New restaurant coming to Hamilton location where body shop operated for 80-plus years

An Agave and Rye restaurant will replace the former Ritzi Body Shop on Main Street in Hamilton

Agave & Rye, a rapidly expanding regional upscale restaurant and bar chain, plans to move into the former Ritzi Body Shop location on Hamilton’s Main Street.

Hamilton’s Community Improvement Corporation members voted Thursday to sell the building to the restaurant for $1 in exchange for a $2.5 million investment on the property at the southeast corner of Main and E streets. Agave & Rye hopes to be operating there in 18 months.

“Their investment was 2½ times higher than the next closest proposal,” said Hamilton Small-Business Development Specialist Mallory Greenham. “They’re expected to add 50-60 jobs to Hamilton.”

The city bought the 0.62-acre property last summer for $365,000. Ritzi was a multi-generation automobile repair and body shop that operated for 83 years.

ExploreHamilton offering former longtime Ritzi Body Shop for development on Main Street

Other businesses who submitted proposals were Richards Mexican Cafe, owned by Richards Pizza; Rose of Sharon Beauty Empire; Main StrEAT Food Park, which would sell Ramen, popsicles and Philippine foods; and Unsung Salvage.

“All of them were great,” Greenham said. “Honestly, all of them had awesome proposals.”

Each Agave & Rye is in essence a tequila bar and a bourbon bar inside a Mexican-inspired restaurant. The restaurants feature a selection of 87 tequilas and 87 bourbons.

The bar at taco, tequila and bourbon hall Agave & Rye at Liberty Centerin Liberty Twp. and other Butler County businesses are bracing for the effects of a new state rule that mandates moving last call for drinks to 10 p.m. at Ohio bars and restaurants. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF
The bar at taco, tequila and bourbon hall Agave & Rye at Liberty Centerin Liberty Twp. and other Butler County businesses are bracing for the effects of a new state rule that mandates moving last call for drinks to 10 p.m. at Ohio bars and restaurants. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF

Credit: Eric Schwartzberg

Credit: Eric Schwartzberg

Agave & Rye has nine locations and three in Ohio, including one that opened at Liberty Center in 2019. It specializes in tacos with a creative twist with the wide variety of tequila and whiskey.

Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Agave & Rye has opened a location at Liberty Center in Liberty Township. The restaurant features a variety of tacos and large selection of tequilas and bourbons. This is their first location in Ohio. They have locations in Covington and Lexington in Kentucky. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Eric Schwartzberg contributed.

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