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My Top 10 Diners in Cincinnati

a plate of food and a cup of coffeeI like restaurants that are diners. I like the tables that are booths, the counter seating with the open kitchen, the servers, the wide range of menu options, and (usually) the prices. I like both the old-school diners, and I like the newer, local restaurants that take on a diner vibe. The main reason I like diners is that sometimes I’m not sure if I want breakfast or lunch. A good diner serves breakfast all-day, but also has an extensive menu of sandwiches, soups, and burgers, too. I often wonder how can they manage the inventory, and how can the kitchen staff juggle so many options?

Lucky for me, we are fortunate to have dozens of diners in the Cincinnati area. I don’t proclaim to have tried them all because I’ve already found some of my favorites. In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Diners in Cincinnati. I’ve added a brief comment or two for each to explain my selection. Full disclosure: Some of my rationale is purely personal. 😉

  1. Blue Jay Restaurant–Right down the street from my daughter’s house in Northside. Great for that spontaneous meet-up.
  2. Pleasant Ridge Chili–Free parking in adjoining lot. Old-school sit-down counter (Cash only, but ATM on-site). Super friendly servers.
  3. Hathaway’s–Located right downtown in the classic Art Deco Carew Tower.
  4. The Echo–The Hot Mess is a highlight of our Hyde Park Food and Drink Tour. Bonus points: Owner Stephanie Sturgeon always seems to be there and knows everyone!
  5. Brotherton’s Family Restaurant–Good burger and fries. Easy street parking.
  6. Lindenwald Station–My brother-in-law’s restaurant. Always crowded so that’s a good sign!
  7. Sugar ‘n Spice–Love the bright and airy OTR atmosphere…and the ducks! Wispy pancakes are a highlight of The All-American Food Tour in Pendleton.
  8. Blue Ash Chili–Regular gathering spot for my Thursday morning “Gossip Gang.” Servers at the Tri-County location have our drinks on the table before we’re in the door.
  9. Sacred Beast Diner–You pay a little more here, but you get what you pay for. Favorite spot on our Signature Over-the-Rhine Tour.
  10. Camp Washington Chili–Earned James Beard Foundation’s “American Regional Classic” award. Best Cincinnati chili. Enough said.

All of these diners serve both breakfast and lunch. A few stay open through dinner, but always check the hours before making plans.

If I’ve left out your favorite, be sure to let me know. I’m always up for a little market research to discover my next favorite omelet or double decker!