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Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber announces Best of Taste Winners, new events, returning favorites

Taste of Cincinnati, presented by Kroger and produced by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber made several announcements for the May 25-27 event.

They include:


In 2019, Taste of Cincinnati will reduce its carbon footprint by five percent.  Beyond 2019 – as part of a total five-year plan – Taste of Cincinnati will work to reduce its carbon footprint by an additional 5 percent – each year – between 2020 and 2023.

Here’s how this bold plan will be put into action:

1.    The Shelterhouse, a Cincinnati organization that provides shelter, safety and nourishment to more than 200 homeless men and women, will pick up extra food from Taste of Cincinnati restaurants and food trucks at the end of each event night.

2.    Kroger and Taste of Cincinnati will educate and work with event restaurants and food trucks to ensure a high percentage of restaurants and food trucks use compostable paper products and utensils throughout the weekend.

3.    Taste of Cincinnati restaurants, food trucks, beverage distributors and sponsors will have designated areas to break-down and dispose of all cardboard – which will be recycled.


The inaugural Eat & Run 5K at Taste of Cincinnati, presented by 26.2 from Marathon Brewing, is Sunday, May 26 at 10 a.m. – with a start and finish line at Sentinel and Culvert Streets in downtown Cincinnati. Along the route, participants will enjoy bite-size samples from some of our Best of Taste winners.

Eat & Run 5K participants will receive a commemorative medal, t-shirt, and a 26.2 brew from Marathon Brewing 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 is open now for the Eat & Run 5K – at TasteofCincinnati.com.



Taste of Cincinnati is working with the Cincinnati Music Accelerator, and its CEO Kick Lee, to program select entertainment throughout the weekend. The Cincinnati Music Accelerator serves as an entrepreneurship program for musicians, recording artists, DJ’s, and producers.

In total, Taste of Cincinnati will feature more than 45 entertainers on five stages throughout Memorial Day weekend. The complete entertainment line-up will be announced soon.


Mystery judges visited Taste of Cincinnati’s April 29 food truck takeover on Second Street, and local media partners sampled and judged restaurant entries at Findlay Kitchen, April 30. Here are the 2019 Taste of Cincinnati Best of Taste winners and runners up:

Taste of Cincinnati restaurants (click to enlarge)

Restaurant Best Dessert
Third Place (tie): Spumoni Cannoli – Pompilio’s
Black Forrest Cake – Oakbrook Bakery
Second Place: Crème Brulee – Market Street Grille
First Place: Apple Quince Bread Pudding  – Alfio’s buon cibo

Restaurant Best Appetizer
Third Place: Bacon Wrapped Shrimp Kisses – McCormick & Schmick’s
Second Place: Gnocchi Bolognese – Alfio’s buon cibo
First Place:  Lightning Wings – Revolution Rotisserie

Restaurant Best Soup-Salad-Side
Third Place: Thai Papaya Salad – Sawasdee Thai Cuisine
Second Place: Gods’mac Grippos Mac & Cheese – Tickle Pickle
First Place: Cambodian Chicken Taco – Mahope

Restaurant Best go Vibrant!*
Third Place: Buns N Roses Black Bean Burger with Cashew Cheese – Tickle Pickle
Second Place: Poke Cupcake – Poke Hut
First Place: Cambodian Portobello Mushroom Taco – Mahope

Restaurant Best Entrée
Third Place: Gourmet Mac & Cheese – Market Street Grille
Second Place: Brisket – Just Q’in BBQ
First Place: Pork Grenade – McK’s Chicks

Taste of Cincinnati food trucks (click to enlarge)

Food Truck Best Dessert
Third Place: Turtle Fried Cheesecake – Hungry Bros.
Second Place: White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcake- The Cheesecakery
First Place: “Make it a Sundae” Brownie – Sugar Snap!

Food Truck Best Appetizer
Third Place: Smoked Lamb Nachos – Wicked Hickory
Second Place: Lobster Poutine – Harvest Mobile Cuisine
First Place:  The Stroll – Adena’s Beefstroll

Food Truck Best Soup-Salad-Side
Third Place: Sprouts – Harvest Mobile Cuisine
Second Place: Brisket Mac – Wicked Hickory
First Place: 12 hour Braised Brisket Bowl – Texas Joe Tex-Mex

Food Truck Best go Vibrant!*
Third Place: Strawberry Chicken Taco – The Tin Man Grill
Second Place: Pink Lemonade streetpop – streetpops
First Place (tie): Swordfish Kebab with Molasses Glaze – Screaming Goat
Fruit Punch streetpop – streetpops

Food Truck Best Entrée
Third Place: Jerk Chicken Nachos – Just Jerks Ena’s Jamaican Grill
Second Place: Cheesy Garlic-Style Italian Beef – Adena’s Beefstroll
First Place: Smoked Rib Tips – Sweets & Meats BBQ.

*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.

Thirty-four restaurants and 19 food trucks will participate, and more than 300 menu items will be available. Thirty percent of taste of Cincinnati’s restaurants and food trucks are brand new to the event. 

This includes the return of Rhinegeist Food Truck Alley, located just off Fifth Street on the ramp to Columbia Parkway and Taste of Findlay Market, which will once again feature rotating food vendors from Cincinnati’s Findlay Market and “foodpreneurs” from their food business incubator. The complete Taste of Findlay Market line-up will be released soon. 

Since 2013, the Cincinnati Chamber has donated nearly $100,000 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 2019 donation to the Findlay Market FoodPreneur Fund.


Kroger will be launching their Treasure EmporiYum Mobile Experience at this year’s Taste of Cincinnnati. Kroger’s Mobile Treasure EmporiYum will offer interactive games, Private Selection food sampling, screen printing stations for reusable grocery bags, and much more. Kroger will showcase a wide-variety of exciting activities bringing food-first to the forefront.


On May 22, beginning at 6 p.m., enjoy just a taste of Taste of Cincinnati at Party on the Purple – on the Purple People Bridge. Taste fans will enjoy beer entertainment and dishes from select “Best of Taste,” three days before the big event.


The Taste of Cincinnati signature cocktail will return – and this year, make it a double. Taste of Cincinnati attendees can choose:

*         The Queen City Breeze with Jim Beam Bourbon, Triple Sec and Ginger Ale

*         Or the Cincy Cooler with Pinnacle Vodka, Lemonade, Cranberry and Mist Twist.

Taste of Cincinnati will feature more than 100 beer and wine varieties, throughout the event.


*        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 27, with an honor guard procession at 11:30 a.m. at the Bank of America Main Stage, off Fifth Street on North Broadway, 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 will be held May 24, noon, at a new location, the Findlay Market Farmers Market Shed located (next to the North Parking Lot off of Findlay Street, between Elm and Race).

Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

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