As promised, I’m going to tell you the tale of our time spent in Cincinnati. Unlike Pittsburgh and Denver, we’ve not spent an entire week in Cincy but instead have had several separate weekends there over the past few months because it’s only a few hours drive from our Kentucky life.
The two neighborhoods that seem to have caught our fancy are Northside and Findlay Market. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t a couple of other neighborhood options we would consider if Cincy were our choice (I’ve heard nothing but stellar things about Covington, for example, which is just over the river in KY), but so far those are the two spots that feel the most like us in terms of size and energy.
Northside has the quintessential main street; several blocks of bustling commerce, surrounded on either side by an ever growing and invested neighborhood community. After wandering up and down the shop lined streets one Saturday afternoon we decided we simply had to check out the local diner, Blue Jay, to determine if it was authentic and dinery enough for us.
You may not know this, but I have a thing for diners. Let me clarify. I have this deep, endless, pulse quickening, mouth watering, all-encompassing love for diners. And I’m not talking about Jonny Rockets or IHOP (though I mean no offense to those upstanding establishments) I’m talking about true-blue, cheap-eats, knows how long to cook an over-medium egg, quirky long standing staff, DINER. When I moved to my very first apartment in Chicago I was down the street from such a diner called Jerri’s (where they are open 24/7 except for one week a year when they all take a vacation together, they only accept cash, and you can get a patty melt for $4.00) and since I moved away I’ve been searching for that perfection. And let me tell you, Blue Jay is real. Not only did they know just how long to cook my over medium eggs, their hashbrowns were the perfect combination of crispy and homefry flavorful, and best of all their homemade Cincinnati chili (that you can smother atop those delicious hash browns) was on point! My love for Cincinnati chili isn’t quite so deep as my love for Colorado green chili, but it comes close and Blue Jay does it right. If we moved to Northside I would never be sad to breakfast there.
With full stomachs we wandered the neighborhood, which seems to be a fun mix of families and young professionals. The houses are exceptionally cute and the neighborhood itself seems to be going through a bit of a slow transition. It was a little sleepy for a Saturday, but quiet can be nice.
Our other favorite area is the Findlay Market area, which is growing and changing very quickly in comparison to other parts of the city. The market itself is wonderful; like a typical farmer’s market times ten. Every time I’ve gone there’s been live music, delicious smells of BBQ wafting on the air, endless bounty from local farmers and the best gosh darn Pho and Banh Mi in the city. They’ve just built out a kitchen and incubator space, so food producers could potentially rent both kitchen and retail space all within the same stellar market and with Rhinegeist Brewery right down the street the neighborhood is hopping! After a delicious meal of pork and lemongrass banh mi, it’s only right to hop, skip, or jump over to Rhinegeist and toast a successful weekend atop their stunning roofdeck with delicious sour cherry beer … right? It would be truly wrong not to, so without question it’s what we do every time and I have yet to be disappointed in myself.
Like I said, there are a few other neighborhoods that we could consider, but Northside and Findlay Market are the two whose fanciest fancies we find ourselves fancying the most. Compared to the sprawling vastness of Denver, both Cincy and Pittsburgh feel compact but we’ve definitely found places in all three where we not only feel like ourselves, but also are able to catch an exciting glimpse of what the future might look like in any of these wonderful cities. Boy oh boy do we have some big and lovely decisions to make this month! Thanks again to all of the people who have showed off their cities and made this choice super hard, we wouldn’t have it any other way!