Tucker's Restaurant on Vine Street is an Over-the-Rhine institution, one an article of this length is inherently ill-suited to describe. You’ve goetta (sorry) experience it for yourself.
And when you do, you’ll find the food is good. The Biscuits and Gravy, for example, is exemplary diner cuisine. The Home Fries Deluxe (mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, rosemary, fresh basil, and cheese) is another standout. Most surprising are the extensive vegetarian options, including the delicious Veggie Chili Cheese Coney.
But as anyone who’s sat at its counter knows, Tucker's is more than a place where good food is eaten. It’s also a place where the community comes together; where stories are told, homework is completed, and free meals are handed out to those in need. Tucker's is a place where life gets lived, and but for a blip in 2015, it’s been that way for 70 years.
That blip, you may already know, references Tuckers’ disastrous July 2015 grease fire. Insurance didn’t cover the cost of improvements Tucker's needed to make before it could reopen, so both building and restaurant remained cinder.
That is, until the community stepped up—or, I should say, until the community to which Tucker's gave so much of itself offered to pay back what it owed. Repayment was swift and effective; it came in the form of a GoFundMe page, volunteer organizers, pro bono redevelopment and marketing services, and a brunch fundraising event.
Just over a year after the grease fire, Tucker's quite literally rose from the ashes. In many ways, it’s the same restaurant as before. It sports the same light fixtures, booths, and linoleum floors. The sign outside is the same too. But the grime is gone, the bathroom is sparkling, the kitchen equipment is replaced, and there's even a brand new POS system so all that delicious food gets out on time.
And that sign? It lights up now, for the first time in decades. Just one more indication that life is being lived at Tucker's again.
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Tucker's Restaurant is located at 1637 Vine Street. For more information, visit their Facebook page.