CHANGE OF PACE
New Parkers' chef spices up the classics
BY GRETCHEN KEEN

From trendy spots in Northern Kentucky to a suburban icon, Chef Mark Bodenstein's recent move means changes for him and Parkers Blue Ash Tavern.

Bodenstein, formerly of Chalk Food + Wine and NuVo, joined the Blue Ash favorite back in January. It's a change of scenery, but he's sticking to what he knows: an inviting atmosphere and serving quality food with a local focus.

"It is a nice, casual dining place 'The atmosphere is very nice, very laid back, very comfortable," Bodenstein says. "That's kind of always been my philosophy, to make people feel comfortable."

Though Parkers has been on the dining scene for decades, it's embracing change. The décor is still classic, rustic equestrian, but the move from a "grill" to a "tavern" warranted tweaks to the menu. Enter Bodenstein, who is freshening old favorites and introducing new items.

Regulars can still enjoy standards such as cedar-planked salmon, filet mignon and prime rib, as well as the hearty Sunday brunch. Bodenstein expects to spice up the entrees with Texas redfish, polenta, a new vegetarian dish, steak Oscar and hearth-fired flatbreads.

In his previous restaurant ventures, Bodenstein focused on fresh, farm-to-table cuisine. It's a philosophy that might be in the cards for Parkers, as well. "There is room there if we can fit them in and it makes sense both the farmer and the restaurant," he explains.

In the wake of these changes, Parkers' patrons can still expect the comfort and quality that always have been served.
 
 
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern, 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash. (513) 891-8300 or
www.selectrestaurants.com/parkersblue.

 
 
 
DOWN THE BUNNY TRAIL TO BRUNCH
There's more to Easter than chocolate
BY LUCY O'BRIEN
 
One scrumptious spring tradition is Easter Sunday brunch. Cincy's suggestions include:

Hilton Netherland

In a dazzling setting, enjoy the mouthwatering array of food at the Hilton Netherland. The Orchids at Palm Court restaurant offers made-to-order omelettes, crab legs, and an amazing 20-foot dessert display. Valet parking is complimentary, and reservations are recommended.
35 W. Fifth St., Cincinnati. (513) 421-9100 or www.orchidsatpalmcourt.com.

Otto's

Otto's, in the MainStrasse village of Covington, puts a creative spin on the traditional Easter Sunday brunch and features signature dishes including Banana Cheesecake French Toast. Relaxed and friendly, Otto's is a fun place to spend the morning. Be sure to check out their specialty, the BLFGT (bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomatoes).
521 Main St., Covington. (859) 491-6678 or www.ottosonmain.com.

DeSHA's American Tavern

For a brunch that goes far beyond breakfast food, DeSha's buffet includes an omlette station, salads, mashed potatoes, chicken and pasta. There is also a dessert bar. 11320 Montgomery Road, Symmes Township. (513) 247-9933 or www.tavernrestaurantgroup.com.

Grand Finale

For a classic brunch, consider Grand Finale. Comfortably situated in Glendale, it offers a cozy atmosphere along with tasty food. Choose from a variety of specialty drinks and then head to the breakfast buffet with everything from quiche, bacon, and biscuits to sautéed mushrooms and poached eggs on artichokes. Reservations recommended. 3 E. Sharon Road, Glendale. (513) 771-5925 or Stone Creek Dining Co.

For an elegant brunch, try the Stone Creek Dining Co. Their new location in West Chester offers traditional breakfast fare to heartier lunch dishes such as pasta and salmon.