Streetscapes strolls West Eighth for kitties, comfort food, chips and salsa

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This story originally appeared in the Aug. 18 edition of the Weekly LINK Reader. To get these stories first, subscribe here.

Streetscapes is on a mission to hit every corner in the Northern Kentucky area. In a year, we’ve welcomed new businesses, tried a variety of cuisines and traveled to nearly every county in NKY. Even still, there are plenty of places to find or rediscover. Streetscapes has previously covered West Sixth and Seventh streets, so this week we head to West Eighth in Covington for Southern comfort food and comfort kitties. 

Purrfect Day Café

Calling all cat and coffee lovers (these two tend to go hand in hand): Purrfect Day Café is the place to visit and offers a variety of experiences.

Its café serves coffee and cocktails and has an ample lounge area for those who may be a bit more skittish when it comes to cats. Guests who want to pet as many cats as possible can book tickets to the cat lounge to fully embrace the cat experience.

The options for experiences here are endless, ranging from a quiet coffee shop experience to a full-on crazy cat lady dream. The experience is fully customizable to each guest’s choosing. The best part: Each cat is eligible for adoption, so if one truly tugs at a patron’s heartstrings, they can opt to adopt and bring that cat home with them.

To enter the cat lounge, there is a $15 visitation fee, and guests are allotted 50 minutes to play with and pet as many cats as they wish. The café section is open to anyone. It offers a great way to observe the experience for those who may be fearful of feline friends. The café offers a wide range of beverages, from coffee to cocktails, all themed around the Roebling Bridge. 

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Libby’s Southern Comfort 

Libby’s has become one of the go-to places in the area for quality Southern food. It has garnered notoriety from all across the country and captured the attention of local celebrities, including Bengals players.

For food to be this widely discussed, you might think there has to be something more to it beyond the restaurant fare. But Libby’s is just that good.  

Starting off strong, it offers traditional Southern appetizers – such as fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese fritters and shrimp and grits – for those craving classic comfort foods. Libby’s also has a signature appetizer that blends a Southern classic with a Cincinnati staple – goetta hush puppies, and, yes, they’re as savory and mouthwatering as they sound.  

Entrée options include everything from chicken, oysters, salmon, turkey and pork – each served with traditional Southern sides such as green beans and coleslaw. 

Libby’s offers both inside seating as well as outdoor dining on its ample enclosed patio. 

Zapata Cantina

Often overshadowed by the other options in the area, Zapata Cantina sits on the corner of Madison and West Eighth. With as many options as this area of Covington offers, it’s easy to visit familiar favorites, but Zapata Cantina deserves to be in the restaurant rotation.

Its food is traditional Mexican cuisine. The tacos are smaller than most Americanized versions but come three to an order to ensure guests leave with a full belly. The chips-and-salsa trio offers a fresh start to patrons’ dining experience, but for those who want a savory start, queso fundido with chihuahua and Oaxaca cheese is creamy with a sharper taste than traditional white queso. 

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One of the most unique dishes is marisco Jalisco – stuffed bell peppers with mahi-mahi, shrimp, poblano crema and mozzarella. It’s a healthy option that still gives that Mexican flavor guests crave. For refreshments, it’s almost the law to order a margarita (Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them) to pair with tacos. Zapata Cantina does have nine other cocktail options, as well as a few beer and wine choices; but nothing will be quite as refreshing as a traditional frozen margarita to wash all the spice down. 

The atmosphere here is lively and colorful. Bourbon barrels decorate the space in the most innovative ways, hanging from the ceiling with greenery. The entrance has barrels that are almost like windows that hold various bottles and liquors. As the summer gets hotter, it’s the perfect excuse to sit inside and admire the décor. The restaurant does offer outside seating, as well as a walk-up window to order food to go. 

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.

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