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Swamp Water Grill
3742 Kellogg Ave 513.834.7067
Riverside Centre Antique Mall

“Good Morning N’awlins how are you!”... That’s what I said (inside) when the Gumbo first kissed my lips.“ Then, a thick forkful of sweet & creamy crawfish pie nearly made me blush. Right after, Real Monday Red Beans (chock full of slow roasted smoker meat in rich red gravy) soothed my soul as they slid past my tongue. They calm me deep inside. Where did I find this fabulous Cajun cuisine?
I didn’t just get back from the Southland. I just got back from Kellogg Avenue. The locally famous antique mall is now home to Cincinnati’s newest Cajun joint... Swamp Water Grill. The dining rooms were seating saws, ladders and sledgehammers but the kitchen was in full swing. The owners (Kirk & Denise Prest & Chris Ornella) were cookin’ up the new menu, Cajun style all the way. Sampling, sharing and answering my never ending questions.
The Prest’s are good South Louisiana folk. They have their own oyster beds and charter fishing vessels. They live Cajun, work Cajun and talk Cajun too. Damn if they don’t cook Cajun as well. They are up here sharing some of that Southern magik that has made New Orleans so famous. They stick to pure authentic recipes and techniques in all the dishes.
Ornella is bringing his passions to the table as well. Chris is hopelessly addicted to smoke and his slow smoked meat treats include ribs, chicken, pulled pork and even goetta! Smoked goetta logs wrapped in bacon, topped with fried egg to be exact.
Together, the trio is offering a terrific Gulf Coast menu that is certain to earn much attention and loyal customers. One half of the menu reads like a French Quarter anthem; jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish pie, etouffee, Po’ Boys (real one’s), Barbecue Shrimp (NOT to be confused with BBQ sauce in any way), unique grilled oysters (from the Prest’s own beds), Blackened fish (done the authentic way) and more. The other half is like a Texas transplant. “Tex-Orleans” if you will.
I sampled several of the menu items (over and over and over). All were awesome. Vivid descriptions came to mind. It would be easy to get lost in creative food porn terms such as “deeply layered flavor profiles, unctuous & soul satisfying, silky smooth & savory red bean gravy” and the like. But I’ll leave that for the food writers who revel that sort of over the top self-satisfaction. For my article, I’m putting it like this... This is the real deal. No twists, no “take-on”, no shortcuts, no facsimiles. This is what a New Orleans grandma would serve her family, and proudly. If you know what I’m talking about, you know you want to go. But you’ll have to have patience, Swamp Water Grill isn’t open just yet. Look for an opening date in June.
Keep an eye out on our site for info on exactly when the Swamp Water Grill opens. Then, go and feast on fine N’awlins flavor the way is was meant to be. There is a full bar, seating for any size party and breakfast on the weekends. I can’t wait to see their Marti Gras parties. Hopefully they will be as loose and lively as the N’awlins folks do it in the Quarter. I have a big ole’ box of beads just waiting. And a big ole’ appetite too.



Comments (5)

Topic: swampwater.html
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Brendan McMillan says...
Can't really comment on the employee problems as stated on this site. However, we were very disappointed in the service and the food in general. Didn't get that warm and fussy feeling. Didn't remind me of the food we had in the French Quarter, but maybe they have a different agenda here. Had to try it once, but not twice.
22nd December 2013 4:57pm
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Chris Ornella says...
In response to Mr. Taylor\'s post, I would like to first off say what a pleasure it was having him work for me at The Swampwater Grill and a few other restaurants in the past. It is truly a shame that our employee/employer relationship ended the way it did over such minor concerns. Mr. Taylor did not even give his employment at The SwampWater Grill 2 weeks before he decided to part ways with his steady paycheck. I would have thought that all of the favors that I have done for Mr. Taylor in Read More
17th August 2013 3:46pm
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Eric M says...
It\'s embarrassing to see a disgruntled former employee slander a restaurant and owner on the internet. If you have a problem with your former employer, it would be better to have a face to face conversation with them. Best of luck with your job search. SwampWater Grill is one of the best new restaurants on the eastend. Its Cajun food and decor are both authentic and original. About the only 2 items carried over from ABG are the cheesesticks and the burger, both which are delicious, along with Read More
17th August 2013 2:51pm
RodS says...
We have to wonder what the true motivation is for posting such an inaccurate comment. For one, the ABG menu reference couldn\'t more un-true. Swamp Water\'s menu shares nothing in common with ABG. ABG was open and busy until Chris left to pursue his own venture. The \"failed\" comment is inaccurate as well. Two, the menu and recipes feature Cajun staples and favorites from the Prest family, who are now back home in New Orlean\'s. The food is at Swamp Water is very authentic and high quality. Read More
16th August 2013 2:37pm
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Shane Taylor says...
The Swamp Water Grill is a joke. Half the recipes are recycled from a failed restaurant, that Mr. Ornella ran into the ground, and I know one recipe on the menu is mine. Let alone took advantage of the aging owner from the previous business. I hope people find out how unoriginal it really is.
16th August 2013 12:26pm
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