Become a True Cincinnatian with These Queen City-Original Sweets

Your “must try” list of goodies unique to the 513 starts here.
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Photograph by Wes Battoclette

The bakery business is like almost everything else in Cincinnati: The foundation was built by immigrants, mostly Germans, bringing a taste of the old world with them, followed by modern-day entrepreneurs putting creative spins on classic traditions. As a result, the “Cincinnati originals” of 2019 are a delicious mix of old and new. You can’t get more Cincinnati-German than schnecken, a butter-and-raisin loaded cinnamon roll Busken revives every Christmas and Easter season, using the original recipe from the long-gone Virginia Bakery. Don’t miss your next snacking opportunity in April. Busken keeps customers happy year round with its smiley-faced cookies, a throwback to the “come on get happy” days of your youth. The distinctive yellow-iced butter cookies have been big sellers since the 1960s, but the bakery has also gained fame for holiday-themed versions and presidential election “cookie polls.”

A number of neighborhood spots offer clunkers, a deep-fried cake doughnut fist sealed in a sugar glaze, but the best can be found at Bonomini Bakery, a family-owned Northside staple that serves an amazingly wide variety of baked goods.

In O’Bryonville, The BonBonerie’s opera cream torte is a chocolate dream. Double chocolate chip cake is layered between vanilla opera cream filling and decorated with chocolate shavings, buttercream, and white chocolate details—a rich and decadent favorite since The BonBonerie’s founding in 1983.

A relative newcomer, O Pie O started in a Findlay Market tent before opening its Walnut Hills storefront in 2015 to offer sweet and savory pies as well as a full lunch and dinner menu. Its signature item: honey vinegar pie, a luscious cheesecake-like mix of sweet and tart topped crème brûlée-style and sprinkled with sea salt.

Once you’ve tried all five, feel free to pick up your True Cincinnatian card—and start your diet.

Busken Bakery, multiple locations, busken.com

Bonomini Bakery, 1677 Blue Rock St., Northside, (513) 541-7501

The BonBonerie, 2030 Madison Rd., O’Bryonville, (513) 321-3399, bonbonerie.com

O Pie O, 1527 Madison Rd., Walnut Hills, (513) 274-3238, opieo.com

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