During my formative years, I found immense pleasure in tuning into the popular television series “Friends.” Although the show was notably devoid of Black representation, my youthful mind had yet to embrace the principles of Carter G. Woodson’s scholarship. Consequently, I was able to relish the program’s wit and writing without becoming entangled in its predominantly white ensemble. The camaraderie shared by the characters at Central Perk Coffeehouse resonated with my youthful aspirations, offering a glimpse into what I envisioned my life might resemble at the tender age of 23. Much like the characters on the show, my circle of friends and I, a group of self-professed nerds, regularly convened at one another’s homes in a futile attempt to establish our very own Central Perk-esque haven.
In the vibrant city of Cincinnati, Ohio, an establishment resembling Central Perk exists, albeit with a unique twist—it is a Black-owned coffee and sandwich shop. Muse Café, nestled at 3018 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45211, offers patrons a capacious yet cozy haven. Boasting an extensive beverage selection, an appetizing menu featuring charcuterie boards, French-inspired sandwiches, and fresh salads, Muse Café has piqued my interest.
My journey through Muse Café commenced with a meticulously crafted latte that was as luscious as it was aesthetically pleasing. Accompanying it was a delectable sandwich christened “Mr. Crunch.” Each sandwich on the menu exuded excellence, featuring quality meats and cheeses that harkened back to the decadent Jambon-Beurre crafted by Chef Claude in Miami, an experience that left an indelible mark with just one bite. The French, renowned for their exceptional sandwiches, excel in this culinary domain, and Muse Café faithfully upholds this tradition. Their sandwiches boast a delightful juxtaposition of crispiness, buttery richness, cheesy goodness, and, most importantly, sheer deliciousness.
For those who harbor an affinity for all things French—be it sandwiches, cheeses, or wines—Muse Café is nothing short of a revelation. Even in the face of my lactose intolerance, I could not resist indulging in a petite charcuterie board adorned with port salut, a cheese so delightful that it left my fellow passengers envious on our journey home. Port salut, a semi-soft, pasteurized cow’s milk cheese, distinguished by its distinctive orange rind and mild flavor, harmonizes splendidly with salty crackers, bread, and, of course, the thinly sliced prosciutto adorning the board.
Remarkably, I refrained from singling out a favorite sandwich, for each one I sampled was an embodiment of gastronomic excellence. Indeed, you can hardly err in your choice, as every sandwich is painstakingly crafted with an emphasis on premium ingredients. The salads, meanwhile, provide a delightful counterpoint, infusing flavor and texture while effectively balancing the rich butter and cheese prevalent in the sandwiches.
Muse Café distinguishes itself by sourcing its meats, cheeses, and bread from local artisans, and their milk hails from a nearby dairy farm. The experience is further enriched by warm hospitality, exceptional cuisine, a curated selection of beverages, and live music performances that grace the venue weekly. With unwavering enthusiasm, I wholeheartedly endorse Muse Café—a worthy destination for culinary connoisseurs. I eagerly anticipate my return, where I can savor a latte while savoring any of their extraordinary sandwiches. To embark on your own culinary journey, Muse Café can be reached at (513) 906-7743.