New tapas restaurant offers a taste of Spain in Ludlow

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Conserva opened in Ludlow this January, offering folks around Northern Kentucky Spanish-inspired foods, drinks and vibes.

The restaurant is helmed by Ludlow residents Challis and Lauren Hodge. The two also own and operate Ludlow’s Taste on Elm, a curated market and café with local and international foods and specialty wines.

“I started with our mission to create community with food and wine,” Challis Hodge said. “It was clear to me that few places in the world do that better than the tapas culture in Spain.”

Lauren Hodge’s family has been in the wine and spirits business for some time. Both she and Challis come from career backgrounds in marketing, advertising, and technology but leaped into the food business in 2019.

“We believe strongly that if you put something in your body you should know where it comes from and that there is a story behind all good food and wine,” Challis said. 

Their food, wine, beer, ciders, sherry, vermouth, sangria and cocktails are all authentically Spanish. The Hodge’s have been curating Spanish-preserved seafood, including mussels in salsa brava and scallops in galician sauce, since 2019. 

“Our ultimate goal is for people from Spain to feel like they’re at home, people who’ve traveled to Spain to feel like they’ve gone back and people who have never been to Spain to feel like they experienced it right here in Ludlow,” Challis said.

Conserva also hosts events and special dinners that include Sherry dinners and Tapas Culture 101 and 102. They plan to add more events in the future and to introduce wood-fired paella. You’ll find live music, including Spanish guitar, Tango and Flamenco, on the weekends from performers like London Scholle and Phil Strange.

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The Hodges hope to continue growing their community and food footprint in Ludlow.

“We would love more than anything to see Ludlow grow and flourish and pursue future concepts in our hometown!” Challis Hodge said.

The menu offers dished like savory mejillones en salsa brava or patatas a la riojana, grab a bite while you sip on a mahon gin and tonic.

Conserva is open from 5-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 5-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.  Make a reservation on their website.

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