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MHGarrison's Profile

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Cincinnati - Historic Restaurants

Oooo Graeter's! Still great, but just nnnnot quite as great-er's as they used to be. I believe I've observed some cost-cutting measures as the inevitable impact of the "new normal" has made maintenance of the OLD normal cost prohibitive. A shame too, but, I suspect their marketing gurus awhile ago figured out selling ice cream cones that cost as much or more than a pint might be bad for business. The OLD Graeter's ice cream I grew up on had waaaaaay more natural ground vanilla bean flecks in it than what's been proffered for years, now. They've also changed the chocolate used, and how they use it - now it really is small bits of chocolate chips, not the huge chunks of semi-sweet chocolate that was obviously dripped, dropped, glopped, and drabbed into the ice cream pots that made for those decadently huge chips that were both unique, and delicious. The chocolate is different too - what's being used now has some kind of waxy texture, which makes it chunk in the ice cream differently than what they used before; I prefer the raw semi-sweet chocolate candy texture of the old, huge chips, to this waxy stuff. But, they ARE still there, in business, and successful - and, now, all over the country. Which ain't a bad thing, relatively speaking. Aglamesis though, is plugging along quite well, and I can't say I've noticed any change or cost cutting measures at the expense of the quality of the ice cream. If it has to cost more, so be it - I tend to think quality is appreciated, and that people will be willing to pay for it, if it's great. At least, I hope so!

Sep 25, 2013
MHGarrison in Great Lakes

Cincinnati - Historic Restaurants

Habig's (pronounced the way you spelled it) - my dad lived around the corner, we enjoyed a lot of meals there; straightforward, simple, good old-fashioned comfort food.

Hudepohl & Schoenling - Hudepohl is back, I think a local man bought the names and has re-introduced a number of the Hudy beers in the last 2-3 years... Hudy Delight... and so on.

Sep 24, 2013
MHGarrison in Great Lakes

Cincinnati - Historic Restaurants

Thanks, very much appreciated, and very nice of you to say. Also glad you got to see him performing in his prime, he loved entertaining folks with the smoke-rings! Busy week here, lots of planning, you're right, Heaven has just gotten a lot more fun - I haven't come close to having a chance to fully process his loss, but it's an understatement to say he was quite the character - he loved Cincinnati, and many of the restaurants mentioned in these comments!

Googling him for something brought up these comments yesterday, I couldn't let it go without sharing thoughts on The Barn Rib Pit, not with all the times I ate there, and with how much both my dad & I liked the place. The hidden-off-the-alley location, reminiscent of a 30's speak-easy, the food, the decor, the bar, the funky seeming-afterthought-of-a-side-room that you had to step down 2-3 steps into... I seem to think getting to the bathrooms meant going down the same hall that led to the kitchen, off to the left of the bar.. well, anyway - memories, memories! My dad ate all over town, and, quite often, I was taken along, so I got to as well - I remember so many of the places mentioned all through these comments!

The Gourmet Room was his favorite, and there's some long-gone Italian restaurant that was his favorite (can't recall the name right now, haven't seen it mentioned so far, someplace around in the 50's/60's - &, Lenhardt's - he ate there pretty much all his life; I miss that place too! The schnitzels! The potato pancakes! Those home-made desserts made by Erica! I know it wasn't economically feasible to keep it going, but..... *sigh*! Unfortunately I am blanking out on exactly what the menu said, but I think it said something about Hungarian cuisine, although there was certainly some crossover with items typically German - brat sausages, schnitzels, potato pancakes... with the loss of Lenhardt's and all that new urban-canyon-creating development plus the congestion and elimination of any convenient parking with Lenhardt's parking lot going away, I don't think there's anything left there to draw me back into that area of Calhoun/McMillan - too bad. Hopefully new places can make it on pedestrian traffic from the college kids, as the inconvenience of parking down there and negotiating the created congestion means it would have to be realllllllly good to make it worth it.

But - we'll always have the memories!

Sep 24, 2013
MHGarrison in Great Lakes

Cincinnati - Historic Restaurants

Thanks, interesting that you had a chance to meet my father, he loved music and bought records upon records of music he liked. The Sight-In-Sound name sounds very familiar, but I'm not picturing it so well - but, those were high-school days for me, and I was growing up on the east side of town - quite likely though I was in there with my dad at some time. I think he shopped in Record Theater in Norwood too, I remember they had a conveyor belt you'd drop cassette tapes in large plastic boxes onto from their display shelves/rack, and they were behind a large plastic wall with multiple hand sized holes that you could reach through to grab and drop the tape you wanted, but the holes were too small to pull the cassette-containing cases through, which was how they controlled shoplifting of tapes. I'd be surprised to see that someplace again - sorry for getting off topic from food!

'Rib Pit' on the sign, yes! I think so, now that you mention it!

Cincinnati is sooooooooo much different now from how it was through the 70's and 80's.... can't even begin to tell you...!

Sep 24, 2013
MHGarrison in Great Lakes

Cincinnati - Historic Restaurants

My father is Harry Garrison; yes, Calvin Trillin's first book, "American Fried", and one of the chapters was about my dad touring Calvin around town and introducing him to The Barn, Stenger's cafe'/eatery on Vine St., Cincinnati-style chili, and so on. &, yes, my dad certainly loved his food! Calvin wrote that as an article, I believe for the New Yorker, and used his articles as chapters for "American Fried".

If my memory serves, the Barn was closed awhile before anything was close to beginning for the Aronoff center. My father ate there countless times over many years, as did I - I believe he may have had me dining with him there before I was ten. It was a GREAT restaurant - what a place! Kind of a dive atmosphere, going back to the 50's at least, probably the 40's. My father was friends with the owner, whose first name was Al, I think it was Al Schavel, or similar to that (Shavel? Schaevel?). He & I both preferred their barbecue sauce to Montgomery Inn; not as sweet as M.I., but similar. It was yummy - they served their full menu until 2:00 AM, and he & I both, and I as a young adult, went in many times late. If you got your order in before 2:00, even 5 minutes, you'd get full service and your order with no complaints from anyone there, it was fabulous to be able to do that. Late night dining in this city suffered a loss with the closing of The Barn, for sure. i remember their sign hanging above their door in the alley... "The Barn", in neon, sloped at an angle, I think "The" was smaller, in a script style, maybe green, and the "Barn" was bigger, in red, if memory serves. Never occurred to me to take a picture, too bad! Al, the owner, was into horse racing, there were pictures of race horses all over, and I think horse statuettes as well, and other race-horse related stuff - newspaper headlines, articles.... there were also great pictures of pinup girls, movie star hotties of the 40's - there was a great picture of a very young and very hot-looking Angela Lansbury scantily clad in some sort of stylized middle-eastern harem garb, there may have been a Gina Lollobrigida... one picture, forget of whom, had them flashing, just slightly enough that you had to look closely, a nipple. I always recall ordering roquefort dressing, although they also had bleu cheese; you almost never see roquefort offered today, anyplace, and back then, it was possible, but rare. The salads were always served on chilled, ice-cold metal plates, very fresh, and were delicious. The ribs were delicious, and always fall-off-the-bone tender, at a time when I would at times find Montgomery Inn's less-than-perfect. I think there was a woman named Seal who ran the place with Al, and was Al's sister - she ran things after Al passed away, until the place closed. I believe she may have taken the sauce recipe to her grave, although I certainly hope she shared it with her own family. I think my father commented that Al would swim everyday at a long-established exercise club downtown, may have been called the Cincinnati Swim Club (?). I miss The Barn to this day, since they were the only place you could grab a superb-quality full-service meal even as late as 5 minutes before 2:00 AM in the city.

Sep 23, 2013
MHGarrison in Great Lakes