CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{March 6, 2007}   Another One Bites the Dust

manna.jpgThe pattern continues. Yet another restaurant downtown has closed its doors.

Manna Vegetarian Deli, located at 633 Main Street has shut down. The sign on the door thanks it’s customers for six good years but the owners are now going to focus in on their catering business. Bottom line: Just not enough business.

If a restaurant can’t survive on Main Street. . . . .you finish the rest of the sentence.

Larry Gross

(Photo from


Kate says:

I know. I found this out today when I went there for lunch. All closed up. It was my favorite restaurant downtown.

Teri says:

It was a great place but the writing has been on the wall for months. Slow business.

Mike says:

Manna was a great healthy alternative for lunch here. It seems like unless you like Skyline in this screwed up town, you’re out of luck.


…stick a fork in cincinnati’s downtown?

I tried Larry, I really tried, to be a cheerleader for downtown cincy lo these many years post-riots, but eventually I gave up, too.

I bought my clothes at Tower Place and Lazarus/Macy’s, I bought all my b-day cards at M. Hopple, I ate at Cafe de Paris, Red Fish, Mullane’s, Palomino, etc., I bought my produce from Cianciolo’s, I came down for light up the square, I went to the downtown library even though the clifton one was only 3 blocks away, hell, I went downtown for no particular purpose but to add a body to the sidewalks, and stroll past the Tiffany’s windows (which I later discovered were decorated the same way in every major city, to my disappointment.)

But there’s only so much one skinny little white girl can do. Nobody joined me, at least not in the numbers that were needed. Mullane’s closed, Red Fish closed, half the stores in the mall closed…I drove past what used to be the Gap before christmas and it was *literally* boarded up.

Then you start reading about attacks in the new (leaky) (expensive) Fountain Square Garage.

I have seen the new (expensive) Fountain Square, and quite frankly, I am unimpressed. In fact, I downright don’t like where they’ve put the fountain, I mean it IS called “Fountain Square,” right? One of the few landmarks we have, and she gets shoved off to the side for a bigger ice rink? Come now.

Downtown is, in a word, useless. Thank god for Northside and Clifton, or there would be no reason to stay here at all.

Logan says:

Cincinnati: The ghost town that’s getting worse by the day.

Julie says:

I like this FoxyRoxy who should be writing her own posts here.

She’s right. I also have attempted to support downtown but after awhile it’s hard to see the point. Restaurants can’t stay open, Tower Place is deserted and improvements always fall flat. Yes, look at the new and improved “leaky, expensive” Fountain Square Garage.

Cincinnati is truly the town with it’s head up it’s ass. We can’t seem to get anything right.

Roger says:

It Manna was in a city that had downtown traffic, there wouldn’t be any question of it’s success. Here, there’s no traffic.

Tim says:

“Thank god for Northside and Clifton, or there would be no reason to stay here at all.”

I think I would add to this Mt. Adams. As for downtown, throw every city official out and start over.

Barbara says:

Yet another Cincinnati put down. Restaurants come and go, Larry. Your post isn’t being fair to the city.

Jill says:

I’m gonna miss Manna a lot 😦


“I think I would add to this Mt. Adams.”

Mt Adams. Eh. Matter of personal taste, I reckon.

“As for downtown, throw every city official out and start over.”

Lord, don’t get me started! You’ve got Mallory and his (highly-paid-on-overtime-which-positively-affects-his-pension-can-you-say-“milking-the-system”-?-i-knew-that-you-could) bodyguard, telling us it’s “safe.” you’ve got council members getting paid (for a “part-time” position more than me for my FULL-time one) to take up city time to make resolutions about the Iraq war.

now don’t get me wrong, i hate the war as much as anybody, but i thought we had a problem with *our* murder rate? plenty of folks are dying in baghdad–plenty of folks are dying HERE. and i expect city council to wrangle that issue FIRST. i don’t pay 2.1% (that .1 really chaps my ass) of my (meager) income to this godforsaken shitburg for council to lollygag around all day flappin’ their gums about what’s happenin’ in sadr city, that’s for damn sure. where’s one of those tasers smitherman is always railing about when you need one?

Matt says:

Right on Roxy! You’re saying what I can’t seem to right. I agree with you 100%.

Keith says:

This is a very bad joke that I once heard about Springfield, Ohio

“It’s a great place for the homeless, because there are so many vacate buildings.”

I think if I changed that to downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, no one would bat an eye.

Brian says:

Manna had great food and was in a great location. I don’t understand this.

jake says:

foxy is right. downtown sucks and sucks and sucks.

jackula says:

all you people complaining about downtown cincy need to get over here to covington. we rock, people, we rock.

Erin says:

It’s sad. It really is. Poppie’s is gone, Za, Bella, so many more and now Manna. It was no Mullane’s but it was close.

If I had the money I would pack up and more to a better city. I love the urban life (Foxy, I can relate to you), but Cincinnati is depressing.

ED says:


john says:

Cincnnati a bad town for restaurants? Then how do you explain this: McCormick & Schmick @ Fifth and Vine, of all fifty of the chain’s restaurants, had the highest first-day, first-week and first- and second-month sales per square foot of any restaurant has ever opened in North America. I know McCormick and Schmick is a big chain, and we have enough of those. Manna was one of my favorites too, and the closing of a unique, healthy, family-run restaurant is a big loss. But I’d be hard-pressed to say that Manna’s closing confirms a trend of universal failure in downtown.

Do you read the rest of the notice on Manna’s front door? They are closing also to concentrate on their real estate development business. The owner, Eric Lusein, has just bought a building 200 feet away from Manna. So tell me, does it sound like Manna’s owners believe in Main Street or not?

In sum, I think we’re over-generalizing here.

Matt says:

Are you new to this area or what? We’ve had closing after closing of restaurants here for the past four years.

George says:

Hey, think of this. As bad as downtown is, pretty soon, you won’t be able to smoke in bars. Kentucky here I come.


“Cincnnati a bad town for restaurants? Then how do you explain this: McCormick & Schmick @ Fifth and Vine, of all fifty of the chain’s restaurants, had the highest first-day, first-week and first- and second-month sales per square foot of any restaurant has ever opened in North America.”

because almost all the other downtown restaurants have closed?

because the opening was on a day when a lot of yups were downtown for something else?

because a lot of cincinnatians are sheeple, not people?

hard as nails says:

“because a lot of cincinnatians are sheeple, not people?”

………old god, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Tom says:

I have lived here all my life, but I travel. I see other cities.

We are screwed up. When it comes to downtown Cincinnati, we are a wasteland.

Restaurants close. No business. We have a mall right here downtown close to closing up – not even a sign outside promoting it.

We are a wasteland that needs help. Let’s look to Northern Kentucky for answers. Let’s look to them for help. Cincinnati has no idea how to fix itself.

jackula says:

northern kentucky is laughing at you fuckups 🙂

Mae says:

Very much a shame that Manna is gone.

Great food and really good service.

A restaurant that would have worked in New York. Cincinnati is not New York. So sad to say.

FED UP says:


Jim says:

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Mouse says:

I had from the rumor mill that McCormick & Schmick’s got special financial assistance to come to Cincinnati, sort of like what Saks got paid to stay. Maybe not directly from the city, but from some quasi-public group like 3CDC or Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

If so, that is in itself an embarrassement, that the city has to payoff companies to open here.

john says:

Are you new to this area or what? We’ve had closing after closing of restaurants here for the past four years.

Actually I’ve lived within a couple of blocks of Manna for several decades. I guess that makes me “new to this area.”

Julie says:

Maybe it’s just me, but I went to Manna a few times and didn’t like the food at all. It had that, “If you’re a vegetarian you just have to put up with slow service and bad food” vibe to it.

Diane says:

I agree with Julie – on my last visit, I got an over-priced, store-bought veggie burger served by someone who clearly wanted to be elsewhere…why would I continue to patronize a place like that when I can go to Cafe DeVine or Javier’s or Mehana?

Spoiler says:

If anyone bothered to talk with owner Eric Lusain, you’d know that the reason he closed wasn’t about business volume, but rather his desire to become more involved as a property owner (and developer) for Main Street’s buildings. He couldn’t spend enough time in Manna’s kitchen and found it too hard to deal with the rapid turnover of staff to maintain a consistent product.

And Erin, Poppies just moved to the building across from the end of the Purple People Bridge (720 Pete Rose Way) and renamed itself “deli720”.

Most importantly, does anyone know where one can buy the “Embrace Sweets” that were sold at Manna?

100 Blogging Babes says:

At a time where energy concerns should be mandating more support for “location-efficient” inner city areas, stories like this make me sad and mad. We need more walkable living, not less. I’m sorry for the loss!

Ronnie Ann

Blake Fox says:

A friend of mine years ago pointed out Manna to me. It never interested me as I place I would want to have lunch. I preferred Poppies. Which by the way is now in the form of Deli 720 on Pete Rose way. In my experiences downtown. All of the resturants that have closed, did so because their owners were inept or they SUCKED! If a restaurant cannot make it on downtown lunch crowd, they are most certainly doing something wrong. I have yet to see a restaurant I liked, close.

Bertie Wooster says:

Larry Gross hates Cincinnati.

Hey all you Covington cheerleaders; name 10 restaurants worth eating at in Covington. There’s nothing happening on their riverfront either, Covington couldn’t support the Covington Landing folks; it’s long since gone.

And as for the Newport Levy; go there on an average weekday and see how little business there is, they have a great deal of empty retail space and the retailers that are there are struggling. I manage one of the largest beer & wine distributors in NKY and I can tell you that a few tenants are doing quite well, but the rest are struggling. Go ask Pacific Moon & Cafe Istanbul how well there business is, it sucks by the way. Pacific moon will be closed by the end of the year. Claddagh owes a serious amount of back rent to the Levy and unpaid taxes to the State. Aside from the Levy, Hofbrau & Southgate House, where’s this ‘great dining & nightlife scene’ in Newport? Hint: It’s not there.

Meanwhile we have two new restaurants opening on Fountain Square, a new Brazilian Steakhouse in the Carew Arcade, Morton’s moving to 5th & Vine, Jeanro Bistro is packed at least 5 nights a week, McCormick & Schmidt’s is packed, 4-star Pigall’s is bustling, The Palace just brought in a new superstar chef and is packed several nights per week, Orchid’s at The Netherland is doing well (and serving great food), Ruby’s is packed every night…..

What is there to eat in Covington? Jean-Robert’s Pho Paris & Greenup Cafe, Dee Felice, The Waterfront, Chez Nora (crappy food, BTW), Cock & Bull (eat the greasy fried food cooked in the filthy kitchen at your own peril), and…..WHAT? McDonalds & Frisch’s? Covington couldn’t support Jack Quinn’s, Sonoma, Wildflour, DiJohn’s or Donna’s, ut where’s Larry Gross’s gloom and doom stories about the demise of Covington’s restaurant scene?

Stephen Fry says:

Amen Bertie. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

tower 200 says:

Am I able to use paypal to pay for this?

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