When I travel to a new place, I want to eat and drink at their local restaurants. Most of us do not travel to a new place to try their McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A. We want to taste something different and authentic to the region. Food made with love. In the Northern Kentucky and Cincy Region, we have a plethora of fantastic local restaurants and bars that residents love and visitors love to discover. Places like The Gruff.
Situated at the base of the iconic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge that connects Covington, Ky. and the City of Cincinnati, Ohio, The Gruff serves local and regional craft beer, Kentucky Bourbon, brick oven pizzas and more! Open seven days a week, guests can enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner either on their outdoor patio or inside their open and modern dining room. Dot (co-worker, foodie, content creator) and I walked over from our office, like we often do, to enjoy some lunch. Here is just a small taste of what they offer that we enjoyed.
What We Ate
Fried Chicken Sandwich w/ Pickle Fries
This meal right here is a staple for Dot. Sandwiched between a brioche bun is a crispy, golden fried piece of chicken, topped with a spicy pickled slaw and a black pepper aioli. Dot swears it is some of the best fried chicken around. It is juicy on the inside with a great crunch on the outside. The yummy, tangy slaw adds a great texture and sweetness to the sandwich.
Now, hot sandwiches are served with a house prepared side or chips, but Dot elected for the upgraded pickle fries, and they are completely worth it. If you’re a fan of fried pickles, this one is for you. Shaped like traditional French fries, the pickles are breaded and deep fried to perfection and served with a house made ranch dressing for dipping.
While I would call myself a foodie, I am a sucker for a good classic and in a game of what could you eat every day for the rest of your life? It would be without a doubt pepperoni pizza for me. The Gruff’s pizzas are phenomenal, and they offer several great, handcrafted options like smoked brisket and truffle sausage. You can also build your own pizza and substitute cauliflower crust! I love the brick oven crust and house made red sauce. They also offer a white wine garlic sauce and cheese sauce.
What We Drank
Braxton Brewing’s BonBonerie Opera Cream Stout
Located less than a mile around the corner is a local craft brewery, Braxton Brewing Company. Braxton Brewing is just one of the many local and regional craft breweries that The Gruff stocks in their restaurant for guests to enjoy. With the weather turning chilly, it is officially stout season and Dot couldn’t wait to get her hands on their seasonal BonBonerie (local bakery and collaborator on this beer) Opera Cream Stout. She described the beer as creamy, chocolatey, and basically, dessert in a glass. A cool thing about The Gruff is they also have a bottle shop where guests can leave with a great selection of local and regional beers.
Dot and I highly recommend The Gruff to both locals and people traveling and staying in the area. Please note that the parking lot that was formally behind The Gruff is no longer there as construction has begun on the new OneNKY building. If The Gruff’s parking lot is full, we recommend either street parking (when available) or parking across the street in the RiverCenter Garage (underneath the Towers of RiverCenter and the Embassy Suites) or the parking lot directly across from the Towers of RiverCenter and the Embassy Suites on W. Rivercenter Blvd. It’s only a block away and there are sidewalks.
Overall, we love The Gruff. It is a staple for the community that provides not only food and drinks but fun events like trivia and holiday themed parties! Bring friends, bring the family and have fun!