Sugar n’ Spice’s new location at 1203 Sycamore Street in OTR is building new traditions among its downtown patrons, according to Chistopher “CT” Todd, operating partner of the 2-location eatery. “For me, it is really awesome to see new families starting new traditions—people experiencing Sugar n’ Spice for the first time. It’s really special to see at a place that has so much history” in this community.
What Todd is seeing is that those first-timers are returning again and again over weeks and months. Some of those returnees are establishing traditional days for coming in for breakfast or lunch. This habituality aligns with what families, couples and individuals have done for years at the original Reading Road location, a landmark dating to 1941. Todd sees the birth of these new “regulars” traditions as an encouraging sign for the diner and the community writ large.
“The feedback we’ve gotten from our guests is that it feels good (here), it feels safe with our COVID protocols in place; that’s a very encouraging message to hear. That’s been the most positive and resounding message; people feel good (about being here), and they are able to come in and enjoy the company of whoever they are with, in a relaxed atmosphere.”
To accommodate those who may want to avoid closed-in spaces, Sugar n’ Spice in OTR also features two patio areas. “We have outdoor heaters to take care of diners who are not quite comfortable sitting indoors. There are two patios, one in front and one in the back (of the diner), and the heaters make it comfortable even at this time of year (when the weather begins to turn cooler),” Todd stated.
Now that the opening of the new location is well in the rear-view mirror, Sugar n’ Spice management is working on broadening the appeal for area patrons. The first of these steps is important for diners-out in OTR—parking! As one may know who has gone to OTR during peak hours, parking can be a hassle. Just finding a spot on the street can be next to impossible at times. Off-street parking can be pricey, and not always convenient. Todd says Sugar n’ Spice patrons don’t have to worry about parking issues any longer. “We have a free-parking program now, at Ziegler Park right up the street, Monday through Friday.” For the record, the garage is north of the diner, going toward West Liberty Street, and on the opposite side of Sycamore Street from the diner, across from a small park/playground. It is half a block from Sugar n’ Spice, so, nearby and convenient.
The way the program works is that dine-in patrons are given a validation ticket at the eatery upon request and after dining. They take the ticket back to the garage and Ziegler Park will honor the ticket and waive the parking fee. The ticket is good for two hours free parking at the garage.
In further accommodation efforts for area patrons, Sugar n’ Spice has implemented an in-house delivery program. “I think a big help (to everyone during this pandemic) is a program we just started—a delivery program within five miles of our location (on Sycamore Street). We have the capacity in our kitchen (at the new location) to handle the extra volume, so we wanted to use that,” he said. The 5-mile radius reaches farther than one might assume, going into Northern Kentucky to the south, extending to St. Bernard northward, and encompassing the West End, Mount Adams, Clifton, Mt. Auburn, and even parts of Norwood and Hyde Park.
One of the early trendlines at the new diner location is the continuing popularity of breakfast, according to Todd. “We (management) talk about it in meetings, the fact that we sell so many breakfasts at all times of the day. People want their wispy-thin pancakes and their omelets and all the rest (even in the afternoon). But we still do have our signature sandwiches and our burgers and salads for whoever wants them,” he said.
See you at the new Sugar n’ Spice on Sycamore in OTR!
Sugar n’ Spice Diner
1203 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202