Camp Washington is ripe for exploration.

Annexed to the city of Cincinnati in 1869 and measuring a bit over a mile, Camp Washington has undergone a vibrant, grassroots transformation in recent years. Now home to an eclectic mix of historical industrial and manufacturing roots and a booming artistic culture, Camp Washington is ripe for exploration. With its variety of experiential and residential options, Camp Washington is ready to make you feel like you’re part of the neighborhood.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies this ‘when you’re here, you’re family’ attitude better than the Ferrari brothers, Tony and Austin. Not only are they brothers, the Ferrari Brothers Restaurant Group is also the name of their business enterprise. This pair of entrepreneurs have made an indelible mark on Camp Washington, most prominently with their family-owned and operated coffee shop, Mom ‘n’ Em, opened in 2019.

Located on the ground floor of a restored house (that still serves as a home on the upstairs level) at the corner of Colerain and Bates, this coffee shop has transformed into a bustling hub that has brought much attention to this side of the main business district in the neighborhood. You can grab a variety of coffee drinks, various breakfast offerings and pastries, a bottle of wine from a carefully curated selection, or even tinned anchovies. So popular, in fact, was Mom ‘n’ Em after it first opened in Camp Washington, that a second location in Madisonville followed in 2022. In 2019, Food and Wine named the original location the number 5 coffee shop in the country, out of 100. In 2022, it was named the best coffee shop in the state.

The Ferrari Brothers culinary adventures have expanded to include a special Ferrari Brothers branded coffee blend, and a Ferrari Brothers exclusive olive oil, both available for purchase online and in a variety of specialty shops across the state. If you want to take the whole Ferrari Brothers experience home, they even offer catering and custom-cooked meals. You can also purchase a wine or coffee subscription, so you never take the chance of running out.

Just up the street is another culinary classic that has made national best-of lists and received numerous accolades. Of course, we’re talking about Camp Washington Chili. This iconic chili parlor trafficks in the quintessential Cincinnati-style chili, and has since 1940. Open 24 hours a day, six days a week, there’s never a bad time to get your Camp Washington Chili fix.

Cross over Hopple, which cuts through the main business district located on Colerain Avenue, and you’ll find yourself in the thick of Camp Washington’s eclectic art offerings. Wave Pool, a contemporary art fulfillment center located in a repurposed firehouse, serves as a hub for neighborhood connection and artistic expression. The organization is committed to creating change and educating artists, and is an active member in the community. Wave Pool is home to the Welcome Project, a program that assists and engages with area immigrants and refugees. It also hosts an abundance of other community-focused events.

Just down the street you can find The Well, another socially conscious organization that operates with compassion and curiosity and seeks to nourish its community. The Well hosts a variety of public and private events, community events, trainings, and collaborations. Under its operational umbrella, you can also find Mindful Music Moments and the True Body Project. Next door to The Well is the CampSITE Sculpture Park, where you can find a variety of sculptural and artistic projects on display. And just a little further down Colerain, heading towards Marshall Ave, is the Planet Love Pocket Park, which was founded in conjunction with The Well’s True Body Project.

At the opposite end of Camp Washington is the American Sign Museum. Encompassing over 20,000 square feet, the American Sign Museum showcases sign history from the last 100 years in the United States. It is the largest such museum in the country. The Signs on Main Street display recreates typical storefronts on a typical Main Street in the USA, with a variety of sign-related materials. You can take a tour through the neon lights and delight in mementos of days gone by – and get an up-close-and-personal look at signs representative of Cincinnati’s history, too. Just across the street you’ll find the picturesque and peaceful Valley Park, which features a memorial to WWI veterans.

Camp Washington wouldn’t be a Cincinnati neighborhood without some libation offerings. Binski’s Bar, located next door to The Well, bills itself as Camp Washington’s premiere watering hole. Swing inside to take in the funky-fun decor and grab a spaghett, which is a delightful marriage between a Miller High Life and a dash of Aperol. The Rhinegeist Distribution Center also occupies a large stretch of land in Camp Washington, on Spring Grove Avenue, and while you can’t grab a beer there, you can thank it for supplying all your Rhinegeist favorites elsewhere.

Spring Grove Avenue is actually home to several industrial and manufacturing outfits, from the family-owned foundry Model Pattern and Foundry to L&W Supply which provides building materials to River Metals Recycling, which deals in scrap metal. At Spring Grove and Alfred you’ll find the headquarters of KAO USA, a personal care product company with Japanese roots that acquired the Cincinnati-based Andrew Jergens Company (founded in 1882) in 1988. And if you turn off Spring Grove onto Avon Place, you’ll encounter the Swing House, another artistic outpost in the neighborhood. This 1880s, three-story home has been restored and transformed into an immersive and experiential art project, with a massive swing at both the metaphorical and physical center of the house. Rent it out on Air BnB or take a tour; either way, you don’t want to miss the fun.

Even after the construction of I-75 permanently altered the face of Camp Washington’s residential patterns, the community has persevered – and in recent years, thanks to reinvestment by community members, flourished. If you only ever drove through it before because it was a corridor to somewhere else, consider taking some time to reacquaint yourself with all the Camp Washington has to offer.

If your business is located in Camp Washington, but not listed above, please let us know.

Duke Energy, Huntington Bank, and the Cincinnati Regional Chamber are proud to partner together for Storefronts to the Forefront™, a new initiative designed to further strengthen our region’s many unique neighborhood business districts

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