The month of June saw a number of restaurant openings, announcements of upcoming debuts and closings in the region.
Here’s a look at what happened:
OPENED: MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub
MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub opened in June at 3411 Hamilton Princeton Road in Fairfield Twp.’s Bridgewater Falls, replacing Max & Erma’s.
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Launched in 1993, MacKenzie River Pizza Grill & Pub features a menu with more than 70 items, including pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, fish tacos, goat cheese queso, Kentucky bourbon bites, specialty cocktails and more.
The transition comes courtesy of Glacier Restaurant Group, a Montana-based company that owns MacKenzie River and purchased the Max & Erma’s chain in 2016.
OPENED: LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria
LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria on June 13 opened its newest, full-service restaurant in West Chester Twp. at 8120 Highland Pointe Drive in the same plaza as Walmart Supercenter.
The new location boasts a 140-person dining room, a call-ahead pick up window and a Buddy Room for parties. Also offered are pick-up and delivery.
The new restaurant replaces a former carryout-only location that had been located just across the street since 1992.
ANNOUNCED: Neal’s Grab & Go
Popular Hamilton restaurant Neal’s Famous BBQ is opening a second location this month on the city’s West Side
Neal’s Grab & Go is set to open at 997 Eaton Ave. as a complement to the full dine-in barbecue experience available at 202 N. 3rd St.. The second location is in a building that once housed Flub’s Dari-ette ice cream shop.
Available for purchase will be all of Neal’s signature sandwiches, including pulled pork, pulled chicken, Neal burgers, rib tips, rib sandwiches and beef brisket, plus hot dogs and metts.
OPENED: JCPenney’s Salon by InStyle
JCPenney in June opened its new Salon by InStyle at its Bridgewater Falls store. The Fairfield Twp. store is one of 100 locations nationwide receiving the updated salon concept this year.
Salon by InStyle provides a variety of services, including haircuts, color, blowouts, extensions and natural styling.
Customers can also shop for salon products, tools and accessories from Matrix, Paul Mitchell, CHI, Redken, Mizani and more.
OPENED: The ReFinery Upscale Consignment
The ReFinery Upscale Consignment recently opened at 4887 Smith Road in West Chester Twp. offering women’s clothing, accessories, such as handbags, shoes and jewelry and home decor. It specializes in hand-painted furniture and wedding apparel.
Jennifer Dawson, the store’s owner, said many women come to the shop “impeccably dressed with a fabulous wardrobe” — all from consignment purchases.
For more information, visit The ReFinery Upscale Consignments on Facebook.
Claire’s, the international specialty retailer of value-priced jewelry and chic accessories for girls and young women, opened in June at Liberty Center.
Claire’s sells everything from earrings, bracelets, makeup, nail polish and body glitter to hats, headbands, hair accessories, purses, portfolios, sunglasses, totes and more.
Located between Zales and Buckle in The Foundry, Liberty Center’s indoor mall, it replaces Sphere Virtual Reality Arcade, which closed earlier this year.
OPENED: Liberty Sandwich Factory
Liberty Sandwich Factory actually opened in late April at 7129 Liberty Centre Drive in Liberty Twp. but recently expanded its hours to include Sunday.
The sandwich-based eatery specializing in hot, fresh, homemade fare like a homemade corned beef brined for 10 days in-house, then slow roasted. A turkey sandwich is hand-carved from slow-roasted turkey breast. A homemade Cuban sandwich with fresh pork loin is marinated for a day in orange juice and spices, then slow roasted.
Also on the menu are traditional staples, such as ham-and-cheese sandwiches, turkey-and-cheese sandwiches, a Buffalo chicken sandwich, and other deli meats and cheeses. There’s also homemade chili, white cheddar macaroni and cheese, chicken noodle soup, baked beans, and more.
OPENED: A.C. Moore
National specialty retailer A.C. Moore opened its first Cincinnati area store last Saturday, June 23 near Interstate 71’s exit of Ridge and Kennedy avenues.
The new 19,787-square-foot store at 5387 Ridge Road offers more than 40,000 specialized arts and crafts products, plus home decor, custom framing and free floral arranging from in-store designers. A weekly “Kids’ Crafternoon” arts-and-crafts workshop provides hands-on summer fun for children.
A new KFC opened June 13 at 2211 N. Verity Parkway in Middletown on the site of one that was built in 1971 and demolished in early 2017.
The new building features a dining room that can accommodate more than 30 people, as opposed to the former restaurant which only had seating for eight customers. The layout of the new KFC is designed to improve traffic flow at the drive-through.
REOPENED: Gold Star Chili
Gold Star Chili at 2930 Towne Blvd. in Middletown with a new restaurant design and menu featuring more than chili.
New items include fresh-grilled 100 percent American beef burgers. Seasoned with a unique burger spice mix, the burgers are topped with Gold Star’s secret “Heavenly” sauce, a nod back to Gold Star’s roots as Hamburger Heaven.
Also offered at the revamped location are Classic Chicken Sandwiches made with southern-style fried chicken breast, double-decker deli sandwiches, hand-tossed entrée salads, specialty fries and hand-blended milk shakes made from real ice cream.
ANNOUNCED: The Pinball Garage
VPcabs Virtual Pinball will move this summer from Fairfield to a space three times larger at 113 North 3rd St. in Hamilton, and work to introduce a separate combination arcade, bar and restaurant to the mix.
VPcabs Virtual Pinball manufactures four different machines virtual, WiFi-ready pinball machines that can download thousands of games, giving home gamers the opportunity to play “just about any pinball game ever made” on one machine, he said.
The manufacturing portion of the business is expected to move to the new location this month and in August. The arcade/bar portion of the business is expected to open shortly thereafter.
ANNOUNCED: Central House of Brews
Central House of Brews is set to open this fall in Middletown at a 4,000-square-foot storefront at 2213 Central Ave., next door to Combs BBQ.
The new business will be a sports bar with a focus on darts, according to co-owners and lifelong Middletown residents Bill Maupin and Kevin Frame.
It also will feature two pool tables on which to play free of charge and the largest walk-in cooler for a bar in Middletown. Space will be reserved for a kitchen for future use.
ANNOUNCED: Burlap & Birch
A new store in Liberty Twp. aims to be a “full-on” contemporary home décor, custom furniture and accessories store.
Located at 7550 Bales St. at mega retail destination Liberty Center, Burlap & Birch offers dining tables, benches, kitchen islands, hutches, coffee tables, media centers, mirrors, side tables, sofa tables, home goods, artisan crafted custom furniture and more.
The new location opens this month. Burlap & Birch has locations at 15 E. Main St. in Lebanon and at 9281 Governor’s Way in Deerfield Twp.
ANNOUNCED: Fit Food Stop
Fit Food Stop, which bills itself as “a healthy alternative to fast food,” is set to open this month at 8179 Princeton-Glendale Road in West Chester Twp. across the road from Kroger and in the same plaza as Izzy’s and Verizon.
The menu includes omelettes, scrambled eggs and turkey sausage links for breakfast, vegetarian chili, turkey chili and salads for lunch, and various chicken, beef and turkey-based entrees for dinner.
Snacks include chia seed pudding, Greek yogurt parfait with fruit and granola, protein bars, fresh fruit, cheese, healthy drinks, and more.
Selection may differ slightly from day-to-day, but Fit Food Stop’s menu serves as a baseline for the type of options available, Maley said.
ANNOUNCED: Revive Salon
A new salon plans to make its debut this summer in Hamilton as part of the retail component of a high-profile mixed-use project.
Revive Salon will open this month as one of the first tenants at The Marcum, which will feature 103 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space.
The salon will bring the full Aveda product line to Hamilton and offer traditional salon services: women’s and men’s haircuts, color services, keratin treatments, styling, prom and wedding styles, and extensions.
It will also offer spray tanning.
CLOSED: Dad’s Family Restaurant
Dad’s Family Restaurant at 3131 S. Main St. in Middletown served its last meal on June 17, then placed a “closed” sign in the window, thanking customers for their patronage.
The restaurant, which opened in 2001, focused on American cuisine, including soups, salads, pasta, burgers, steaks, chicken, sandwiches, seafood and pork chops.
CLOSING: HRS Janitorial Service & Supplies
HRS Janitorial Service & Supplies, which got its start as a cleaning business in 1974 and moved to 9118 Cincinnati Columbus Road in 1998, is closing due to the retirement of its owner.
It catered to medium and small businesses in the Tri-State area, providing professional janitorial and cleaning services, floor cleaning, stripping and waxing and commercial carpet cleaning. It also offered a full line of janitorial supplies and equipment.