Photo by G. Yek: Kathleen Norris (L) and Grace Yek on New Year’s Day
Thanks to Kathleen Norris’s invitation to her New Year’s Day gathering, I started off the New Year with “good luck” food. I’m not particularly superstitious, but like everybody else, I’m all for a little added insurance. Take it from me, her black-eyed peas and greens were lip-smacking tasty. She even made a vegetarian version out of an abundance of hospitality.
Photo by G. Yek: Black-eyed Peas and Greens
If you’re a Cincinnati local, you may already know who Kathleen is, but if you don’t, you probably should.
Kathleen is the Principal and Managing Director of Urban Fast Forward, a real estate brokerage firm that specializes in urban development and revitalizion. She had a direct hand in transforming Over-the-Rhine from an unremarkable and arguably dicey neighborhood into what it is today–a vibrant center of food and retail.
Let’s just say she had the foresight to bring in Daniel Wright and his wife, Lana (newcomers at the time), to start Senate back in 2010. That, in turn, sparked a constellation of exciting, independent, mostly chef-owned restaurants that have snapped many national food arbiters to attention.
This woman understands business, restaurants, and, above all, has clear vision and strategy. Cincinnati is fortunate to have this powerhouse of a leader.
This is one of the more innovative things happening in Greater Cincinnati. In what may sometimes seem like a saturated restaurant market, LunchLobbycincy, a tech-driven startup, is carving out new space and delivering a 3-way win. They’re helping area restaurants, office workers, and proving out their business model. I’m heartened to see their platform avails the same opportunities to the young food entrepreneurs (Findlay Kitchen, Mortar Cincinnati, etc.) as it does to the more seasoned ones. A total win for this city’s food industry. Thanks to Josh Campbell of Django Western Taco, Brian Jackson of Eli’s BBQ, and John Kallenberger of Roll On Infor sharing their experience and perspective.
Photo by G. Yek: Phil Leisure, co-owner of LunchLobby
We are fortunate to have artisans like Cecilia Garmendia of Lamp Post Cheese. While many people can turn out cheese (with enough workshops and tutorials), few are inspired to tease out the “terroir” of the cheese through the patient research and development of unique cultures inherent in raw milk. This is still work in progress but she is on it. Ultimately, this will translate to cheese that echoes the flavor of the land. Oh by the way, Cecilia has a PhD in biology which is to say, she’s got the science covered.
Photo by G. Yek: Cecilia Garmendia in the Tasting Room