WeHeartOTR Interview: Sara Bornick with Streetpops

Though we are having our own adventure living in OTR, there are also others that are having one too, namely many of the businesses in the area. We decided to start looking at some of these businesses and conduct some interviews. Enjoy!

Chad Garrett: So why popcicles?

Sara Bornick: That’s the first question everyone asks me! I started off wanting to do ice cream then realized that there is a lot of competition for ice cream. There are tons! Graeters, Aglamesis Bros., Dojo Gelato. So, I wanted something a little bit different and thought popsicles would be fun. Everyone remembers eating pops as a kid, so I figured why not.

CGWhat makes street pops different than other popsicles?

SB: I think our attention to detail and the ingredients that we use. We use top quality ingredients- less sugar, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup. We also do a lot of crazy combinations.

CGHow do you arrive on your flavors?

SB: I get inspiration on everything from traveling to eating out at restaurants to watching cooking shows to reading magazines and just trying new things, failing and then trying again.

CGWhy did you choose Main Street in OTR for your business instead of say, Northside?

SB: I live about 4 blocks from here. The space that we are in right now used to be Fork Heart Knife, which I loved. I used to go there once, if not twice a week to get carry out or to eat there. I would sit inside or outside and would say to myself this would be a great place for opening a shop. We started selling from a deli downtown and quickly out grew that, so when this became available I decided I was doing it and jumped at the opportunity. I don’t know if I was ready to open a shop but now that I am in here I am thankful to have somewhere to call my own to sell out of, and its been really great so far.

CGDo families frequent your store?

SB: We get such a great mix of people. We get people from the neighborhood, we get families that live down here with kids in their strollers, we get people coming from all different parts of the city that have heard about it, from Findlay Market last year and different festivals. It’s just random really, its exciting to see the word is getting out. People are coming from everywhere to visit so, yeah, it’s really nice. We might even open different locations across the city, you never know…

CG: Speaking of different locations, what are your future plans with street pops?

SB: We will definitely be adding to the menu – we are up to 50 or 60 flavors right now and that’s my fault because I get bored with them. It’s not that they are boring, but I just like trying new stuff. I don’t eat them every day but I am sure you come in here and you see a couple of flavors and say to your self, I have never heard of any of those, so, we are definitely going to have to try that.

We had two carts last summer and now we have five carts. The largest one goes to Findlay Market and the others are used for different events. I’d like to expand to different areas of the city and keep this store the source of production, so I would make everything here and hopefully sell them in other areas of Cincinnati – not just store fronts but other stores as well. But, we will see how well and quickly that happens.

CG: Custom flavors?

SB: Absolutely! We do catering and events and parties with our push carts, so weddings, birthday parties and all sorts of different events, customer parties, office appreciation days. We have some custom flavors as well. I love being creative so when someone comes to me with an idea I want to make that work. For example with the Beet Blood Orange Flavor, we ran a contest at our grand opening. We ran it on Facebook and this is the flavor that won and now it is one of my favorites! We did a wedding last year and the bride came up with a Honey Bourbon Vanilla that was pretty awesome and that will probably be on our menu here in a little bit because it went over pretty well.

CG: So how often do you rotate your flavors?

SB: We always have a chocolate flavor whether that is a chocomint or chocolate sea salt or chocolate chili pepper, some sort of chocolate. We like to have at least two or three staple fruit- based and the other ones rotate depending on the season and what’s available at the store and what’s popular at the time. If we go to the market when it’s 90 degrees out, we will probable have more fruit flavors available because the cream- based street pops can be a bit heavier.

CG: Any final thoughts?

SB: Oh! On Final Fridays in OTR we do some fun stuff. Each Final Friday at least through August we invite different food trucks to our store and have a DJ sitting in the kitchen and have a party. It’s nice to be able to offer the community a place to come and hang out.

To learn more about streetpops, feel free to visit their Website, Facebook page, Twitter or Yelp.

WeHeart OTR Interview: Bob Bonder with 1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab

Though we are having our own adventure living in OTR, there are also others that are having one too, namely many of the businesses in the area. We decided to start looking at some of these businesses and conduct some interviews. Enjoy!


Chad Garrett: Why Wine and Coffee? What was the inspiration?

Bob Bonder: A few things. One, wine parallels coffee in places it is grown and the effect it has on flavor. You hear the term terroir a lot in the wine world and you don’t hear it a lot in the coffee world, but they are very similar – from the earth that its grown in, the climate, and the history. It’s kind of a fun parallel learning experience. The other aspect is the neighborhood. The dynamics of it currently really, really flourish in the evening, though during the daytime it’s a little less crowded. In order to have a coffee shop up here, that could really take advantage of those evening dynamics, we wanted to do something that would cater to that a little more. Not everyone wants a cup of coffee at night, though we felt that the crowd that is up here, a good chunk of them, would enjoy a glass of wine at night. It has proven to be a pretty good tweak on the original Tazza Mia concept to make it fit the neighborhood a little bit better.

CG: What is a coffee lab?

BB: It means bringing out more of the indirect kinds of current coffee. It starts with the fact that every cup we are doing we do by the individual cup in the pour-over bar and it’s a very exact dynamic. It involves laying out to the gram every coffee bean and ensuring you have the exact right amount of coffee to brew a cup. We are bringing the water to a degree, an exact degree of temperature to brew it at and we are slowly pouring that water over the grinds in just the right mechanism to ensure that every ounce of flavor gets fully extracted. And that is something you’re not going to find in other places. And it continues in the way be make our expresso drinks and the fact that the equipment that we are using is the best in the world. It allows us to tweak those same factors that go into expresso such as temperature and quantity of coffee, and the end result is us being able to control the flavors of the coffee so that you’re getting the most out of what that origin has to offer. The same way you would want to create Bordeaux Yirgacheffe – you don’t want it tasty dark and earthy and muddled, you want it to taste bright and citricousy. Those exact measurements allow us to do that.

CG: Where do you get your ingredients from?

BB: We roast ourselves, but we import raw green coffee from all around the world down to the Tazza Mia on 6th and Vine. We try to establish direct relations with farmers whenever possible so we know exactly who and where our coffee is coming from. Having that personal relationship really goes a long way -sometimes it is just the satisfaction of knowing we can pay them a better wage and are adding to their quality of life. It also matters though in terms of quality – if in one years harvest we find a different characteristic and we want to highlight that more we can help them figure out where in the faming process this occurs and have them focus more on that. That part is pretty unique and really fun and rewarding was well.

CG: Why OTR? why not Northside or Clifton for example?

BB: I think the energy here is really unique in Cincinnati – it is what makes me want to stay and continue living in Cincinnati. The development that is going on up here (Over the Rhine), the history in the area and the architecture is unbelievable. The fact that some of this stuff is still intact and actually available to open a business in is not the type of opportunity that you would find in a New York, San Francisco or other places I have lived in the past. It’s something that I think is specific to this part of Cincinnati and it is great to just see people and the city rallying around you. It’s just got a ton of momentum right now. I think it is just going to continue .

CG: What would be the least favorable characteristic of OTR?

BB:From the business side I think it is the daytime traffic here is still slow. So most of the people that are up here, are up here in the evening where as in the business district downtown, I mean I’m in building where there is 1200 people. But that’s also what makes it cool, it’s not the lack of people, or the lack of 30 story buildings, it wouldn’t be as cool if there were….. I think over time with the more development they are doing, by bringing in more fun, entrepreneurial, creative businesses which will parallel the energy that the night has. It is just going to keep building and in a couple years, that will really be flourishing here as well.

CG: You recently moved to OTR? Why?

BB: I think it is the perfect place – it’s at the area in which I would want to hang out. That’s the simplest way to put it. What they have done to renovate these places is awesome too and it is super convenient. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the amount of growth that is coming. So, it is fun to get in here now and I can see myself in this area in years to come.

CG: What are your thoughts on families living in OTR?

BB: Well, my family is my staff and the stores are my children! It’s cool to see families in OTR but I don’t really have those dynamics personally to deal with so it’s not something I know from my own personal side of things.

CG: What are your future dreams for 1215?

BB: I’d love to do more of this type of concept in other areas. We have some super-secret plans in the works for north of Liberty and Over The Rhine that I’m working on this year. Even within OTR I’ll be doing some expansion this year.

CG: So I hear you are going to Washington DC in support of small business in Cincinnati?

BB: I got an email that I honestly thought was fake. You want me to go to the White House for what? But, it is a group of small to mid-size business owners  and we are going to meet economic staff. They will be giving us a presentation on the things they are doing to help small business. And then we are having a open discussion about concerns with my size business and the woes we have. I am really excited to go!

CG: Last question: what is your favorite quote?

BB: This isn’t exact, and I am sure I’ll mess it up, but I think Thomas Jefferson said something like: never say that you don’t have enough time in the day. You have the same time as anyone else. That’s how I live life, you can do plenty if you put your mind to it.

To learn more about 1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab, feel free to visit their Facebook page, Twitter or Yelp.

Bob and me

Thoughts on Suburbia

Jen, Sophie and I went to suburbia today. I know, I know, crazy.

We were visiting some friends out in Westchester. I just have a couple of thoughts on this experience as I have started to take urban life for granted. Here are a couple observations.

Suburban View

1) Boring. That’s right, boring. We were driving by subdivisions and the houses all looked the same with no trees and small, shared back yards. If I was going to move to the ‘burbs, I’d make sure I had a yard of my own and tress. I mean, if you don’t have either of those two, why move to the ‘ burbs in the first place?

2) Wasted Space. I see a mini mart or a dry cleaners. They are a stand alone building with more real estate taken up in parking than in the building foot print. You have to get in your car to do anything. Go to the grocery? Drive. Park? Drive. Food? Drive. Shopping? Drive. You get the idea. Perhaps if they used space more effectively in the ‘burbs, you wouldn’t have to drive so much. Not to mention the aesthetic of buildings. It is apparent that architects just don’t give a (expletive here).

Urban View

1) Not Boring. Living in OTR/Downtown, there is a plethora of awesome and unique buildings. From different colors to brick laying formats. You will always find something new and cool in terms of building design. Not to mention all of the parks… and Washington Park opening soon.

2) Useful Space. Downtown, the space is built around purpose. Retail or a business on the bottom, and living space above. This allows functional space for residents in the area while maximizing the living footprint. There were tens of thousands of people living in OTR in the late 1800’s. Compare OTR to the same suburban footprint… My family can walk to many fun and useful places without having to step into a vehicle. We can walk to the Dry Cleaners, Grocery, Restaurants, Coffee shops, Entertainment venues (Aronoff, etc.) parks and if you feel up to it, Newport, it’s only 1.2 miles from our house).

Up top is a great TED Talk discussing Urbanism and how we can make living spaces great again. Plus, the guy is rather funny in parts too.

Fido Field

Since moving to OTR we heard of a dog park called “Fido Field”. Now that we have Letty, we had a reason to check it out.

We did some research and found out that P&G donated the park (yeah!) and that it was different than other dog parks; Fido Field used rocks instead of dirt as the primary landscape. I did some scoping out of Fido Field on Yelp! to see what people had to say. The comments were mixed, so it was hard to tell. Some loved it since it was rocky, there was no mud. Others did not like it because their dogs could not walk on the stones very well. So, we saddled up and walked to the park to check it out for ourselves.

Fido Field is cute, the landscape consists of small to medium- sized rocks with trees planted in doggy- bone shaped dirt mounds. It also has an incline that goes up a hill by the freeway onramp, so you can get a little exercise in too. So we did just that, we ran with Letty up the hill and around the park. Sophie even had some time discovering new rocks… but that is where the fun ended.

As humans, I found the park fine. For our Letty, not so much. She stayed as much as she could around the periphery; the stones were just too uncomfortable. The edges where unkept too. There were twigs and branches that were sharp and pointy that stuck Letty several times as she navigated the park. To be fair,Letty did run and mess around for a couple of minutes, but it didn’t’ last long. Towards the end, she would not even walk back on her own, I had to carry her.

My take? We won’t go back. It isn’t Letty- friendly.


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