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Winners announced for Taste of Cincinnati; nation’s longest running free culinary arts festival, May 27-29

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Winners of Taste of Cincinnati’s Best of Taste Awards and new attractions for the 39th annual Memorial Day weekend festival were announced at a Wednesday news conference.

Taste of Cincinnati, presented by Budweiser and produced by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, takes place May 27-29 on Fifth Street from Main to Sentinel Street and beyond to the ramps of I-71 and Columbia Parkway. The lineup inlcudes 34 restaurants and 18 food trucks featuring more than 250 menu items.

Northern Kentucky is well-represented again this year, with several culinary options and the Braxton Brewing Company Beer Garden anew sponsor in the P&G Gardens.

The event will open at 11 a.m., all three days. More than 60 bands and entertainers will perform throughout the weekend on five stages. Taste of Cincinnati 2016 enjoyed a record-tying crowd of more than 550,000.

“More than 25 percent of Taste of Cincinnati’s 2017 restaurants and food trucks are brand new to Taste of Cincinnati – with nine new restaurants and five new food trucks,” said Cynthia Oxley, director of Taste of Cincinnati. “In total, 52 restaurants and food trucks will be participating serving more than 250 menu items – and 52 percent of Taste of Cincinnati restaurants and food trucks are minority or immigrant owned.”

2017 Best of Taste Awards
2017 Best of Taste winners and runners-up were announced by Brendon Cull, senior vice president and COO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.

“Last Friday, hungry judges visited the Taste of Cincinnati food truck preview on Second Street, and Monday, local media and friends of Taste of Cincinnati gathered at Findlay Kitchen to chew and choose our 2017 Taste of Cincinnati Best of Taste winners,” said Cull.

Taste of Cincinnati lineup of restaurants and food trucks. Bold = Brand New to Taste of Cincinnati (click to enlarge}

Food Truck Best Dessert
Third Place: Pineapple Strawberry Swirl streetpop – streetpops
Second Place: Belgian Sugar Waffle with Sea Salt, Caramel & Maker’s Mark Whipped Cream – Marty’s Waffles
First Place: Fried Cheesecake – Hungry Bros.

Food Truck Best Appetizer
Third Place: The Kevin Bacon – Hungry Bros.
Second Place: Mini Chicken Quesadilla – Red Sesame
First Place: The Stroll – Adena’s Beefstroll

Food Truck Best Soup-Salad-Side
Third Place: Candied Braised Brussel Sprouts – Urban Vistro
Second Place: Tostones – Empanadas Aqui
First Place: Jalapeno Mac n Cheese – Packhouse

Food Truck Best go Vibrant!*
Third Place: Hairy Empanada – Empanadas Aqui
Second Place: Korean BBQ Taco – Red Sesame
First Place: Lamb Slider – Hungry Bros.

*go Vibrant! menu items adhere to the American Heart Association per-serving standards of 6.5 grams or less of total fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat, a half gram or less of trans fat, 20 milligrams or less of cholesterol, and 480 milligrams or less of sodium.

Food Truck Best Entrée
Third Place: Hickory Smoked Brisket Taco with Island Slaw – Wicked Hickory
Tie for Second Place: Ahi Tuna Tacos – Urban Vistro and Bangin’ Shrimp Tacos with Chipotle Slaw – Best Thing Smokin’
First Place: Hand Battered Cod Platter – Alabama Fish Bar

provided photos

Restaurant Best Dessert
Third Place: Cannoli – Pompilio’s
Second Place: Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Mascarpone Cheesecake – Afio’s buon cibo
First Place: Crème Brulee – Market Street Grille

Restaurant Best Appetizer
Third Place: Risotto Balls – Pompilio’s
Second Place: Jerk Chicken Pasta – Island Frydays
First Place: Crab Cake – Market Street Grille

Restaurant Best Soup-Salad-Side
Third Place: Mandy’s Che’ Chili – Che’
Second Place: Sidewinder Fries – Market Street Grille
First Place: Birra Chiarra Italian Greens – Rivertown Brewery & Barrelhouse

Restaurant Best go Vibrant!
Third Place: Buns n Roses – Tickle Pickle
Second Place: Spicy Chicken Wrap – Market Street Grille
First Place: Silver Ladle Salad – Silver Ladle

Restaurant Best Entrée
Third Place: Bacon Jelly Slider – Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beers
Second Place: Jerk Chicken with Rice and Peas – Island Frydays
First Place: Pulled Pork Sandwich with BBQ Sauce & Cole Slaw – Eli’s BBQ

NEW – Taste of Findlay Market
Cincinnati’s Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest surviving municipal market house, will have a new home away from home inside Taste of Cincinnati. Taste of Findlay Market, on the Fifth Street ramp to I-71, will exclusively feature food vendors from Findlay Market and “foodpreneurs” from Findlay Kitchen, serving delicious fresh-prepared “bites”, throughout the weekend.

“This means Taste of Findlay Market on Saturday will be different from Sunday, and Sunday will be different from Monday,” said Marianne Hamilton, director of Food Innovation at Findlay Market.

Since 2013, the Cincinnati Chamber has donated $65,000 to support culinary and entrepreneurial growth, not only at Findlay Kitchen – but at Cincinnati State’s Midwest Culinary Institute. The Chamber will continue its support of local culinary entrepreneurs with a 2017 donation to the Findlay Market FoodPreneur Fund.

NEW – Rhinegeist Food Truck Alley moves
Taste of Cincinnati’s Food Truck Alley moves, grows and takes on a new sponsor for 2017. It will showcase 18 food trucks – that’s three more than 2016 and double-the amount of 2015. Its new sponsor is Rhinegeist, and Rhinegeist Food Truck Alley is on the Fifth Street ramp to Columbia Parkway.

NEW– Braxton Brewing Company Beer Garden
Braxton is joining Taste of Cincinnati as sponsor of the Braxton Brewing Company Beer Garden in the P&G Gardens.

NEW – Taste of Cincinnati Signature Cocktail
2017 marks the first-time Taste of Cincinnati will offer a signature cocktail in a commemorative Taste of Cincinnati glass. The inaugural Taste of Cincinnati Cocktail is Fifth and Vodway, made with citrus vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and Sprite.

Saluting U.S. Military Veterans on Memorial Day
As Taste of Cincinnati takes place on Memorial Day weekend, the festival is afforded the opportunity to thank the nearly 200,000 U.S. Veterans in Greater Cincinnati. As in years past, Taste of Cincinnati will commemorate Memorial Day, Monday May 29, with an honor guard procession at noon on Fountain Square, and a free Pepsi for all veterans and active-duty military.

go Vibrant Veggie Races return
The Go Vibrant Veggie Races return the Friday before Taste of Cincinnati. Celebrity teams will compete, racing miniature vehicles crafted and constructed out of fresh vegetables. The Go Vibrant Veggie Races are on Fountain Square, May 26 at noon.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

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