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Restaurant Interior | Courtesy of Revolution Rotisserie
Restaurant Interior | Courtesy of Revolution Rotisserie
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An Interview With The Revolution Rotisserie Restaurant

Picture of Henry Oliver
Updated: 9 February 2017
With its roots in Findlay Market, Revolution Rotisserie is the quintessential Cincinnatian restaurant. The ingredients are organic and all natural – even the chickens are entitled to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ The restaurant prides itself on their signature chicken dish ‘Chita’ and offers a diverse selection of appetizers. We spoke to the founder of the restaurant who shared his experience on his way to business achievements and his future plans for Revolution Rotisserie expansion.

What motivated the foundation of Revolution Rotisserie?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial and wanted to make a positive impact on my community. With a love for food and knack for coaching and people development, the restaurant business was a natural fit for me. I had been working my way up to assistant general manager/training manager at a local pizza place until I was 25. I didn’t feel like my career was progressing as quickly as I would have liked, so I decided to take a stab at starting my own restaurant. Obviously, no one believed that I would be successful so I was unable to get investment.

In hindsight, my lack of experience was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to start small at Findlay Market. This is where I tested my ideas on a small scale and began to build up a loyal following. Without a doubt, I was and still am an underdog with a desire to change the world. This is the foundation of our brick-and-mortar location and the reason why we feature people who did revolutionary things on our menu.

 

Does Revolution Rotisserie have signature dishes you would like to recommend to our readers? 

When we started the tent at Findlay Market, the focus was on our delicious ‘Chitas’, a.k.a. chicken pita sandwiches. These are very popular today, especially during lunch. My favorite is the Nelson Mandela Chita, which has rotisserie chicken, black beans, pepper, jack cheese, tomato, corn chips, cilantro, and chipotle ranch served on grilled pita bread. As our concept has evolved, our guests indulge more and more in our larger comfort food dishes such as the Mashed Potato Bowl, Bunker Hill Chicken Pot Pie, and the Yorktown Pot Roast. Last but not least, there’s always our most popular appetizer, the Tater Tot Poutine!

How would you describe Revolution’s culinary style?

Revolution Rotisserie focuses on nostalgic, home-style comfort foods. Rotisserie chicken is the focal point of our restaurant because it’s versatile, delicious, and guilt-free. We put our own creative, fresh twist on dishes you loved as a child like tater tots and creamed corn. Our guests revel in the simplicity and familiarity of our menu. We strive to feed the masses a hefty portion of good food at an affordable price.

 

Do you have any interesting stories from the rotisserie to share with our readers?

Before we opened, we did a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to open our restaurant. My business partner got the brilliant idea to feature a live chicken in the video. Since our slogan is ‘Our chickens are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ we set the chicken free in Washington Park to symbolize a good life. Up until that point, I had never handled a live chicken, so I had to Google how to catch a chicken as well as how to hold one. However, when we tried to catch the chicken in order to bring it back to the restaurant, we failed miserably. I think it took us over an hour to capture the chicken because of its mad juking skills reminiscent of the late Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions. The Kickstarter video that features the chicken chase, as well as a nice surprise at the end, is available to view on our website.

 

Do you have any particular influences or role models you aspire to?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way and in that, I learn from him.’ I have countless mentors including my older siblings as well as many of the local restauranteurs in the city. However, my ultimate goal is to accomplish far greater things than my mentors and do something truly authentic and original.

PavBhaji|Dforest/WikiCommons

PavBhaji|Dforest/WikiCommons

What are you reading or watching at the moment?

I recently got into Audible Audiobooks, so I listen to many business books as well as a few for pleasure. Most recent book I listened to was Start With the Why by Simon Sinek – most recent movie, The Revenant with my main man Leonardo DiCaprio.

 

Any guilty pleasures?

As a restauranteur, I tend to indulge in eating out at least once a day, which can be pricey and also not very healthy. Though, how could I not scope out the competition and enjoy myself along the way?

 

Where would you advise culture lovers to go in Cincinnati?

Over the Rhine is the largest urban historic district in the United States. There are many beautiful Italianate buildings from the late 1800s that have been restored to their old glory. Our city is also rich in brewery history, so Rhinegeist, Christian Moerlein, Mad Tree, and Taft Ale House are all great stops. Cincinnati is a sports city, with everyone being very loyal to the Reds and Bengals. Opening Day for the Reds is a local holiday in which the entire city shuts down to watch the parade/game. Washington Park, Eden Park, Smale Riverfront Park are excellent places to check out. Finally, every visitor must take a trip to Findlay Market. That’s where we got our start!

 

What can we expect from Revolution Rotisserie in the future?

We just had our one year anniversary, and the state of the Revolution is strong! This year, we are focusing on doing more special events, catering, as well as growing our bar business. The authenticity of Revolution Rotisserie is something that defines us, so I refuse to grow if that growth in any way compromises who we are. Probably in 2017, you will see either a 2nd location in another city or another concept consistent with our down-to-earth style. In the meantime, we are going to keep roasting thousands of happy chickens for the masses!

 

Local Favorites 2015 Small Revolution Rotisserie is one of the winners of The Culture Trip’s Cincinnati Local Favorite 2015 Award. The Local Favorite badge is awarded to our favorite local towns, restaurants, artists, galleries, and everything in between. We are passionate about showcasing popular local talents on a global scale, so we have cultivated a carefully selected, but growing community.