One of the most common questions we get asked during a deposition from attorneys who have come to Cincinnati, OH, is: “Where should I go eat around here?”
Over the years we’ve developed some standard answers based on timing and location, but that often leaves out some real gems that may be a little off the beaten path or a little more unusual then a “safe” recommendation. It’s easy to recommend a chain restaurant, but while those are usually good enough they tend to be rather boring. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list below in a few different categories for visitors looking for a different lunch or dinner while visiting the Queen City.
- Skyline Chili – Love it or hate it, “Cincinnati style” chili is the most well-known regional dish we have to offer. This polarizing style of chili features a meat sauce with hints of cinnamon and cocoa laid over either a bed of spaghetti or hotdog and covered with mounds of shredded cheese. More than anything else on this list, this is a risky recommendation as many who try out our special brand of chili leave either loving or despising it.
- Graeter’s Ice Cream – A safer suggestion this local chain has spread out all over the Ohio River Valley with a wide variety of ice cream flavors all well-crafted. Many locations also offer a small bakery filled with delicious local cookies, cakes and other pastries. If they have it available when you stop in, give the raspberry chocolate chip a try.
- Montgomery Inn (Boathouse) – Situated about a half mile or so from downtown Cincinnati, the Montgomery Inn is THE place to go for ribs and barbeque in Cincinnati. A staple since 1951 the Montgomery Inn has hosted celebrities from Johnny Cash to Bob Hope to Brittany Spears over the years.
Quick Lunches in Downtown Cincinnati
- Currito – 5th and Walnut – Fast Casual burrito places have popped up everywhere; but for my money Currito is the best of them. Featuring menu choices like Bangkok and Tikka burritos and a solid selection of the more standard fare Currito never fails to satisfy. Plus, they have an excellent chocolate chip cookie for your sweet tooth.
- Fusian – 6th and Vine – Much faster and cheaper than your standard sushi restaurant we have Fusian. Approaching the counter, you choose a roll type, protein and any other veggies/accessories you want on your roll and they create it right there in front of you. Fast casual sushi may scare off a fair number but the food always tastes fresh and you get quite a bit for your money.
- Gilpin’s – 7th and Walnut – Sandwich places are a dime a dozen downtown, you can walk into nearly any office building and fine a serviceable deli on the ground floor, and Cincinnati has all the standard chains like Potbelly, Subway, etc. But Gilpin’s is a unique standout. Catering to the more “indie” crowd, Gilpin’s has an enormous selection of meats, toppings, and breads that they will throw together in whatever combination you wish then steam it all together. It sounds strange, and it kind of is, but you can’t argue with the results, a delicious sandwich.
Long Lunch and Dinner Choices in Downtown Cincinnati
- Via Vite – 6th and Vine – Located on fountain square, Via Vite offers an excellent selection of Italian dishes on a rotating menu. Featuring everything from stone fired pizza to more traditional pasta dishes, we’ve never been disappointed with a trip to Via Vite.
- Maplewood Kitchen and Bar – 5th and Race – A small organic/local restaurant on the western side of downtown. Maplewood also has a rotating seasonal menu but generally features everything from roasted chicken to steak with incredibly fresh ingredients and a variety of fun recipes.
- All of OTR (Over the Rhine) – from 12th and Vine to 14th and Main – Ok. This is cheating a bit, but OTR is a recently gentrified part of downtown that has seen all sorts of incredible restaurants pop up recently. You have Senate for gourmet hotdogs, Bakersfield for street tacos, Ché for Latin American fare, or Goodfellas pizza. If you are feeling adventurous take a cab or the street car down to OTR and just walk around you are sure to find something that will appeal to you.
Downtown Cincinnati Dessert Options
- Hello Honey – 7th and Vine – We mentioned Graeter’s earlier because it’s easy to find and well known, but when looking for ice cream downtown, the best place you can visit is Hello Honey. Made fresh in the store every week, Hello Honey always has new and exciting flavors to try, from Peanut Butter Chip Cheesecake to Banana Honeycomb. You really can’t go wrong with a trip here.
- Abby Girl Sweets – 5th and Race – If your sweet tooth is calling for something a little more solid after dinner a trip to Abby Girl wouldn’t be amiss. They generally close early in the evening but it’s worth stopping by and picking up a cupcake (or four) when you get a chance. All of Abby’s cupcakes are baked fresh from scratch and feature just about any flavor you could ever want to find on a cupcake.
We look forward to hearing what you think after trying these restaurants!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Steve Troncone has worked in the court reporting field for over 12 years in multiple areas including videography, production, technology support and trial presentations. He has been working with Mike Mobley Reporting as a legal videographer and office support team member since May 2016.