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DESSERT: Olive oil cake, lemon thyme ice cream, figs, red wine caramel / Image: Leah Zipperstein, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 10.6.17

The Wheel Is Cincinnati’s Best-Kept Dining Secret

So it turns out that the best restaurant in Cincinnati might not even be a restaurant. It’s a kinda restaurant — but kinda something else entirely. Huh? … Let me explain.

In January of 2016, Chrissy Antenucci hosted her first dinner party at The Wheel. By “dinner party,” we’re talking about a five-course tasting menu that is made from scratch by a culinary rockstar.

Antenucci is the rockstar in question. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan in 2003, followed by two years working at Gramercy Tavern and Vong in NYC. Then, she returned home, with her home being the Queen City and worked under Jean Robert at Pigall’s. Next up: a trip out west. She worked at Quince in San Francisco for two years under Chef Michael Tusk. “There were 12-18 different pastas on the menu each night,” said Antenucci. “It was exactly the culinary bootcamp I needed and wanted.”

After a couple of other stints elsewhere out west, she decided to return home for good. This time, Antenucci wanted to open up her own restaurant. And that was the original concept for The Wheel, a full-blown restaurant. Life tossed her a few lemons. She made lemonade.

Because of a lack of parking and other issues, the restaurant idea had to be sidelined for the moment. Instead, she decided to host “pop-up” dinner parties and open a food market. The only marketing for the dinners has been Instagram and word-of-mouth. Good luck getting a reservation... As soon as she releases a new date, it sells out. Like I said, The Wheel might be the best restaurant in Cincinnati that’s not even a restaurant.

About The Dinner Parties

• It costs $50/person
• Bring your own wine, as they don’t serve it
• It lasts about two hours
• Prepare to be wowed
• Everyone is seated together at one long table

Note: This means you might not know your seat neighbor. That’s part of the fun.

About The Newly Opened Food Market

• The food market opened on Sept. 12.
• It offers sandwiches, pizzas, lasagna, and soups
• It’s open from 11am to 3pm Tuesday thru Friday

Note: Hours will extend to 6pm starting on October 10

About The Name "The Wheel"

It’s inspired by the lyrics from one of Antenucci’s favorite Grateful Dead songs.

“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down.
You can’t let go and you can’t hold on.
You can’t go back, and you can’t stand still
If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will.”

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The Wheel is located at 3805 Brotherton Road (45209) in Oakley.

Ps: If you want to get yourself on the list for one of the dinner parties, email Chrissy here: thewheeloakley@gmail.com.

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