LINK streetscapes: Greenup Street in Covington

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The origins of this Streetscapes series started with a desire to explore new places in Northern Kentucky that I had never been to. Because of that, I avoided places like Greenup, which I thought at the time I knew inside and out.

The longer I’ve been doing this, the more I’ve been discovering places that were in plain sight all along. So this week I went to a familiar street to visit some old and new favorite spots.

Greenup Street. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

Lil’s Bagels: 308 Greenup St.

Every time I say the word bagel, people tell me I have a Northern Kentucky accent. Thankfully you all are reading this and not hearing me speak it. But the correct pronunciation is bAgel and I will never not say it that way.

Regardless, I love a good bagel.

Bagels can be found in essentially every coffee shop, breakfast spot and grocery store. But there is no comparison to an authentic, freshly made bagel with an alarming amount of cream cheese. I firmly believe there should be more cream cheese than bagel for it to be a quality bagel.

I literally stumbled upon Lil’s as I was going to Roebling Point Books & Coffee. They have a very small sign out front, but what drew me in was the number of people going in and out. At 9 a.m., all these people had to be onto something, so I decided to go in to see what it was.

I walked inside and was greeted by a video montage of Bob Ross painting and the most retro looking interior. Still unaware of what exactly this business offered, I was already a fan.

Lil’s Bagels Interior. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

The cashier was super friendly and informative for my newbie friend and I, who were just so indecisive that we ordered three bagels to make sure we could experience everything.

She opted for a sandwich with egg and cheese while I got a Parmesan and Pepper bagel with plain cream cheese. We went back later to split a chocolate chip with a seasonal pumpkin cream cheese for a little dessert.

Each bagel was a mountain in of itself and piled with cream cheese, as all bagels should be. It was a bit cooler, so we sat inside with Bob Ross and chatted as we enjoyed the monstrous bagels. They also have a large back patio, and when it got warmer in the day we moved out there for a little different setting, which while isn’t as retro, is certainly as comfortable and welcoming.

Lil’s Bagels Alley. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

I genuinely can’t remember the last time I had a bagel that was that good. Lil’s was crafted with the concept of just creating a good bagel for the people of NKY, and they nailed it. Outside of that they also are extremely involved in the community, so I can see why this little Lil’s is so popular.

They offer carryout and have a little walk up window in their alley to order on the run, but if this is your first time going, I highly suggest sitting inside or on their patio to really get the full experience.

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Lil’s Parmesan and Pepper Bagel with Cream Cheese. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

Roebling Point Books & Coffee: 306 Greenup St.

For someone who loves coffee as much as myself, I find it a travesty that I don’t go here more often.

There are just so many coffee shops that I try to spread the love between them all, but I’m just one person.

What I have always loved about Roebling is that I truly feel as if I’m in a school library. I loved going to my college’s library, finding a corner where no one was and just getting work done for hours. At Roebling, there’s various rooms to seclude yourself to focus on studying or whatever work you need to get done.

But there is also plenty of space to sit and chat with friends. Everything here is fairly communal, and with the books taking up majority of the walls, it feels small. If you’re wanting a bit more space or privacy, they have plenty of seats outside.

Roebling Point Books and Coffee. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

It is a place out of a book lover’s dreams. The cozy atmosphere, couches and endless options of literature make it such a unique place — there really are so few places out there like it. Coffee and books have always gone hand in hand and this is the perfect spot to enjoy both.

I ordered the Newsprint Latte, a dark chocolate and white chocolate latte, as an homage to LINK now having a weekly print paper. Also I love dark chocolate.

The white chocolate was a perfect balance to the rich dark chocolate and the hot coffee kept me warm on a chilly morning.

After exploring the walls of books, my friend and I took our coffees to go and walked along the riverfront.

Roebling Point Books and Coffee. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

Keystone Bar and Grille: 313 Greenup St.

The original Keystone location will always be my favorite.

In college I made it my mission to visit nearly every Monday for Mac and Cheese Monday. Half price Mac and Cheese with the order of a drink was a dream come true for any college student. Plus, I always had leftovers for the next day.

All these years later, I still return to Keystone, but not just on Mondays and not just for the mac and cheese. I don’t think there’s anything from here that I don’t like. Their sandwiches and salads are just as massive as the mac and cheese, they are very giving when it comes to portions here.

If for some reason you’ve never been here, then the mac and cheese is a must for a first timer. Their mac and cheeses are all inspired by musicians and bands. The Fleetwood Mac is my favorite, and the one I always find myself ordering, but their B.B. King is their top seller.

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Keystone Mac and Cheese. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

I’m also a huge fan of their sides. I like it when places offer options outside of fries or a salad as sides, and both their roasted zucchini and roasted cauliflower are great options to pair to any sandwich if you want something a little healthier. But you’ve got to try their Keystone chips.

If you thought that a skillet of mac and cheese was impressive, wait until you see Keystone’s cookie skillets. They fill the skillet with your choice of cookie then top it with ice cream. It is the perfect ratio of cooked cookie and cookie dough, so melty and warm that you’ll dream about it until your next trip there.

Outside of food, their bar offers a wide variety of beers as well as a really great cocktail and wine menu, and they offer happy hour every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. — so it’s the perfect excuse to visit any day of the week.

It’s a great place to meet friends to watch a game or just to catch up. I watched Kentucky lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament here last year, so I’m still a little weary of watching another game there, as it could be cursed. But the atmosphere here is really fun; at least when your team is winning. My server felt bad for me as I sadly cried in my mac and cheese and got my friend and I a cookie skillet to share to help soften the blow.

Keystone is a very reliable and consistent restaurant that I know I can go to for great food and service, but I just might have to find a new place to watch Kentucky play next March.

Blinkers Tavern: 318 Greenup St.

Blinkers has established its name in the food world for years, but if we’re looking at the places on Greenup, it would be wrong to exclude them. Blinkers is best known for their steak, making them the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion. Their semi upscale dining will give you quality food at a reasonable price.

Even as someone who isn’t a steak fan, I always can find something here that is just as good. Their pastas are the perfect options if you’re looking for something filling and are either vegetarian or just want something different.

Previously unbeknownst to me, they also serve brunch on the weekends. With so many places specializing in brunch these days, I had yet to have theirs. It’s a bit less pricy compared to their dinner menu, so if you’re looking for the Blinker’s experience on a budget, their brunch is an amazing option.

The next time you’re looking for a spot to fuel up before heading across the river for the Bengals game, stop here and you won’t be disappointed.  

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Governors House Wine Bar and Kitchen: 314 Greenup St.

A newer addition to Greenup, wedged between Lil’s and Blinkers is one of my favorite spots in all of Covington: Governor’s House. It’s located in a historic 1800s mansion and is beautifully decorated in a manner that marries modern style while still honoring the original architecture.

They have an extensive wine menu, along with all the foods that one would want to pair with it. From charcuterie boards to pasta, your experience here will be nothing short of a dinner in Rome.

Governor’s House Wine. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

This has become a staple place for a girl’s night out with my friends. We split a bottle of wine and order practically every flat bread and share them all. Their veggie flatbread may not sound very interesting in comparison to The Governor’s Flatbread which has goetta, spinach, red onion and mozzarella, but believe me when I say, it’s the best on the menu.

The veggies sit on a white pizza sauce that is just perfect, and the variety of veggies give such a fresh flavor that even the pickiest eaters will love. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Trust me: I’ve ordered every one. But I recommend trying a few.

Outside of their flatbreads, their entrees vary from vegan friendly to octopus, so regardless of the diet, everyone can order something here.

Their front patio is a great spot to sit and people watch when the weather is nice, but if you’re really wanting to see the history of this place and the gorgeous interior, dining inside will give you a cozier ambiance.

During my last visit here, I was able to sit outside on their front patio. They had lamps on each table, string lights and fire heaters to keep the atmosphere warm while still keeping true to their aesthetic.

Governor’s House Exterior. Photo by Maria Hehman | LINK nky

Greenup is a great example of the variety of businesses in NKY, all of which are a stone’s throw away from one another. Each place has such a different atmosphere that all merit a reason for visiting.

And this isn’t even half of the options on Greenup, so the next time you’re on a familiar street like Greenup, stop into one of the places you’ve never been and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

If you have a business, street or city you want me to check out next, email me at [email protected] and it could be featured on the next segment of 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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