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Good Eats & Drinks

Greater Cincinnati has become a Midwest mecca for dining experiences, thanks in part to these alumni foodie entrepreneurs. 

By NKU Magazine staff | Published August 2019

For many years, the primary conversation around Greater Cincinnati’s food scene was “Skyline or Gold Star?” “UDF or Graeter’s?” was popular as well. And people had a lot of opinionsabout Frisch’s Big Boy.

But recently the conversation has taken a different turn, as locals now proudly claim independent eateries, brew pubs and culinary shops as their own personal favorites. And the love isn’t just coming from inside the region, either, with esteemed publications such as The Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker and even Food & Wine magazine lavishing attention on our area’s rising gastronomic status.

Beyond the glowing writeups, immutable word of mouth and long wait lists, though, are people—people with dogged determination, burning passions and culinary visions. These proprietors put their hopes, time and finances into a notoriously difficult retail arena, pushing themselves to the limit so people can share their dream with them. And with each new café or bottle shop, our region becomes a better place to live, work and play.

These people embody the concept of entrepreneurialism, and it’s no surprise that, behind many of Greater Cincinnati’s most exciting taste experiences, you’ll find graduates of Northern Kentucky University. From journalists to microbiologists, accounting majors to MPAs, each exhibits the entrepreneurial streak common to so many of the school’s students and alumni.

We’ll take a look at just a few of the restaurants, watering holes and food experiences that NKU alumni have opened around the region in recent years. And to make it fun, we’ve organized things around common meals of the day, from breakfast to dinner to late-night snacks and drinks.