- 1101 St. Gregory, Cincinnati, OH, 45202
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It's easy to trudge into a café, order a coffee and plug into a personal laptop, blocking out the world with headphones and checking what your neighbor's cousin just posted on Facebook.
But the purpose of Bow Tie Café, opened by Bengals linebacker and bow tie-wearer Dhani Jones, is to bring people together and elicit purposeful conversation and collaboration.
The mood: The walls of Bow Tie Café are painted a stimulating deep red-orange and relaxing dark chocolate brown. Décor includes an old piano, a globe, a vintage Crosley radio, black-and-white photographs and pillows crafted out of multicolored strips of cloth. A quirky chandelier with large rainbow-colored gems draping off it hangs over brown couches in the middle of the café that are flanked by a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard displaying questions of the day:
"Can you name four materials, considered almost as valuable as gems, frequently used as jewelry, that come from plants and animals?"
My date and I contemplated this brain buster for the entirety of our weekday brunch.
The food: We ordered at the counter, next to a case of muffins, scones, croissants and bow tie pasta salad. Bow Tie Café's menu consists of soups, salads, sandwiches and all-day breakfast, such as oatmeal and parfaits. I ordered a Belgian waffle topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit ($5.45). I liked the waffle because it wasn't super fluffy inside and the blueberries on top were fresh.
Sandwich options include sweet ham, Mediterranean turkey and four cheese. My date picked the homemade tuna salad with celery, onions and provolone on rye ($6.95) and asked for a side of fruit ($1.50). His sandwich was bursting with tuna and was good-sized for the price. I liked that everything was made-to-order and fresh.
The drinks: It was bitterly cold outside on this particular Monday, so I ordered a small mocha with caramel ($3.25) to help me thaw out. My date, apparently less affected by the arctic chill, opted for a pineapple and orange juice smoothie ($3.50). Perhaps he was on to something, as the smoothie tasted like tropical paradise. It was so good he ordered another one on his way out.
The damage: $20.65. By the way, college students get 10 percent off their bill with a student ID.
The verdict: The cozy café atop Mount Adams was a comforting refuge from the swirling winter winds outside. Besides good coffee, Bow Tie Café's questions of the day help stimulate your brain and serve as an invitation to stay a while.