- When% 3A 11 am-midnight May 23 and 24% 2C 11 am-9 pm May 25
- Where% 3A on Fifth Street Downtown% 2C between Sentinel and Vine% 2C including Fountain Square
- Cost% 3A Free. Food samples cost from% 243-% 246
They call it the Taste of Cincinnati because it features local restaurants – the vast majority of them local independents. But can a festival really reflect Cincinnati’s unique, quirky food personality?
Well, it’s hard “getting” Cincinnati without the actual surroundings in which we eat: chilli on the counter, spaghetti in Pompilio’s old-fashioned dining room, or beer in the Lager House overlooking the river, but some of our signature flavors certainly can on Memorial Day weekend along Fifth Street. Not all of Cincinnati is represented at the festival (No Graeter’s or UDF Ice Cream!), But the line-up captures many of the essential elements.
Some of our favorite hometown foods will be there. It would hardly taste like Cincinnati without chili or LaRosa.
The silver ladle is not one of the “name” chilli salons, but the restaurant in the city center serves our signature dish of Greek-seasoned meat chilli on spaghetti with a cheddar topping.
Mecklenburg Gardens and Wertheims represent the German or Germanic food that we have had in abundance since the Germans immigrated from around 1848. (Although the sauerkraut ball was a later invention!) The Wurst Bar will offer some modern variations of the sausages we’ve always loved.
The Mörlein warehouse represents everything that goes on in Cincinnati’s new beer culture, which draws heavily on our old beer culture.
We may not be a famous grill town, but there are plenty of Cincinnatians who came up here in the great southern migration north and put grills in backyards and parking lots and little grills.
Eddie’s Southern Style BBQ and Walt’s Hitching Post will serve the ribs and pulled pork that we like to enjoy here.
Oriental wok is a classic Chinese-American restaurant from northern Kentucky that has been around since 1977.
Izzy’s Though no longer a classic kosher deli, their potato pancakes and corned beef sandwiches date from the 1880s when Izzy’s was the first kosher deli west of the Alleghenies. (Cincinnati is the home of Reform Judaism and the first home of the Manischewitz Matzen.)
Buddy LaRosa started out in Cincinnati’s Little Italy to the west of the city. Based on his aunt’s recipe, he helped build a local pizza empire LaRosas which still provides many Cincinnatians with their pizza ideal. Pompilios has been in Newport since before the Depression.
Buskens, who represent our wealth of retail bakeries bring their smiley cookies. A nostalgic taste for anyone who was a kid in Cincinnati, the sweet, hard-coated, black smile cookies that sometimes peel off your fingers can be seen on some of the best billboards in town.
Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant has been holding an oyster festival in a historic downtown saloon for 28 years. At their booth, you’ll have fried oysters over Cajun rice, among other things.
Hungarian may not be a big part of the Cincinnati menu, however Lascivious iron skillt has been familiarizing people with the kitchen for over 40 years. They also serve excellent schnitzel, a dish that is at home in the Germanic context.
Greeks are important to Cincinnati’s food personality as they invented the chili and still own many of the salons. Especially on the west side you can also find gyros and Greek dishes on menus here and there. Infrastructure is a new Greek restaurant – they have spanakopita, souvlaki and more Greek dishes. Chicago Gyros bring the gyros.
We used to be known as Porkopolis. Well, food truck Bistro De Mohr brings Hogballs, an unexpectedly delicious piece of pork made from locally raised pigs. There is also something called a whole pig of sandwich Food truck.
Lots of ethnic food
The number of Italian, Chinese, and Thai restaurants in a city doesn’t necessarily reflect the make-up of a city’s population, as everyone likes Italian, Chinese, and Thai. There are a lot of them here.
Bangkok Bistro, Thai taste and Buddha bring the Thais and Chinese (and the Rangoon crabs, of which there are three types).
Beautiful moon has been a fixture at Taste for many years. This year they’re bringing butternut squash lasagna, shrimp scampi ravioli, Italian beef pusher, and banana nutella bread pudding. There is more Italian from Ramundo Family Sausage Co, plus Pompilius’s and several choices of pizza from Pizza tower, Catch-a-fire pizza and LaRosas.
There are also Vietnamese out Le’s Pho and sandwiches (Chicken Bahn mi sandwiches), Armenian / Russian / Uzbek from Oasis Grill, Cajun off J gumbos, Jamaica from Enas Jerkmanie, Lebanese out Andy’s Mediterranean grill, Mexicans out Habanero and Japanese from Maki Express (some new dishes never seen at Taste like Okonomiyaki, Yasai Korokke, and Chicken Karaage).
Our gourmet restaurants
Arguably the least-represented aspect of Cincinnati’s dining scene at Taste is fine dining. The conditions of a large street festival make it difficult to bring elaborate dishes. At the stands, food trucks and in the Taste Experience, there are also fun, upscale or trendy dishes to try.
There is the above mentioned Beautiful moon, plus Italian-Argentine out Alfios good food, and Via Vitewhich, in addition to last year’s hit of veal ricotta meatballs and pulled pork panini, also brings Cioppino.
Blue Ash’s fine cuisine Ash The Brown Dog Café will be at the Taste Experience, an area in P&G Gardens where restaurants serve for 3 hours instead of the whole weekend. So will Merit Restaurant and steakhouses Prime 47 and Ruth’s Chris.
sandwich, in the Food Truck Alley, brings back their duck crostini and The Whole Hog, a chunky Bolognese on bread.
The ‘Wank on Sycamore makes some of the best sandwiches in town, and they bring their eggplant and goat cheese sandwich, as well as a chicken salad wrap and their award-winning coconut chicken soup.
More sandwiches from the grilled cheese restaurant Tom and Cheewho have achieved national fame for their grilled cheese donuts and other imaginative variations of grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Street pops offers refreshing popsicles in flavors such as pomegranate-mandarin and Thai-basil-lime.
They were just a budding fad five years ago, but Cincinnati has embraced the food truck movement on a massive scale, with more than 30 trucks cruising the streets. Some are on display at Taste in Food Truck Alley. They include:
sandwich, with local, artisanal dishes, Bistro de Mohr, with local meat, Catch-a-fire pizza, with mobile wood stove, It’s cheese, with bizarre grilled cheese sandwiches, Empanadas here with the Latin American folded pastries, Marty’s waffles Serve Belgian waffles, Red Sesame Korean, brings out Korean BBQ tacos and desserts A walk in the park! and Mexican food from Texas Joes Mexicans
A more intimate dining experience during Taste Weekend gives small restaurants three hours to serve their own dishes without the huge amount of time and effort that a full booth takes.
On the weekend you can find the American Culinary Federation of Greater Cincinnati, Pretzel (large pretzels), Brown Dog Cafe, Good Earth (Ice), Igbys (Craft cocktails), Jenny’s Homemade Cookies, Jim Dandy BBQ, and Lacheys from Cincinnati’s own Nick and Drew Lachey. Likewise, Lucky Dog Grille, Luigi’s Olde World, Madisono’s Gelato and Sorbet, Meritage Restaurant, Nick & Tom’s, Prime 47, Riverside Korean, Ruth’s Chris, Smoq and Yardhouse.
More information: www.tasteofcincinnati.com