Streetscapes: Load up on protein shakes, ramen, specialty pizzas on Martha Layne Collins Boulevard

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Most NKU alumni and students know Martha Layne Collins Boulevard well. But with  graduation and the start of the summer semester, many who have never ventured to NKU are making their way in that direction. Those looking for an energy boost midmorning or a refreshing summer beer need only head to the bustling boulevard to find plenty of food and drinks.

Empower Nutrition

This locally owned, woman-run business has created a huge following among NKY fitness fanatics for its extensive offerings in protein meal replacement shakes and herbal teas.

Drink offerings come in three main forms: wellness shots, herbal teas and protein shakes. Empower offers a discount for those who order from each category.

The herbal teas are refreshing, caffeinated beverages that are the perfect midday pick-me-up. With unique flavors ranging from peach gummy ring to blue raspberry lemonade, they’re subtly sweet with far less sugar than similar drinks found at other places. The protein shakes are ideal for those looking for a post-workout drink or on-the-go meal replacement. With over 30 flavors, narrowing it down to just one is the hardest decision. Peanut butter Oreo and chunky monkey are among the best sellers, but there’s truly no wrong choice here. These drinks are high in protein and low in sugar, even for such indulgent flavors.

Peanut butter oreo and peanut butter cookie shakes are crowd-pleasers at Empower Nutrition. 
Photo by: Maria Hehman | LINK nky contributor

The employees are really helpful, offering suggestions and making sure each drink is customized for guests’ dietary restrictions and tastes. The shop’s interior is accented in faux greenery and gold, with touches of feminine décor. Bar stools let guests sit and chat with the employees as they create their drinks, kind of like with a bartender at a cocktail bar. 

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Mac’s Pizza Pub

For large or ravenous groups, Mac’s Pizza Pub will satisfy even the most hangry guests. Dealing with  the heat of summer understandably might make anyone hungry and possibly a little cranky, and there’s no better cure than a cold beer and pizza. Mac’s has plenty of both.

Mac’s Pizza Pub has plenty of fans. Photo by: Maria Hehman | LINK nky contributor

With five locations in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area, Mac’s has built a reputation that brings customers back. Specialty pizzas are what Mac’s is best known for – and for good reason. The Chicago Gyro pizza features garlic butter, fresh spinach, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, red onions, gyro meat, mozzarella, provolone and feta cheese, all topped with tzatziki. French fry pizza is loaded with beer cheese, waffle fries, red onion, tomatoes, provolone, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Mac’s pizzas are packed with everything but the kitchen sink to create unique flavors that keep guests full. For those looking for options outside of pizza, the wings and burgers are equally as impressive and filling. And there are plenty of bar basics to make the perfect pairing with any pizza. 

Maki Asian Bowls

The newest addition to Martha Layne Collins Boulevard gives patrons a taste of Asian cuisine. Maki Asian Bowl opened in April and already has become a staple in the area. 

Guests can start with a variety of traditional popular appetizers, including edamame, gyoza and egg rolls. Next, they can choose from rice bowls like Mongolian beef and orange chicken or Maki’s signature dish, chicken teriyaki.  Also a crowd-pleaser are the ramen bowls with noodles and broth. Katsu ramen comes with a choice of chicken or beef as well as kikurage, a type of mushroom, sweet corn and a boiled egg.

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The interior of Maki is adorned in Japanese lanterns and art. The atmosphere is cute and inviting, making for the ideal place to stop and relax. 

Have a street, city or business you want to see covered next? Email Maria Hehman at [email protected] and it could be featured on the next installment of LINK Streetscapes. 

What To Know If You Go

Empower Nutrition

Location: 28 Martha Layne Collins Blvd., Cold Spring

Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, closed

Phone: 859-360-2461

Instagram: @empowernutritionnky

Mac’s Pizza Pub

Location: 42 Martha Layne Collins Blvd., Cold Spring

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Sunday, noon-midnightPhone: 859-781-6227


Maki Asian Bowls:

Location: 56 Martha Layne Collins Blvd., Cold Spring

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-9 p.m.; Sunday, noon-3 p.m. and 4:30-9:30 p.m.

Phone: 859360-5563

Instagram: @maki_asian_bowls

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