They Closed — Redfish

Employees were instructed this morning to show up for a meeting at Redfish, the seafood restaurant and bar on Race Street downtown. For those employees, it was a lousy way to start the work week. They were told the restaurant has closed its doors for good.

Here we go again — another restaurant closing downtown. I know many readers get tired of my harping on the same thing, but the same thing keeps happening. When I wrote “They Closed” in November 2004, I really got taken to task for it and have again recently with some of my blog postings mentioning other closings. Does anyone see a pattern here?

One of those most critical about my words about downtown is Nick Spencer, former city council candidate and owner of the nightclub Alchemize. If you’re out there reading, Nick, I think you should forget about moving your club to Northside and take over the space vacated by Redfish. Let’s keep your award-winning nightclub downtown where it belongs, right?

— Larry Gross

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19 Comments on “They Closed — Redfish”

  1. Nick Spencer Says:

    Strange how we didn’t get a story on the six new restaurants moving in around Fountain Square from you, Larry.

  2. lock em up! Says:

    Until the visible downtown culture changes from young black men standing around on street corners talking on cell phones with their white tshirts and pants pulled down you will continue to see closings. Furthermore, don’t count on the square being successful with these guys hanging around either. We need to take back the streets from the thigs who currently control it.

  3. bellwether Says:

    Sorry, their food was of poor quality and generic. I loved the unique flavors of Arloi Dee, Aralia, and Mulaines. Those I was sad to see go. RedFish – ah. Go Northside. I’ll be glad to see Alchemize. I mourn for the central city, but the forces racking it are to great. I lived on twelfth, but one too many gunfights and I had to go. Lived on Central before that, Broken car windows, beer bottles tossed at me, threats of violence at random times. It’s a disgrace that the city couldn’t get behind main street etc. when the gettin was good.

  4. JTM Says:

    Eh, Redfish had a pretty good happy hour but oh well. The food wasn’t that great and it was a generic chain.
    It’s a nice space though and I hope it sees a new tenant soon.

    And what six new restaurants are moving in on fountain square?

  5. JoeRo Says:

    Nicola’s, Maker’s Mark, Dewey’s, Boi Na Braza, McCormick and Schmicks, Ingredients and Sully’s Restaurant and Saloon — hey, that’s seven!

    Redfish should have been closed for a while. The service was atrociously slow, and the food was terrible. This gets a collective shrug from my friends and me.

  6. Mike Says:

    Why do Natians continue to hope that downtown will ever be anything more than a tumbleweeds at 5 kind of town? If it wasn’t for the Reds and Bengals, Nati would be no more than a Toledo or Akron.

    There’s too much cliquiness [Eastside / Westside], too much WASPiness, and not enough cultural diversity to ever create a vibrant, cosmopolitan city down there. Stick to your suburbs and SUVs, go down there and work if you do, and forget about it!

  7. Jim meeker Says:

    Good riddance to another crappy chain restaurant. This one was brought to us courtesy of the owners of TGI O’Chilibee’s, the chief pusher of generic chain food on masses of suburbanite philistines. The chain restaurants are killing independent dinning, you shouldn’t support any of them. there are significantly contributing to the homogenization of America.

    If you want Cajun/Creole, go to Dee Felice. The food is on a completely different level, the live jazz is first rate and it’s independently owned.

  8. Nick Spencer Says:

    Maker’s Mark, Scully’s, Nicola’s Bistro, McCormick & Schmicks, Graeter’s, and probably Dewey’s are all moving onto the Square– and a new Cuban Steakhouse, not to mention Morton’s and Havana Martini, who are moving into nicer digs in the Square district.

    I’m not at all trying to make the claim that downtown is a vibrant, bustling place. Its not. But judging it either way on these restaurant openings and closings is just silly, in my view. Places open and close constantly, in every market.

    If there is one thing you can still do downtown, its find a place to eat. Its a strange thing to harp on. I think its much more frustrating that we don’t have a grocery store, movie theatre or bookstore downtown. You’d think 3CDC could’ve nabbed one or two of those three.

  9. JTM Says:

    Downtown does too have a grocery store. What about the Kroger on Vine St in OTR?

  10. Larry Gross Says:

    Let me say a little more about Redfish.

    Some weeks ago, my daughter and I were looking for a place to eat – downtown (see, I do want to help out all I can). We searched and searched and could only find one place open and that was Redfish.

    The food wasn’t bad and the service was excellent. Well, it should have been. Outside of the hired help, my daughter and I were the only two people in the place.

    And with that being said – in my view – that is the state of downtown on weekday and weekend nights. Closed. It’s sad.

  11. RHines Says:

    I have to ask the question once again….

    Where are the people who live downtown, especially residents in the immediate area of Seventh & Race? Redfish was opened at that location on the premise that it would draw people who live above it, over at Shillito’s Lofts, Garfield Place, Baker Shoes, etc. Where are these people?

    Go downtown at night and the streets are empty. Where are the downtown residents going to eat, and why? What are they doing with their free time?

  12. Colt 45 Says:

    oh yes, the Krogers on Vine Street. It is a such a gem, so refined, and so sophisticated. I think they sell 20 brands of malt liquor as well as a wide assortment of dew-rags.

  13. Jim meeker Says:

    Come down to Jeanro, Pigal’s or Mortons on weeknights; they are packed. Not to mention that the food and beer/wine selection is much better.

  14. Sean Says:

    I live just above Redfish and I can honestly say that it is not a great loss to downtown, so long as another tenant does move in. I only went there a few times, and for good reason. Both the food and service progressively worsened each time I went…so much so that you did not see many of the many tenants that surround the restaurant ever eating there. A new “hip” independant tenant could really spark that portion of downtown and fill it with Citybeat staffers during the day and the thousand or so downtown residents that live within a block of the place at night. Want an example? Take a look at McFadden’s on the weekends, even look next door at Madonna’s….downtown is far from dead.

  15. downtowner Says:

    Keep dreaming people. Eating downtown shouldn’t doing one’s part, or just helping out as another posted opined. Eating downtown should be the end result of a demand driven quest for good food and fun. It is clearly obvious that the downtown market can only handle a few good restaurants. Some of those depend heavily on hotel guests and some on wealthy 4th street firms dining clients. If you want more people downtown make it safer. Have the cops tell the criminals and the wannabe criminals to move along and stop hanging out on the corners. Stop using corporate welfare to lure and then back off potential big-box suitors to downtown, see Nordstroms fiasco that is now a parking lot. Right now what you have are 2 worlds; the downtown we see during the day and the Soylent Green world we see at night.


  16. Its a shame that big business can close like this so rapidly. Is Redfish closing any of itts other locations around the county? What is to become of the employees who went to work to find out that they didn’t have a job. As D.L. Hugley said in the Kings of Comedy, you could have atleast called.

  17. sB Says:

    i’ve been knocked over by a few tumbleweeds when walking down court st. between race and vine for quite some time now – that’s a street block of opportunity, deadened opportunity.

    correct me if i’m wrong (and know you will), was there not a point in time not too long ago that mr. spencer was hipped up to bringing businesses downtown? why, then, did he shut up his own shop and is now taking his business the northside way?

  18. Larry Gross Says:

    sB is asking a straight up question that deserves a straight up answer from Nick Spencer. What is it Nick? Seriously. You get so worked up when I say something negative about downtown (even more so when you were running for city council) – then you pull up and move your nightclub to Northside. The old saying “actions speak louder than words” really apply here.

  19. Margo Says:

    From New Orleans – On Wednesday night I was trying to go out to dinner with Royce Bassarad, one of the 47 young professionals helping build new homes with Habitat for Humanity in the upper ninth ward. After talking in the hotel lobby for a while, it was getting late when we headed out (7:30 p.m.) After following bad directions from the hotel staff we made it to Mother’s, a place other volunteers loved. Arriving at 8:10, the door was locked!

    The hand written cardboard sign written with a black Sharpie announced “Post-Katrina Hours” – they closed weekdays at 8 p.m. The place was jam packed. That lead 20 minutes of wandering the streets ducking into places that were open, all sporting a Board of Health approved sign in the front window letting patriots know the place was operating legally and safely.

    The waits – 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes. Stomachs growling by 8:30, we ended up in the Copper Monkey, a bar right next to the hotel. Many of the volunteers have been frequenting the place after working seven hours in the heat and humidity. The cheeseburger was fantastic and the atmosphere was friendly. Locals stopped at our table to talk to Royce, a “regular,” and as more volunteers came in, more locals mingled with their new Cincinnati friends.

    I’m not a bar-hopper but this place, just off Bourbon Street, was fantastic! And what blows me away is that despite a population loss somewhere close to 75 percent, there were still more people and open restaurants in downtown New Orleans than Cincinnati.

    No, I didn’t take an actual count of eating establishments. However, after being here for five days I can do an informal comparison against the downtown in which I work during the rest of the year. There are more places open for lunch than at dinner – that makes sense for a town that is literally rebuilding its infrastructure.

    But those limitation don’t stop people from coming out at night, eating and enjoying the music of local bands. It makes me want to slap Cincinnati in the face and say, “Get off your collective ass, quit your bitching and finger pointing and go out to eat! Get your butts into the galleries and support the places that are open. When a new place open, go – tell your friends to go. Get in the faces of your elected officials and hound them until they explain the ways in which they’re helping small businesses instead of blowing them off between elections. Do what you can to make downtown a place you want to go.”

    Yes, Cincinnati has problems but they don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to what the people down here are going through a year later and will continue to deal with for years to come. Take stock of the plethora of resources available, define what you can do and then find effective ways to implement positive change. One person can’t do it all but hundreds of one-person efforts can make a difference – New Orleans proves that.


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