There are many unique flavors at some of Cincinnati most popular restaurants and hang outs. Burger fans who know their stuff have their favorites. One of those is place on the East side that's been a popular place to grab a bite for more than four decades. Local 12's Bob Herzog shows us what Zip's Café is "So Cincinnati."
The name suggests a place where everyone is in a hurry... people zipping in and out, a restaurant where things are rapidly changing... a new menu for every season. But really, what's in a name? Mike Burke is general manager: "You can talk to our regulars who have been coming here for years and, if they have a burger today, it's the same as 40 years ago when they first walked in the door."
And people have been walking in that door in Mount Lookout Square for nearly 90 years. The reason for that longevity, according to Burke, isn't speed... but rather simplicity. "We've been around for eighty seven years. We serve a great product. That's just nice and simple and consistent. I think consistency is what we really strive for."
Mike says there's nothing really complex about the menu. But the ground beef is delivered fresh daily, the service is friendly and everyone is welcome. "We've got a little bit of everybody, every walk of life. You'll see a guy sitting in his painter's scrubs with a guy in a three piece suit sharing a beer next to him at the bar. Another regular always has said he's eaten a cheeseburger at Zip's in everything from a tuxedo to a speedo."
And that pretty much drives the point home. There have been a few changes over the years... some additions to the menu, some of the floor boards have been replaced and the bar area is a little more kid friendly. "Years ago the rumor or the story was that they used to run books out of here. That's why the bar's named The Code Room. The code being, if the blinds are open - the books are open."
Nobody is running books now. All that runs now is the iconic train along a track near the ceiling. "It entertains the kids and I think the parents like it even more because it keeps the kids quiet and entertained. Enjoy that. It's never fun when that train goes down. You have crying kids and sometimes crying parents too."
But those tears must be pretty rare as those families keep returning. "There's generations that come here. We have kids that come here now that their parents came here when they were kids and continue to come back. And that's what really makes it special."