The Foodie Report
Ruminations on food, cooking in and eating out in our area.

It's entirely possible to be a vegetarian in Porkopolis. Pop culture reporter Lauren Bishop blogs about products, recipes and restaurants she's tried for others who eat meat-free. E-mail her at lbishop@enquirer.com.

Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.

Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.

Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.

Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


What a busy day in OTR!
I stopped by Lavomatic Cafe this morning and interviewed Burke Morton and Joanne Drilling, the manager and chef. The place looks great -- very in line with the rest of the Gateway Quarter. The space is long and narrow, but bright. It's very green -- a shade of celery on the walls -- and bamboo tables topping bases recycled from Grammer's. (Maybe they got a deal on celery-hued paint -- Chalk used a similar color. I like it.) The wine bar is made of cork, and much of the decor is from neighborhood stores. There's also a door that leads to Metronation, the furniture and gift shop next door. What a great idea: Instead of a waiting area, just send diners next door to shop!
The food will be "rustic, full-flavored French fare," according to Joanne. She's very energetic and "obsessed with freshness." She learned to love food while studying in Germany. By the term's end, she said that she was more excited about cooking than studying. (Who can blame her? I felt the same way when I studied in France.) Joanne worked at the Maisonette, left for Atlanta, was part of the crew that opened Pigall's and then did some catering and private chef work.
She brought Marni Ward, a pastry chef and friend, from Atlanta. She's worked at some great places in Atlanta, including Canoe, Spice, Luxe, Twist, Prime and Goldfish.
The rooftop dining won't be ready until the spring thaw, but it's a great space.
There will be a couple of dozen wines available by the glass for $6-$12, with 75 wines by the bottle. Bottles of wine will sell for about $10 above retail prices, a welcome change to many restaurants.
Lavomatic opens tomorrow at 1211 Vine. Check it out and report back, dear Foodie Report readers!
Lavomatic Cafe, 513-621-1999
Hours: Opens at 11:30 a.m. for lunch Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. for brunch Saturday and Sunday; kitchen closes at 9:30 p.m. Sunday though Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The kitchen will also serve a limited late-night menu.


at 10:48 PM Anonymous Billy said...

I thought that burke was the Wine Director for the Pigall's Group? Are you certain that he is ow the GM at Lavomatic?

at 9:12 AM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

Do you have an address?

at 9:13 AM Anonymous TJ Jackson said...

Sorry, I do see the address, should have re-read before I commented....

at 10:49 AM Blogger Jaime said...

I will have to try Lavomatic, thanks for the update. I had to laugh though at the horribly pretentious restaurant names mentioned in your post....Canoe, Spice, Luxe, Twist, Prime and Goldfish.

Even locally the restaurant names are getting that bad... Chalk, Honey, Nectar, Cumin.... I just think its funny how unoriginal everyone is.

at 1:09 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Billy: He is the GM and sommelier at Lavomatic, for sure. I asked if that was the proper title. He's still doing wine, but I'm not sure whether it's just for Lavomatic. He also writes a wine column for Pulse magazine.

at 9:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burke is the wine director still, so I guess he's doing double duty. He said he needed more evenings free to be with his family to "keep them around." I know he was trying to make light of this, but anyone who has worked in restaurants knows how hard this can be on a marriage.

I saw him at Pigall's several times, and he clearly loved being there, and he told me the other night at Lavo that he'll make the occasional appearance at Pigall's when their new somm needs off. For now he seems excited to "experiment with things in a winebar setting", and told me to come back soon because there will be lots of wine changes. And that's fine by me, b/c the wines right now are good, but I want more from a winebar than they have given so far.


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