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Is downtown Cincinnati's restaurant market best defined by Rock Bottom Brewery's impressive first-year sales of $4.5 million?
Or by the 20 percent drop in revenue recorded by Main Street Brewery?
More than a half-dozen new competitors are betting that Rock Bottom is downtown's true market barometer. Their theory is that a climbing number of restaurants will make downtown a dining destination, with a rising tide of patrons lifting all boats.
"I think of places like San Diego," said David Ginsburg, vice president of retail recruitment and retention for Downtown Cincinnati Inc. "They've got a district where there must be 40 or more restaurants, each one better than the next. I think the (downtown) market has nowhere near been tapped yet."