough!”

Meanwhile, there were so many other familiar pains for the Bengalphile. The newly rich running back committing a key turnover (Mixon’s fumble). The expensive free agent signing getting carted off the field in his debut (fortunately, D.J. Reader was only cramping up and came back in). The linebackers getting exposed (though they weren’t as brutal as last year, especially in tackling). And the lack of overall respect for the organization, exemplified not just in the call pass interference against Green (Michael Irvin never would have had a reception if they called him for what Green was flagged for doing) but in the next day reaction of the pigskin chattering classes. While a controversial OPI against the Cowboys was the top story in the NFL, Green’s penalty—which actually cost Cincinnati the game, unlike the one called on Dallas’ Michael Gallup—went mostly unmentioned. It was “Joe Burrow got Bengaled by his kicker.”

And that’s fair. Cincinnati hasn’t earned the national audience’s respect or attention. Burrow is here to put an end to that perception, which was created by decades of insipid play and cemented by screwing up countless winnable games, most notoriously the 2015 playoff nightmare. The fact that he wasn’t overmatched in his debut on the big stage, despite all that was stacked against him, is a great sign. The fact that he got Bengaled anyway, not so much.

Robert Weintraub heads up Bengals coverage for Cincinnati Magazine and has written for The New York Times, Grantland, Slate, Deadspin, and Football Outsiders and authored four books, including his newest, “The Divine Miss Marble” from Penguin Random House. You can follow him on Twitter at @robwein.

Cincinnati-Based Apparel Brand The Girl Republic Breaks Down Gender Barriers

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Andrea Minnillo has always supported women’s empowerment. But, it wasn’t until she had children of her own that she realized how early on in a child’s life gender stereotypes are perpetuated. When Minnillo went shopping for her son and two daughters, the contrast between the clothing items offered couldn’t be more obvious. For her son, Minnillo could choose from a variety of action-packed sports designs, but for her daughters, she could only choose from a handful of princess-inspired items.

“I want my girls to kick butt and take names [too],” Minnillo says. “To me, the whole concept of just sitting around and being pretty is ridiculous.”

Rather than simply complain about the inequality, Minnillo decided to set an example for her daughters by creating change herself. Last December Minnillo launched The Girl Republic, an online “apparel brand for girls and women who are passionate about breaking gender barriers.”

Self-described as “subtly feminine,” The Girl Republic offers clothing and accessories designed by Minnillo that are intended to inspire girls to live active and bold lifestyles. With sizes ranging from infant to adult, this mission is instilled into girls from a very young age. From T-shirts prompting the importance of voting and stickers boasting the phrase Prove Them Wrong, The Girl Republic encourages women of all ages to live their lives freely and with confidence.

“[I want to] show girls that they don’t have to [only] be princesses,” Minnillo says. “We’ve come so far, but you still see all of this stuff [in stores] saying what women can or can’t do. So, there’s still much further to go.”

The Cleveland native launched her brand after her family’s move from California to Cincinnati and says she has already found immense support within the Cincinnati community. As an online boutique, Minnillo makes an effort to create in-person connections at local fairs and markets, like The City Flea, which The Girl Republic participated in this August. Minnillo hopes to eventually expand to markets in Cleveland, offer her products through Amazon, and even open a brick and mortar storefront to provide the community with a tangible shopping experience.

As a female entrepreneur herself, Minnillo knows how difficult it can be to build something from the ground up, but she encourages girls to not let that stop them from pursuing their dreams. Already, her daughters are learning how rewarding hard work can be by selling their own crocheted items alongside their mom at flea markets.

“You just have to start somewhere and make a plan,” Minnillo says. “Even with my girls, I said [to them], this is going to teach you skills … I was always so scared of rejection and all of that and you realize when you get older, Why not at least try?”

Did FC Cincinnati’s Latest Loss Birth a New Formation?

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There’s something to be said for trying shit. And Jaap Stam, with his undermanned roster rudderless, feckless, and trailing New York City 2-0 exactly 20 minutes into the second half this past Saturday night, decided to try some shit. He took off the ineffective Yuya Kubo and Siem de Jong and subbed in Allan Cruz and Nick Hagglund. Kubo, who started alongside striker Jurgen Locadia at the top of FC Cincinnati’s 3-5-2, needs time to build a relationship with Locadia after spending the crux of the season playing in the midfield; de Jong should be strictly a bench player until FCC has the necessary parts to play its desired 4-3-3. Right back Mathieu Deplagne moved to the right wing, pushing right winger Joe Gyau up next to Locadia. Left back Andrew Gutman moved up to left winger, and Hagglund played as a third center back in a 3-4-3 formation we haven’t yet seen from the club.

 

FC Cincinnati immediately turned up the ball pressure and made NYCFC more uncomfortable than rush hour on a Manhattan subway. That newfound aggression paid dividends right after backup striker Brandon Vazquez came on for defensive midfielder Caleb Stanko in the 73rd minute. As a direct result of the pressing from FCC’s reformatted front line and midfield, Vazquez converted a NYCFC turnover into the Orange and Blue’s first goal in 558 minutes one minute after his insertion into the game. Whether it was a planned alternative or a WTF moment, Stam’s radical formation adjustment completely changed the game. The hosts were shook.

FC Cincinnati’s ball pressure created turnovers and stray passes. Gyau (with his pace, even if his final touch on attacking third passes/crosses needs major improvement) and Cruz (with his calmness on the ball, especially with Frankie Amaya suspended because of yellow card accumulation) were particularly influential, and both Locadia and Vazquez were lively. The TV broadcast repeatedly showed NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila—who had no reason to suspect a 3-4-3 was coming—looking increasingly nervous. Close goal-scoring efforts from Vazquez (who had a second score wiped out for offside minutes after his first goal for the club) and Kendall Waston (a sound header on a corner that required a quick-twitch save by NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson) only added to the anxiety.

In the end, the visitors extended their winless streak to seven matches, but a blowout was averted. FCC finished with just two fewer shots (16-14) and equaled NYCFC in shots on target (five). FC Cincinnati couldn’t muster serious takes on goal over the final stages of the game, which required eight minutes of stoppage time thanks to the time-wasting chicanery of certain NYCFC players.

It was concerning to witness FC Cincinnati, with a full week of rest, playing very 2019-y up until Stam decided to take the parked bus out for a spin. Yes, FCC were playing shorthanded, with Amaya (who had started every game of the season) suspended and forward Adrien Regattin leaving the club the day before the game to return to his family in France. (Regattin had apparently been homesick for weeks.) Ideally, Regattin would have provided pyrotechnics off the bench for Stam, but because of Locadia’s injury and the formation change, he wound up starting seven of the 10 games he played in for the Orange and Blue. His departure opens up an international spot for new signing Álvaro Barreal.

Off the pitch, MLS finally revealed the next phase of the league’s regular season matches. FC Cincinnati is going to be spending a lot of time at Red Bull Arena, which is where NYCFC are playing their home games since Yankee Stadium’s baseball-playing tenant gets first dibs these days. FCC will again get another full week of rest this week before traveling back to Harrison, New Jersey, to face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, a team they lost to in their 2020 opener but defeated 2-0 at MLS Is Back.

FC Cincinnati’s final two known games are a home match on Sept. 23 vs. the Philadelphia Union (no fans will be in attendance) and another road match opposite NYCFC on Sept. 26. As of this morning, the Union were second in the East, NYCFC were sixth, and NYCFC were seventh. General Manager Gerard Nijkamp was “really disappointed” about the latest slate of matches and is probably wondering when FCC (13th in the East) will get to face off against either of the 2020 expansion sides (Nashville and Inter Miami).

As part of the schedule release, MLS also officially finalized the playoff format for this season. As rumored, 10 of the East’s 14 teams will receive playoff bids, though the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds must engage in play-in matches (7 vs. 10; 8 vs. 9) to determine who will advance to “round one.” The lower-seeded advancing team will face the East’s top seed, while the higher-seeded team will take on the No. 2 seed. Eight squads from the 12-team Western Conference will directly advance to round one, which, like the rest of the postseason, is single elimination.

With Amaya back in the fold for Saturday’s match, it will be fascinating to see if Stam starts off in the 3-4-3, particularly with Deplagne, typically the starting right back in the 3-5-2, suspended for yellow card accumulation. Cruz has battled injuries all season, but he did log 33 minutes on Saturday. Having him able to start and work himself into form in the midfield is something FC Cincinnati desperately needs right now. Well, that and an overdue win.

Grant Freking writes FC Cincinnati coverage for Cincinnati Magazine. Off the pitch, he is the associate editor for Signs of the Times magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at @GrantFreking.

‘Dead to Me’ Star Diana-Maria Riva Supports the Next Generation of Actors

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Diana-Maria Riva knew she wanted to act when she was growing up on Cincinnati’s west side, and got involved in the drama departments at St. Ursula Academy, which she attended, and Moeller High School. She graduated from UC’s College-Conservatory of Music and landed her first Hollywood role just a year later. Riva, 51, is best known for films including McFarland, USA and What Women Want, as well as her recurring role on the popular Netflix series Dead to Me.

What challenges did you face while working toward a career in the film industry?

The business is full of obstacles. It’s a constant challenge and a constant “feel good, feel bad” rollercoaster. It’s been a very good career thus far, and I’ve been fortunate to play a lot of amazing characters in both television and film.

How did CCM’s rigorous curriculum prepare you?

I think it disciplined me. We had board exams twice a year, and that really would be the end of the road for a lot of students. There was always a competitive angle that was hung over your head, so it was a brutal but rewarding experience.

What was the most surprising thing about breaking into the industry?

A play I did at Ensemble Theater as part of my thesis project was taken to Los Angeles a year later by the playwright, who asked me to come and continue in the role. From there, I was picked up by a television series. It could have been misleading, thinking that it was always going to be job after job, but that hasn’t been the case. It never really is the case. You have to constantly be working toward something.

Why have you chosen to mentor CCM students for the past 15 years?

This business can be cutthroat, so we have to lift each other up. Along the way, you just want a young person to know that they’re worthy and valuable no matter what [role] they did or didn’t get. I always tell the CCM seniors, when they’re about to do their industry showcase, Take care of yourself first, and the rest will fall into place. If it doesn’t fall into place, at least you still have yourself. Pursuing anything you love and dream about is worth the ride, and you can always change your mind later.

Shake Up Your Takeout Routine With These Five Restaurants

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With the ongoing pandemic, not everyone is comfortable with dining in, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to the same old, same old. Step outside of the usual and support these local restaurants in your own backyard.

The Gruff

Build your own brick-oven pizza, snack on a fried chicken sandwich, or munch on the Grass is Greener salad—all popular items made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. These items can be picked up without stepping a foot inside via the restaurant’s pick-up window.
The Gruff, 129 E. Second St., Covington, (859) 581-0040


Boom Box Buns

This quick-bite restaurant specializes in handmade steamed buns, like their beef bun, or a vegetarian option, the sweet potato bun. Try their chili noodles on the side, and grab a sweet bun coated in cinnamon sugar for dessert.
Boom Box Buns, 1400 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine


Bridges Nepali Cuisine

This Nepalese restaurant serves popular dishes, including momos (Nepalese-style dumplings) chow mein with vegetables and Nepali spices, and bowls of rice and your choice of protein (meat or vegan) toppings. There’s a little something for everyone.
Bridges Nepali Cuisine, 4165 Hamilton Ave., Northside, (513) 374-9354; 133 E. Court St., downtown, (513) 978-9055


Sleepy Bee Café

Your neighborly breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot, with locally sourced ingredients, is a friendly option for those with dietary concerns. They make it easy to find vegan and gluten-free options, and note on the menu dishes containing nuts and soy. With choices ranging from breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and scrambles to soups, bowls, and salads, this place will suit everyone’s taste.
Sleepy Bee Cafe, 9514 Kenwood Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 241-2339; 3098 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 533-2339; 8 E. Fourth St., downtown, (513) 381-2339


Gomez Salsa

This Mexican restaurant specializes in tacos with meat or tofu filling, salsas—made fresh in-house daily—and the “turtle shell,” a unique spin on a classic burrito. Try the signature margaritas, available for takeout at the Walnut Hills location. Or visit the walk-up window in OTR for convenient sidewalk ordering.
Gomez Salsa, 2437 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills, (513) 954-8541; 107 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1596

Meet One of the Artists Behind the Powerful GOODS Storefront Mural

On June 2, 27-year-old acrylic portrait artist and graphic designer Ezra Kalmus collaborated with Soapbox Tees clothing brand owner Stacey “Sun” Smith to paint a mural on the wooden boards that covered GOODS at 1317 Main St. during the Black Lives Matter protests. The duo spent about three hours painting the mural, which included black-and-white fists that mimic the Soapbox Tees logo layered over vibrant hues of green, pink, yellow, and purple. We chatted with Kalmus about his vision for the mural and what it meant for him to be able to create public art during a pandemic.

Artist Ezra Kalmus (left) and Soapbox Tees clothing brand owner Stacey “Sun” Smith (right) pose in front of their completed mural.

Photograph by Carl Hunt

What inspired this project?

People were tagging Fuck the police and a lot of profanity, and there were some murals popping up here and there. I hit up [Soapbox Tees]—her logo is a black-and-white fist— and asked if she’d like to collaborate with me on a project to bring some bright colors and prettiness to Main Street rather than profanity. She was like, I don’t know how to paint! And I’m like, You can still help me! So I made some stencils of her fist [logo], and I went down there and was looking around, and there’s a lot of text everywhere on the murals, but I just wanted to use some strong imagery. I think the imagery speaks a lot more than any words we could have put on it. As individuals, we [ask], What can we do to help? Can we go downtown and march? Hand out water bottles? Donate money? And painting to spread positivity and just putting something in front of people where they’ll walk by it and think Oh, that’s really beautiful—I just wanted to be a part of that.

What was your vision for the mural?

My vision [for this mural was to portray] human beings coming together to conquer the toxicity of the human nature. I think we all look forward to the day where everybody stands together to fight for each other and try to build a more beautiful world for us to all live in. The bright colors and all the hands together represent unity and fighting oppression.

Were you commissioned for this?

Absolutely not. [It was] completely voluntary. I wouldn’t have accepted any money.

Why GOODS?

I’m a native of Over-the-Rhine. I went to SCPA growing up, and I’m one of the artists who has a lot of merchandise stocked up at GOODS. I had my second exhibition at GOODS in March before COVID-19. That store has done a lot for me, and there’s a lot of powerful imagery and revolutionary pieces of artwork and clothing in it. The second I saw it in person, I thought, This little shop is my home.

What’s so important about public art?

You walk by a brick wall that has nothing on it and continue on with your day, but if you walk by something that you’re forced to look at, your mind is taken somewhere that it wasn’t naturally already at. When your brain notices something, it soaks it up, and sometimes it can change your perspective. And I think that’s what we need today. I think we need people who are willingly or unwillingly blind to everything that’s going on to be able to have that chance to have their perspective changed…. It’s never too late to understand that you’re wrong about something and to accept it and try to make changes. You’re never too old to learn and soak up information. The most important thing about public art, especially when it comes to global issues [like racism], is not everybody wants to listen to what they’re being told, but if you throw something in their face that’s so pungent, it might give one person the chance to change their mind. And that’s completely worth it.

How was this project different from the art you typically create?

I had a vision and my heart just helped it. It was a little less thought out, and it just came from what we were feeling at that time, after all these terrible things happened. I feel like the world needs art right now more than ever. It feels good to give that. This would definitely be the first time that I have painted for a public message. I guess this being the first type of [protest] that I’ve encountered in my life, it only felt right to go down and support my fellow community [through my art]. Most of my work is done in the studio. [Painting the mural] was not something necessarily I needed to do; it was something the community needed me to do.