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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Day-long meetings to iron out the details and logistics for the 2009 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio are not as lively as investigating the food and entertainment options offered by the Queen City. Shown at the January 10 Conference Planning Meeting are, from left, Travis Coyne, Special Exhibits; Charles Houghton, Student Volunteer Coordinator; and Kasey Alley-Forman and Tom Hackman, Programming Coordinators.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas

Looking Forward to Cincinnati 2009

Helen Willard
Stage Expo Sales Manager

January brings us the New Year, along with the final meeting of the Conference Committee prior to the start of our Cincinnati event. This year the meeting was held at the Hilton Netherland Plaza Hotel, which will be our headquarters hotel during the 2009 Conference & Stage Expo. The group toured the Hilton’s many meeting rooms and ballroom spaces, and spent a day reviewing and fine-tuning conference plans. One of the committee members’ favorite responsibilities is scoping out the host city’s best restaurants and bars. Here is a personal “taste of Cincinnati”.

Many members of the group checked out Bootsy’s, a new restaurant produced by restaurateur Jeff Ruby with funk legend Bootsy Collins. Located on Walnut Street, across from the Aronoff Center of the Arts in the heart of the Backstage Entertainment District, the restaurant features a Spanish-influenced tapas menu, including paella for a crowd, plus a sushi bar and exhibition kitchen. Next door is Nicholson’s Tavern, a Scottish pub complete with bartenders in kilts, a large selection of beers on tap, several single malt scotches, and a menu featuring an eclectic array of dishes with a Scottish flair. Just around the corner on 6th Street is Oceanaire, the latest member of an upscale national seafood chain, serving fresh fish and shellfish flown in from around the globe.

Jeff Ruby has five restaurants in Cincinnati, including Precinct, a classic steakhouse in the former Police Patrol House #6, a 1901 Romanesque-style brick building just minutes from downtown. Melt-in-your-mouth aged steaks are butchered on the premises, and a highlight is the flaming Bananas Foster for dessert. Another Cincinnati food star is Jean-Robert de Cavel, owner of four local favorites, including JeanRo Bistro, located on Vine Street, just around the corner from the Hilton. The eclectic décor and French country cuisine combine for an unforgettable lunch or dinner.

Another local favorite, the family-owned Montgomery Inn is famous for ribs, with two restaurants in Cincinnati, and another across the river in northern Kentucky.

Several other options discovered for lunch downtown included BlackFinn Restaurant & Saloon, an Irish pub on 7th Street; Hathaway’s Coffee Shop, located in the Carew Tower Arcade below the Hilton hotel; and the ubiquitous Skyline Chili, which can be found in several downtown locations. There is certainly no shortage of fine food to be found downtown and in the greater Cincinnati area.

Plan now to join us in Cincinnati March 18-21, 2009 for the 49th Annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo. For information about exhibiting at Stage Expo, or for Cincinnati restaurant recommendations, contact

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