Inside Uptown: Shining a Light on Local Business

Dwan Ward, owner of Alabama Que, brings people together through the power of good food at his restaurant on Short Vine.

Image courtesy of Alabama Que

Image courtesy of Alabama Que

Ward, an Alabama native, made his way to the Queen City in 1995 on a football scholarship at the University of Cincinnati. After college, Ward became a firefighter in Middletown, Ohio. Occasionally cooking for the station quickly evolved into being one of Ward’s full-time responsibilities. His back-home-style barbequing eventually gained popularity among the station’s spouses and children. Once they got a taste, they couldn’t get enough, and Ward started to cater birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, graduations and more.

In 2012, Alabama Que planted its roots in Uptown with a restaurant located on Short Vine Street.

“I picked Short Vine because it is densely populated,” said Dwan Ward. The location of his restaurant is the key to its success. In Ward’s words, “location, location, location.” It is everything.

“There are a million people within a mile of the shop between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Ward. Alabama Que is situated in a popular hub of activity. It is next to other bars, restaurants, clothing stores and Bogart’s music venue. It is a block from the University of Cincinnati and within reach of the zoo and five hospitals.

The Uptown area holds a special place in Ward’s heart. Not only did he attend UC, but Short Vine was the social hotspot during his time in college. In fact, in 1997, Ward watched the infamous fight where Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear at a friend’s apartment, which is located directly above Alabama Que. He has been around long enough to see the Uptown area in its various stages, from struggling to flourishing.

“Everything started to swing in a different direction right when I got here. Now, this area is thriving. It is one of the best places in Cincinnati to be,” said Ward.

Image courtesy of Alabama Que

Image courtesy of Alabama Que

Being a part of the success and growth of Uptown is important to Ward. He sits on the board of the Short Vine Business Association, which consists of other Corryville business personnel who are invested in aiding in the prosperity of the community.

To taste some of Cincinnati’s best barbeque, visit Alabama Que at 2733 Short Vine St. They serve barbeque favorites such as pulled pork, pork rib tips, beef brisket, beef ribs, smoked chicken, and smoked salmon. Their specialty is turkey tips, and all meats are kosher and halal. Side items are turkey, not pork, based. Alabama Que takes it a step farther by cooking all meats on separate smokers.