Josh Campbell Is a Culinary Maverick

During the soft opening of Maverick’s Restobar & Lounge, I ran into Victor Kidd, whose Kidd Family of Makes operates the espresso shop in The Cincinnatian Resort, appropriate throughout the hall from the restaurant. We talked about Josh Campbell, who took the helm at Maverick’s, which fills the house once occupied by that iconic Cincinnati restaurant, The Palace.


“He’s a wonderful chief,” Kidd instructed me. “Not only that but he’s compassionate. He’s particularly the type of man you want to do the job with.” 

It is exceptional, and refreshing, to listen to “compassionate” utilized as a person of the 1st terms to explain a high-profile chef. That he’s also an remarkable cook dinner went without the need of declaring for the reason that, perfectly, it should really. Campbell is dependable for many standout places to eat, which include Mayberry, the beloved-but-shuttered Over-the-Rhine location recognised for elevated comfort and ease foods, and Django Western Taco, the imaginative Northside taco store that expanded to the On the Rhine foodstuff corridor right before, unfortunately, shuttering fully at the height of the pandemic. It is fitting to see a chef who has dealt with the disheartening closures of some genuinely good restaurants consider the helm as part of the resurrection of these types of a storied space. 

The comeback doesn’t prevent there, having said that. Apart from functioning the demonstrate at Maverick’s, he has also taken more than food stuff and beverage support at nearby SREE resorts. In addition, he not too long ago commenced SQR (pronounced skewer), the izakaya-encouraged to-go window working out of Knox Joseph Distillery’s OTR StillHouse. Oh, and he’s also in charge of food services at Cedar Oaks Wellness Centre, a rehabilitation facility in Oregonia. 

How does 1 chef get associated with so numerous disparate initiatives? A minor luck and a great deal of relationship. Campbell got associated with Maverick’s soon after conference Kidd via a mutual pal. His function at Cedar Oaks stems from a equivalent link. As for his involvement with SQR, he has his basketball capabilities to thank for that—he achieved Knox Joseph Operations Manager Steve Schwartz at a pickup recreation. As a outcome of that conference, he began doing the job with the distillery’s operator Michele Hobbs on a menu that, as he place it, would “go very well with booze and beer—but we wanted to do one thing unique than the pizza and/or BBQ that you see at most breweries,” he suggests. “That’s how we hit on the izakaya principle.” 


I went down to the OTR StillHouse for brunch on a fast paced Saturday morning. It was video game day for FC Cincinnati and the distillery, positioned on Central Parkway inside shouting distance of TQL Stadium, was full of hungry (and thirsty) FC Cincinnati enthusiasts. We all had a lot of good world wide road food to chow down on. In lots of ways, SQR is the perfect job for Campbell, who has a expertise for making the common novel and, conversely, generating the novel acquainted. 

For evidence of the former, we experienced the refined consolation food stuff of Mayberry. For proof of the latter, we had Django Western Taco, with its jerk chicken quesadillas and chorizo patty melts. Incorporate to that column the delicious “Dixiekaya” mash-up of teriyaki grilled shrimp with miso butter grits. It’s convenience foodstuff at its greatest and most creative. 


His get on world wide fusion meals isn’t simply for the sake of eclecticism he serves dishes that replicate a various culinary education. He put in five yrs functioning the kitchen at the exclusive Graycliff Lodge in Nassau, Bahamas. It was there he came to like conch fritters, mastering what he explained as the fantastic preparing from a area grandmother. His culinary travels have taken him to Mexico, Italy, and Thailand, exactly where he attained a secondary professional culinary degree from the Royal Thai Culinary Institute. He acquired his initially diploma at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Seaside. He made the trip from Cincinnati to Florida just after viewing an ad for the school on The Food stuff Community a person fateful afternoon in the late ’90s. 

His first task out of culinary college was at what he calls a “crappy BBQ joint.” This was followed by a stint at Morton’s, then by a formative culinary romantic relationship with Mike Perrin at celebrated Florida cafe 11 Maple Street. The restaurant featured seasonal menus, fresh new make, and wild sport in advance of these types of choices have been the norm. “11 Maple Road is the rationale I am who I am,” Campbell says. 

With that in head, it is really hard not to consider of Maverick’s as a return to Campbell’s roots there. The menu will be seasonal and hefty on clean vegetables. If the grilled carrot salad I ordered—with its trace of dill and crusty rye croutons—is a indicator of matters to come, I say deliver on the veggies. The restaurant will also characteristic tons of sport meats, like venison and grass-fed bison. Significantly of this will be locally sourced, as Campbell has cultivated interactions with suppliers across the location (he gets his eggs from a farmer in Waynesville and his grains from Carriage Home Farm in North Bend). 


It is straightforward to see that relationships are critical to Campbell. Perhaps that’s why Kidd was so fast to place out his compassion. (He credits his newfound religion for centering him and assisting him continue to keep his great in the kitchen. “I could not have dealt with the matters I can take care of now in 2010, or even 2020,” he suggests.) His interactions have led to some astounding collaborations, regardless of whether from a opportunity meeting at a pickup basketball video game or an introduction through a mutual close friend. 

When I inquire Campbell how Cincinnati’s food items scene has improved since he very first opened Mayberry in 2009, he was effusive in his praise for other regional chefs. “We’ve got some amazing chefs in this town,” he notes. “Jose Salazar, Kayla [Robison] at Arnold’s, Jared Bennett at Khora, Sam Dobrozsi at Fireplace, Gramma Debbie runs a wonderful stand at Findlay Market.” 

I got the feeling he could have absent on and on. To that checklist, I would include Josh Campbell of Maverick’s. And SQR. And Cedar Oaks Wellness Centre. And…let’s hold out and see what else, shall we?

Maverick’s Restobar & Lounge, 601 Vine St., downtown, (513) 864-7135

EDITOR’S Take note: As of late May possibly, Campbell is no more time with SQR.