The longer I’ve been doing this series, which explores small businesses on one street each week in Northern Kentucky, the longer I want to make each article.
Many of the streets just have so much to offer that it’s hard to cover every place, and let’s be honest: Pretty much every business on Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue deserves a shoutout.
With a street like this — filled with businesses, restaurants, shops and just about everything in between — we have to narrow it down or this article would be a novel. So, for the sake of brevity, I’ve narrowed it down to five(ish) places that can’t be missed.
Yuca by Cedar: 700 Fairfield Ave.
When it comes to restaurants (or just about anywhere), I am all about interior design, and Yuca nailed it.
Owners renovated the Campbell County Bank building and created a modern dining room while still honoring the historic building. Although there is ample outdoor seating, it was really hot the day we visited, so we decided to sit inside.
The restaurant claims to provide a “one hour vacation with a Latin twist,” and it did not disappoint. The service was very quick and kind, that even without eating I knew I wanted to visit again. It was fairly slow the day I visited, which apparently isn’t usually the case, but I was happy that we got to extend our “one hour vacation” a bit longer.
Onto the food and drinks: No brunch is complete without an iced coffee.
I got a regular one, but they also have plenty of boozy options as well, if that’s the brunch vibe you’re going for.
With my drinking order figured out, after perusing the menu, I ordered the Hangover. I genuinely believe this is going to be a true hangover necessity, should I ever need it. Typically dishes like this with breakfast potatoes and all the fixings are very oily and greasy, but this was so surprisingly refreshing. The Pico and cilantro added a freshness that I now know belongs on all breakfast bowls.
My friend opted for the Yuca Toast, which is your typical avocado toast, but better: guacamole, corn, pico, aioli and pistachios make this more flavorful than the more traditional avocado toasts out there.
I was so impressed with the interior and food that I almost missed one of Yuca’s coolest features: a Tequila Vault.
The former bank’s vault is now filled with tequila: I couldn’t tell you the name of a single Tequila in there, but it looked like some boujee booze.
If you’re looking for more of a diner brunch vibe, head down the street to Bellevue Bistro at 313 Fairfield Ave., another favorite of mine that I didn’t get to visit this time around.
Coda Co: 400 Fairfield Ave.
There are plenty of small shops on Fairfield Ave, but this one has to be my favorite. In fact, it might just be my favorite boutique not just on this street, but of all time.
I have always been a fan of knickknacks. This is a Mecca for knickknacks. The best part about their home goods is you won’t find them in hardly any other store — a majority of their goods are handmade by either the owners or other local artists. And when you sucker punch me with those facts, I am absolutely going to buy one of everything.
Outside of their home décor, they also have a great collection of clothes.
Like most boutiques, the sizing selection isn’t extensive, but their options and styles are. Coda has more of a Bohemian vibe, which typically isn’t my style, but I do feel their clothes come in a wide array of styles with staple and standout pieces.
The pieces I have from here are among my most worn items: I’ve been wearing a Matcha green leather jacket from there on repeat. It’s cute, versatile and a nice standout compared to my denim jacket.
As for the service, I’ve been here multiple times and each time whoever was behind the counter was friendly and welcoming. At my last visit, I chatted with the owner about their dogs as if we were friends.
Coda has a sister shop next door called Sage and Scout, with clothes for kids and babies. What’s cuter than retro colored sunglasses? How about retro colored sunglasses made for toddlers. It’s adorable.
Both stores are great places for gifts, as you’ll find one of a kind items for almost any occasion.
Schneider’s Sweets Shop: 420 Fairfield Ave.
Somehow, I made it more than 25 years on this earth without having been here.
The first few years I can’t take blame for (my parents are still hearing about it) but I felt like an idiot the first time here — I was such a newbie and all these tenured sweet shop fanatics were waiting on me to get with the program. I made a fatal flaw and ordered a mere ice cream while my non-newbie friend ordered an ice ball and that’s when I knew I had made a mistake.
This time around I was not going to let that happen.
The other options at Schneider’s are good — even amazing — but the star of the show is the ice ball. You can pick out all the candy you want to take home but sitting on their patio in the summer with the ice cream and slushy combo is the correct way to enjoy a hot summer day.
Siam Orchid: 511 Fairfield Ave.
This is one of those few places that I don’t try to order something new because the first thing I ordered from here was perfection. Why mess with perfection?
While I’d venture to say nearly everything from here is good, I know my order and I’m sticking to it.
This is the first place I tried a Thai Iced Coffee, and I genuinely think about it weekly.
I first had a Thai Iced Coffee from here and I genuinely think about it weekly. I am already one of iced coffee’s biggest fans, but this took it to an entirely different level. I was confused as to how it would taste and afraid that the sweetened condensed milk would make it either too sweet or too milky. However, it’s the perfect amount and one of the best treats you could order. If you’re a coffee fan, run here to order this.
My friend always orders the Thai Iced Tea, which is also good but as a coffee connoisseur, the Thai Iced Coffee is the way to go.
We then ordered steamed dumplings — if you’re not ordering these before your meal you are missing out. Savory and filling, they are the perfect snack while you wait from your meal.
I always opt for the Pad Thai, while my friend always gets Chicken Friend Rice. Both are delicious and authentic.
NoMad: 225 Fairfield Ave.
I was originally drawn to NoMad for their boozy over-the-top milkshakes. But I’ve made several reappearances here for their other drinks, their food and their atmosphere. NoMad often has live music and has a great outdoor space, so they’ve been the perfect summer spot.
If alcohol and ice cream don’t seem like a good combo, you can always opt for ice cream without alcohol, or you can order from their extensive cocktail menu.
I typically order their mule or mojito — they’re always so refreshing and compliment all of NoMad’s food options.
Speaking of food, the loaded tots are a must order. They’re big enough that you could make them a meal or share with friends before ordering one of their tacos. The Chicken Bacon Ranch and the Eloté tots go back and forth in my mind as to which is best, but truly you can’t go wrong with any of them. I mean they’re tater tots, after all.
Another plus to this street is that it’s a part of the Bellevue Entertainment District. BED is a sip, shop and stroll idea where you can get alcoholic drinks to go and bring them with you as you walk around the city. There are very clearly marked signs notifying patrons of where they can participate in this, which makes it easy to follow.
Although there are many places on this street, these are my personal top five spots. Have a different top five on Fairfield Avenue? Email me at [email protected], and I’ll visit them for the next installment of LINK streetscapes.