Photo by Mackenzie Frank

It’s Saturday at Cincinnati’s Findlay Market and a pile of fresh oysters has caught your eye. You can almost taste their briny goodness, and then you remember that opening those stubborn bivalves requires a special knife—and maybe instructions on how to use it. With the arrival of Artichoke at Findlay Market, you could be shucking those oysters in no time.

Artichoke’s “curated cookware collection” is the retirement gig for two people who share a love of food and cooking and blend a well-honed sense of form with an engineer’s devotion to function. Brad Hughes—whose last employer was a pharmaceutical company—and Karen Monzel Hughes—who taught design for 35 years—have written a second act for themselves in retail. 

Just a few steps from the Findlay farm shed, the couple has retrofitted a 19th-century sliver of a building with backlit display shelves full of kitchen essentials and a sunny demonstration kitchen. According to Karen, each product in the store was selected for its “responsibly made” quality and often, its compact dimensions. Space-challenged urban dwellers or anyone practicing “small living” will delight in the nesting qualities of Cristel cookware and Joseph Joseph bowls and measuring cups.

Prices reflect the variety and value that Findlay Market is known for. You can buy a silicone pot holder, soft as cloth but much more sensible, for just $4.99, or if you’ve got a pocketful to spend, a gleaming, induction-ready copper pot. Grab that oyster knife, and Brad’s sure to provide an impromptu lesson on using it. And should you happen to have a bottle of Muscadet from Market Wines with you, the oysters won’t make it home.

1824 Elm St.
Cincinnati, Ohio

Mary is a former restaurant critic and senior contributing editor for Cincinnati Magazine. She was the founding editor for the Cincinnati edition of the Zagat Survey, and her byline also appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, among other publications. She is delighted to return to food writing after a long hiatus with a piece for Edible Ohio Valley.