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Having moved to St. Bernard in 1930, Jacob Rost and his wife opened a candy/deli shop at the corner of Ross and Greenlee.  Kellermann’s and other previous saloons at that site were long gone, and that may have been the result of the Volstead Act, which prohibited the sale of alcohol.

At the time the Volstead Act was repealed in 1933, Jacob Rost converted his shop to a saloon, the newly named Rosslee Café.  Opened from 6 AM until midnight, Rosslee sold a variety of adult beverages as well as cigars, tobacco, cigarettes, ice cream, milk, coffee, sugar and other food staples.  When Mr. and Mrs. Rost decided to pursue other interests, they sold the business in November 1944.

It is uncertain whether the new owner was Raymond G. Ernst, but records reveal that he was the owner of the Rosslee Café in i947.  In December of that year, he was charged with selling to minors, but a 30-day suspension was withheld by the State Liquor Board, depending on good behavior.

Less than two months later, the property was transferred to Joseph and Peter Keiner, which resulted in another name change to Keiner’s Café.  When Joe Keiner took over ownership of the Washington Grill, one of the many other St. Bernard bars at the time, his brother, Pete, became sole owner.

At Peter Keiner’s death in 1991, his surviving son, Robert, and daughter, Elaine, inherited the business, although Elaine sold her share to her brother one year later.  When Robert died in 1998, his wife, Judy Spears Keiner, continued the business until it was sold to the city in 2009.

The café and residence at 4802 Greenlee Avenue were eventually demolished in favor of the St. Bernard Commons, a senior long-term housing facility.  Groundbreaking took place in March 2011.  

Kay Heller Phillips

Sources:  St. Bernard News, Mar 1969, p. 4; The Cincinnati Enquirer, 19 Dec 1947, p. 4; The Cincinnati Enquirer, 08 Feb 1948, p.66; The Cincinnati Enquirer, 12 Sep 1963, p. 58; correspondence with great granddaughter, Amber Durham.  Photo:  Kay Heller Phillips

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