Late night dining is at a premium in downtown Cincinnati. With Shanghai Mama’s in limbo, there aren’t a ton of choices for a bite to absorb any imbibing you might’ve done earlier in the evening (or, you know, sometimes you’re just hungry at 2 a.m.). Sure, you can grab some Lucy Blue’s, but sometimes you want something a little more than pizza: enter Gilpin’s.
Gilpin’s is a derivative of Bagel and Deli on Miami University’s campus. Miami grads, you know the drill: soft, steamed bagel with your choice of fillings. Some other steamed bagel operations have opened in places that attract Miami grads (Short North in Columbus, for example) so it’s no surprise that Gilpin’s was an instant hit. College nostalgia for those who attended Miami, and just darn good sandwiches for those of us who didn’t.
They also use really good ingredients– they source from Marx Bagels, Avril-Bleh, Shadeau and their produce is from local farms. And, even at 2 a.m. after a few drinks at Nicholson’s, you can still tell it’s a darn good sandwich. Truly. The ingredients are used in creative combinations, reminiscent of Bagel and Deli at Miami as well– Doritos are featured as a crunchy addition to a sandwich, and they all have interesting names, like the “Ruben Studdard” (guess what that is?) or the “Indigestion”: bacon, ham, egg, garlic cream cheese, green peppers– a laundry list of ingredients that might need a Tums chaser. There are also specials that are added to the menu named after customers or just based on their inspiration, or the “drunk menu” which just involves pointing and grunting. Not joking. Brilliant idea.
We stopped in one late night and split a sandwich– the #5, aka “Doritos”, which involves– you guessed it– on top of turkey, lettuce, peppercorn ranch and honey mustard on a pretzel bun, all steamed together. There was a ton of turkey, and the Doritos added a nice crunch that reminded me of putting chips on sandwiches in the cafeteria at grade school. It was a little mushy, a little messy, and totally what the doctor ordered at 2 AM. I may have eaten most of it without giving The Better Half many bites, or waiting to take a picture. Oops. We’ll just have to go back sometime soon (Friday night, perhaps?) to grab another sandwich– this time, one for each of us. I’m not sharing.
They can make every sandwich gluten free, too, for those of you who need it– so you can have that late night (or lunch, or brunch) snack with your friends without feeling left out, and there are lots of vegetarian options too. Good on you, Gilpin’s.