Belching up beefy Tri-State goodness since 2007.

Cincinnati Bites
Blue Ash Chili Gravy Cheese Fries

Posted Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kelly's Public House is a pub and grill located on the ground floor of the Radisson Hotel in Covington, Ky. It's the same hotel that hosts the top-level, rotating restaurant called Three Sixty.

Our boss had acquired one of those coupons in which you get $25 off a meal costing $35 or more. With only three of us eating lunch today, it would be a challenge reaching the minimum requirements, but we were up for it.

With tongue slightly in cheek, Kelly's menu boasts "The Best Burger in the World" but immediately back-peddles with the disclaimer, "or at least in Northern Kentucky." Considering other burger joints like Bard's Burgers and Herb & Thelmas, we speculated whether even that would be a stretch.

Irrespective of the $35 minimum goal, my co-worker and I stuck with water for our drinks while the boss ordered a soda. They've taken quite a bit of effort to give Kelly's interior a homey, cozy feel: dim lighting; dark wood trim; a heavily-lacquered, inviting bar in the back; an antique fireplace; and tables and chairs that look like they came straight from grandma's dinette set.

The menu is laden with familiar pub food classics: burgers, Buffalo wings, club, chicken and fish sandwiches, pizza and salads. More notable items included the crab cake sandwich and the "Beef on 'Weck," a roast beef sandwich dipped in au jus. They also offer a lunch buffet.

The two water drinkers each ordered the heavily advertised $7.95 "Famous Kelly Burger," a half pound of ground chuck "cooked to your desired temperature," topped with lettuce, tomato and grilled onions (no ketchup, no mustard). For a dollar more, you can also make it a Bacon and Cheddar burger, a Mushroom & Swiss burger or a Black and Blue burger (a blackened beef patty topped with blue cheese). I chose the Mushroom & Swiss while my co-worker chose the Bacon and Cheddar. The boss ordered the Saratoga Turkey Club, with turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato served on toasted wheat bread.

Mushroom & Swiss burger

The burgers arrived with buns opened and contents exposed. Hot, thinly-cut fries accompanied all the sandwiches. The bun was large and fluffy, akin to the kind I've seen at both Gordo's Pub & Grill and Sammy's Gourmet Burgers. I thought the burger was cooked a perfect medium, juicy in large part thanks to the mushroom sauce. The patty was thick and its flavor held up well to the surrounding accoutrements. My co-worker, fresh off his first visit to Terry's Turf Club only a couple days previous, thought his patty was a little on the dry side, but enjoyed the bacon and cheddar combination.

The boss was entirely underwhelmed by the flavor of his turkey club sandwich. As he began eating one of the cut wedges, he kept thumbing to catch hold of the bottom piece of bread, only to look down and realize it was missing. "It's probably on the floor somewhere back in the kitchen," he chuckled. I'd intended to mention his "rye" sense of humor, but the moment had already passed. Besides, bad food humor rarely translates into raises.

Our lunches didn't quite push us over the $35 hump, so we ordered a single slice of apple pie, which I nearly single-handedly devoured (my co-worker assisted with the crust).

We talked a bit about Radisson's history, especially the rotating restaurant on the top floor. It's definitely seen better days, and our boss waxed nostalgic about a time when there were once enthusiastic lines to get into the place.

Kelly's Public House is a pleasing, cozy pub that's worth more than an obligatory visit from Radisson hotel guests. It may not host the "Best Burger in the World," but it's pretty good in its own right.

Kelly's Public House on Urbanspoon
Kelly\'s Public House

Price: Cheap (under $11 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. A Very 90s Lunch: Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop
    -posted Sunday, November 19, 2017
  2. No-Nonsense Italian: The Spinning Fork
    -posted Monday, October 16, 2017
  3. A Mediocre Lunch at Firehouse Grill
    -posted Sunday, October 8, 2017
  4. Southern Indian Impressions: Udupi Cafe
    -posted Saturday, September 23, 2017
  5. New Downtown Korean Restaurant: Haru
    -posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
  • From Tabitha about Tickle Pickle:
    Haha, love your comment: " If you were deemed "different" in high school, dressed "weird" or regularly got beat up only to go on to have a decidedly higher net worth and confidence level than the rest of your abusive, judgmental peers, Northside is your home away from home." I know I saw a Groupon for Tickle Pickle recently - might have to check if that's still available!
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:33 PM
  • From Tabitha about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    This is definitely going on the list. Thanks for posting. Do they also have margaritas?
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:23 PM
  • From holly may about Urban Grill on Main:
    This is Israeli couscous, the super tiny stuff is Moroccan. I personally prefer the Israeli (also known as "pearl".)
    posted: Fri., Mar 24th, 2017 @ 4:28 AM
  • From Sommer about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    We really love having Chilango so close to us in the Kings area!!! We have gone a few times and you are right - the Chicken Tinga is the best chicken taco you can get in Cincinnati!!! Thanks for reviewing this little neighborhood gem!
    posted: Tue., Mar 21st, 2017 @ 9:12 AM
  • From Tabitha about Lalo: they have margaritas?
    posted: Thu., Jan 12th, 2017 @ 12:32 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design