Some friends of ours, who live in North Carolina, recently contacted us to let us know that they were planning a trip up to Cincinnati to visit the Creation Museum, and wanted to know if we were free to meet them in Cincy for dinner. We set up plans with our friends for a specific day and time for dinner, but I thought it would be a great chance to squeeze in a rare Phillips family day trip to explore Cincinnati a little bit before our scheduled meeting. Naturally, this included breakfast!
After browsing the web for a bit, and reading many online reviews, we decided to start our morning of exploration at Sugar n’ Spice Restaurant, a breakfast and lunch spot in the Paddock Hills neighborhood of the city. Navigation to the restaurant from the interstate was fairly simple, and it was easy to spot from the road – its bubblegum pink exterior stood out like a sore thumb amongst the other buildings along the street. As we pulled into the jam-packed parking lot at around 11:30 on a Monday morning, I looked at my wife and said, “Wow…this place MUST be good!!”
We were welcomed by one of the strangest sights I believe my eyes have ever beheld. In the front yard sat a sculpture….A monument….A…well, I really don’t have a clue exactly what it was. Its base was a round platform decorated with flags from around the world. On top of that was a very large pig, seated atop a tall-stack of fluffy pancakes, around which several smaller pigs wearing colorful tunics and carrying their own breakfast platters, danced. The mother of all pigs was carefully balancing a huge platter of yet even more pancakes, dripping with maple syrup, on her snout. Now, the only thing I can gather from this is, that it’s possibly a carousel/music box-type device that is spun electronically, possibly to music? I don’t know. I’m going to have to go back during the summer to see if it’s turned on. The central monument pig looked like it was painted to resemble bacon, and there was sheet music plastered to the front of it. I’m thinking there must be some significance to that. This will definitely require further investigation.
We entered through the back door, and were met by a waiting area full of hungry people, attempting to conquer the 20-minute wait time to be seated. To say that Sugar n’ Spice is a unique place would be quite the understatement. It’s a small dining area with a large, horseshoe-shaped counter in the middle of the room, and a half-dozen or so booths squeezed in around the back walls. The counter itself was used not only for seating, but as a stand for the fish tank, and their early 1900’s-era cash register.
The interior was bright, thanks in part to several windows, but also the vibrant colors used for the walls and ceiling. Although we were all packed in like sardines, it really didn’t feel too over-crowded.
One of my favorite things about Sugar n’ Spice were the awesome cartoon murals painted on the walls. Giant-sized breakfast foods were featured in silly fashion.
Whomever painted these walls deserves a lot of credit for giving the restaurant its own identity, as well as an artistic flare.
But what originally drew us to this restaurant were the stellar reviews on the food itself. Sugar n’ Spice’s breakfast menu looks like a typical diner menu on steroids: Breakfast steaks, huge fluffy omelets, mammoth platters and more! My son knew exactly what he wanted as soon as we arrived – waffles. We ordered him a Belgian Waffle ($4.50) which was really a generous portion of carbohydrate love. We tried to get him to add strawberries or pecans, but he wanted just straight up butter and syrup. He enjoyed it, greatly.
Mrs. Grub Guy piggybacked off of the waffle vibe and ordered the Waffles & Wings ($8.50), which was a fluffy, sweet potato waffle and four perfectly fried, crispy chicken wings. I snitched a bite of her waffle, and the sweet potato flavor paired with the butter and maple syrup was out-of-this-world!! The chicken wings were the fairly large, wing-ding type wings, and were fried to a golden crisp. They were hot and flavorful. The wife loved every bite of this breakfast!
I opted for a real man’s breakfast, the Slaughterhouse Five ($11.25), which contained a colossal amount of artery-clogging breakfast meats. It was a huge platter of two eggs, home fries (I added peppers, onions & cheese on top), toast, and five breakfast meats – a slice of bacon, a sausage link, a sausage patty, a smoked sausage link, and goetta. For those who may be unfamiliar with goetta (pronounced GET-ah), it’s a German dish which is served frequently in the Cincinnati area, and is a combination of pork scraps, oats and spices. It’s sliced and fried like sausage. Goetta is similar to another regional breakfast food, the East coast’s scrapple – the difference being with scrapple they use corn instead of oats. This was actually my first chance to try goetta, and I was really surprised at how delicious it was. I would highly recommend trying it if you’ve never done so. Anyway, the meal itself was huge and filling. Eggs were good, potatoes were wonderful with the peppers and onions, and all of the meats on this plate probably shortened my life by about 3 minutes, but it was worth it.
To add to the charm of Sugar n’ Spice’s unique character, the diner’s owner, Steven Frankel, strolls the dining room greeting youngsters with buckets of rubber ducks that he gives out to anyone who wants one. It was a really personal touch that was nice to see. He also passed out brownie bites and gummy worms to guests as they ate their meals or waited for a table. Everyone from the owner to our awesome waitress was extremely friendly and welcoming, to the point that we actually felt like they really appreciated us being there. You don’t get that feeling everywhere.
I was very, very impressed with the whole visit and experience at Sugar n’ Spice. I would have to agree 100% with all of the positive ratings on the review sites from people who boasted the restaurant as their favorite breakfast spot in Cincinnati. The food and service were excellent. I’m glad we picked this place as the start to our family day trip. I will most certainly be back if I’m ever in the area again.
Besides, I’ve gotta find out what’s up with that pancake-balancing pig!!
Sugar n’ Spice is located at 4381 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45229 (Map). They are open Monday – Sunday, 7:00am – 3:00pm. For more info, you can check them out on Facebook or Twitter, or at their website.