As U-Square @ the Loop nears its grand opening, local restaurants are receptive of the added competition in University Heights.
Arn Bortz, a partner of Town Properties, said U-Square is at nearly 80-percent capacity for its vendors, with options like Waffle House and Orange Leaf.
Since Papa Dino's closed its doors after 58 years of business, local establishments acknowledged the increased competition that comes with a development project such as U-Square.
Chris Flint, manager of Chicago Gyros, said the Greek eatery is currently working on a beer and wine license that will drive business and expectantly go into effect in the spring.
“We’re hoping to possibly stay open a little bit later and cater to the nightlife,” Flint said. “But it’s likely that the returning students will stay true to the diehard businesses that have been around here for a while, but are also going to be curious to check out the other locations opening up at U-Square.”
Myra’s Dionysus on Calhoun Street is celebrating its 36th birthday Jan. 28. Myra Griffin, owner of the establishment, is interested to see how the U-Square development will impact her business and is equally excited to see the construction leave Calhoun Street. In regards to potential competitors, Griffin said the lengthy reputation of Myra’s speaks for itself.
Adriatico’s Pizza has been at its new location on W. McMillan Street since January 2012, and is positioned adjacent to Pomodori’s Pizzeria, across from U-Square. Rico Booker, manager at Adriatico’s, said he expects an increase in business with the development of U-Square and hopes it can expand the pizzeria’s limited parking.
“It should be a definite improvement. I mean nothing was being used over there,” Booker said. “It’ll really bring in a lot more customers that wouldn’t normally be in the Clifton area and I think that’ll really help us.”
The opening of U-Square has the potential to bring new people into the area and help solidify a competitive yet notable restaurant district in Clifton, Bortz said.
“It’s going to raise the bar and the quality of what’s offered. And the good food and beverage guys with good followings should do well,” Bortz said. “We’re proud of what we’ve done. We hope the community embraces the project and I think it has.”
Andrea Gemperle, a third-year education student and server at Adriatico’s, said the U-Square completion would add another dynamic to the greater University of Cincinnati area.
“I’m excited about it because there’s going to be so much more stuff to do right here [around] campus,” Gemperle said. “We’re still a newer restaurant compared to others, but we’re still going to have people that love coming here.”
Many University Heights business owners agree U-Square has the capability to bring a good deal of new consumers to the area. While it may result in greater competition among University Heights eateries, the construction is looking to reach out beyond the average UC student, and attract residents from Cincinnati, Bortz said.