In 2014, the rise of Cincinnati’s food & drink scene continued. Bars and restaurants worthy of recognition popped up like crazy, and made us proud to be a part of this city. Here are the new bars and restaurants of 2014 that won our hearts.
1. Myrtle’s Punch House
Molly Wellmann opened a new bar in East Walnut Hills, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Everything that went into this bar, from the decor to the punch recipes, are proof of Wellmann’s insane talent and commitment to bringing Cincinnati the best when it comes to drinking. This bar has quickly become a neighborhood favorite, and will only see more success in the coming years.
2. Packhouse Meats
Packhouse Meats shook up dining in Newport with a restaurant that serves all meatballs all the time, and a no tipping policy. With five different meat options, sauce options, and a special every day, the combinations are pretty much endless. A huge rotating selection of craft beers take Packhouse from a good place to get a meal, to a great place to hang out on a Friday or Saturday night.
3. Fireside Pizza
2014 was a good year for pizza in Cincinnati, and our favorite new joint is Fireside Pizza. Going from a food truck to a brick and mortar restaurant, Fireside is everything we ever wanted in a pizza place. The location, Cincinnati’s oldest fire station, is prime, and everything that comes out of the kitchen is delicious. We’re always checking back to see what specialty pizzas they’ve come up with.
With all the options for food in Cincinnati, there was one new restaurant this year that we could always count on for a unique dining experience. The barbecue at Huit gave us a flavor that, while inspired by many different cultures, was truly a Cincinnati original. We can honestly say we’ve never tasted anything like Huit’s Beer Braised Beef Brisket.
5. The Mercer OTR
OTR pretty much has its bases covered when it comes to food variety. Tacos, southern food, and waffles are just a few of the selections you’ll have no trouble finding in this neighborhood. But The Mercer OTR offers something that its neighbors do not; Italian inspired cuisine with European influence. We’ll happily to wait two hours for a table if it means getting a bite of Chef Dan Stoltz’s tasty creations.
When we needed a breakfast for lunch fix this year, Cheapside was always there for us. Whether we wanted Challah French Toast or a Chorizo Egg Sandwich, we were never disappointed with this modern brunch spot. Coffee and lunch were equally as pleasing.
7. Liberty’s Bar & Bottle
Liberty’s was the perfect addition to Main Street as we entered the colder months this year. The cozy bar, serving an amazing selection of wine and beer, is located in a perfect spot that is close enough to walk to after dining in OTR, but just far enough out of the way that you didn’t feel like you had entered a college party upon arrival. Whatever the future holds for Liberty’s Bar & Bottle, we had a good time these past few months sitting with friends and enjoying our drinks without fighting obnoxiously drunk people for elbow room at the bar. The fact that we can buy a bottle of wine to take home is a wonderful added bonus.
8. Gomez Salsa
Late night eating will never be the same again, and we have Gomez Salsa to thank for that. Though you could find some Gomez creations around the city previous to this year, it was 2014 that gave us a permanent location to satisfy our taco cravings for lunch, dinner, and way late at night when you’ve had a little too much to drink. Saving us from our terrible hangovers one taco at a time, and we are forever thankful.
9. Hang Over Easy
Breakfast and booze, the ultimate dream. This year at Hang Over Easy, we could get both from morning until 2:30am every day, and it was awesome. Whether it was Chicken N Waffles or the Gotta Goetta Omlet, Hang Over Easy was the perfect choice.
Honorable Mention: Salazar
With all the bars and restaurants on Vine Street, sometimes it’s easy to forget about other options in OTR. Luckily, Salazar showed up and rocked the food community. The New American restaurant serves a menu that rotates with the seasons, keeping everything fresh and delicious. And a rotating menu is always a good excuse to visit often. Though the restaurant opened at the end of 2013, they treated us well in 2014.