Ludlow Avenue In Pictures – A Magical History Tour

Recently I’ve set out to find old photographs of Ludlow Avenue, the Clifton Gaslight Business District, and the Gaslight District in general. Mostly I’ve been searching for photos of storefronts that have changed over the years, either due to cosmetic changes or new businesses replacing old ones. I feel as if I’m just scratching the surface so far, but I figured I’d trot out some photos just to get things started. As more photos become available, I’ll keep adding to this blog entry and perhaps create new blog entries that are narrower in focus. I encourage anyone who has photos (or knows where I can find more) to add to this collection to contribute. Eventually I suspect this will become a separate page on Gaslight Property’s website, gaslightproperty.com. These are some of the photos I’ve collected thus far. At first I was going to write a caption for each one – but after posting them I thought, it’ll be more fun for people to suss out where these locations are. So can you identify all the locations from the past and the businesses/spaces that have replaced them? And can you add some photos to the collection? In any case, enjoy this soon-to-be-expanded magical history tour.

 

 

 

New Hours for Gaslight Gourmet Cookies

It’s been almost three years since Gaslight Gourmet Cookies opened in Clifton, and it was an immediate hit, its baked goods, classic awning, and walk-up window adding that much more charm to the neighborhood. Along with serving walk-in or walk-up fans of cookies, macaroons, and coffee, the store has always had its share of loyal large-order customers, and demand is so strong in that area that it recently opted to trim its hours to be able to fulfill that need. So plan accordingly, cookie fans: new hours for the store, which is located at 272 Ludlow Avenue, are:

Wednesday: 7am to 4pm

Saturday: 7am to 6pm

Sunday: 8am to noon

When I spoke to the owner of the store, Tom Jacobsen, he said coconut macaroons are the most popular item on the menu, and it turns out they earned a “Best of the City” award in Cincinnati Magazine. The best-selling cookie is the dark cherry cordial cookie. When you speak to Tom, he makes it clear that the store is located in the perfect spot. “Clifton is the best neighborhood in the city,” he said, “and it’s been the best neighborhood for 100 years.”

And his civic pride extends to other Cincinnati neighborhoods. Tom donates cookies and macaroons for fund-raisers at St. Boniface, Fairview-Clifton German Language School, Roger Bacon, Elder, DePaul Christo Rey, and other local schools.

And if you’re wondering how to arrange large orders yourself, Tom encourages interested parties to text, all, or leave a message at (513) 602-5253. Also, you should check out his facebook page. Gaslight Gourmet Cookies is one more reason the Gaslight District is a great neighborhood and a great place to rent.

The Proud Rooster Keeps Crowing


An old-school mom-and-pop restaurant in the heart of the Gaslight District, the Proud Rooster has been getting a lot of attention lately. It recently topped a list of recommended mom-and-pops on the Only In Your State website. And last week 94.9’s Sandy and Holly “DJ’s and Diners” tour made its first stop at the Proud Rooster.

The praise is well-deserved, as the Proud Rooster, located at 345 Ludlow Avenue, provides good diner food and the kind of casual charm that befits a family-owned restaurant that’s been an integral part of Clifton’s Gaslight District since Eisenhower was President. (Before that, it was the Hitching Post.) The Proud Rooster is open for breakfast and lunch, and the hours are 8am to 2:30pm Tuesday thru Saturday and 8am to 1:30pm Sundays; it’s closed on Mondays. It serves breakfast staples like eggs, bacon, sausage, and home fries; lunch items include burgers, fries, and fried chicken.

The Proud Rooster has a relaxed vibe, and in the mornings you’ll see plenty of half-awake morning customers rolling in wearing shorts or sweats. While there, you’ll also see lots of sports memorabilia on the walls—photos of Bob Huggins, Sam Wyche, and other well-known coaches. And you’ll see photos and trophies of basketball teams once coached by the owner of the Proud Rooster, Bob “Chicken Man” Doll, who coached girls’ basketball for 28 years at St. Dominic in Delhi. The team won three city tournaments and were runners-up three other years.

When I asked Bob what he loved most about coaching, he said, “To see kids believe in themselves.” The work was all volunteer, and he made it clear that the benefits of playing sports—and his connection with the students—extended well beyond the end of the season.

“People say, ‘I don’t know if I can do that, I’m gonna quit”—well, that’s too easy,” he explained. “You gotta fight for it, and all my kids have done that.

“They start to believe in themselves. Every time I see them now, I think, that’s all my kids. They seem to achieve more when they get out.

“Twenty eight years,” he added, “and I wouldn’t trade a second for it.”

Just as he had an influence on St. Dominic’s eighth graders, Bob had had a positive impact on the Gaslight District—and for that he deserves a yet another trophy.

 

Taft’s Brewing Company Opens in Spring Grove Village


Located at 4831 Spring Grove Avenue in Spring Grove Village, Taft’s Brewing Company had absolutely perfect weather for its grand opening last weekend. The event drew a large crowd that including children eager to show their strength at the high striker. The 50,000-square foot space includes a brewery as well as a tap room (“brewporium”) with a wide assortment of beer. Taft’s Brewing Company also serves a New Haven coal-fired, crispy Neopolitan-style pizza and sandwiches. The building benefits from some glass garage doors, which look great and gives the brewporium an indoor/outdoor feel. While there I ran into friends from Spring Grove, Clifton, and Northside, which makes sense as Taft’s is within a stone’s throw of two of those neighborhoods and is part of Spring Grove Village, where new stores keep popping up lately, including Sally’s Treats & Treasures and Flamingo Haven—and I should mention that Flamingo Haven is hosting a community yard sale this Saturday. Taft’s Brewing Company is located near the intersection of Spring Grove Avenue and Mitchell Avenue. Regular hours for Taft’s will be 3pm to 10pm Wednesday; noon to midnight Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; and noon to 9pm Sunday.

So Where Do You Buy A Book Around Here?

You may recall certain pundits proclaiming that books were dead – and by “books” we mean the actual three-dimensional objects with a spine and a cover and actual pages as opposed to words that appear on a computer screen. Turns out lots of people – way more than predicted, and not just the old-timey traditionalists – like the experience of reading an actual book, and now the online juggernauts are opening (whodathunkit) good old-fashioned bookstores around the country.

That’s all good and well, but that doesn’t wipe away that fact that the small independent (but infinitely resourceful) bookstore that used to be on Ludlow Avenue (New World Bookshop) is now gone. So if someone who lived ’round here wanted to purchase a book in an actual store nearby opposed to ordering it online (what fun is that?), aren’t they up a crick?

Well, no – but books aren’t always in the obvious places. One store that has expanded its book section considerably is Shake-It Records in Northside. And while you might expect music books (and Shake-It has ’em), the record store sells more books in other categories, including lots and lots of classic literature (including poetry and drama), plus philosophy and other liberal arts staples. Although Shake-It sells new books, it has greatly increased the number of used books it sells. It sells them cheap, and they have actually been surprised at how quickly they fly off the shelves, which is why their book selection and will only get larger. Here’s some photos I snapped at Shake-It a couple weeks ago, but I know for a fact that their selection has increased a lot (and sold) since then – but this’ll give you a taste:

Many people miss New World Bookshop, which only sold new books, but there is one place nearby that has lots of new books and is well curated. I’m talking here of the bookstore at UC’s university center, which along with a substantial local section had a lot of fiction, including lots of new novels, such as Sarah Domet’s The Guineveres – a humorous and intriguing debut novel by an author who grew up in Cincinnati and studied at UC.

And don’t forget Duttenhoffer’s, a used bookstore which has been around Clifton forever and is doing “extremely well,” according to the employee I talked to this morning. In fact, he said, other than December, which benefits from the Christmas rush, June of this year was the best month they’ve had since he started there five years ago. That’s good to hear. It seems like people are falling in love with books again. They’ve been referred to as “the new vinyl,” and like vinyl records books seemed passé for a minute but turned out to be timeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herzog Music Opens Downtown

Herzog Music opened last weekend in downtown Cincinnati, 811 Race Street to be exact. Walking around the three stories devoted to celebrating Cincinnati’s musical heritage…and providing a bridge to the future, I thought that downtown Cinci just got a little more colorful and music-friendly. Herzog Music is a lot of different things at once, and I won’t pretend that this blog entry captures everything going on at the location, which feels like a combination of a retail store, museum, and performance space – but even an incomplete report should be enough to be of interest to any music lover.

On the first floor the main attraction is a huge selection of musical instruments, with many dating back so far that they predate some of the historic recording sessions that took place in that same building. In a room where guitars, basses, mandolins, dobros, and other instruments hung on the wall, a left-handed girl strummed skillfully on  a right-handed ukulele (“You just do it in reverse,” she explained).

I asked her father if this was family where everyone played, and he said no, that was all her. And it’s funny: after the family disappeared for a few minutes, she slipped back in and grabbed a left-handed guitar off the wall and strummed some more. I believe she’s found her calling!

And there were some other strummers.

The second floor had lots of used LPs, and many more will be put out in upcoming weeks.

And here’s a nice touch: you can play the records that you’re curious about. I threw on Maxayn, an old funk album on Capricorn.

After pawing through some records, I noted to Little Billy Catfish, seen here with Bonnie Speeg, that this particular Three Sounds LP was recorded at a club in downtown Cincinnati. Remember the Living Room?

Herzog Music is also a good place to shop for stereo equipment, including speakers, amps, receivers, equalizers, cassette decks, and turntables.

And don’t forget PA speakers, mixing boards, mics, and all that other stuff you need to perform live:

Speaking of live, when I walked up to the third floor I witnessed a live performance from the same gentleman I saw strumming an acoustic guitar on the first floor. His name is Andrew Hibbert, and he recently recorded an album (some or all of it at Herzog) that will be coming out pretty soon – we’ll have to keep track of that, as he’s a very talented musician whose skills include some first-rate yodeling a la Jimmie Rodgers.

There will be other musical performances at Herzog Music, and there will also be music lessons. So far I’ve only scratched the surface, but that’s okay – you can get a fuller picture by visiting yourself. As I left the building, it struck me that, as much as I enjoyed looking at records and vintage guitars and historical photos, what I liked best about Herzog Music was the way it brought people together. There’s a lot of history in that building, but there’s more to come.

 

Have You Been to It’s Yoga?

This summer It’s Yoga, located at 346 Ludlow Avenue in the Gaslight District, is offering a deal for brand new students to the yoga studio. Their five-class pass for $25 is good for two weeks after purchase.

The yoga studio, which is located above Ace Hardware, has been an active yoga studio and yoga teacher training school since 2000. All instructors have a minimum of 200 hours of certified teacher training and several have 500 hours.


Whatever your interest and experience level, It’s Yoga has a class that will match your needs. The types of yoga It’s Yoga offers include:

  • Beginner’s Yoga for those curious about yoga and brand new to it. Beginner’s Yoga explores the different styles of yoga, proper alignment, and will build one’s confidence to move on to some of the other classes offered at It’s Yoga.
  • Yoga for 50+ classes are offered several times a week, morning, and evening, and have become increasingly popular with older and wiser adults looking to maintain or add flexibility and strength for aging gracefully.
  • More athletic forms such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Core Power Yoga that incorporates some Pilates and Yoga moves to create a stronger abdomen and back muscles.
  • Yin Yoga is a very popular Thursday evening class that uses long deep seated postures and stretches to release deep fascia and promote physical flexibility and emotional stillness and relaxation.

So get in some comfortable clothing, grab your water bottle, and join It’s Yoga on the mat. Good stuff for the body, mind, and soul.

To learn more about classes and purchase passes, check out It’s Yoga’s website, like their Facebook page, stop in the studio, or call at 513-961-9642. Namastè.

Guess Who Makes Great Pizza?

Since the beginning, one of the consistent themes of this blog has been this: The Gaslight District is a great place to live because there’s lots to do AND it’s super convenient. Well, it just got a little more convenient. Clifton Market continues to add more and more new features, and now the deli makes pizza that’s modestly priced and immodestly yummy. Let’s take a look at the menu:

You’ll note that there’s a gluten-free option, and you’ll also notice some veggie options. Note also that you can customize your pizza to your heart’s content – and again, you can’t beat the prices. A couple days ago, based on a rave review from a friend of mine, I visited the deli and ordered a pizza. I got the lowdown on all things pizza-related from Ray and Anthony:

Our conversation ended up drawing a crowd that included Jeremy (“Tell everybody he’s the reason this deli is so good,” one of his co-workers said), Sharon, and Brandy, and they were up for a picture as well:

Our banter as we discussed the pizza (“You better make this good! This guy’s writing a blog!”) and the sense the employees really cared about their customers points to one of the best things about Clifton Market: its friendly and personable employees. Okay, so I ordered a Groovy Pizza, and while I was waiting for it I visited the beer selection, as one needs to wash down the pizza with something.

While there I remembered a conversation I’d overheard recently where someone standing in front of these doors was surprised to learn that the Brewery District also sells beers behind them. I can understand his confusion, as the wording is a little ambiguous, right?

After I took the pizza home I allowed the pizza to cool down a little…or long enough, at least, to snap a photo of it. Like my friend Suzanne, who recommended I try the pizza in the first place, I loved the crust, I thought the proportions were just right, everything tasted fresh, and it was one hot pizza. And somehow the personal touch added that extra something to it. Grab one the next time you visit Clifton Market!

Mediterranean King Has New Owner + Offers Expanded Menu

Mediterranean King has been in Clifton for almost five years now, serving its tasty blend of Authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cuisine at 3307 Clifton Ave. for both dine-in and carry-out. Recently the restaurant came under new ownership. It’s very much a family operation, as the new owners and most of the staff are a Syrian family. Also, the Manager and familiar face, Kerry Ann McGrath, has been with Mediterranean King since the beginning, behind the scenes and in front. The restaurant also does a lot of catering, and interested parties should call (513) 221-7222 to arrange the perfect, custom spread for their event. The classic, original menu items customers expect and love remain, but there are some new items as well. One new item is the Cheese Boat (Fatayir bi Jebneh), “a Syrian savory pastry filled with a mix of herbs and cheese inside our handmade dough, baked to golden perfection.” I happened to stroll into the kitchen right after these Cheese Boats were baked, and I think you can tell just by looking at this picture, just how succulent they were.

Another new goodie is the Samboosa, “a savory Cheese or Meat filled dumpling in a handmade flaky, golden shell.”

And what about Qatayaf, which are “light, fluffy pancakes filled with “Ishta”(Cream cooked with half and half & cheese) topped with simple syrup.”

And there’s Fatayar Asafiri, “little fluffy pancakes filled with cream and cheese, topped with crushed pistachio and simple syrup!”

And don’t forget Baklava!

Here’s another dessert dish, Kunafa, “a pastry made of shredded Filo dough, filled with Ricotta Cheese & cream, topped with simple syrup.”

Other new dishes and exciting renovations are on their way, along with, as I said before, the original menu. To find out what else Mediterranean King is cooking up, like and follow their Facebook page. And if you have any questions or want to order carryout, call (513) 221-7222. We’re glad to have Mediterranean King in the neighborhood, cooking delicious, authentic food and offering a calm, peaceful atmosphere. I always found the previous owner and his staff to be warm and welcoming and personable, and I got the exact same vibe when I walked in today and met Hanan, the mother in the family (she’s the woman on the right).

This restaurant has long been a dream of Hanan’s, and one the owners, her family, have made a reality. Mediterranean King encourages everyone to stop in and meet the new family, as they love to welcome and personally chat with patrons. That was also the case with the previous owner, and he searched a long time for the right family to take over the business. Fortunately, he found them.

 

Bruegger’s Is Back In Business

Bruegger’s reopened today, and it’s better than ever, with streamlined service and an even cozier atmosphere (I like the dark walls and soft lighting). A place to grab a quick bite to go or a place to linger for whatever length of time with a laptop or book – or friends. Seems like the Gaslight District just keeps getting better, with our new grocery store, Clifton Market, now up and running, a new barbershopthe Whole Bowl an instant hit – and the Clifton Plaza music series back in action (it’s every Friday and Saturday night), along with the long-established businesses and the real sense of neighborhood. Welcome back, Bruegger’s – we missed ya!