Hey, y’all! This is Sharon with Tourist in your Town Podcast. This episode is all about food and drink in Covington, KY and just across the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
I wanted to go visit my sister, who lives in the area. But she already had plans. However, she said I could use her house as a base if I wanted to do some exploring. So, that’s what I did.
My big goal was to take the pedestrian bridge across the Ohio River into Cincinnati. There are a couple walking bridges in Northern Kentucky. One is the Purple People Bridge in Newport, but it was closed for inspections. Another is the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. The Roebling bridge is listed as both a vehicle and pedestrian bridge. But it was closed to car traffic when I was there. I wasn’t sure where to park, so I just put the address of the bridge, thinking there would be signs or something obvious. I did not see any. However, I did find a nice side street where I could park.
Across from the entrance to the bridge is a place called The Gruff. It seemed as good a place as any to get my weekend started, so I stopped in for a beer. Most of the tap beers were IPAs. So, I ordered a West Sixth Amber Ale. West Sixth Brewing is located in Lexington, KY. Some day, I’ll visit Lexington and maybe get to stop by. The description for this beer says “The grain bill has bready, biscuit, and caramel notes. The hops are fruity and spicey.” In my quick notes, I put “a little hoppy”. I guess it was supposed to be. While a little too hoppy for my tastes, it was still pretty refreshing and I would not mind drinking it again. I had only stopped in for a beer, but figured I get a snack too. The Gruff serves pizzas, salads, and soups. There big thing seems to be their Bone Broth specials. I passed on all of that and tried the Hanky Panky. This is apparently a popular dish in the area, although I’d never heard of it before. The Gruff’s version of Hanky Panky is sausage, cheese, pepper, and onions with a side of toasted rye. This thing is delicious! Where have you been my whole life Hanky? The toasted rye was the perfect server for it too. So, if you visit Covington, stop in at The Gruff for some Hanky Panky. They also have a beer market and deli.
I admit that I was a little nervous about crossing the bridge because it says it’s a motor traffic and pedestrian bridge. I worried that the cars would make the bridge shake and spook me. But it was closed to motor traffic, yay! The pedestrian walkway is only on one side of the bridge so people going both ways come through. It’s a little narrow, so if it were a busy day, it probably would not be much fun. Some bicycles came through, too. At first, I felt a little nervous about the height, but got used to it pretty quickly. It’s only about half a mile across, so it’s a quick walk. The bridge drops you almost right in front of the Great American Baseball Stadium. There are lots of restaurants and retail stores here. The Underground Railway Freedom Center is right there too. I have been wanting to revisit the Center, but it was very close to closing time, so I skipped it this time. I walked around Cincinnati, taking pics of some of the interesting architecture and signs. There are some nice Art Deco style buildings in this area. Although just about everything was closed as it was late Saturday afternoon. There are lots of hotels in this area.
I started getting thirsty and hungry, so made my way back to the waterfront. I wondered in to Moerlein Lager House. It’s a large two story brewery that made me think it might be a chain of some sort, it was so big. But it is a local place that opened in 1853, closed during prohibition. But reopened in 1981. I had the Barbarossa, a Munich-Dunkel. Moerlein describes this beer as “slow-aged with a deep reddish-brown color and a malt aroma derived from Munich dark malt.” It is a beautifully colored beer and had great flavor. In fact, I had two. I did not eat anything here. The menu did not entice me much. So, after cooling off sufficiently and finishing my brews, I headed back out into the heat. I visited in early June, so it was hot and humid. Just keep that in mind if you go in the summer months. Another cool thing that this area has is something called DORA. DORA stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area. This means you can walk anywhere in the 85-acre designated area with your adult beverage in hand. Your beverage has to be in a sanctioned DORA cup, though. The riverfront area is beautiful and has lots of greenery, picnic areas, places for the kids to play, and a public restroom, which was perfectly clean.
After enjoying the Cincinnati Banks, I headed back over the bridge to Covington. Just a couple of blocks from the bridge is the downtown area. There are quite a few restaurants and a food truck park here. When faced with the overwhelming number of choices, I went with the predictable, an Irish Pub called Molly Malones. While the waterfront was not busy, this area was starting to get busy. I sat at the bar and, of course, ordered a Guinness. Perfectly poured and refreshing. Now, I was hot, but I wanted to try the beer cheese. Since, I was so hot, I did not want a heavy pretzel, so I asked for carrots and celery instead. Most places will accommodate this type of request. If you don’t want the extra carbs or for whatever reason, just ask for cut up veggies instead. The cheese was delicious. A definite must have. Once I’d cooled down, I decided on the fish & chips, cause that’s what I always get at Irish pubs. I wish I would have gotten the vegetable curry pasty instead. The fish was fine, but the chips were a little chewy and a bit stale. I was not impressed. Maybe I just went on a bad day. In the end, I would return to Molly’s for the beer cheese, but would definitely get something else for dinner. Another thing I loved about Molly’s is that everyone working there was very friendly. All the bartenders and servers introduced themselves, asked my name, and some even stopped by for conversation. The service was excellent!
I hung out at Molly’s until sunset because I wanted to get some pics of the bridge at sunset. No one else was at the waterfront. I don’t know if they go to a different area or what. But I only saw one other person, a photographer, also trying to get the sunset. It was a beautiful one, too. Check out the pics on the blog at touristinyourtownpodcast.com. There’s also a quick video where you can see the recently added murals.
Thanks for listening to Tourist in Your Town Podcast. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook on Tourist in Your Town. You can also find links on the blog. Also, please remember to share this with your family and friends if you enjoyed it! Stay safe, stay hydrated, and pack light!
To see more photos from this visit to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, click here.