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Jun 1, 2012 07:16 AM

Need a little help in Cincinnati (researched)

Coming to Cincinnati next weekend for the Tigers/Reds series. This is an annual trip some of my buds and I make to a different town each year to watch our beloved Tigers lose. We try to focus our eating on things we can’t get in our home towns, places that just sound interesting, and also to buy some stuff to bring home to our hungry families.

So far, we’ve got Camp Washington, and Blue Ash down for our chili and double decker sandwich fix.

Jungle Jim’s and Aglamesis Brothers as places that sound interesting.

Avril Bleh Meat Market for goetta and hot metts to bring home.

I need the Cincy Hounds help for a couple of other things.

A place to have a beer and a bite either before or after the games. I’m leaning toward Moerlein Lager House and Nicholson’s Pub. We’re staying downtown, so would prefer to have a beer in the downtown area IE, no driving. IPA’s are preferred.

Is there a place in Cincy that has really good onion rings? Just a weird quirk that all of us that make the trip like onion rings, and we try to get some of the best ones in each city.

A breakfast place in the downtown area. Diner type would be preferred, but not a must if there is something we shouldn’t miss.

Any and all help would be appreciated if I’ve picked some clunkers.


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  1. Beer: The Moerlein Lager House has become my choice for a pregame beer (in large part because ballpark beers are approaching $10), but also note that the brewmaster at Rock Bottom on Fountain Square just won a gold medal in the World Beer Cup competition for his bourbon-barrel-aged beer. Food at either place is just OK. If you go to the Lager House, get there early because it really gets busy on game days. Two other bars nearby, the Holy Grail and Toby Keith's, are nothing special. Across the river in Newport, Ky., on the river, next to Hooter's is the Beer Sellar, which has 60 beers on tap and a great view. That's walkable from the ballpark, and I believe they also have a ferry that will take you across the river.

    For breakfast, there's a First Watch on Seventh near Walnut that's popular. My favorite is Tucker's up Vine in Over-the-Rhine (opens at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, so get there early, and is closed on Sundays I believe). There's also Hathaway's, a real old-time food counter in Carew Tower. The Diner on Sycamore, also Over-the-Rhine, is decent, and I like the breakfasts at Camp Washington Chili, especially the goetta.

    Can't help you with onion rings. I like them at Anderson Township Pub, but I've yet to find any I like as much as those from Ted's Red Hots in Buffalo.

    A few other things: The ballpark food is pretty mediocre and expensive. The Reds have a fairly liberal policy about bringing food in. My son and I often hit Subway on the way to the ballpark.

    Also, if you're looking for the chili parlor experience, Camp Washington is good, but rather than Blue Ash Chili, I prefer the Dixie Chili in Newport or the Skyline in Covington (on West Third). I'm not into double-deckers, however.

    Lastly, Jungle Jim's is a blast. Also consider the Party Source in Bellevue, Ky., for the beer selection and the Cork n Bottle in Covington, Ky., for single-barrel bourbons that are a great value.

    Enjoy your visit. I'll be there at the ballpark Friday night. Go Reds.

    1 Reply
    1. re: johnbycz

      Grew up in Cincinnati, and I heartily second the Hathaway in the Carew Tower. Hadn't thought of it in years, but it's old-style diner and used to be busy as heck.

      +1 on Party Source (horrible traffic around it, though).

    2. I agree with John on Camp Washington over Blue Ash. However IMHO it depends on where you're staying. CW isn't that much better that I'd forgo convenience for it. In other words, if you're closer to BA, go there.

      BA was featured on DD&D if that matters to you.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        The other huge plus on Camp Washington is that in addition to Cincinnati-style chili (which should be tried in all three forms - on pasta, on a coney, and by itself) and doubledeckers, they also serve that other true specialty of Cincinnati at all hours: goetta.

      2. Johnbycz, Davwud, Camp Washington over Blue Ash Chili??!! Pistols at dawn sirs, pistols at dawn. JK, either one serves great chow (but I live around the corner from BA Chili and they serve alcohol).

        Nicholson's is one of my top 3 places to eat in the Tri-County area (best fish and chips evah), but I've heard great things about Moerlein's and it's just a stumble from Great American Park so give it a try.

        Get some goetta at Hathaway's in Carew Tower.

        If you like Mexican, Taqueria Mercado (7th & Walnut?) is the best you will find. Get the goat tacos if they have them.

        1. Thanks for the tips. We had a real good time in Cincinnati.

          We ate Chili, 4 way, no beans, plus a hot dog at:

          Camp Washington (twice)
          Blue Ash

          Our favorite, by far, was Blue Ash. Sorry to say, if I had to rank them, it would be Blue Ash, Skyline, Dixie, Camp Washington. We ate at Camp Washington twice just because we were so underwhelmed the first time, and hoped we'd just caught them on a bad day. Alas, the second time was equally as meh.

          Preferred the goetta at Camp Washington over Blue Ash.

          Preferred the double decker at Blue Ash over Camp Washington.

          Moerline was fun, but really crowded after the game. Didn't get a chance to eat there, but the IPA they made was real good.

          Beer Sellar was great. Good IPA selection, and the water taxi was a unique way to get to the game.

          Really enjoyed the duck fat fries at Nicholson's Pub.

          Avril Bleh Meat Market was great as well. Got 5lbs of hot metts to bring home, plus some cheddarwurst and kielbasa. They even vacuum packed them for me when I told them I would be bringing them back to Dallas.

          Also had a pretty creative grilled cheese at Tom+Chee, a couple doors down from Avril Bleh.

          thanks for all your help.

          1 Reply
          1. re: planojim

            Very pleased you enjoyed yourself. Let me know what you think of the kielbasa from Avril. I'm not a fan -- I think the meat they use is too lean, producing a very dry sausage. I love hot metts. Tom + Chee is pretty good; I'm concerned they're expanding too fast. Now I'm hungry.