LINK streetscapes: West Pike Street in Covington

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This area of Covington is booming with business: From restaurants to breweries to shops, you name it, this hub has it.

For this streetscapes, I’m focusing on the places on West Pike that are either new — or new to me.

Ripple Wine Bar: 4 West Pike St.

I’d heard of Ripple several times over the past few years. When they first opened it was nearly impossible to get a seat here because they were always booked. I was content with other places nearby but wanted to finally pay a visit.

If you’re looking for a place for drinks and light bites with friends, this is the perfect spot.

The interior itself is fairly small, but they do well to maximize space. There are multiple levels inside, which helps spread everyone out so it doesn’t feel crowded. In the warmer months they also offer outside seating, which provides an authentic Italian experience.

With an extensive wine list, I asked my server for their best suggestion. They recommended a Red Sangria. My friends shared a bottle and were very happy with what our server suggested. They are much more educated on wine than I am, so they were able to speak the same language of wine as our server. But if you’re like me and truly have not a clue what the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir is, your sever is there to help you choose the perfect wine for your evening.

Although they do offer true meals, the best part about a wine night is the charcuterie. They’re basically adult lunchables, but something about it feels much more sophisticated than the reality of stray meats and cheeses on a wooden board.

If charcuterie isn’t your thing, they have plenty of other Hors-d’oeuvres to choose from. I visited here for a girls night, but this is also a perfect spot for a date night. Unless you’re getting one of the very fancy $75 bottles of wine, it’s a relatively cheap yet really unique experience. The atmosphere here is very reminiscent of a small wine bar you’d pop into in Europe and rave about to your friends back home, but instead you can have that same experience right here in Covington.

Golden Gelato: 130 West Pike St.

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If you’re looking to continue your Italian vacation, look no further than Golden Gelato. They’re a little up from the main hub of downtown Covington, but their space is relatively large in comparison to most ice cream shops.

What sets Golden Gelato apart from other places and keeps me coming back isn’t just that their gelato is authentic, thick and creamy; it’s the atmosphere. Every time I’ve come in I am always greeted by the owner, Joe, who is personable and passionate about what he does.

I encourage samples so you make the correct decisions (but really, there is no wrong decision when it comes to their gelato). Of course, you can get your gelato and go, but they offer a large seating area if you want to sit and chat. Similar to a coffee shop, they welcome a sit-back-and-stay-awhile atmosphere. I’ve rarely seen places outside of coffee shops that have that mentality, so it was nice to be in such an inviting environment without feeling rushed to leave.

They have rotating flavors, including several vegan flavors. I have a friend who used to love ice cream before going vegan and this is one spot we can always count on for dairy free and delicious treats.

Along with their gelato, they also sever Deeper Roots coffee, so you can craft the perfect Affogato. Biscoff Cookie is my all-time favorite flavor of theirs and makes for a great pair to the Affogato. If you’re looking for something more refreshing, their fruit flavors always satisfy and compliment the current season.

Golden Gelato, Vegan Dark Chocolate Sorbet and Biscoff Cookie. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

North South Baking/Bircus Brewing Company: 39 West Pike St.

These businesses may not seem like they coincide, but they very literally do. They are in a shared space with North South Baking operating in the morning, while Bircus runs the show at night. It’s a really neat concept to maximize the usage of a space.

Depending on what time of day you visit will determine which business you have the pleasure of experiencing.

If you’re a morning person, like me, you can stop in between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, and stock up on baked goods. Any pastry, bread, quiche, you name it, they’ve crafted it from scratch and create some outstanding one-of-a-kind flavors. They also are known for the cruffins, a term that was completely new to me: It’s a mash up of a croissant and a muffin. I’ve always loved how flakey croissants are, so I had to try a few.

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They have online ordering for larger orders, but if you’re just looking for a cruffin or two, stop in in the morning and you’ll start your day off the best way possible.

I’ve visited Bircus’ Ludlow location a few times, so when I saw a second location in the heart of Covington, I knew I’d be making trips here frequently.

When it comes to brewery beers, I find that they often are too hoppy or tart, so when I find a beer that checks all the boxes at a brewery, I tend to stick to it. The Lud-Light tends to be my go too, but on my last visit I ventured out and tried something totally different, Wh4 On Vanilla Bean. I could only drink one because this beer was 13% alcohol, but outside of the high percentage, I really enjoyed the slightly sweet beer. Thankfully they had their famous wood fired pizzas to pair with the beer.

They have countless pizza options, all of which are super unique, but the two that stand out the most are their Goetta Grip or their Goetta Pizza. They do offer a few traditional pizzas, but some of their flavors I’ve never seen offered anywhere else, so venture out and try one.

North South Baking and Bircus Brewing Company. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

Grainwell: 33 West Pike St.

Next door to North South and Bircus sits Grainwell, a custom-made décor shop. Their store is straight out of your Pinterest dreams. This shop is ideal for someone looking to make their space more personalized. The décor ranges from kitchen to living spaces and from function to decoration, but the vast majority of their pieces are crafted from wood. It creates a rustic feel while still elevating the space from basic to beautiful.

It’s the perfect place to shop for gifts. For someone’s first home, newlyweds, or any big life event, Grainwell can customize something to commemorate the moment and help display the special event.

Grainwell. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

AIM Nutrition: 36 West Pike St.

As much as I love coffee and could probably consume it all day every day, I know that there are times I need something with more substance to it.  

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AIM Nutrition I stumbled upon — you guessed it — on my way to get coffee at their neighbor, Point Perk. I had never noticed this business before so I stopped in to see what they had to offer.

In the world of protein shakes and energy teas, I was lost and thankfully the employees were very kind and able to help me through.

The variety of flavors was top tier, ranging from Cinnamon Roll to White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. The options were truly endless. They explained to me that each shake should have 24 grams of protein and range from 200-225 calories. For someone who rarely works out, I’ve hardly tried a protein shake before, so didn’t know exactly what I was getting into. Every protein enhanced drink or food I had ever had before tasted like chalk, so needless to say I was weary to try one.

But there was no chalk or powdery taste to my drink. The flavor I opted for was Peanut Butter Cookie and my drink tastes exactly like a liquified peanut butter cookie. The texture was similar to a very thick milkshake but was much more filling, while still giving a sweet treat. With over 40 flavors to choose from, there’s a flavor for every pallet.

Their space is a decent size and is another place you could easily stop by to get some work done in a quiet atmosphere.  

AIM is owned and operated by Aimee McBride, who opened the business after having a significant health change and wanted to provide a place for others to do the same.

West Pike Street is one that offers such an array of business and things to do. Although there are so many familiar favorites on that street and staples of the community, these were among the few that I hadn’t been too.

Have a city, street or business you want me to check out next? Email me at [email protected] and they could be the next place I visit on Streetscapes.

Link NKY Streetscapes series is powered by Duke Energy, proud employer of 2,300 people in southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky who live, work, and play in the vibrant communities and neighborhoods highlighted through these stories.

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