CINCINNATI -- It's that delicious time of year once again! Memorial Day weekend wouldn't be the same without the annual Taste of Cincinnati and this year organizers are boasting a bigger and better event than ever before.
The 36th Taste of Cincinnati will be held Saturday, May 24 through Monday, May 26.
The big news? Organizers of the event announced that this year's food frenzy will be its largest to date, offering more than 250 food options and an extension in the event's hours. It will open a full-hour earlier each day than in previous years.
Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Monday, May 26 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Last year's event had record attendance, drawing more than 550,000 tasters to the city.
“This year’s Taste of Cincinnati will feature approximately 60 area restaurants, more than 70 entertainment acts and three solid days of one of the finest culinary festivals you will find anywhere,” said Patrick Sheeran, vice president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “While last year’s attendance will be hard to top, our expanded lineup in 2014 will certainly provide even more experiences that made last year so well attended. We have nearly doubled our intimate dining options at our Taste Experience and added several more options in our Food Truck Alley, with both areas celebrating the variety and expertise of our region’s culinary scene that has quickly become the talk of the country."
Ten local restaurants were named in this year's Best of Taste Awards. Awards were given in five categories: Best Entrée, Best Appetizer, Best Vegetarian, Best Go Vibrant Healthy Option (items that adhere to the American Heart Association’s standards) and Best Dessert.
Judges included about 200 area celebrities, chefs, professionals and foodies, and each served as a “mystery diner,” taste testing various dishes throughout the city for two weeks.
2014 Best of Taste Awards
First Place: Alfio’s Buon Cibo - Veal Short Rib Ravioli
Second Place: Arloi Dee Thai Bistro: Halal Chicken Curry Noodle
Third Place: Indigo Casual Gourmet Café – Indigo Mac & Cheese
First Place: Alfio’s BuonCibo - Spinach Empanada
Second Place: Crab Rangoon – Thai Taste
Third Place: TIE – Indigo Casual Gourmet Café – Black & Bleu Tuna and Via Vite – Veal Meatballs
First Place: Arloi Dee Thai Bistro: Vegetable Pad Thai Noodle
Second Place: Bangkok Bistro: Spicy Ginger Sauce with Tofu
Third Place: Bella Luna – Cheese Sacchetti with Truffles
Best go Vibrant! Healthy Option
First Place: Giminetti’s Baking Company – Caprese Salad
Second Place: Arloi Dee Thai Bistro: Grilled Chicken Thai Style
Third Place: Market Street Grille – Spicy Chicken Wrap
First Place: Alfio’s Buon Cibo - Chocolate Caramel Tiramisu
Second Place: TIE - Andy’s Mediterranean Grille - Giant Baklava and Bella Luna – Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Amaretto Buttersauce
Third Place: Indigo Casual Gourmet Café - Strawberry Shortcake
What else can you look forward to at this year's event? Four stages of live entertainment.
About 70 live music performances representing musicians of all genres are scheduled to play on four stages this year (West Sixth Brewing Food Truck Alley Stage, Kentucky Ale Beer Garden Stage, Christian Moerlein Beer Garden Stage and the Yuengling Beer Garden Stage) along Fifth Street from Fountain Square to the P&G Gardens.
Other Taste events:
Nine local food trucks will take over North Broadway off of Fifth Street, downtown to serve as variety of cuisine in an area called Food Truck Alley, which will also feature live music and seating. Participating food trucks include: C’est Cheese, Marty’s Waffles, Panino and Red Sesame, and an elevated stage will be built above the West Sixth bar.
During the Taste of Cincinnati Weekend, the Cincinnati Reds will host the St. Louis Cardinals (Saturday, May 24, 4:10 p.m. and Sunday, May 25, 1:10 p.m.). Both games will also be shown on the Fifth Third LED Video Board at Fountain Square.
The Taste Experience has expanded for this year's event. Seventeen of Cincinnati’s signature restaurants will participate in the Taste Experience, located in an expanded area this in P&G Gardens at Fifth and Sycamore streets. Taste Experience offers an intimate dining experience with seating and live music. Participating restaurants include: Yard House, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Orchid’s and Tano’s, in addition to many others.
As the official beer of Taste, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. will serve craft beers like the Golden Helles, Over the Rhine Ale, Exposition Vienna Lager, Northern Liberties IPA, and Zeppelin Pale Ale. You can also meet the brewers of Moerlein at the Moerlein Beer Garden throughout the festival on Fountain Square with keg tappings of boutique one-off Moerlein beers such as Chili Zeppelin Pale Ale, Strawberry Pig, Coffee Bock, Oaked OTR and more.
The Go Vibrant Veggie Races will return this year. The races,
featuring local media celebrities, will be held Friday, May 23 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Fountain Square.