Many cities have culinary specialties for which they are famous, as well as plenty of restaurants that simply have delicious food, but it's virtually impossible to taste all of their dishes in just a few days. Flavors of the Queen City, a walking and tasting tour of Cincinnati, aims to remedy this problem. The brainchild of Mike Van Oflen, Flavors of the Queen City gives you a chance to sample some of Cincinnati's best and most famous culinary offerings. The tour stops at a wide variety of restaurants around the city, which offer small samples of the dishes for which they are best known.
Some of the restaurants that participate in the tour are businesses that began locally and have since expanded to many different locations both around and outside Cincinnati. Skyline Chili, which opened in 1949, serves authentic Greek-recipe chili in the Cincinnati style, ladled over a plate of spaghetti and topped with mounds of finely shredded cheese. Another Cincinnati favorite that has gained national recognition is Graeter's ice cream, founded in 1870. Graeter's produces its ice cream in small five-gallon batches in the "French pot" method, making it exceptionally dense and rich, and the enormous chunks of bittersweet dark chocolate in the "chip" flavors make the already delicious confection that much sweeter.
Many of the restaurants where Flavors of the Queen City stops are unique to Cincinnati. Among them is Hathaway's, the oldest working diner in the city, which opened its doors in 1956. At Nicholson's Tavern and Pub, you'll find an authentic European pub atmosphere, along with equally authentic beer, scotch, and whiskey, thanks to owner Nick Sanders's extensive personal research of pubs across Scotland. Sample Izzy's famous corned beef, potato pancakes, and the "World's Greatest Reuben," visit Via Vite for a modern take on Italian cuisine, and take in the hip, high-energy atmosphere of Roxy's. For wine aficionados, there is also a stop at City Cellars, where the menu includes appetizers and handmade pizzas in addition to a wide selection of wines and beers.
Along the way, you also get a taste of the city's history with stops at two of Cincinnati's most famous landmarks. The Tyler Davidson Fountain on Fountain Square is the starting and ending point of the tour, and at the Carew Tower, you have the opportunity to view the city from the tower's observation deck.
The stops only offer a sample of the restaurants' specialties, so if you try something you like, you are of course welcome to go back on your own. But whether or not you have time for seconds, Flavors of the Queen City introduces you to quite a few of Cincinnati's most notable restaurants and dishes. The tour is a great way for visitors to experience some of the city's best food in a short amount of time.
- Thursday and Saturday beginning at 1pm. Tours last around two and a half to three hours and vary depending on season and restaurant hours.
- $40 per person
- Location: The tour begins and ends on Fountain Square, at the corner of Fifth and Vine Streets, on the side of the fountain facing Tiffany's.
- Phone: 513-703-0880
- Website: www.flavorsofthequeencity.com