521 Main Street
This family-owned cafe, sandwiched between Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar and the Enchanted Florist on Covington's Mainstrasse, offers a friendly atmosphere and delicious, made-from-scratch specials like tomato pie. If the weather is with you, a sidewalk table is ideal for people-watching. During colder, wet weather the cozy cafe's cheery decor can brighten the grayest of days.
Otto's has several unique vegetarian offerings: the aforementioned tomato pie ($8) is one of them. Chock full of cheesy, tomato-y goodness in a homemade pie shell, it's sure to satisfy. According to their menu shingle, it's a Joey Votto favorite!
The restaurant also offers a veggie focaccia ($8), and their Greek pasta ($8) is easily made vegetarian by omitting the bacon. My love of tomatoes (and certain Reds first basemen) sealed the deal for me - tomato pie it was.
As you can see from the photo, the pie comes with a side of mixed greens, complete with olives and feta cheese and a tangy-tart balsamic dressing. Very nice.
On another visit I decided to try a couple of their appetizers. While some of Otto's daily soup specials are geared toward the carnivore crowd, their lovely tomato-dill soup is vegetarian and available daily. Other veggie-friendly fare includes salads, sweet potato fries with horseradish 'n honey dipping sauce ($6), baked brie ($10) and fried green tomatoes ($8).
When I ordered the fried green tomatoes our server informed me that it's the #1 item on their menu. One bite and I understand why. They're by far the best I've ever eaten.
Not to be left out, my friend insisted on taking a photo of the ultimate in (non-veg) comfort food - his Kentucky Hot Brown. He proclaimed it to be the best hot brown he's ever had, and also the largest. It's massive! Consisting of homemade French bread topped with roasted turkey, smoked ham, creamy mornay sauce, and shredded cheese, and finished off with thick slices of bacon and fried green tomatoes.
Be sure to save room for dessert. Otto's apricot-banana bread pudding with bourbon glaze won the toss-up, although the carrot cake and flourless chocolate torte also looked fantastic.
Otto's is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5-10 p.m. Otto's serves up Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and reopens from 5-9 p.m. for Sunday dinner.