Saturday-Monday, May 28-30
Fifth Street, downtown
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, Sunday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday
Taste of Cincinnati is making it even easier this year to sample offerings from restaurants and food trucks you might not have tried yet.
Twelve of the 50 participants are new to the Memorial Day weekend festival, say organizers from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. To help you decide what to try, “Best of . . .” options have been chosen in multiple categories and include items from food trucks as well as restaurants. Choices range from “Restaurant Best Appetizer” to “Food Truck Best Dessert” – and even “Best” healthy options.
For those who prefer an even more curated version of the festival, the Taste Experience on Saturday and Sunday offers three-hour visits from nearly 20 boutique restaurants.
Then on Monday, Taste Experience transitions into Caterer’s Corner, geared to those who may be planning parties, events or weddings. The fees restaurants and caterers pay to be part of the Taste Experience and Caterer’s Choice will be donated to Cincinnati State’s Midwest Culinary Institute. Last year, that amount totaled $14,000.
Taste of Cincinnati is presented by Budweiser and produced by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
Among the weekend highlights
Food Truck Alley: The West Sixth Food Truck Alley features 15 food trucks, expanding to both North Broadway and South Broadway off of Fifth Street.
Taste Experience: Boutique restaurants set up shop in the P&G Gardens at Fifth between Sycamore and Broadway, and feature bistro-style seating, live music, and beer and wine pairings. Among participants are Aglamesis Brothers, Cafe Bistro, CineBistro, Off the Vine and Revolution Rotisserie.
Caterer’s Corner : On Monday, top caterers such as Jeff Thomas Catering, Lula’s for Lunch, V’s Cafe and entrepreneurs from Findlay Kitchen will offer three-hour visits, serving their unique dishes.
A salute to U.S. military veterans on Memorial Day, the festival thanks the nearly 200,000 U.S. veterans in Greater Cincinnati, with an honor guard procession at noon on Fountain Square and a free Pepsi for all veterans and active-duty military.
Best of Taste awards
In March and April, hundreds of Greater Cincinnati food enthusiasts served as mystery diners, sampling offerings from food trucks and restaurants. And the 27 winners are…
Food Truck Best Dessert
Third: Frozen Cheesecake on a Stick – Sugar Snap! Sweet Treats
Second: Sea Salted Belgian Waffle with Caramel Sauce topped with Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whipped Cream – Marty’s Waffles
First: Thai Lime Basil Pop – streetpops
Food Truck Best Appetizer
Third: 3 Meat Stroll – Adena’s Beefstroll
Second: Mini Quesadilla – Red Sesame
First: Borocado Martini – Urban Vistro
Food Truck Best go Vibrant!
Third: Psycho Hummus – Catch-a-Fire Pizza
Second: Pomegranate Tangerine Pop – streetpops
First: Korean BBQ Taco – Red Sesame
(The go Vibrant! menu items adhere to the American Heart Association standards on fat, cholesterol and sodium.)
Food Truck Best Entree
Third: 12 hour Braised Brisket Taco – Texas Joe Tex Mex
Second: Carnitas Taco – Urban Vistro
First: Bee Sting Sandwich – C’est Cheese
Restaurant Best Dessert
Third: Cinnamon Bread Pudding – Alfio’s Buon Cibo
Second: Gourmet Pops – Delicio
First: Chocolate Chip/Blueberry Bread Pudding – Bella Luna
Restaurant Best Appetizer
Third: Buffalo Chicken Empanada – Alfio’s Buon Cibo
Second: Antipasto on a Stick – Bella Luna
First: Ricotta & Veal Meatballs – Via Vite
Restaurant Best Soup-Salad-Side
Third: Silver Ladle Salad – Silver Ladle
Second: Cioppino – Via Vite
First: Black & Bleu Tuna Salad – Market Street Grille
Restaurant Best go Vibrant!
Third: Vegetarian Grape Leaves – Andy’s Mediterranean Grille
Second: Chicken Wrap – Market Street Grille
First: Wonton Soup – Thai Taste
Restaurant Best Entree
Third: Five Cheese Angus Raviolo – Alfio’s Buon Cibo
Second: Sacchetti (Stuffed Shells) – Bella Luna
First: Teriyaki Marinated Sirloin – The Melting Pot