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Two local chefs recently opened a new OTR-based restaurant and grocery store that brings a new chef-owned and operated takeout stand concept to Findlay Market. Read on for all the delicious details.

Fresh Table is a food stand at Findlay Market that uses local, fresh ingredients in its food.
Fresh Table is a food stand at Findlay Market that uses local, fresh ingredients in its food.

Business partners and chefs Meredith Trombly and Louis Snowden wanted to bring the freshest, highest quality ready-to-eat options to Cincinnati. And they did just that with Fresh Table, a chef-owned and operated takeout stand inside the historic Findlay Market House.

“All of our food is prepared daily and onsite in our Market House kitchen,” explains Trombly.

Trombly and Snowden decided to combine their many years in the retail and culinary trades and go into business together. The eclectic menu choices were developed by Trombly and Snowden, who lead a creative team of five chefs.

The idea for Fresh Table came to fruition in October 2010 after Trombly and Snowden spent time working together at Bigg’s as Natural Foods Buyer and Corporate Chef, respectively.

The food at Fresh Table comes in a variety of options. “Fresh Table prepares everything on site from soups and entrees to salads and side dishes,” says Trombly. “We represent every country in our food and also accommodate for dietary restrictions.”

chef
Chef Louis Snowden (left) co-owns Fresh Table with Chef Meredith Trombly.

Trombly says that her and Snowden’s creative team of chefs all bring unique backgrounds and palates to Fresh Table’s ever-changing menu. “Our stand is a gourmet deli where dishes are available by the pound, for eat-in, or take out,” says Trombly. “To keep it fresh, we source most of our ingredients from Findlay Market itself. We are also custom caterers, so we can accommodate all dietary concerns.”

Dishes from Fresh Table are priced per pound. They range from $10.99 for salads to $26.99 for the Wild Caught Grilled Shrimp.

Trombly’s belief in the value of Findlay Market and its reputation as a culinary powerhouse is what led her and Snowden to choose it as the location for their food stand.

“As a culinary hub for Cincinnati, we want to preserve the incredible mix of raw foodstuffs and prepared foods,” says Trombly. “We enjoy being part of a working public Market. And plus, everyone shops at the Market!”

Trombly says that her next adventure with Snowden is an urban grocery store and restaurant called The Epicurean Mercantile Company. She says it will be located adjacent to Findlay Market and located on Race Street. It will be part of The Model Group’s $24 million redevelopment.

“The Epicurean Mercantile Company & Counter will be a full-service 5,000-square-foot urban grocery store with a 1,000-square-foot restaurant in the back of the grocery store,” says Trombly. “Look for an opening in Spring 2017!”

To contact Fresh Table, call 513-381-FRSH or visit them in person during Findlay Market operating hours. Those are: Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Findlay Market is open year round.

You can learn more about Fresh Table at FreshTable.biz or by check them out on Facebook and Instagram. For news on The Epicurean Mercantile Company, follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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A new haven for cheese enthusiasts opens soon, specializing in domestic farmstead and artisan varieties. Click for all the cheesy details.

The Rhined
The Rhined is a cheese shop in OTR that specializes in domestic artisan and farmstead cheeses.

Over the Rhine has recently experienced many one-of-a-kind developments, but five-year OTR residents and cheese enthusiasts Stephanie Webster and her husband Dave are launching the premise for an entirely new market: The Rhined, a cheese shop opening in OTR specializing in domestic artisan and farmstead cheeses, set to open in Fall 2016.

Their love for cheese began after Stephanie’s experience working in fine-dining restaurants, exposing her to cheese programs throughout Cincinnati. Stephanie enjoyed the relationship that cheese had with celebration. “There is something about amazing cheese,” says Stephanie, “that feels really celebratory, and who doesn’t love celebrating?”

As their interest in the food grew, so did their desire to experiment. In fact, three years ago, Stephanie and Dave began purchasing their own milk from naturally raised, grass-fed cows on a farm in Hillsboro, OH. Their hobby for cheese soon became a passion.

“We were really amazed at the seasonality of the milk” says Stephanie, “it tasted different in the summer when the cows are on pasture than in the winter when the cows are on hay. We started playing around with our milk, making yogurt and sweet butter, then cultured butter and some simple cheeses at home– fromage blanc, mozzarella, ricotta.”

There’s a distinction between the cheese they create, and the cheese that is readily available at supermarkets. Unlike commodity cheeses, or mass-produced cheese made from mass-produced milk, Stephanie and Dave seem to devote more of their attention to farmstead and artisan cheeses. These differ from commodity cheeses, by the fact that they are produced with a less mechanized and more hands-on process, with high quality milk coming directly from the farm.

Amazed by the chemistry and biology of cheese-making, Stephanie and Dave began dreaming about opening their own shop and continuing their home-grown practice, as well introducing consumers to the industry of other farmstead and artisan cheeses throughout the country.

The dream became a reality when they connected with the supportive building owner at 1737 Elm St. in Over the Rhine, and they took the leap to open a storefront.

The name of the shop, “The Rhined,” pays homage to the OTR neighborhood they love. “The energy is intoxicating,” says Stephanie, “and we are excited to live and work in the neighborhood we adore.”

In preparation for the opening of The Rhined, Stephanie and Dave have spent a large amount of time researching and traveling to gain more experience and knowledge about the cheese industry. Recently, the couple went on a cross-country cheese tour, visiting cheese shops in Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Madison, Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

Stephanie and Dave even visited 20-year cheese monger Steve Jones at his nationally recognized restaurant in Portland, Cheese Bar. Along with equipping his restaurant with a rotating menu of artisan and farmstead cheeses, Jones also is a co-founder of the Portland cheese festival, The Wedge and teaches at The Cheese School of San Francisco.

In store, prices of cheese will vary between 12 to 40 dollars per pound, however cheese isn’t the only product Stephanie and Dave plan on carrying. “The ultimate cheese accompaniments,” according to Stephanie, will also be sold alongside the exquisite cheese selection. This includes charcuterie, jams, honeys, crackers, baguettes, cheese cutting utensils and of course, beer and wine.

The husband-wife duo is hoping for an October opening, if no construction delays. For updates on the grand opening, and to learn more about The Rhined, visit the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/therhined.

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Inspired by the architecture around them in OTR, a dynamic duo is setting out to bring a unique showroom experience to Cincinnati. Keep reading for all the designer details.

Design Lab in OTR features a showroom of local and international designers as well as local art from nearby galleries.
Design Lab in OTR features a showroom of local and international designers as well as local art from nearby galleries.

Barbara Neyer and Renan Menninger believe that design is key to a healthy, vibrant community. That’s why this dynamic duo launched Design Lab, a new furniture, lighting, and accessories showroom in Over-the-Rhine.

“Design is all around us – whether it’s the Italianate architecture in Over-the-Rhine, or the the thoughtfully-planned environment in and around Washington Park, design is central in how we all experience a city,” says Menninger.

Neyer and Menninger were inspired to launch Design Lab as they became more determined to create a design-driven environment that was rooted in hospitality, collaboration, and exploration.

“We also wanted to create a place where anyone can feel welcome to walk in and relax, have a drink, and experience the love we have for the objects that inspire us,” says Menninger.

Over at Design Lab, Neyer serves as the Owner as well as the Director of Contract/A&D Sales while Menninger is the Owner and Director of Design. Together, the two carefully curate beautiful collections of mindfully designed and crafted objects.

“Every piece has a rich and deep story, from the designers first conceptual sketches to the piece’s final inspection in the factory; no detail is left to chance,” says Neyer.

In addition to the showroom and retail shop, Design Lab also offers residential and commercial design services that incorporate original pieces from their partners including Moroso, Moooi, Bocci, Tom Dixon, Ligne Roset, and others.

The uniqueness in Design Lab lays within the furniture, accessories, and lighting lines they represent and offer to guests.

“On the surface, our showroom may appear to simply be a beautiful space filled with beautiful objects,” says Neyer. “In reality, however, the craft behind the business lies in relationships – with vendors, with guests, and with each other.”

Some of the brands found at Design Lab can be found on the international design scene and are very selective about whom they choose to work with. “They are also brands that respectively honor the craft of creating one-of-a-kind pieces that you won’t be able to find just anywhere,” Neyer adds.

Design Lab is also incorporating other local businesses’ into their own as a way to engage with the public in a variety of ways.

“Our showroom floor represents a true lifestyle environment as we hope to use our space for private events and social engagement as well,” says Neyer. “A goal of ours is to continue incorporating artists from local and international scenes to contribute to our space – making Design Lab a truly dynamic, spatial dialogue.”

The art collection at Design Lab currently holds pieces from local galleries including Miller Gallery and Carl Solway Gallery, and Neyer says they plan on showcasing artwork from new collaborations in the future.

Neyer says that you can expect to see the Design Lab website up very soon, where you’ll be able to find information on the lines they carry as well as some of the projects they’ve worked on in the past. “We welcome anyone to stop into our showroom Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can visit Design Lab at 1401 Elm Street in Cincinnati or call them at 513-620-7299.

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Read on to learn how two local organizations teamed up to cultivate creative entrepreneurs in Cincinnati, specifically reaching out to women in the community.

MORTAR X INDIGO
MORTAR x Indigo is an entrepreneurial incubator that focuses on growing businesses in underserved communities.

Cincinnati has experienced transcendental growth throughout the last decade. A new partnership between two local organizations was created to ensure that women can continue to have an impact on that transformation. MORTAR is an entrepreneurial incubator focused on growing businesses in underserved communities, and Indigo Hippo is a thrift store, gallery, and arts programming organization in Over-the-Rhine. Together, their missions will act as a launch pad for creative female entrepreneurs.

“[Our] partnership came about very naturally,” says Alisha Budkie, Founder and Executive Director of Indigo Hippo. She continues, “We’re thrilled to get to work together in the area where our missions overlap. Getting to work with creative entrepreneurs and remove barriers there combines MORTAR’s focus on making entrepreneurship more approachable and accessible, and Indigo Hippo’s focus on allowing creativity to be more approachable and accessible.”

Allen Woods, Co-founder, Chief Vision Caster & Branding Gladiator at MORTAR explains the how and why behind his organization. “MORTAR was created to address the needs of the people living in redeveloping neighborhoods. As those areas begin to change, becoming more populated and revitalized, we want to make sure that the residents in those areas are equipped to grow with their neighborhoods.” He adds, “Our goal is to change the way that America looks at development. We want the process to be more holistic – developing the buildings is cool but developing the people is a way more lucrative investment.”

MORTAR’s signature program is a 9-week entrepreneurship course, but both Woods and Budkie saw a need to intentionally reach out to women in the community. Budkie explains, “The community has been asking for an all female cohort. In the last two years, nearly 70% of MORTAR graduates have been women – an entrepreneurial trend that is mirrored nationally. We believe in listening to our community, and in the power of women.”

She continues on the importance of cultivating arts in the community, “We are fortunate to live in a city that strongly values creativity. It is important to foster and cultivate an environment that emphasizes the value of the creative process and of creative. We want to show that it is possible to turn your passion into your life path and make a living doing something that feeds you.”

The curriculum for this program will look a lot like MORTAR’s traditional community classes, but “with an additional focus given to building the person behind the business…It’s important for entrepreneurs to view themselves as a very valuable part of their business, and to invest in themselves and their personal growth.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs can apply for this or any MORTAR class on their website at www.wearemortar.com.

The program is also looking for female mentors to inspire and motivate their class attendees. MORTAR will be hosting an informational session called VOCAL on Monday, May 2 from 6-8 and an entrepreneurial mixer and wine tasting on May 12 at The Bacchanalian Society.

For more information on MORTAR or their upcoming events, visit www.wearemortar.com. To learn more about Indigo Hippo, visit www.indigohippo.org.

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He’s been designing luxury menswear for years, and just launched a new custom line for women. Read on for details and where you can check it out in person.

Jonathan Mezibov will host a pop-up shop open house event on Friday, Feb. 12 from 6-9 p.m. in Over-the-Rhine.
Jonathan Mezibov will host a pop-up shop open house event on Friday, Feb. 12 from 6-9 p.m. in Over-the-Rhine.

When it comes to custom clothes, men always get the love. But Jonathan Mezibov is changing all that.

For years, Mezibov has specialized in custom tailored shirts for men, but he just announced a new line of made-to-order women’s designs.

That’s not the only thing he’s announcing. He has a new pop-up shop in OTR, and he’s hosting a Valentine’s Day themed open house event Friday, February 12. The event will take place from 6-9 p.m.

The event is free to attend, and guests will enjoy complimentary refreshments, a mini photo session with professional photographer, as well as a meet-and-greet with the designer. Attendees will also have a chance to give back to the community, as a portion of sales at the event with benefit UpSpring.

Mezibov, who specializes in fine tailored shirts for men, explains the excitement toward the spring season: “I love the bright, hopeful, and easy feeling that accompanies this time of year,” he says. “I am a big fan of color and the fresh palettes that come to the forefront in spring.”

Until now, Mezibov’s pieces have only been available for men, and sold only online. At the pop-up shop, not only will guests be able to purchase and be fitted in-person, but they will also get a sneak peek at his new designs for women. “We are really excited to now be offering made-to-measure shirts for women. They feature the same fine ingredients, craftsmanship and attention to detail as our men’s shirts, but [will be] totally customized to the individual’s specifications,” he says. “There is a certain freedom in making women’s shirts, in terms of colors, fabrics and styles…I am really enjoying the process and the ability to now offer shirts to anyone who enjoys our aesthetic.”

In addition to the stylish nature of the event, a portion of all sales will go to benefit UpSpring, formerly known as Faces without Places. UpSpring is the region’s only non-profit exclusively serving the educational needs of homeless children and youth. Mezibov is passionate about the organization, and says, “Childhood poverty is an unfortunate reality and Cincinnati is near the top of the list for highest child poverty rates among major U.S. cities. Poverty is a hindrance to many aspects of our society, but education certainly should not be one of them…[UpSpring’s] mission could not be more timely or important.”

Jonathan Mezibov’s pop-up shop event will take place at 1421 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, February 12. To RSVP for the event, visit www.mezibov.eventbrite.com. To learn more about the designer, visit www.jonathanmezibov.com.

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Spruce, the natural answer to your neighborhood nail salon, is soon to open in OTR. Read on to get the deets for your digits.

Spruce
Spruce Natural Nail Sho[p creates a relaxing space for clients to relax.

Good, clean fun. That’s their philosophy at Spruce Natural Nail Shop.

Business partners Molly Reckman and Gayl King launched the concept of Spruce Natural Nail Shop based on the desire to create a calm and social atmosphere where women, men, children and expectant moms can come to relax and unwind.

“Our inspiration for Spruce comes from two concepts: One is that both of us are very passionate about creating a healthy atmosphere for both our clients and staff,” says Reckman. “Secondly, we have both lived in several large cities from coast to coast where we were able to pull inspiration in order to create our vision for Spruce.”

However, for Reckman, her passion is the people. “From the start of this process, we have been working with so many amazing and genuine people who are helping us bring this space to life – and now we are looking forward to the next step – getting to know all of our customers and neighbors.”

As for what differentiates Spruce from your average salon, Reckman describes a couple reasons – with hygiene at number one. “We use hospital grade autoclave to sterilize all metal implements, and anything that cannot be sterilized, we dispose of after each use,” she says. We also use basins instead of the typical jet baths that are used in other salons. This way we can ensure that they are totally disinfected after each use.”
Reckman also places emphasis on the customer service, décor and toxic-free environment at Spruce. “When you walk in, it definitely doesn’t feel like your normal salon,” she says. “We wanted it to have more of an art studio feel. Our pedicure chairs are comfy lounge chairs and our manicure tables are hand crafted by The Brush Factory.”

“Most importantly, all polish we use is 5Free – and we make a conscious choice not to provide gels, acrylics or enhancements,” Reckman continues. “We believe both our clients and staff will benefit from this experience.”

Spruce Natural Nail Shop is located at 1235 Vine Street in the heart of OTR. They will be holding a soft opening through the month of January, and will officially open their doors to the public in February.

During the month of December, Spruce will also be collaborating with some of their favorite shops in OTR to put on holiday-pops where they will be doing manicures and nail art. These pop-ups will be Dec. 19 (Sloane Boutique) from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 29 (Continuum Bazaar) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pop-ups and events around the area will continue after they open.

“OTR is a vibrant community and we are excited to bring people together by providing a service to those who live, work and visit the neighborhood,” says Reckman. “We will specialize in nail art and encourage our customers to express themselves – while embracing their natural beauty. All services will range between $20-$55.”

“Overall, we aim to offer a convenient, healthy and affordable experience,” says Reckman. “Whether you have 15 minutes between meetings or a couple of hours to kill, there is a service here that will work for everyone.”

For updates on Spruce Natural Nail Shop, make sure to check out their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. They are also working on launching a website in the upcoming months, where clients will be able to book appointments directly and obtain information about upcoming events.

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Some tech savvy social butterflies are getting together once a month to network, grab a drink and talk tech. Read on for details and how you can join in the fun!

The crowd at a recent QCMerge Drinkup event
The crowd at a recent QCMerge Drinkup event

Chris Ridenour and Chris Moore wanted to create an event in Cincinnati that would co-mingle their two developer groups. During the planning process, though, they realized a greater need: one for a social event that brought together individuals in technology and digital marketing fields to simply socialize and talk tech.

Fast forward to today, and their group, formerly known as the Web/Tech Drinkup, is now “QCMerge Drinkup.” It now serves as a monthly meetup where developers, designers and anyone working in the technology industry can get together, grab a drink and network.

“The original idea for the meetups was to get the various industry and technology-specific groups out of their secluded meetups, get together and socialize,” explains Ridenour. “No talks, no presentations, just great drinks and great people!”

Ridenour says the meetups have stayed true to their vision for more than three years now. Since their original launch in April 2012, Andy Jobe joined the organizing team and has been around to help out and pass out drink tickets. Even during that first drinkup so many years ago, Ridenour says that although it was the smallest ever event, there were still 30 self-proclaimed “nerds” who got together and had a great time.

Ridenour adds that besides that the first drink is always free, what he enjoys most about the drinkups is getting to see new faces at the event. “Everyone is there to talk about what they do and meet new people,” he says. “We have been credited with countless job changes in the tech industry and we know of one couple who met at the drinkup in 2012 and got married this year!”

QCMerge Drinkup meetings are held the first Thursday of each month, so the next one won’t be until October (but be sure to mark your calendars, tech lovers!). They’re held at Japp’s Since 1879 in Over-the-Rhine.

To learn more about QCMerge Drinkup, click here.

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A Hyde Park-based business specializing in activewear and sneakers shares details with us about their new OTR location set to open next month.

Corporate’s Hyde Park store, located at 2643 Erie Ave. Photo by: Ben "Hatchmo" Iker
Corporate’s Hyde Park store, located at 2643 Erie Ave. Photo by: Ben “Hatchmo” Iker

Matt Tomamichael believes he did everything wrong when he began his entrepreneurial journey as the owner of shoe and athletic wear store, Corporate in Hyde Park. “If there was an example of everything not to do with a business, I was that example,” Tomamichael laughs, “but I was just so determined, I made it work.”

Today, Corporate is an athletic wear and shoe store, carrying mainly men’s merchandise but also a select offering of women’s athletic wear and shoes. Serving as the local sneakerhead’s paradise, you can find high performance and rare athletic shoes such as the Adidas Tubular 93’s or the Converse Suede 70’s High Top QS Edition

Corporate’s selection of apparel is also a collection of hand-selected rare finds, with brands including Publish Brand (from California) and Tackma (founded in Ohio and based in New York).

Tomamichael launched Corporate in 2008 with its original location in Springdale. In 2011, he relocated the store to its current Hyde Park location. Even though Tomamichael says he did everything wrong when launching his business, he learned and adapted quickly to turn it into a successful operation. So much so, he’s preparing to open his second store on Vine St. this October.

The idea for the second store began when Josh Heuser, owner of AGAR – an OTR-based event planning company – and Tomamichael’s close friend, suggested that Tomamichael look into an OTR location due to dramatically increasing foot traffic and its niche of fashion forward shoppers. Shortly after the suggestion, Tomamichael was coincidentally approached by 3CDC with the opportunity to open up a space on Vine, and the rest is history. “The moral of the story,” Tomamichael says, “is when it’s right you’ll know it’s right.”

Tomamichael says he envisions the Vine St. Corporate store to be a graduating extension of the Hyde Park store, as it will feature more brands, an extensive selection of shoes and apparel, and “only featuring the best of the best merchandise,” Tomamichael says. “The downtown location will have the clothing niche.”

AGAR and Corporate are teaming up to produce several events later this year once the new location opens. To get updates on progress and event invites, follow Corporate’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

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