Cincinnati has always been willing to nurture culinary talent, but during this past year you, dear diner, have stepped up big to help keep that talent in town. You’ve parallel parked on crowded side streets to squeeze into dining rooms open for mere weeks. You’ve chased down regional Mexican flavors in the most inauspicious places. You’ve found yourself in heated pork bun debates—Kaze versus Quan Hapa (they’re both darn good!). You’ve even given fine dining the room it needed to reinvent itself in the current economic climate. Again and again, your support has been tireless and tenacious.
Certainly you’ve had help. 3CDC continues to spearhead the revitalization of the urban core—one reason why this list has a distinctly downtown vibe. But where others have been willing to physically build, you’ve made Cincinnati a community where chefs can afford to take risks. And it’s starting to pay off. Has there ever been a 15-month period in which so many dazzling new restaurants have opened? Or a year when so many chefs have dared to grout, sand, and re-tile kitchens of their own? These artists trusted that you would back their bets. And you have. Give yourself a pat on the back, people! You’ve made our city a dining destination. Now let’s sit back and see what 2014 brings to the table.
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Bye-bye dining sobriety and cocktail snobery. Small batch bourbon is big, craft beer is king, and gastropubs, wood-fired ovens, family-style servings, and a whole lot of exposed brick have become the new definition for fine dining.
» Go to the 2013 list
In case you didn't notice, there was a renaissance going on in Cincinnati's culinary community in 2012—and downtown took center stage.
» Go to the 2012 list
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