Cincinnati's Secrets PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Palacios   
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 06:33

Cincinnati's Secrets
Finding the fun in the city

You'll never know everything about your beloved Queen City, but you definitely want to know about these two sites. As they lead you to the more exciting and interesting parts of the town, you can add your input to fuel the fun fire.

Some crazy people out there claim that there's nothing to do in Cincinnati, but two local Web sites prove the loonies wrong. From the city's secrets to its 52 (official) neighborhoods, you can learn first-hand about some of the best places to go and what hidden hideaways hold adventures for you.



Secret Cincinnati


It all started when Chris Ostoich, co-founder of Blackbook EMG, received a group invitation on Facebook for "Secret London." With everyone sharing their secrets about London, Ostoich decided to translate this to Cincinnati. And with the first secret about Schwartz's Point (read more in our article "Jazz up Your Social Life"), "Secret Cincinnati" started on Facebook.


As the group gained momentum, Ostoich teamed with Sean Biehle at the Creative Department and launched an InOneWeekend event to launch a full-blown Web site for Secret Cincinnati literally in one weekend. But their visions were too great. They wanted so much interactivity and so many capabilities that they accepted that they could not do it all in one weekend — even with the wealth of talented minds and a couple cases of Hoist energy drink.


Instead, the group of 25 people came up with a Web site design and fantastic logo (one of my personal favorite logos ever). And the Web site launched into a beta test on


First, only the 25 people and their close friends and family were able to submit secrets, vote and comment. Then they expanded their reach a little more. Now, you have a chance to be a part of the action. Anybody who comments on this story before June 28 will receive an invitation to the private beta test before the site goes public in August.


Once you are part of the test, you will be able to submit your own secrets about Cincinnati. Love 20 Brix in Milford? Let everyone know about it! Love a specific wine at 20 Brix? You can share that too! Separated into six different categories, you can share your full breadth of knowledge of the Queen City.


But the site isn't just about sharing your own secrets. You also will be able to vote and comment on other users' secrets. This is the key to the Web site. On Facebook, the secrets just fly by in no specific order and are lost somewhere down a couple clicks on the "Older Posts." On the Web site, the categories help separate the secrets, and the votes help show which ones are more worth a reader's while. 0110Fence_INSTORY.gif


Of course, the site's also about finding out more about Cincinnati. "The site is supposed to be a place for people to find new things about their city that they can get excited about," Biehle says. You even can specify about which part of the city you want to know, and use the map function to learn a neighborhood's secrets. 


Eventually, Secret Cincinnati hopes to have a "reputation" factor. This would allow a person to have higher priority for their secrets if they earned a good reputation on former posts through votes.


As you can have multiple secrets in just one location, Biehle even envisions using QR (Quick Response) codes to help people find secrets in a different way. These codes allow you to scan them with your smart phone and go directly to a specific URL, or in this case, a specific secret. You can be out and about, see a QR code, scan it and be filled in on hush-hush happenings.


To learn more about this growing genius, visit, or comment below to receive a private invitation to join.


52 Neighborhoods/One Voice



When local couple Debba and Greg Haupert heard that there were 52 official neighborhoods in Cincinnati, they connected it with the number of weeks in a year. It only made sense to them to spend a full year experiencing all of the city's neighborhoods, one week and one neighborhood at a time. And that is how 52 Neighborhoods/One Voice began.


This blog on chronicles the Hauperts' travels through town, and the couple gives the blog a nickname of 52 Breakfasts. In each neighborhood the Hauperts eat breakfast together and try to get to know the neighbors. As to where they eat, that depends on the neighborhood. While they try to do as much research as possible and are always open to resident recommendations, some of their breakfasts have come from White Castle, McDonald's and even a Speedway convenience store.


When they can, though, they try to get a taste of the town through culinary experiences unique to the neighborhood. They even were invited into a woman's home for breakfast in CUF (Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview). "Once a month she invites like 30 to 50 people over. So she invited us, and they just sat around and talked about how much they love their neighborhood," Debba says. "It was just powerful."



Some of their favorite breakfasts have included Tucker's in Over the Rhine and Take the Cake in Northside. At both places, Greg ordered the Shrimp and Grits, which made his taste buds happy. Sugar and Spice in Paddock hills also had wonderful wispy pancakes. "Best pancakes I've ever had," Greg says.


Both Greg and Debba feel like they have grown closer to their hometown through their weekly breakfasts. So once the Hauperts finish their 52 weeks, they plan to expand their experience to the unofficial neighborhoods in Cincinnati.


You can follow their journey at, with new posts every Wednesday. And help them experience local flair by recommending breakfast nooks for them to try. "We've had hot dogs and chili and White Castle and food from the Speedway for breakfast," Debba says. "We'll try about anything."


Top Photo

Photographer: Neysa Ruhl

Model: Brenna Sullivan

Location: Lofts@4120

Second Photo

Photo courtesy of Secret Cincinnati

Bottom Photo

Photographer: Neysa Ruhl

Model: Debba and Greg Haupert 

Location: Lofts@4120

Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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