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“I highly advise you go elsewhere.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Sitwell's Coffee House

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Sitwell's Coffee House
324 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220-2003 (Clifton)
513-281-7487
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Ranked #640 of 1,721 restaurants in Cincinnati
Cuisines: Coffee Shop, Eclectic, International
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Neighborhood: Clifton
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
“I highly advise you go elsewhere.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2011

I was just there today with my son, getting a smoothie for him on our way to run some errands. I've lived in Clifton for 19 years and know Sitwells well, but I rarely go in because of these issues:

1. Nobody even noticed our presence for at least 5 minutes. We were right there, in the front, at the bar. The place was not crowded at all. The waitress was beyond stressed though, you could tell. Owner was ranting and raving to a customer, didn't notice us. Poor management.

2. Finally the stressed waitress asks if she can help us and I ask what kind of smoothies they had. She was kind enough but it was as though I asked her the question that was going to send her right over the edge for that day. She was stressed and frazzled. Again,t he place wasn't crowded, but it wasn't a friendly atmosphere at all.

3. Ordered the smoothies. In the meantime, I get the pleasure of listening to the owner complain about the people who go to La Poste (I'm one of them) being from Hyde Park, coming into her place and looking around. "They're scared" she said. I think the real issue is that her place is kind of dirty and they are looking at that. And there is an odor about it, can't put my finger on it but there's an unappealing odor.

4. Owner goes on to tell the same La Poste story to multiple customers, some issue about parking, and she's loud, using the "F" word over and over, co-mingled with other 4 letter words, loud, obnoxious, terribly un-welcoming.

5. FIFTEEN minutes later the woman working behind the bar realizes she hasn't made our smoothie. She finally makes it in less than 2 minutes. But really, it took 15 minutes to get one smoothie. She also seemed cranky and unhappy.

The owner was worried about her lease and about the landlord wanting to put something else in her space. After the experience I had today, I would welcome a clean, uplifting, enjoyable coffee house in that space. Eclectic doesn't have to mean ugly, unfriendly and a trifle dirty.

  • Visited August 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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16 reviews from our community

56% Recommend
    6
    3
    2
    2
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Where Everybody Knows Your Name”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2011

I have been going to Sitwell's for almost six years now, & there is no place like it in the city. It's a real, European style coffeehouse like you will find on any cute little Rue de Whatever in Paris. You can get coffee drinks, beer, wine, booze, & order food off the small, eclectic menu.

The food I've had is good—I like the Briemato Sandwich on croissant, the NY egg sandwich, the Sunday-only Belgian waffle w/toppings, & the gouda-avocado melt. If you order a cognac, often Lisa (the owner) will warm it for you to release its other flavors. They offer vegan baked goods & also breads made by local bakers.

The music on the stereo is conducive to conversation & working, & many evenings the cafe features local & touring bands & singer/songwriters for your listening pleasure. I don't always love the music, but I like that there is almost always something going on at Sitwell's.

Clearly, locals appreciate what Sitwell's has to offer, too. It’s often busy, but I can either find an empty table or share one because someone invites me to sit down. I've spent afternoons there watching people move through, chatting, laughing, and sometimes shouting across tables to others. The library it aint, but then neither is that cafe in Paris that we all find so charming.

While Sitwell's doesn't have the kind of antiseptic/streamlined ambiances of corporatized coffee places to be found everywhere, I would not say Sitwell's is dirty or unsanitary or anything else. Cluttered, maybe, but that's the aesthetic at Sitwell's. I think of it as "Art Decoco".

Being a 6-year patron of Sitwell's, here’s what I think to be its biggest weakness: the plain old coffee. The lattes? Love them, every bit as good as Coffee Emporium's (my favorite latte in town). The decaf is top drawer. But every time I order a house coffee I can barely drink it. I don't know why it tastes so bad to me, but it does. Since I love the lattes, I just order those, or a decaf.

The staff have always seemed friendly to me, whether or not the service is on the spot. No, the service is not always stellar. But, since it's a neighborhood kind of place, if I need something & no one comes to wait on me at my table, I just go up to the counter, ask for whatever I need, and I always get it. I did that at Paris cafes, too.

Sitwell's is a true neighborhood cultural treasure, run by people with real lives that are entwined pretty deeply with the diversity (& funkiness, with emphasis on _funk_) of the Cincinnati community. This is why this place is still going so strong after so many years. I say long live Sitwell's, plain & simple.

Visited March 2011
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“best hangout in Cincinnat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2008

best hangout in Cincinnat

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“the big pocket buritto is where its at”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2008

the big pocket buritto is where its at

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“i love sitwells”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2007

i love sitwells

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