Formerly a dining desert, this hip neighborhood seems to be the hot place to open an eatery

Formerly a dining desert, this hip neighborhood seems to be the hot place to open an eatery

The Clintonville dining revolution started in April when three restaurants opened, offering new fare for the neighborhood. In the subsequent seven months, Clintonville has become a dining destination, drawing customers from the neighborhoods that Clintonville-ites once travelled to for quality food.

Anand Saha of Mozart's Piano Cafe credits Experience Clintonville, an organization designed to bring more attention to the area, with the changes. But Weiland's Jennifer Williams suggests they have to do with demographics. "The population continues to diversify," she says. "And people moving here are interested in more diverse food options."

"It's been building up for quite a while," says The Crest's Abed Alshahal of the momentum. "Sometimes all it takes is the first domino to fall."

It seems these dominoes will keep falling through the New Year, too. Here's a look at what's new and what's next in the neighborhood.

REVAMPED FAVORITES

A. Talita's // Reopened June 2013

The local Tex-Mex chain that once served its "wet and cheesie" burritos in south Clintonville reopened with a new counter service model in the building that's recently housed both KFC and Graffiti Burger. Stucco replaces murals, and cinnamon crisps replace milkshakes.

B. Mozart's Piano Cafe // Moved July 2013

Space was a motivator for the Mozart's Piano Cafe move to the Graceland area. The new location, on an acre of land, allows the institution to expand both their menu and their musical offerings. Future plans include a lounge area for tapas, wine and live music.

C. Lavash Cafe // Expanded July 2013

Nasir Latif grows where he's planted. The minute he opened, he planted grape vines bordering what would become his now-lush patio. Two years later, he's turned an adjacent space into his bakery. This summer, he quietly replaced a Saturday's hair salon with additional seating in his no-reservations-required space for large parties.

NEW TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD

D. The Crest // Opened April 2013

The relationships the Alshahal family built as owners of the former Weber Market inspired the brothers to open a pub offering locally sourced cuisine. They also recognized a demand for healthy, high-quality food in their community, making the opening of The Crest an apt business decision.

E. Portia's Cafe // Opened April 2013

Portia Yiamouyiannis turned her prepared foods brand, Portia's Creations, into a full-fledged vegan and gluten-free (and partially raw) restaurant on Indianola, partly because of nearby residents. "A lot of people in the area are interested and more educated in vegan and gluten-free foods," says Azure Stephens, Yiamouyiannis' daughter.

F. Savor Growl // Opened April 2013

With 60 taps and more than 600 varieties of beer, this rebrand of Weber Market provides an opportunity for local breweries to showcase their beers, says owner Firas Habli. A Clintonville resident, Habli also owns Savor Market and will help open The Coop in 2014.

G. Quail Crossing Cellars // Opened October 2013

"Clintonville is really, really becoming the in place to open a business," says Jackie Trexel of Quail Crossing Cellars. She chose the location because of High Street's heavy foot traffic and diverse demographics. With 26 wines made on site, she draws Clintonville's wine novices and aficionados alike.

COMING SOON

H. Harvest Bar & Kitchen // Scheduled to open November 2013

The former Mozart's ample parking and enormous kitchen are a draw for Harvest Pizzeria's Chris Crader, who is excited to introduce a sandwich program and try things that can't be done in his German Village space. Crader thinks Clintonville residents share the same fresh and local principles as Harvest.

I. Growl! // Scheduled to open November 2013

Taking over the twice-failed pizza location north of Lavash, this beer haven will feature 40 taps and 200 bottled beers. Folks who want a glass of wine or a saison with their lamb kabob can bring carryout from the restaurant next door.

J. City Beet // Scheduled to open January 2014

The owners of Pattycake Bakery hope to open their co-op vegan eatery in 2014 with salads, fresh pressed juices, house-made breads and vegan soups.

K. The Coop // Scheduled to open Spring 2014

Angela Theado's food truck of the same name will open a permanent location with indoor and patio seating, booze, favorites from the poultry-inspired truck and daily specials.

* The first Taste of Clintonville will be in March (organized by Experience Clintonville). Visit experienceclintonville.com for details.