Owner and operator Danny Korman opened Park + Vine before OTR was the cool place to be. You know, pre-Gateway Quarter revitalization and before the streetcar. Korman lived in Chicago and created a business plan for Park + Vine to make its debut on the corner of Vine Street and Central Parkway June 2007. In 2010, Korman moved P+V from Vine to Main Street where Park + Vine now calls home. How they got all their items from one place to the next is the coolest, “It was a people move. We didn’t use any vehicles at all. The kindness of people we knew and we didn’t know helped moved the contents of the store to [the Main Street] location.”
First, to be clear everything is vegan. Vegan—as in no animal products; dairy or meat—despite the guy who comes in annually trying to sell a trunk full of ribs to a vegan store. Yes, this really does happen. And to be fair, if you blindly walked into P + V, you wouldn’t know that it is a meat-free store. Some visitors are daily shoppers at the shop and still believe the goetta is made with pork. And even though the Park + Vine is dedicated to a meat-free lifestyle, Korman says that a good number of shoppers are meat eaters, “We wouldn’t be here without our omnivore friends.” As a Vegetarian of 28 years and now a vegan of 12, the meat-free veteran estimates that about 50 percent of people that come to the store are meat-eaters.
Whether meat is in your diet or not, it’s always fun to check the drink cooler to spot a new soda or a type of gluten-free bread to try next time you make a sandwich. Some of the items that Park + Vine features include tortilla chips made with non-GMO corn native to Kentucky from Sunflower Sundries and fermented veggies from Fab Ferments. Fermented veggies, sounds crazy right? Just add a spoonful of the holy jalapeño to your meat-free or real braut. Seriously, do it! And for the stars of the show, the kombucha on tap by the pint or growler for fermented tea fans from Luna. And let’s not forget the chalkboard of lunch and brunch choices including vegan mac and cheese, a grilled cheese filled with all sorts of things, and cheddar and chive with biscuits and gravy. We suggest the GLT (goetta, lettuce, and tomato) with a side of pasta salad. And for groceries: a a 6-pack of 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon beer, Field Roast breakfast sausages, Sami’s gluten-free pizza crust, and Hubert’s lemonade—lots and lots of Hubert’s lemonade!
And if you think that only women need their vegan fix, Korman says that men are frequent shoppers too! Maybe it’s the giant selection of local beers and ciders? Or the burgers that easily compete with a juicy quarter pounder. Beer burgers? Yes please! And if you’re on the go, a protein bar and an organic energy drink are just hangin’ out in the fridge for you—and cans of Rhinegeist and Madtree beer for later.
As for things you didn’t know about the green-friendly store, there are a few that you probably should know about P + V!
1. There’s an outdoor patio
It is a little hidden in the back of the store, just don’t lock yourself out because the chances of an employee hearing you knock out there are slim to none. And if you do get locked out, just bang on the door—someone will see you eventually.
2. They offer kombucha making classes
Sure grabbing a bottle from the fridge section is easier, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous try making your own. But we will warn you, the culture used to make the fermented tea is a little slimy and—interesting…
3. Burgers change weekly
Of course, they are vegan! BUT sometimes these burgers are better than the real thing, but they always taste just as good. Some of previous burgers: a beer burger, black bean burger, and a root veggie burger. We anticipate next weeks burger Park + Vine crew!
4. Find the P + V crew around town at Farmers’ Markets
So if you can’t get down to OTR for a jar of almond butter and a bag of oatmeal cookies, that’s okay! P + V frequents farmers’ markets around the city.
5. Danny was on Senate’s hot dog menu
Danny is so beloved around town that he once had a Senate hot dog named after him called “The Danny Korman.” It was a vegetarian option of course, made with a great bean-lentil hot dog.
And as much as Korman loves his Park + Vine food, he makes it a point to find the yummiest grub when he isn’t raiding his own store. “If I wasn’t living here, ‘I think what places would I rush to go to eat first.'” Korman lists some of his favorite spots around Cincinnati to grab some vegan grub. His go-to’s are some of our top choices too (they’re not vegan restaurants, just vegan options!) Mazunte—his choice, the vegan enchiladas. AmerAsia “It’s the closest thing to a ‘closet vegan restaurant’ we have because almost everything on that menu is available vegan and it’s so good.” Happy Chicks Bakery “They have amazing empanadas and quiche. [The quiche] is a tofu base. It’s so savory and flavorful. I had my family over last weekend and grabbed a quiche from there along with a cake.” Pub food that Mr. Cincinnati Vegan loves—MOTR is his pick, “I love their tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and their fries.” As for the next restaurant on Korman’s list to try, Emanu East African Restaurant in Pleasant Ridge. “I love African food!” Some other favorites are Swad Indian Restaurant and Kitchen 452.
Aside from thee food that Park + Vine oh so wonderfully serves, the left side of the store is dedicated to eco-friendly items: rain barrels, clothing, mason jars and accessories, kids items, beauty products, and more awesome goodies. Who knew there was such a thing as eco-friendly socks? So make sure to stop in the Main Street general store for some green goodies and vegan treats. Let us know what your favorite P + V item is, we’d love to try along with you!