2014 Greater Cincinnati Food Tour

Zola Pub and Grill

Covington, Kentucky

By Alix Smyth

Zola, what exactly does it mean? Well to save everyone time it actually has a variety of meanings: it is a person’s name, as well as a place and the name of a famous French author. In the case of Zola Pub and Grill I have determined that Zola means a smoky, dark pub with poor service.


Lets start off with walking up to the pub; the sidewalks were covered in an inch thick of ice making it impossible to navigate your way without slipping and sliding. Yes, it’s been a terrible winter, but as a business it is your responsibility to make sure people can actually come in with out feeling like they are trekking through an icy obstacle course just for a burger. Strike one: Icy Entrance.

Next, Zola reeks of cigarettes. I understand Kentucky has not yet implemented the non-smoking policy like neighboring Ohio, but the smell of Zola was comparable to that of an ashtray. Strike two: Smoky Atmosphere. Surprisingly, Zola was packed, so we were seated upstairs in the overflow area. This ended up being a welcomed surprise, as the upstairs was considerably less crowded and not as smoky. Unfortunately, the service at Zola was below average. Let me be clear that it had nothing to do with our server, but everything to do with Zola being understaffed. An unfortunate, lone server was running around like a madman trying to get everyone his or her food and drinks and after 45 minutes of waiting, our food arrived. Strike 3: Poor Service.

I had ordered the Spicy Jack Burger, which was a blackened season burger dressed with tangy banana peppers, melted pepper jack cheese, and my old reliable: bacon. It was unexpectedly delicious. I would definitely order the Spicy Jack Burger again, if I ever decide to give Zola a second chance. If only the atmosphere at Zola matched its quality of food, then the pub would have been a home-run.


Overall Ratings:

Food: 8

Atmosphere: 3

Service: 3

Marketing: 3


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  1. Pingback: Marketing in a Randi Way | 2014 Greater Cincinnati Restaurant & Food Tour

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