Over the years, Cincinnati has earned a reputation for conservatism and keeping to itself, especially regarding food, but that's changing. Old favorites like cinnamon-scented chili on spaghetti, ice cream with huge chocolate chunks and old-fashioned German butchers selling goetta, brats and metts are being rediscovered--and in some cases re-created.
A similar urge for experimentation and innovation from restaurants, farmers' markets and food producers is bringing new energy to the city's tables. Gathering the stories of the pioneers and the entrepreneurs of the past and the present, Enquirer food critic Polly Campbell unfolds how Cincinnati's history has set the table for its menu today.
Polly Campbell grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, and moved to the Queen City in 1983, after which she immediately got to know the city by shopping for butter bit rolls at the Virginia Bakery and for goetta at a now-closed butcher and by eating at the Clifton Skyline and Graeter's.
In 1996, she became the food writer at the Cincinnati Enquirer and began reviewing a restaurant more or less once per week for twenty years or so. She likes a 4-way bean or a Greek salad and two cheese coneys and recommends Graeter's toffee chip or a scoop of caramel with bittersweet sauce.