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Here's What's Opening Inside Newport's Monmouth Row

All the apartments filled quickly so it's only natural that a business would follow in the lone retail space at Monmouth Row.

The guys behind Steinhaus, the German family restaurant in Florence, are about to open a new concept popular in Europe right on Monmouth Street.

Marcus Repp and Detlef Koeppe will open Factory, a coffee bar-slash-wine bar-slash-breakfast, lunch, and dinner destination -- all with the idea of building a customer base on the new residents who moved into the $10 million Towne Properties development over the summer.

"It is a totally new concept that is very popular in Europe", Koeppe said. One option will be for customers to pick up meals ready-to-eat, but made fresh at Steinhaus or at Factory and kept in jars. Koeppe and Repp will stay true to their German origins by featuring sausages and beers. "The food will be more on the cold side," Koeppe said,

Residents at the apartment community will have the option of entering the store through the rear, picking up some meat, and taking it right to the communal grill. The owners promise to be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with salads and paninis among the fare, and will feature indoor and outdoor seating.

"Young people like us want to eat healthier these days," Koeppe said with a laugh. "That's the new style we want to bring out."

The decor will be simple, with a factory or worker theme. The pair purchased an old workbench currently on display in Florence that will be the centerpiece of Factory. Koeppe said that their new venture ended up at Monmouth Row after flirting with a possible location at Newport on the Levee for a second restaurant. The businessmen decided they would rather pursue the opportunity to launch a new, smaller scale option.

He's thinking that like Tom + Chee and their famous grilled cheeses that landed them on national TV and with dozens of locations popping up across the country, Factory could follow that path. "You never know," Koeppe said. "We maybe end up on Shark Tank. Everybody dreams sometimes and we do, too."

Steinhaus shut down at the end of the spring and reopened after the summer when Repp joined as chef and partner. Repp came to America from Germany to work for a corporate hotel chain. They just finished a successful Oktoberfest weekend at the Florence restaurant. 

"We're very excited," said Repp, who also owns a CrossFit gym in Ft. Thomas. He started coaching on Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. and then headed to Florence to prepare for the lunch crowd. While Steinhaus is growing, Repp said that Factory will be its own thing, inspired by his visits home.

"When I go home to Germany, you don't have traditional coffee shops like you have here," he said. There is a lot of Italian and Spanish influence, he said, and the businesses change as the day goes on, starting in the mornings with coffee and ended with wine in the evening.

"They kind of evolve throughout the day," he said. "The mood of the space will change throughout the day. We are looking forward to having the residents come down. We want to be kind of the social hang-out for Monmouth Row and hope that the residents adopt it as that."

Koeppe and Repp say that not only will Factory evolve throughout the day, the concept itself will also evolve. The two have been friends for a long time and while they are from German cities two hours away from each other, they did not meet until both were in America. 

Repp is continuing a family tradition in the food business. His uncle and parents owned establishments in his home country and he and his siblings recently sold off the family restaurant. 

Koeppe said that he expects Factory to open in December.

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Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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