Cincinnati September 25, 2017
9 Mom & Pop Restaurants In Cincinnati That Serve Home Cooked Meals To Die For
Each outstanding restaurant in Cincinnati deserves a place in our hearts (and tastebuds), but there is just something about those little mom & pop places that deserve a little extra love. The definition of a mom & pop-type restaurant may vary depending on who you ask, but generally it means that the business is owned and operated by a family and the food is lovingly homemade. Cincinnati has many such beloved locations, and we’ve rounded up nine of the best that you really have to try if you haven’t already.
1. Proud Rooster - 345 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220
The Proud Rooster is a tiny, legendary diner in the heart of Clifton on Ludlow. They only take cash, the interior is small and charmingly vintage, and it's the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch - or both. There's often a line for a table, but the classic breakfast food and outstanding chicken, which are made by the "Chicken Man" himself, are worth the wait.
2. Stefano's Italian Cafe - 2200 Central Ave., Middletown, OH 45044
For 26 years, Middletown has kept a pretty good secret. Stefano's is a family-owned Italian cafe that serves flavorful dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. They are open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, and you'll be pleased with any choice from their extensive Italian-themed menu.
3. The Echo - 3510 Edwards Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45208
If you haven't eaten breakfast at The Echo in Hyde Park, what have you been doing with your life? Okay, just kidding. But seriously, The Echo is a morning tradition in our city and an experience everyone should have at least once. Patiently wait for a table to open up, sit down, and order anything from the menu (with a side of goetta). You won't be disappointed.
4. Stone's - 3605 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, OH 45211
You know a restaurant is the real deal when it's been around since 1962. Stone's is a family-owned diner that is basically an institution on the west side. Their home cooked specials (like the stuffed pepper pictured above) will make you feel right at home and their menu is outstanding.
5. Blue Jay Restaurant - 4154 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223
Each Cincinnati neighborhood - if it's lucky - seems to have that classic diner that's been around forever. For Northside, it's the Blue Jay, and thankfully, we can still enjoy the homemade deliciousness from this family-owned diner today. They are open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Saturday, and their specialties include a classic breakfast, unbelievable double deckers, and their Cincinnati-style chili.
6. Sophia's Restaurant - 811 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
It's not easy to make it as a restaurant in downtown Cincinnati. But this hidden gem continues to thrive thanks to delicious, homemade food and a friendly atmosphere. Sophia's is open during the week for breakfast and lunch, but breakfast is a real highlight here, as are the gyros.
7. Sunnyside Grill - 7995 Wesselman Rd., Cleves, OH 45002
On the corner of Harrison and Wesselman, Sunnyside Grill is the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch. Open 8am to 3pm everyday, their portions are impressive and the homemade breakfasts and lunch items - like their gigantic burgers - are more than worth a visit.
8. Stateline Restaurant - 55 US Highway 50 E, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
Aptly named for its location in Lawrenceburg, Stateline Restaurant is a vintage, family-owned diner that will take you back in time. They are open for breakfast and lunch everyday, but we highly recommend you order from the breakfast portion of the menu, no matter the time of day.
9. The Gruff - 129 E 2nd St., Covington, KY 41011
Quite possibly the most unique spot on our list, The Gruff is just across the river in Covington and is the perfect family-friendly dining destination. The whimsical atmosphere (there's a green floor!) is fun and the food is out of this world. It's hard to pick only a few recommendations, but favorites include the Pickle Fries, Hanky Pankys, and the Fried Chicken Sandwich. The location and view are pretty amazing, as well!
Supporting these nine mom & pop restaurants is supporting our local community, and it doesn’t get much better than that. How many of these favorites have you tried? Which ones should we check out next? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
For 17 more Cincinnati restaurants that you absolutely must try, check out our previous article