Taste of Cincinnati organizers reveal 2017 Best of Taste winners

CINCINNATI – The Taste of Cincinnati, set to take place May 27-29, will return for its 39th year with new food vendors, new features and a slightly different location.

Organizers announced in March that Taste would move two blocks east on Fifth Street, from Main Street to Sentinel, and beyond to the ramps of I-71 and Columbia Parkway to accommodate the streetcar route. On Wednesday, Taste organizers revealed a new addition, the Taste of Findlay Market, to this year’s food festival, as well as this year's Best of Taste winners. 

What's new?

The Taste of Findlay Market, which will feature longtime food vendors from Findlay Market and “foodpreneurs” from restaurant incubator Findlay Kitchen, will be located on the Fifth Street ramp to I-71. It will serve freshly prepared dishes from a rotating group of vendors each day of the festival.  

The Food Truck Alley, which will feature 18 food trucks, is also moving to a new location this year. It will shift to the Fifth Street ramp to Columbia Parkway. Rhinegeist is sponsoring the alley, which Taste first added in 2015.

Covington's Braxton Brewing will sponsor its own beer garden in P&G Gardens. A signature Taste of Cincinnati cocktail in a commemorative glass also will be offered for the first time.

New restaurants at this year’s Taste include Che, Island Frydays, Joella’s Hot Chicken, Mazunte, Rivertown Brewery and Barrel House, Saigon Subs & Rolls, Sammy's Craft Burgers and Beers, Sawasdee Thai Cuisine and Tickle Pickle. New food trucks include the Chili Hut, Hungry Bros., Sweets & Meats BBQ and Wicked Hickory.

Best of Taste winners

Best of Taste awards traditionally honor Taste of Cincinnati restaurants in five categories: best entree, best appetizer, soup-salad-side, best go Vibrant healthy option and best dessert. For a second year, Taste organizers also recognized food trucks in the following categories: best dessert, best appetizer, best go Vibrant healthy option and best entrée.

Organizers invited members from local news outlets and friends of Taste of Cincinnati to judge entries for each of the Best of Taste categories. Winners are listed below.

Food Truck Best Appetizer

First place:  The Stroll from Adena’s Beefstroll
Second place: Mini chicken quesadilla from Red Sesame
Third place: The Kevin Bacon from Hungry Bros.

Food Truck Best Soup-Salad-Side

First place: Jalapeno macaroni and cheese from Packhouse
Second place: Tostones from Empanadas Aqui
Third place: Candied braised Brussel sprouts from Urban Vistro

Food Truck Best go Vibrant!

First place: Lamb slider from Hungry Bros.
Second place: Korean BBQ taco from Red Sesame
Third place: Hairy empanada from Empanadas Aqui

Food Truck Best Entrée

First place: Hand-battered cod platter from Alabama Fish Bar
Tie for second place: Ahi tuna tacos from Urban Vistro and bangin’ shrimp tacos with chipotle slaw from Best Thing Smokin’
Third place: Hickory smoked brisket taco with island slaw from Wicked Hickory

Restaurant Best Dessert

First place: Crème brulee from Market Street Grille
Second place: Chocolate, peanut butter and mascarpone cheesecake from Alfio’s buon cibo
Third place: Cannoli from Pompilio’s

Restaurant Best Appetizer

First place: Crab cake from Market Street Grille
Second place: Jerk chicken pasta from Island Frydays
Third place: Risotto balls from Pompilio’s

Restaurant Best Soup-Salad-Side

First place: Birra Chiarra Italian Greens from Rivertown Brewery & Barrelhouse
Second place: Sidewinder fries from Market Street Grille
Third place: Mandy's Che' chili from Che’

Restaurant Best go Vibrant!

First place: Silver Ladle salad from Silver Ladle
Second place: Spicy chicken wrap from Market Street Grille
Third place: Buns n Roses from Tickle Pickle

Restaurant Best Entrée

First place: Pulled pork sandwich with barbecue sauce and coleslaw from Eli’s BBQ
Second place: Jerk chicken with rice and peas from Island Frydays
Third place: Bacon jelly slider from Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beers

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