Midwest Living Review
Step inside Cohearts Riverhouse, and you'll probably notice two things: the enticing aroma of baking bread and a nostalgic, wall-size scene of the Ohio River that conjures up the steamboat era when Ripley was both a bustling port and an important Underground Railroad station. When slaves fleeing Kentucky crossed the river and reached Ohio, Ripley's staunch Abolitionists helped them secure freedom. Many of these antislavery "conductors " lived along the riverbank on Front Street, where a long row of lovely 19th-century homes still faces the wooded hills of Kentucky and where Cohearts Riverhouse now serves outstanding fare in a 1840s building with windows and a second-story dining porch that overlook the Ohio. Open Wednesdays through Sundays, Cohearts is the creation of Roberta Gaudio and JoAnn May, two sisters and serious cooks who invented the restaurant's name by fusing the words "cooking" and "hearts." Although their eclectic menu ranges from Italian wedding soup to old-fashioned beef stew, menu standards include barbecued ribs, catfish and the grilled Zip burger, a bunless dish featuring locally grown shiitake mushrooms. Like desserts? The homemade brownie pie and chocolate raspberry rum cake are excellent. And when you're finished eating, be sure to take a stroll along Front Street. From the pleasant plazas along the top of the riverbank, you can watch the parade of barges gliding by on the Ohio, and at the spot where Front Street meets Main Street, the Liberty Monument pays homage to those long-ago Abolitionists who dedicated themselves to freedom.