Zino’s new home pleases old patrons

As a child, my parents took me, then just a child, to Zino’s, an old firehouse converted into a restauran, located in Clifton.

My mom would tell me stories about my great-grandfather and how he was once a fireman in the very building we were dining in.

A mural painted on the wall reminisced of a time when horses pulled fire wagons.

On Sundays, students from the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory would gather in a balcony overlooking the main dining area and play classical music for the patrons below.

And the food was incredible.

Zino’s closed in 1995, but has been resurrected in Covington by two women who craved Zino’s food when they were pregnant.

Meredith Monohan Deane and Julie Grant yearned for Zino’s deep-fried calzone, the “Zinover,” so badly that they banded together and purchased the rights to restaurants original recipes.

With the old recipes intact, Zino’s was revived in Covington last October.

My mom and I arrived at the new location on a Friday afternoon so that we would not have to fight for a parking space.

We walked in the front door, down a hall to the right and down a very dark flight of stairs.

We were seated in a booth in the middle of the restaurant on the non-smoking side.

Stone walls separated the non-smoking area from the bar, where there were a few tables and a Pac-man game machine were set up.

The restaurant’s atmosphere reminded me of the original restaurant.

They even had Trivial Pursuit cards on the table, just like they had at the Clifton location.

The menu included a variety of appetizers. I ordered onion soup for starters, which was tangy and delicious.

This soup had a thick slice of bread floating atop the soup with melted cheese, and tasted just like onion soup should.

For her start, Mom ordered Z-babies– little folded triangles of pizza dough, deep-fried, seasoned and served with marinara sauce.

Other appetizers on the menu include the soup of the day, potato skins and salad.

For the main course, there was no question about what to order – an extra cheese “Zinover.”

The “Zinover” consists of pizza dough that is wrapped around loads of cheese and deep-fried to crispy perfection. The cheese in the “Zinover” was the gooiest cheese I have ever put in my mouth and tasted just like I remembered. The pizza sauce served with it, complemented the dish well.

In addition to the “Zinover,” which comes in pepperoni, extra cheese, or mushroom, including the appetizers and pizza.

By the time I finished off the “Zinover,” I had no room for dessert.

Since a few mushrooms had snuck into my meal, our gracious and friendly waitress offered me dessert for free.

Zino’s has a brand-new dessert item called the “Chocolate Zinover,” which came highly recommended by our server.

This delectable dessert variation of the “Zinover” consisted of fried dough stuffed with melted chocolates and covered in chocolate sauce.

It was heaven to this chocolate lover.

I regretted that I could only manage to scarf a few bites because I was so stuffed.

The restaurant is very reasonably priced. We dined for around $22.

If we had paid for the dessert it would have only been a few dollars more.

My experience at the new Zino’s location was great.

The restaurant is once again among my favorites.

In addition to a wonderful dining experience, Zino’s offers entertainment for all ages.

On Sundays, the restaurant hosts astrology and tarot card readings. Tuesday evenings are reserved for karaoke.

From 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. they host “kiddie karaoke”, and from 9p.m. to midnight, they have adult karaoke.

On Friday nights, singer and guitarist Todd Fugate performs in the bar.

Zino’s is located at 126 Park Place in Covington, not far from the NKU campus.

The restaurants hours are Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

It is strongly suggested that one makes reservations for Friday and Saturday nights.

To book a reservation or get directions, call (859) 261-9339.