2015 Greater Cincinnati Food Tour visits The Gruff

Okay, when you think of something being “gruff,” you’re likely envisioning something a little rough around the edges, perhaps a tad curt and uncouth, and most likely something you just don’t want to be around. Well, in the case of new Covington, Kentucky eatery “The Gruff,” nothing could be further from the truth.

So named because of the nursery rhyme featuring three billy goats, a troll and bridge, we can assure The Gruff will leave you with a happy palate, a filled belly, and seriously looking forward to your next visit. Conveniently located and with plenty of on street meter parking, walking into The Gruff is a wonderful sensory experience as you’re greeted with a deli to your left, and a MASSIVE bar and eating space to your right. Well lit, bright and cheery with lots of windows and natural light, this place is a delight to foodies and craft beer aficionados alike. A clever menu, not too large but just right, cleverly crafted and cleverly planned. The service staff was outstanding, with big smiles, knowledge of the menu items and johnny on the spot service. The on table water service was a nice touch, and while the space is large, it did not seem cold or cacophonous, but strangely warm and intimate. We give it an A+ as a place to take a client or colleague for lunch or after work drinks.

There are several choices of lunch to be made, highlighted by some very signature pizzas — which we couldn’t resist. We started off with their beet salad. As beet salad connoisseurs, we hoped this would live up to expectations. It was, without question, the best beet salad I have ever had, no matter the price no matter the restaurant. The beets are grilled perfectly and the combination of goat cheese and pine nuts with the “i want the recipe” dressing was stellar. The pizza was light, with a beautifully golden and properly cooked mid crust — crunchy on the outside, and soft in the center. The homemade sauce topped with cheese was absolutely delightful. This isn’t your average pizza, but a true pizza lovers paradise. Not greasy, not heavy — just a perfect pie.

So, all said, we’re thrilled The Gruff is in our our neck of the woods, and we can’t wait to cross that bridge again. Kudos. A+.

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