Saturday, July 28, 2012

Enzo’s: Good Food and Coffee in OTR's Hottest Area

      Enzo’s opened in Highland Heights nine years ago and quickly established itself as the lunch spot for many people working at NKU.  This took owners Al and Al jr. Enzo by surprise because they wanted to focus on being a coffee/latté shop.  The food was good (the soups came from the same supplier that works with Panera) and the coffee drinks were excellent.  In 2006, Enzo’s moved to downtown Cincinnati as part of the City Council’s and 3CDC’s move to revitalize the central core with local, independent businesses.  It was a sad day for northern Kentucky, but it made sense for Enzo’s.

Contemporary Italian Interior
     Jump forward to 2012 and Enzo’s is still downtown and across the street from the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and the newly renovated Washington Park.  There’s edgy artwork by the SCPA students on the
ebony paneled walls.  The space is long, airy, and sleek for what is essentially a coffee shop with lunch options.  Unfortunately, Al and Al are not around, though I assume they are still the owners.  Their pragmatism and humor were the gold charms that made the place indelible.

The Milagros Sandwich and Chopped Salad

Great Coffee!
     What does work about Enzo’s is the quality of the food and the coffee.  Neil and I both ordered The Milagros sandwich, which was Mexican style roast pork, Monterey Jack Cheese, cilantro, and chipotle mayo on a ciabatta roll.  We also considered the Cuban among about ten interesting choices.  The Milagros was a good sandwich, the meat especially was well cooked and the right thickness for its size.  Sandwiches are $7.50, though there is a ½ and ½ option that Neil chose.  He ordered the Chopped Salad from a half dozen options.  The salad was romaine lettuce, chopped bacon, blue cheese crumbles, and red onion with balsamic vinaigrette.  It was good and fresh. 

     The problem is that the portions are smaller than Panera, but the prices are not.  It’s not that we didn’t have enough to eat; it’s that the price point seems unequal in comparison with their most likely competitor’s.  

Order at the Counter and Take a Seat
However, their customer volume is nowhere near as large and it is a stand-alone business so maybe that’s the trade-off.  The coffee and cappuccino are both excellent, but there were few customers at 1 p.m. on a Friday and yet two of the three coffee containers and the cream container were empty.  When this was pointed out, the staff members replaced them quickly, but it seemed strange that they weren’t keeping up with it when there was no customer rush.

Enzo's is open 7am to 6pm Monday thru Friday only.
Enzo's on Urbanspoon

I'd like some frothed milk please!

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