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New Restaurant First of Several on Way to Covington's RiverCenter

The first of five restaurants at RiverCenter in Covington has opened its doors.

Fire at RiverCenter opened this week with its American menu and casual-upscale dining room. It is located in the old Behle Street space on RiverCenter Boulevard.

The River City News reported earlier this year that a slate of new restaurants and a market would soon populate the first-level storefronts at RiverCenter. Later, RCN learned that First Watch, the last remaining restaurant at RiverCenter, would close after 14 years.

The project is part of Corporex's plan to re-ignite enthusiasm around its signature Covington office towers. The buildings' gym was recently expanded and now includes a slick new cafe on the second floor.

At Fire, which is modeled after a similar restaurant opened by the developers at the Art Hotel in Denver. The familiar patio seating is back, along with what owners are calling "elevated cuisine" and a broad range of spirits.

“We believe a dining experience is made up of great food; outstanding drinks and high touch service all delivered in an environment that makes you want to linger," said John Whalen, director of food and beverage for RiverCenter Entertainment, LLC, the restaurant’s ownership group. “The menu at Fire will be among the most notable in the region. We have gone out of our way to source the freshest local and nationally renowned ingredients and are proud to prepare them in a way that shows off their best characteristics.”

Fire includes a comprehensive menu offering several appetizers and 14 different entrees. The restaurant will also showcase an active bar with a menu of craft cocktails, select wines, and a mix of local and national beers.  

The space has been completely renovated and now boats of bi-fold windows and doors that open to convert the entire area into an open air space, spilling out to the expansive plaza, giving the restaurant a European café street ambience.

The location is central to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, the Marriott and Embassy Suites hotels, as well as the RiverCenter office towers.  

“This restaurant will be the first of five planned food and beverage venues that will be coming to the RiverCenter Plaza”, said Tom Banta, managing director of Corporex, the owner of the RiverCenter complex. “Fire is fantastic and we are excited for this anchor restaurant to kick off the revitalization of the RiverCenter Entertainment area. Our vision is to create a place where good food and good friends come together.”

Fire at The Art Hotel has won nine different award distinctions for its food and beverage offerings including awards from Zagat, the Denver Post, Forbes Travel Guide, and The Travel Channel.  

Jeanne Schroer, CEO of the Catalytic Fund, a group that promotes redevelopment in Covington, believes the time is right for the launch of new restaurants on the RiverCenter Plaza.

“Covington is the fastest growing entertainment center in the city right now," Schroer said. "The Catalytic Fund has partnered in more than $100 Million dollars of development in Covington’s historic downtown and RiverCenter areas in the last four years and it is starting to pay off. There are now 700 additional people working in the RiverCenter Towers including the move-in of CTI headquarters. There are more than 500 upscale and market-rate apartments under construction. Hotel Covington is a hot spot. Fire and the other RiverCenter restaurants add to what is a lively and progressive food and beverage scene.”

There is another reason Schroer is looking forward to Fire’s opening. "I live in Covington. Behle Street was always a favorite and the patio was a fantastic place to meet. To have the outdoor option back, with more restaurants, more seating with plaza dining is going to be wonderful," she said.

Fire is open for lunch and dinner 7 days per week.

-Staff report

Image: Fire Burger (via Facebook)