4. OK, because I like you (most of you, anyway), I’m going to give you the dirt on where to eat in this town. Though Cincinnati seems like a sleepy mid-sized Midwestern city, it is actually a hotbed of fantastic food and drink. I’ve lived here since 1996 and have spent as much time investigating food as woodworking.
So if you want to eat yourself sick, here is my shortlist.
1. Eli’s BBQ. Crap. I let the pig out of the bag. I’ve spent most of my life in the South and so barbecue is more important than a blond-hair blue-eyed Jesus. Eli’s is the real deal. When you go, simply order the pulled pork sandwich with slaw. And get the jalapeno cheese grits. Bring your own beer (it’s OK). And when you are there, pull out one of the vinyl LPs and put it on. It’s all good.
2. Tacocracy. You need a car to get to this taco joint in Northside (one of the neighborhoods north of downtown), but holy mackerel is it worth the trip. The photo above says it all. It’s a taco filled with mac-and-cheese and braised beef.
3. Rookwood. This gem of a restaurant is high above the city in Mt. Adams. It is in the building used by Rookwood Pottery during the Arts & Crafts heyday. The food will kill you – chicken-fried bacon with chipotle honey – and you will die happy. Get the Grippos fries. Eat in a kiln. And ask for Rom – one of the mixologists who is also a hard-core woodworker.
4. Sotto. I so hate to give this to you. This is my favorite place in the world. Buried beneath the streets of downtown, this restaurant is where I have had the best three meals of my life (and I’ve eaten there only three times). Go. Eat what they recommend. Thank me later.
5. A Tavola. I’ve written about this place before. It’s the best pizza in the Tri-state. The owner, Jared Wayne, made all the furniture himself. Everything is as it should be.
And sign up for Woodworking in America, Oct. 18-20. There are 100 more wonderful places to eat in this town. We love our food.
— Christopher Schwarz