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Friday, August 16, 2013

915 Pub and Grill Going Non-Smoking

We talk about one of the cornerstones of a successful business is the ability to evolve. Sometimes when talking to business owners I hear how if they don't keep doing what people have come to expect from them, they will just confuse their customers. If they do something out of character in their area of expertise, their customers won't know what they stand for.

I think that mentality is wrong.



True, consistency can be a good thing if a business has perfected its craft, but that percentage of business is very small.

The 915 Pub and Grill is making some changes that customers, and no doubt their bottom-line, were screaming for: a more family-friendly environment.

Starting September 1st, the restaurant will be going smoke-free during kitchen hours. 

"We were excellent in the beginning," said co-owner Kerry Owens. "Things started going downhill over time and we needed to make some changes. Our biggest complaint was the smoking, but I also saw the need to become more customer service oriented and to get the kitchen in order."

The Yelpers and Urban Spooners would agree with Owens' assessment. The 915 Pub and Grill opened 6.5 years ago and received high marks from both of the online rating communities early on. Over the past year, those ratings seemed to dip.

As noted on our site, the complaints about smoking, the restaurant running out of food and poor service seemed to be more of a pattern, amid rumors that the restaurant was for sale.

This announcement could make eating a burger at the 915 a "must do" again, as it was when it was  named in the 2011 Cincinnati Metromix's 100 Things You Must Do in Cincinnati.

Owens is part of a 5-person ownership group. She and three other owners were silent, while one ran the day-to-day operations. That has changed and she and others have become more active.

"We're kicking around the idea of having more entertainment. Karaoke or trivia nights. Possible a kids' menu. We needed something to spark it up again. Hopefully this does that."

15 comments:

  1. Terrific news! We have eaten there twice in the past couple of weeks, and everything was great! So happy to see the 915 striving to be the great little place it was when it opened! And the no smoking will bring many back.

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  2. Our family moved to the Inverness two years ago from the east side of Cincinnati. No doubt the 915 was our Zips on this side of the river but because of the smoking, and having small children, we had no choice but to eat elsewhere. Mio's came, a Cincy east side favorite, and it was heaven sent but short lived. Now, finally, after all those days of walking my daughter to Johnson and thinking how great the 915 could be -- I no longer have to. Thank you 915. You just got four more regulars.

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  3. If they do karaoke, they lose my business and I'll start complaining about the noise if it violates the noise ordinance, as I live right down the street and their noise does carry. It's not bad now, but I can hear the people who have no idea how to modulate their voices--especially when they've had a few drinks.

    Really, they just need to get rid of the smoking serve good food with good service; that's what will draw people in. Gimmicks and other forms of desperate measures are just that--desperate, and they will backfire by driving others away.

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  4. Really? You move in a block down from a Pub and Grill and complain about noise?

    I for one applaud their attempts at bringing new types of crowds in. Karaoke and trivia would accomplish that. Kudos to 915. Great scoop FTM. I'm glad that you guys are around to tell the news, even after The Enquirer and Inside are now gone. When will the next Living Magazine come out?

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  5. About time. Having all of the partners involved will hopefully get out of the rut that they have always had smoke, grease,, dirt and pool. Ditch smoking and make adult, but kid friendly. Keep faves but add cheap, easy pleasers like pasta and a kid friendly side. In a town where schools are the big draw, how can you not be kid friendly? How about desert? The pool table is nice, but is really not generating revenue when mostly empty or perhaps selling a couple long-necks when the space could prevent turning away business when busy and handle the new volume from a few simple changes. The pool room needs to be dining space! Brighten the place up a notch, as its too dark! Finally...service! Currently ranges from personable, but off cue, to completely MIA / out to lunch. Give me a black-n-blue, a fish sandwich or their signature slaw with a little tweaking and they will even fill the new dining room where the empty, unused pool table used to be!

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  6. We are so excited that 915 will be non-smoking! Currently, we only go when it's nice and we can sit outside. Now, we'll be more likely to go in the winter too. And we would definitely join you for trivia night!

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  7. That's great news! AND PLEASE stop drinking at the bar if you are one of the owners. It's not a good look watching you leave your bottle of beer on the bar as you go back to the kitchen only to return to drinking. You walk around like a Zombie. I go there quite a bit and I see you. Get up, work the room, say hello to the people who support you. AND PAINT THE PLACE! Lose that awful mural with the freaky faces. Bravo on no smoking.

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  8. Sorry but going non-smoking "during kitchen hours" won't cut it for me. The haze and film of smoke will cling to walls, carpets and tabletops. If you want to invite back those of us who quit visiting because of the stench of smoke and old grease, you have to go "cold turkey".

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  9. Believe the owner referred to by above poster is no longer part of the business..... also agree that going non-smoking during kitchen hours only doesn't go far enough, although it is a step in the right direction

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  10. Smoke-free earns my business and maybe the Karaoke will drown out all the barking dogs on Sterling Avenue!

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  11. Agree with the others here that non-smoking during kitchen hours is a problem. I always loved the burgers, but we stopped even ordering carryout when I could not even just pop in for pickup without coming out smelling like a dirty cigarette. I am in a band that used to play at a bar in Cinci that cut smoking when the law went into effect. They really did nothing to try and get rid of the odor and it took about a year for the smell to really go away. I would imagine you will need to do some heavy cleaning or replace carpet, paint, and ceiling tiles to give the place a fresh overhaul.

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  12. Happy to hear about the changes for 915! Best of luck and see you soon!,

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  13. We moved to Sterling last week (and into Ft Thomas for the first time) and seeing this sign made my day. So happy that I won't have to smell like smoke now, because the food is totally worth it.

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  14. Thank you everyone for your comments.I am glad to here we have such support in the community. We are looking forward to seeing many of you back in our restaurant and hopefully we can do some of the other changes in time. Again thanks for the support.

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  15. Some of these comments prove the fact that you cannot please every customer! Congrats 915 for taking steps in the right direction. Owning and running a business can sometimes be a trial and error process and most of the community appreciates the fact that they now feel valued as customers.

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