WORTH THE DRIVE: Fill your bellies this weekend with more than 50 tasty stops at Taste of Cincinnati

Since 1979, the Taste of Cincinnati has been bringing the flavor to the streets for food lovers to have their choice of dining options.

It’s grown into one of Cincinnati’s signature events and marks the start of summer.

Here are five things that make this festival worth the drive:


The Taste of Cincinnati, the longest-running free culinary arts festival in the country, is inarguably the Big Kahuna of Memorial Day events. Your basic Taste experience is over 50 restaurants and food trucks along Fifth Street downtown. The dishes represent all styles and ethnicities, with an additional 17 restaurants at the Taste of Findlay Market, a “Taste within the Taste” that emphasizes “foodpreneurs,” 60 percent of which are owned by minorities or immigrants. Dishes range in price from $2 to $7.


Over 45 musical acts will grace five stages to put a little spring in your step as you sample all the goodies. As with the food, the focus is on local talent, and will feature such longtime Cincinnati and Dayton mainstays as Sonny Moorman, Ricky Nye, Noah Wotherspoon, The Menus, Robin Lacy & the ZyDeco, and many others.


The Taste will feature over 100 varieties of beer and wine, including a few concoctions that are unique to the Taste. For instance, sample the Queen City Breeze (Jim Beam bourbon, ginger ale, and triple sec) or the Cincy Cooler (Pinnacle vodka, lemonade, cranberry, and Mist Twist).


For the fifth year, local celebrities representing TV, radio, and print will race veggie-fueled vehicle that are also made of vegetables in a round robin tournament from noon-1 p.m. on May 25.


It’s the healthiest activity of the bunch, yet the Taste won’t let you escape the calories completely. Participants will enjoy bite-sized samples of participating Taste restaurants as they run. The race starts at 10 a.m. on March 26 and starts and finishes on Culvert and Sentinel streets.

Of course, the food is the star of the show. Here is a rundown of who is participating. Vendors are subject to change.



• Just Q'in

• Kabobske

• Mahope

• Mck's Chicks

• Oakbrook Bakery

• Poke Hut

• Revolution Rotisserie

• Roll On In


• Cheese n Chong

• Fire on High

• Harvest Mobile Cuisine

• The Cheesecakery

• The Screaming Goat

• Tin Man Grill


If you are looking for something food related for Memorial Day weekend that doesn't involve you cooking, this is a really good bet.

Cincinnati's Findlay Market, Ohio's oldest surviving municipal market house, will have a presence with rotating food vendors serving delicious "bites" throughout the weekend.

The diversity of food, ingredients and preparation is impressive.

Be sure to check out Alfio’s Buon Cibo, which impressed last year thanks to dishes like the rich veal short rib ravioli and even richer chocolate raspberry tiramisu.

Tickle Pickle was also a crowd favorite with a jalapeño jam burger, black bean burger and mac and cheese with adorned with crushed BBQ Grippo’s.

And last year there were plenty of light and flavorful dishes like McCormick & Schmick’s watermelon gazpacho, street pops pineapple passion fruit streetpop and Market Street Grille's crab cake.

The best way to figure out the taste of a town is by sampling all of the tastes you can, and with a list of participating restaurants and food trucks like this, that's certainly what you are going to get if you decide to head that way.


Taste of Cincinnati restaurants 

• Alfio’s Buon Cibo

• Andy’s Mediterranean Grille

• Buona Terra Gelato

• CMX CineBistro

• Conscious Kitchen

• Delicio Coal Fired Pizza

• Eddie’s BBQ

• El Vaquero Mexican Restaurante

• Eli’s BBQ

• Izzy’s

• Joella’s

• Just Q’in

• Kabobske

• Keystone Bar & Grill

• LaRosa’s

• Mahope

• Market Street Grille

• Mazunte

• McCormick & Schmick’s

• Mck’s Chicks

• Mecklenburg Gardens

• Melting Pot

• Oakbrook Bakery

• Poke Hut

• Pompilio’s

• Revolution Rotisserie

• Roll On In

• Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers & Beers

• Sawasdee

• Thai Taste

• Tickle Pickle

• Tom & Chee

• Washington Platform

• Woodhouse Kitchen + Bar

Taste of Cincinnati food trucks 

• Adena’s Beefstroll

• Best Thing Smokin Food Truck & Catering

• Cheese N Chong

• Empanadas Aqui

• Fire on High

• Harvest Mobile Cuisine

• Hungry Brothers

• Just Jerks Ena’s Jamaican Grill

• Marty’s Waffles

• Slice Slice Baby

• streetpops

• SugarSnap! Sweet Treats

• Sweets & Meats BBQ

• Texas Joe Tex-Mex

• The Cheesecakery

• The Chili Hut

• The Screaming Goat

• Tin Man Grill

• Wicked Hickory


What: Taste of Cincinnati

Cost: Free

Where: Downtown Cincinnati on Fifth Street from Main to the ramps of I-71 and Columbia Parkway

When: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. May 25 and 26; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. May 27

Eat & Run 5K: Participants will receive a commemorative medal, T-shirt, and a complimentary beverage at Taste of Cincinnati. Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place finishers in the men's and women's categories. Registration: Website

More info: www.tasteofcincinnati.com

Credit: Kara Driscoll

Credit: Kara Driscoll

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