Category Archives: Adventures of a Foodie

Writing about my visits to new restaurants, new recipes I’ve attempted making, and everything food related.

Raniero’s Pizzeria

To enter Raniero’s Pizzeria is to walk into a swirl of smells associated with a classic Italian kitchen. Family pictures adorn the walls, giving a sense of welcoming to this local establishment, and that’s how the owners strive to make you feel- welcome, and like family.

Raniero’s offers a stone-baked, New York-style pizza that can be bought by the pie or by the slice. It’s the recipe that appeals to Ali Hedges, a junior elementary education major at Northern Kentucky University.

“Raniero’s has some of the best local pizza compared to their competitors,” Hedges said.

Raniero’s appeals to a college student’s budget by offering $1 slices from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. The shop owners also offer a “Crunch Time Special” every day from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The special includes a beverage, one slice of pizza, and a side salad for $7.25, which is comparable to prices in the Student Union.

Also on the menu is the 24-inch pizza pie challenge.

“My brother is a huge fan of the show Man v. Food, so when he decided to open the restaurant he wanted to incorporate some type of eating challenge,” said business manager Natalie Howard Ramirez. “It’s a 24-inch pie that a team of two has to eat in ten minutes or less. Around 20 to 30 teams have attempted it, and only eight have succeeded in completing it. The record is seven minutes and 23 seconds.”

The eatery’s rise in popularity since it opened in December 2009 has promoted the decision to expand its current location into the empty space next door that once housed Blockbuster Video.

“We’ve had a booming business and we are very fortunate to get the space to expand,” Ramirez said. “WE weren’t sure if any spot would ever open up in this complex, so we’re lucky it did. We will be able to seat over 100 patrons.”

Ramirez said they plan to stay true to the family atmosphere, but with the expansion they also want to cater more to college students.

“We’re going to be a full-service restaurant and bar, so we’re most likely going to implement a college night one night of the week. It will be 18 years of age and up, and we will offer $1 beer and $1 slices of pizza. We’re also considering things like a karaoke night and live music,” Ramirez said. “There’s not much to do right by campus, so we definitely want to appeal to the college students as well as families.”

The goal is to open the doors of their new establishment by December 1, or by the beginning of January at the latest.


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A Vegan Friendly ‘Eclectic’ Deli

For almost six years, Melt Eclectic Deli of Northside, Cincinnati has been pursuing its mission to serve vegan-friendly, whole unprocessed foods to its steady stream of customers.

This deli is fashioned after its name- with eccentric table settings and artwork. . On colorfully embellished chalkboards, the menu lists more than 20 sandwiches, half a dozen salads, daily soups and a few meal-sized appetizers, made daily from scratch.

“I opened Melt to provide a healthy local eatery for my friends, family and neighborhood,” said owner Lisa Kagen. “While I am pleased that many people enjoy the atmosphere and service as much as the food, my top priority is always the quality and sourcing of the food. “

At Melt, meats are free of drugs and hormones and breads are free of preservatives. The dishes are made in-house without corn syrup, trans fats or processed foods. The owners buy from local markets and vendors, and the boxes they use for carry-out orders are biodegradable or recyclable.

One NKU graduate student calls Melt one of her favorite small businesses, and plans on visiting them for dinner on Small Business Saturday, which is October 11. “When it comes to small businesses, Melt is my favorite,” graduate student, Lauren Stieritz said. “I take friends there all the time, and I’ve never come across anyone who didn’t appreciate the locally grown products, the original menu, and the eccentric décor.”

While you wait for your cooked-to-order meal, you can observe the collection of current art, or converse with the word magnets in the front dining room. In sunny weather, the back patio provides a relaxing atmosphere compared to the eccentric inside dining.

Though you’ll see classic vegan items such as seitan, rinotta, tofu, plus many other vegetables, Melt also appeals to those who eat a meat friendly diet. The menu includes meats like chicken, roast beef, and turkey on their sandwiches.

Melt may be out of the way for a lot of NKU students, but if you’re a fan of fresh, homemade, unique eats, it is a worthwhile trip over to the Northside to experience this eclectic deli.

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