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Visiting Cincinnati? You Must Try These Foods

Cincinnati chili cheese coney

Cincinnati chili cheese coney

If you are planning to visit Cincinnati, someone no doubt has said to you, “Be sure to try the Cincinnati chili.” Indeed, no visit to our region is complete unless you have had a 3-way or a cheese coney at a local chili parlor. (Yes, we call any restaurant that specializes in Cincinnati chili a “parlor.”) In fact, Cincinnati chili is so ingrained in the local culture that most people just say “Let’s get Skyline,” or “We went to Gold Star.” No one ever asks what you had to eat at either of our two most-widely developed chili chains. They just know you went for the Cincinnati chili.

Chili connoisseurs argue about where to get the Greek-style, meat and cheese-laden spaghetti. Skyline vs. Gold Star. But many other local chili parlors are also worth a trip. Try Camp Washington Chili or Empress Chili, both of which have long been in the running for most popular chili parlors. We all have our favorites, but just don’t leave town without trying it.

Graeter's ice cream cone

Graeter’s ice cream cone

Another famous Cincinnati food is Graeter’s ice cream. Graeter’s is a locally owned company that has been handcrafting French pot ice cream since 1870. Known for its giant chocolate chunks in flavors like black raspberry chocolate chip, Graeter’s has grown to more than 50 retail locations throughout the Midwest. Now available in many grocery stores as well, there is nothing like sitting on Fountain Square on a summer’s night enjoying a double scoop from the Downtown Graeter’s.

butcher serving goetta

Josh from Eckerlin Meats serves goetta samples to Cincinnati Food Tours visitors.

The third and final food that is a “must-try” Cincinnati dish is goetta. Goetta is definitely a local specialty, all but unheard of if you live more than about 60 miles away from Cincinnati. Invented by the Germans who immigrated to the city’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in the 19th century, goetta is made of ground pork and beef mixed with steel-cut oats and prepared in a loaf. Primarily served as a breakfast dish, goetta is sliced from the loaf, fried in a skillet, and served like a sausage patty alongside eggs or pancakes. You will find it listed as a side on most breakfast menus at local restaurants. Or if you are at Cincinnati’s famous Findlay Market, stop by Eckerlin Meats and they will fry you up a slice.

Cincinnati is filled with culinary delights from local specialties to international foods. The best way to experience a variety of dishes is to take a tour with a local company like Cincinnati Food Tours.