📜HISTORY & HIDDEN GEMS TOUR💎 featuring Molly Wellmann
Bill and Morgan Witlow are two of my favorite people in the Service Industry. I met Bill years ago when I was opening “Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar” and Bill was helping to open Wiseguy’s on Mainstrasse. Since then Bill has gone on to build some of my favorite establishments in Covington.
Henry Wenzel was a prominent and well-respected business man in Covington, Ky during the mid 1800’s. He manufactured and bottled mineral water. His Business was called “The Covington Bottling Works” and was located in his building called “Wenzel Hall” located down Tobacco Alley right off Madison Ave. Besides his mineral water, he also contracted bottled soft drinks, lager beer, and wine. Henry was German born. He was married to Bertha (Wagner) Wenzel. Together they had five children, Wilhelmina (Minnie) Hugo, Bertha, Julia and Carl. Wilhelmina was a music teacher and Bertha was a sales girl at Coppins (now Hotel Covington) They lived on 4th Street between Russel and Washington.
Henry Wenzel died on April 10,1876. He was standing on the corner of 4th and Scott streets in front of Hermance’s Drug store at about 8pm when he suffered a stroke and collapsed. Bystanders carried him in to the drug store and summoned the doctor. However, he died before the Doctor arrived.
After Henry Wenzel died, the building was sold and used as a pickle factory. On the 3rd floor of Wenzel Hall were the meeting rooms for “the Colored international order and Odd Fellows”. In the early 1900’s, the first floor of the building was a steam dye company.
Today, Wenzel Hall has been transformed in to a hotel called “The Pickle Factory” and also to “Wenzel Whiskey”. Wenzel Whiskey is one of my favorite places in Cincinnati. It is a Whisky Blending experience and a must if you love whiskey. Bill and Griffin are the masterminds in guiding you through the process of blending your own personal bottle of whiskey. We visit another of Bill and Morgan Witlow’s restaurants and their newest one called “Opal” that opened the beginning of October. Opal is on the rooftop of the six story Republic Bank Building at Sixth and Madison . There is an indoor dinning room with windows all around and an outdoor lounge with panoramic views. It is so beautiful and the food and cocktails are spectacular! The Republic Bank Building that Opal tops was built in 1904. It was designed by Henry Hake. It was one of Covington’s tallest buildings at the time. The building was built for the Farmers and Traders Bank, and then was the First National Bank once they merged with Farmers and Traders Bank.
After Opal we make our way down Madison to 7th street to visit Rich’s Proper Food and Drink, another amazing establishment of Bill and Morgan Witlow. Rich’s has one of the best whiskey and bourbon selections in the area- and the food is a fusion of American pub meets Southern Cajun, it’s so good! You can’t miss Rich’s because of the huge neon sign that can be seen blocks away, Rich’s was once a jewelry store owned by master jeweler H. Rich Shullman. He opened his store on November 17, 1944. Rich’s was one of our 100 jewelry stores in the metro area that carried Cincinnati-based Gruen Watches. Greun sponsored the making of Rich’s Ionic Neon Sign. Rich’s slogan Was “Honest dealing with keeping the faith of the public.”
Make a point to visit all of these exciting places that makes Covington so vibrant !