Culinary arts have long been part of chef and restaurant owner Mary Swortwood's life. With more than 25 years of restaurant experience and a background in nutrition, she is no newbie to the dining scene.

Her latest venture, Buz, is the result of the success of Columbia-Tusculum's Green Dog Café.

After graduating from Bowling Green University and completing an apprenticeship at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, Swortwood brought her experience to Cincinnati.

Table Service, Music

With business partner Mark Swortwood, the pair opened Brown Dog Café in Blue Ash, then Tinks in Clifton, followed by Green Dog Café in Columbia-Tusculum, and now, its next door neighbor and sister restaurant, Buz. In the always-evolving business of restaurants, Tinks has since closed and Brown Dog has new owners.

Green Dog led to Buz, Mark explains.

Many regular Green Dog customers live within a short drive of the restaurant and many walk there for a meal.

"They appreciate the easy access to parking and the comfortable eclectic feel. Green Dog is casual with walk-up service," Mark says.

"Many of our patrons asked for a complimentary spot to the Green Dog that offers similar techniques, but a little more upscale and with table service. "¢Oh,' they said, "¢we would love a bar with some music on the weekend.' That's how Buz was developed."

Unlike Green Dog, Mary says, Buz is a more adult atmosphere.

"We have a wide variety of people, adults and kids, coming into Green Dog Café, but we wanted to make Buz have a little more niche with an adult atmosphere," she says. "Somewhere you can go for happy hour and late night."

Same Focus: Fresh

On Saturday evenings, guests can enjoy live music from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., with a late night menu available until midnight. Already featured have been acoustic musicians Michael Denton, Liz Wu, Richard Scott and Jessica Stern-Enzi.

"I think it [Buz] has a specific, good location and accessibility to a lot of neighborhoods, like Hyde Park," Mary says. "It appeals to a certain kind of clientele who maybe don't want to go all the way downtown but want to have that same kind of dining experience."

Like Green Dog, the menu at Buz features quality, fresh food from local providers who utilize organic or sustainable practices. But Buz offers a wider variety of options, including beef short ribs braised with red wine and cola, bahn mi sandwiches, sea scallops and pork belly flatbread with green apples, white cheddar, spicy barbeque sauce and pickled red onions.

Mary says must-try "bar doeuvers" are the cheese donuts (crab and gruyere beignets with honey lime glaze and curry remoulade) and the local artisan cheese plate, which offers a variety of cheeses along with pear butter pistachio wafers. There's also a lengthy wine and beer list.

So what's up next?

"I've always wanted to open a vegan and gluten-free bakery," says Mary. "But we'll see." - 

3543 Columbia Parkway
(513) 533-2899.
Green Dog Café
3543 Columbia Parkway
(513) 321-8777 or