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latin american cuisine

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    This week, we gobble up details about two of the Tri-State’s newest eateries. Read on as we chat with the restaurateurs behind Mita’s to learn their salivating secret to success. Then, learn about the duo behind 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab who’s brewing up a new restaurant concept, coming soon to OTR.


    If you like food, you’re about to love Cincinnati’s culinary scene a little more.

    Opening in Spring 2016 is a soon-to-be named restaurant on the corner of 15th and Pleasant streets in Over-the-Rhine. This all-day neighborhood restaurant will focus on “honest and carefully curated wine and simple, thoughtful food,” explains restaurant Co-owner Joanna Kirkendall. “It’s a Cincinnati restaurant, through and through.”

    Her business partner and co-owner Daniel Souder, says the inspiration for the new eatery came from the desire to find food that compliments the wine and coffee at the OTR-based 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab where Kirkendall is the owner and Souder is the Wine Director. “They go hand in hand,” says Souder. “The wine program was the driving force behind wanting to open a new place, and we were influenced greatly by a day spent at Ordinaire, a natural wine bar in Oakland, California.”

    The duo says that it’s the simplicity and thoughtfulness that’s going to make the new location unique. “Serving three meals per day truly makes us a neighborhood spot; you can come any time and get a meal, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine,” says Kirkendall.

    She says that the dinner menu will be laid out in a “deconstructed tasting menu” format: it will have 10-12 items, all able to be ordered a la carte and everything at very reasonable price points. “We will stress it again and again: it is an approachable, neighborhood, everyday restaurant,” she adds.

    Souder says that what they’re most excited about when it comes to opening the eatery is bringing quality wine to the people and to open their eyes to what honest wine can and should be. “I’ve been visiting winemakers to open up the avenues to bring their wines into Ohio, as well as making a connection with importers to bring wines of this quality into our market for the first time,” he adds.

    “We are excited to change people’s perception about what wine is,” says Souder. “This type of wine is everyday wine, the same wine that winemakers drink daily. It is meant for sharing with friends, to be opened whenever there are guests, not just for special occasions.”

    Kirkendall says that once they select a name for the new restaurant they’ll have a website and social media pages that you can check out. But, until then, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for the release of the name.

    While this new restaurant is in its final stages before launching, a new concept from JPS Restaurant Group founders Jose and Ann Salazar opened in August.

    Mita’s, which is a new concept featuring Latin American cuisine, cocktails and wine, brings a curated wine list bringing a new twist to the Tri-State as it is one of the only locations of its kind that focuses on the grand wine traditions only found in Latin America.

    Located in the newly coined 84.51° building, Mita’s is on the first floor dining space at 5th and Race streets. “The space seats 130 for full-service dining and private dining room that can seat 20,” according to the Salazars. “Guests can peruse an adventurous cocktail list in the cozy bar and watch the action in an open kitchen.”

    Hand painted Spanish tiles and Moorish architectural details set the mood for the restaurant. It;s concept was inspired by Jose’s Mita (the expression he uses for his grandmother), who is from Medellin, Colombia, a small town at the foothills of the Andes Mountains.

    Jose would spend his summers learning the traditional dishes in his grandmother’s kitchen. Taking what he learned from her and drawing inspiration from Medellin’s unique architecture, Jose and his wife were able to develop the concept for Mita’s.

    “Jose’s close relationship with his Mita, who turned 87 this past June, is a major artistic influence on the cooking philosophy of the restaurant menu, which includes several Colombian items passed along from her home kitchen,” says Ann.

    Mita’s serves its full menu in the dining room and bar from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. They’re open until 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The bar remains open for beverage service until 1:00 a.m. on the weekends and is closed on Sundays.

    The Salazars say to keep an eye open for a lunch menu they hope to launch soon.

    To learn more about Mita’s, click here. You can also check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.