Over-the-Rhine and Above The Status Quo: How Please Aims To Do So Much More Than Please

A spread from Chef Ryan Santos of  Please

A spread from Chef Ryan Santos of Please

Anyone who is from Cincinnati or has even visited has likely heard the old-school colloquialism, “Please?,” often used when one needs a sentence repeated. While this usage of “please” may have died out among the younger generation, there is a different local Please that people of all generations have been flocking to since its opening in 2016. Please is a creation from the mind of Chef Ryan Santos. What is now a quaint but notable and eclectic eatery began as a series of pop-up restaurants that Santos would host in his apartment, at coffee shops, or on local farms.

Ryan melds the new era of modern American cuisine with influences from Japan, France, and South America. Just a few examples of his distinctive entrees (which rotate on a seasonal basis) are the golden summer beets with sunflower, sunchoke, and salsa macha to ring in the warm season and the black hawk beef with marrow creamed spinach, ramps & peas (pictured below courtesy of Brooke Shanesy).


For anyone who may not be able to decide on what to order, Please has patrons covered with an option that is highly coveted, but achieved by very few restaurants in the area: a tasting menu. Just as it sounds, the tasting menu gives guests, whether enjoying their evening with a group or simply feeling extra hungry, the experience of trying a variety of the dishes all in one visit. Currently, the tasting menu offers favorites such as the rye cannelloni with sunchoke, truffle, black trumpets and fine herbs; and, the steak with sweet potato, honey, radishes and harissa.

To assure that every guest can indulge to their whimsies, Please features a garden-inspired bar nestled behind the dining room that offers natural wines, local and European beers, and a selection of ultra desirable cocktails. One such example includes this little summer number, a gin, strawberry juice lemon, egg white, and angostura cocktail.

Chef Ryan and the team go above and beyond when it comes to engaging the restaurant in local and national happenings,  making their name known to all who enjoy delicious food, and keeping it fresh amongst their array of food and drink choices. One way they go about this initiative is by taking a well-deserved break from their usual menu on Tuesdays and opting for a single specialty dish or theme. Gone are ramen evenings to warm up on those cold Ohio days, and coming soon: Brunch at Night. In warmer weather, Please has offered fried chicken and rosé mostly on Sundays – just keep in touch with the Please Instagram and Facebook to be in-the-know.  

As important as it is to keep their eyes on their own success, Please realizes that they owe it to the culinary world to lend some helping hands along the way, whether that be by providing some tips or even by opening up their entire restaurant to feature and empower other chefs. From May to August of last year, Please hosted a summer bake sale, with a different female host for each month. Bon Appetit and Tasting Table were keen to share the news.  

Stella Parks from Lexington, Kentucky, Senior Editor at Serious Eats and James Beard Award nominee; Sasha Piligan from Los Angeles, California, a pastry chef at Sqirl with a love for citrus and culinary dreams; Zoe Taylor from Milktooth in Indianapolis, Indiana; and Anna Posey who opened the restaurant “Elske” with her husband in December of 2016, all made their way for Please’s bake sale with huge success.  

Santos has proven to be consistently engaging with other restaurateurs as well as traveling to meet them himself, like he did in June as a featured chef at Lazy Bear, a New American restaurant in San Francisco, or when he was the featured chef for the James Beard House’s evening titled, respectively, ‘Aims to Please.’ Not only did this effort help elevate his vision and culinary chops, it engaged an entire community of hospitality advocates to get him here, like Main Street Ventures, Source Cincinnati, CINCINNATIUSA Convention & Visitors Bureat, Gradon Head, The Carl Ann and Ralph V. Haile Foundation, Hickory World Hospitality, and MadTree Brewing Co.   

Whether dishing out delights at pop-ups or impressing the best at their Over-the-Rhine location, Please has always aimed to not only please, but to surprise and inspire. Santos and the team truly have the potential to take the Cincinnati restaurant scene to new heights.

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