Several businesses have popped up in the Walnut Hills area. The African American Chamber of Commerce said the neighborhood’s location and real estate price are contributing factors.
CINCINNATI — Business is booming in Walnut Hills, flooding the area with new restaurants.
The artisan donut shop Hoity Toity opened four months ago. The Aperture, a Mediterranean-style restaurant, opened this month. Now, 6’N the Mornin’ is planning to open in East Walnut Hills in just a few months.
“We’re moving from 1,200 square feet into over 6,500 square feet,” said 6’N in the Mornin’ owner and CEO Trey Graham.
The restaurant will close its Kenwood location on Jan. 28 as it takes over the former bank space on Madison Road, previously home to the restaurant Branch. Graham said he’s hoping that brings in more customers from Northern Kentucky and other parts of Cincinnati.
“We heard so much — ‘You guys need to expand!’ ‘We want to sit down and eat!’ ‘This food is too good to be in a to-go container!'” general manager Josh Long said.
Long said they will have expanded hours. They’ll serve their southern breakfast food from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then serve bar and comfort food, as well as some breakfast food between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Graham said there will be a nightlife feel during the evening hours that will feature poetry nights, spoken word and local artists.
“It’s really an ideal time for Walnut Hills to grow,” said Eric Kearney, CEO and president of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce.
Kearney said Walnut Hills is a great location for new businesses because of its proximity to the city and interstate.
“Real estate is at a point where it’s not super cheap, but it’s approachable,” Kearney said. “So a lot of businesses, if you’re just starting out, you want to keep your overhead as low as you possibly can and Walnut Hills offers that.”
Many of the new businesses opening in the area are also Black-owned, a growing trend in the area.
“I would say that a lot of Black-owned businesses are $150,000 in revenue or less, so they’re very small but they’re growing,” Kearney said.
He said they’re having a big impact on the local economy.
“We do a study every year about the economic impact of Black-owned businesses, and so for last year the number was $2.1 billion and that has grown over time,” he said.
Two popular Black-owned businesses in the area are Esoteric Brewing and Just Q’in Barbecue. Both owners are excited to see new businesses come to the area.
“It’s really cool to see the vibrancy of Walnut Hills coming back and developing into its own special thing,” said Matt Cuff, owner of Just Q’in.
His barbecue restaurant has been located in Walnut Hills for nearly eight years.
“It’s really cool to see the plans that were laid with some of the community engagement, and some of the work the redevelopment foundation did, and the model group is really intentional about that stuff as well, to see that start to come to fruition,” he said.
Cuff recently opened a second location in College Hill. He said the new location is a testament to how hard the team has worked over the years.
Kearney said Walnut Hills is also an ideal spot because of the population mix of people and pointed out the neighborhood is growing. Construction is currently underway for a new apartment complex. It’s a community Cuff is happy to be a part of and one Graham and Long want to join.
“Walnut Hills is also an eclectic area, and it’s booming,” Graham said.
They’ll be looking to hire between 20-25 people to help staff their new location.
Graham said the Walnut Hills community has been extremely welcoming. He is excited to settle into a central location and be a part of a diverse community.
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