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People of NKY: Steve Lowe, ‘Mayor of Mainstrasse Village,’ embraces life-long learning; find him at Dee’s

By Ginger Dawson
Special to NKyTribune

The Mayor of the Mainstrasse Village arrived in Covington at a decidedly pivotal point in history.  

We all remember 2001. We all have our memories of what happened to us and where we happened to be that year. In the tri-state, we started off early, in April, with the Cincinnati riots.

Steve Lowe, Mayor of the Mainstrasse Village.

The Mayor (now this is before his elevation to office) was moving to Covington at this exact time. He was headed here, following a partner’s career, by way of San Diego and Chicago.  

In the car, heading north on I75, he came upon that scenic stretch of highway that opens up and reveals a panoramic, impressive view of Covington and Cincinnati — that is if you dare to look. This plummeting spiral, also known as the “cut in the hill” demands all of your attention to avoid becoming a squashed bug on the side, front or back of some semi-tractor trailer.

As if this was not enough to focus on, he was also met by digital traffic signs warning about a CURFEW in Cincinnati! What on earth was this? 

He found out soon enough, and Steven Lowe always remembers this as his welcome wagon to Covington. And might we add, Covington looked a whole lot better on that day than Cincinnati. As a result of Cincinnati’s curfew, the bars were packed!

Now how did Steven Lowe become the Mayor of the Mainstrasse Village? We will get to that.

Steven Lowe hails from Monticello, Kentucky. He grew up with Lake Cumberland literally in his front yard.

His early path started when it was observed that Steven had very flat feet.

The Mayor in action at the service bar.

His mother was worried about how clumsy he seemed to be and his father teased him that he would never get in the army!

Mother had a good solution. She encouraged Steven in his interest in dance, and in his late teens, he started classical ballet lessons. The clumsiness disappeared and Steven had found a path, albeit, not the army.  

Also, there was an unexpected benefit with having flat feet. He has the distinction of being one of the few people you will ever meet who can barefoot water ski! Some little clouds have the funniest silver linings.

After high school, he took a three-month detour to New York City to explore his options and decided it was not for him. He came home and, instead, got a job at King’s Island dancing in the shows and productions during their busy season.

He was a pretty big cheese with the folks in Monticello for all of this.
Being the youngest of six, Steven was spurred on by his parents to think big and strive for bigger things; education being an important part of that. After high school, he started this path by getting a BFA in the Performing Arts and Education from Eastern Kentucky. Remember that I said he STARTED his education.

He also has an Associates Degree of Applied Science from Sullivan University (a foray into computers and IT) that he accomplished to supplement a job with Provident Bank.

With his engaging take on selfies, Steve has a huge following on Facebook. He likes to keep his public happy. This one captures his elan

Now up to this point, he also has a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Nursing from Northern Kentucky University. He has never had any desire to become a nurse, but he really liked the idea of learning about the human body and, by consequence, his own health.

He is among those fortunate ones who are life-long students. His ultimate goal is to participate in a Donovan Fellowship, which is a tuition-waived educational program provided by the University of Kentucky for individuals over the age of 65. He is interested in law school, or a masters in library science. Even though he has quite a few years to go, he looks forward to the day when he’ll be the “old coot” sitting in the astronomy class with all of the 20-year-olds.

Now, during all of these educational accomplishments and pursuits, there has always been the restaurant business. He has been in it longer than just about anything else—since college, and he has always liked it. An added benefit has been the fact that the work schedule has always been a particularly accommodating fit with his schooling endeavors.  

Steven started working at the late, lamented Chez Nora’s shortly after coming to Covington. As many know, Chez Nora’s was the epicenter of Covington’s public and political life for many years. Lawyers, city employees, commissioners, other mayors, business people, erstwhile A-listers and the rank and file gathered to drink, eat, socialize, scheme and gossip. 

And who witnessed all of this up close, in glorious, graphic detail? Why, Steven Lowe.

For 14 years he attended the table of many, many VERY interesting conversations regarding local political maneuverings, government shenanigans and personal pairings, whether for a commission vote or a romantic liaison.

Another selfie. Capturing the spirit of the Ascent through color, pattern and attitude.

If the walls could talk. Or rather, if Steven WOULD talk. He knows more about Covington’s recent detailed personal history than anyone I know. 

When Chez Nora’s closed, Steven took off about six months for a little personal time and then joined the stellar staff at the Dee Felice Cafe, just across the street.

At Dee’s, the atmosphere is laid back. Jazz, rather than politics is the main focus, and Steven is very happy to be there. Having waited tables on either one of two corners at the intersection of Sixth and Main for almost 20 years, he has earned the title of “The Mayor of the Mainstrasse Village.”  

Well, that and the fact that he knows so much. It is wise to pay tribute to the keeper of the secrets.

When Steven is not going to school or waiting tables he likes to wedge in time cooking and dining out. Not surprisingly, he considers this to be professional research.

Being the member of a large family, he is particularly proud of his 32(!) nieces and nephews. He most certainly has to be the favorite uncle!

I asked Steven to tell me a life lesson. He said, “I used to be a ‘know-it-all’, and now I’ve realized I don’t know anything.”

Now, this is just being modest. We all know how much he knows about lord-knows-what from his years at Chez Nora! But, no one has any reason to worry.

I tried to pull a tidbit, any tidbit, of juicy gossip out of him with a pair of pliers. I didn’t get a scrap! 

Ginger Dawson will be writing about the People of NKY — the neighbors you need to know and people you need to meet and understand. The feature will appear periodically at the NKyTribune. If you have ideas for subjects, please share them with Ginger at ginger@fuse.net.

See Ginger Dawson’s earlier People of NKY stories here.

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  1. D Van Hook says:

    Always a great article from the lovely Ginger Dawson!

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