Adventurous-minded travelers only! Do try our world-famous Cincinnati-style chili.
But be forewarned! This is not the stuff you load up with chili peppers or serve in a bowl with cornbread. “Cincinnati style chili” should really be renamed “Cincinnati-style meat sauce” for proper accuracy. The thin, ground-beef based concoction is really quite tasty. You’ll find the chili to be ever-so-slightly sweet, with hints of exotic spices
that together blend magnificently with cheddar cheese and, in my opinion, minced onions.
HOW IT’S SERVED
Most commonly served on spaghetti or “cheese coneys,” the sauce (the chili) is the one thing Cincinnatians miss the most when they travel.
A simple, kid-friendly combination of ingredients is known as a “three way” and consists of spaghetti, chili and mounds of cheddar cheese. A “four way” adds your choice of beans or onions. For a “five way” add both. If you want a hotdog with just chili and cheese, simply request a “cheese coney.” You can ask for it to be served with mustard and/or onions. A common alternative to the above is the coney without the dog, known as a “chili cheese sandwich.”
Again – be forewarned – most (okay, pretty much all) of the non-natives I’ve met here do not care for it. Born and bred Cincinnatians, however, would happily hook themselves up to a chili IV. The two most ubiquitous chili chains in the city are Skyline and Gold Star. You seriously can’t sling a hot dog more than a few yards in any direction within greater Cincinnati without hitting one or the other.
Try a four-way today, and let me know your thoughts!
Home of almost a million folks, the “Queen City” enthralls visitors with its major league sports teams, unique food treats and special place in history. This is the town that put the Underground Railroad on the map, nestled as it is for many miles against the mighty Ohio River. Noteworthy is the city’s orientation on “Seven Hills,” many of which recall San Francisco due to the steepness and architectural history. Cincinnati does love its Victorian houses!
Adult visitors will no doubt appreciate Cincinnati’s ever popular food and drink scene. Never fear, though, my teenaged friends. Here are some really rad things to do here:
The most interesting passage between northern Kentucky and the Central Business District (downtown) of Cincinnati picturesquely traverses the mighty Ohio River. Pedestrian only, and only a half mile long, the officially named “Newport Southbank Bridge” is outfitted with park benches, wrought-iron handrails, gooseneck streetlights, security cameras, call boxes for emergencies, and the always-there-when-you-need-’em trashcans. What a fabulous way to introduce yourself to the city at your own pace and enjoy its glamorous panorama!
Graeter’s Ice Cream: Folks, this is very likely the most incredible ice cream you will ever experience. The proprietors use old-fashioned ice cream-making procedures, which, combined with the old-fashioned, pure ingredients, make a modern mouth as happy as could be! Especially recommended are any flavors with chocolate chips. If you do nothing else in Cincinnati, you cannot leave without experiencing truly remarkable Graeter’s.
Good (if pricy) eatin’ along the Ohio River: Beg, borrow and plead with your folks to take you to one or all, which share gorgeous river views, remarkable food and terrific service:
A special treat that Cincinnatians are happy to indulge in is Montgomery Inn. It’s most famous entrée is barbecued ribs (well, boiled ribs… served with barbecue sauce) that fall off the bone. The sauce may be a bit sweeter than most people are used to. It’s still very much worth trying; just hie to the bathroom after the meal’s over and brush your teeth right away. The best thing about this Montgomery Inn location is its orientation right on the Ohio River. There is good seating here with fabulous views of the river and beyond.
The Yard House is an upscale eatery with truly unique entrees, rock music to please your fuddy duddy parents and a fabulous vibe for the young and young-at-heart. It’s a chain restaurant that’s perfect for splurging on very good food and enjoying all that the Cincinnati riverfront has to offer.
Continuing with the upscale eatery on the river theme, I had the pleasure of dining at Moerlein Lager House around the holidays when the extended family came to visit. The convivial atmosphere and terrific views over the river were both conducive to good conversation, and the food was as good as any I’ve tried in the area. It’s evident that a love of sports permeates the place, given its primo location between Paul Brown Stadium and the Great American Ballpark. Highly recommended!
I am positively giddy, because my mother-in-law has invited the kids and me to a chorale event in this freshly renovated, late nineteenth century architectural treasure next month. It’s a given that the music will be phenomenal. As to the building, and the source of my excitement? To quote Otto M Budig, Jr: “This renovation will affirm Music Hall as one of the world’s greatest performance venues, celebrate the hall’s remarkable history, breathe new life and accessibility into the Music Hall experience and lay the foundation for a bright future. People from all over the country will look to Music Hall as one of the greatest renovations and restorations of this century.”
Cincinnati Art Museum: In May 1886, a permanent art museum was completed in Cincinnati and heralded worldwide as “The Art Palace of the West.”
Another really cool building, this one is nestled within the embrace of the aptly-named Eden Park. This treasure trove houses thousands of pieces of fine art spanning centuries. For lovers of art of all sorts, this is a must-see venue, which you can top off with a stroll around the gorgeous park. There is no cost for general admission, and the museum strives to bust out of any stuffy mcstuffiness by appealing through its events and programs to teens and families.
King’s Island: Is there a teenager anywhere in the tri-state area who hasn’t heard of all the delights on offer at this ginormous theme park just north of Cincinnati? I’ve seriously lost count of the number of roller coasters on hand. The Beast, my favorite, looms both very large… and very wooden. When you are old enough to have witnessed the way wood deteriorates over time, well… let’s just say the fright engendered by this coaster is severely underrated. The park is an easy drive from anywhere in the city, or plan a stay at a nearby motel. Great Wolf Lodge, a magical treat for your little brother or sister, lies adjacent to the park.
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