Myra's Dionysus: Local Folk Art and Food Lore

By Molly Gullett

The Southwest Ohio Folklore Collection features a wide range of folklore related topics and this week’s blog explores food lore and folk art with a local twist. Carol Watkins’ paper from the collection features photographs and information on Myra’s Dionysus, a charming restaurant situated in a unique building at 121 Calhoun Street. Myra’s Dionysus is well known locally for their ethnic foods, vegetarian options and, perhaps most notably, for their seasonal soups. If you have ever visited the restaurant, you might remember that the soups which are being offered that day are listed on colorful hand-painted signs hanging in the doorway to the small, but cozy, dining room.

Another common sight at Myra’s is the collection of handmade hats hanging from the walls, which are knitted by the owner, Myra Griffin. Watkins’ paper discusses a group that Myra belonged to called “The Knitwits” and the origin of her famous “soup hats.”

These handmade pieces are named after various well-known soups available at Myra’s and can be distinguished by their array of colors and accessories.

Some of the soups and hats include black bean, borscht, potato cheese, and split pea, which is featured here.

To anyone not familiar with Myra’s Dionysus, the soup hats might just seem like normal craft, but to local residents who frequent the restaurant the hats are a shared understanding of what a gem Myra’s Dionysus is to the Clifton Heights community.


Photographs: “Split Pea Hat” By Carol Watkins, 2006.

All other photographs by Molly Gullett.