Westwood’s New Upscale Eatery Ivory House Honors an Influential Past Mayor
Named after James N. Gamble, former Westwood mayor before the West Side was annexed to the City of Cincinnati and also inventor of the floating ivory soap, Ivory House is nestled on Harrison Avenue, close to several other main street businesses that have cropped up recently.
Ivory House proprietors Frank Eversole and Rick Pouliot have been involved in the growth of the neighborhood through their property group, EP Investments, since 2009, redeveloping several homes, focusing the bulk of their energy on the Town Hall District and stabilizing that area with increased economic inflow.
“We just felt we needed something a little more upscale,” says Eversole. “(Ivory House is) still kind of casual. At the end of the day, it’s just a beautiful environment with very approachable dishes that people can come and enjoy in the neighborhood.”
Opening a restaurant during a global pandemic might seem daunting, but if anything, the ability to adapt the dining room to social distancing regulations before it opened proved a blessing. Capacity was reduced inside, and an outdoor patio is in the works.
Self-described as “familiar food, elevated,” the menu is a fresh take on nostalgic-feeling dishes. Executive chef Dana Adkins, formerly of the Thunderdome Restaurant Group, came on board earlier this year, bringing with him an invigorating vision that reimagines well-known dishes and familiarizes unconventional and surprising ingredients.
“Rick and Frank wanted to allow myself and our team to bring our vision to life — that’s what’s beautiful about this relationship,” Adkins says. “We approached them about how we wanted to be mindfully sourcing and supporting partners. There was one vision Frank did express that I really wanted to see, that was to really embrace the grill. And that’s why we’ve found fun ways (to incorporate) smoke and grill.”
The menu offers nearly a dozen small plates like the ham and bean agnolotti, mussels diablo and Appalachian shrimp and grits, as well as shareable 34-ounce angus prime ribeye Tomahawk for two, and lunch dishes like the vegan club, pork belly tacos and Ivory House wagyu and cheddar. They also recently rolled out a brunch menu.
One of the dishes Adkins is most excited about is the BBQ Louie’d Quail, named after his grandfather who taught him how to grill and brine chicken.
In addition to eats, Ivory House offers an extensive wine menu "with something for every palate." They also have local brews on tap, including the "Ivory House Amber" by nearby West Side Brewing, plus bottled and canned beers. Guests can expect a seasonal cocktail menu with fresh juices and fruits, house infusions and handcrafted shrubs and syrups.| Photos by Hailey Bollinger