Murray’s Cincinnati Cheese Festival City Guide: Our Favorite Cincinnati Haunts

cincy guide mapWe’re gearing up for the first ever Cincinnati Cheese Festival, and we hope to see you there. On Friday, November 6, dozens of the country’s best cheese and specialty food producers will show off their most delicious treats in Over-the-Rhine…and hundreds of Cincinnatians will gather for great food, drink, and community festivities.

Our home base is New York City, but we spend a whole lot of time around the country–from Arkansas to Oregon to Alaska–where we have 250 Murray’s stores and counting. Cincinnati is the site of the first Murray’s location outside of NYC, and the place where we launched our partnership with Kroger. The city has a special place in our hearts and bellies. We love Cincy, and we spend a lot of time here selling cheese and taking breaks for tacos and other deliciousness. Here are some of our trusty favorites, and the first of an upcoming series of City Guides–the scoop on places where we love to eat and explore.

What are your favorite spots? Snap ’em—or better yet, you enjoying them—& tag #saycheesecincinnati

Without further ado…the Cincinnati City Guide!

The Eagle: A beer hall with fried chicken that makes us all weak in the knees. Free range birds are brined, dredged, then dropped into custom-built fryers. Pair with cheddar grits, if you’re smart.

1342 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH

Moerlein Lager House: They brew (great) beer here, and their selection of Cincinnati-brewed beers is nothing short of awesome. For sustenance: pillowy soft pretzels with beer cheese.

115 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH

graetersGraeters: A lot has changed in 140 years since Graters began, but the fam biz still makes ice cream two gallons at a time, with the French Pot Process for unreal creaminess. Just say yes to Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

Many locations (thank the ice cream Gods)

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse: Sometimes the New Yorker in us will settle for nothing less than a dry-aged New York Strip in a wonderfully clubby, old-school steakhouse. Even better with Maytag Blue Cheese Butter.

700 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OHDerby Weekend at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse (Derby Eve)

Metropole: In Cincinnati’s 21c Museum Hotel, Chef Jared Bennett makes magic in his custom-built wood-burning fireplace. His smoky blue cheese-topped burger: OMG. Plus there are big yellow penguins, so.

609 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH

Skyline Chili: The original, with chocolate as the not-so-secret ingredient. Chili + spaghetti + cheddar is a three-way. Add onions or red beans for a four-way, or both for a five-way, if you like it kinky.

skylineMany locations (thank the chocolaty chili Gods)

Fifty West Brewing Company: The 50 West Brewing folks craft upward of a dozen beers, and they’re mighty tasty. So is their Hot Brown sandwich: turkey, bacon, and tomato, topped with a gruyere and an over easy egg.

7668 Wooster Pike, Cincinnati, OH

Bakersfield: Taco joy, plus over 100 tequilas and American whiskeys in a pretty, lively spot. So many brilliant choices! The braised short rib taco, with queso fresco, radish and crema is no joke.

1213 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OHbakersfield


In the back of this low-key, sexy spot, cooks roll out seemingly endless sheets of handmade pasta. Order the gemelli con pomodoro with san marzano tomatoes, arugula, and burrata that oozes as if weeping with joy.

118 East Sixth Street, Cincinnati, OH

Senate: This trendy OTR mecca makes hot dogs that top the best hot dogs ever list, plus killer poutine with local cheese curds. Try the Lindsay Lohan: a beef dog with

goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, balsamic…and tons of drama.

1212 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH

A Tavola: Wood-fired pizza, great wines, craft beer, and yummy cocktails. Sweet pea, bacon and fontina pizza is something beautiful, even by New York pizza snob standards.

1220 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza - Bar from Mezzanine
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza – Bar from Mezzanine

The Bar at the Hilton Netherlands Hotel: We love a snazzy hotel one. This elegant Art Deco spot is full of gorgeous details. We’ve drunk many a Manhattan at the huge bar. Say hi to the bartender with the incredible hairstyle.

35 W 5th St, Cincinnati, OH

Great American Ballpark: The home of the Cincinnati Red’s is also a bona fide food and drink destination. Keep it simple and soul-satisfying with pork loin back ribs from Montgomery Inn. Plus a side of mac and cheese, of course.

100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH

Taste of Belgium: Respect the waffle. Start your day with a McWaffle:

egg, bacon, Gruyère, maple syrup. End it with waffles, crunchy fried chicken and hot sauce. Take home some waffles for midnight snacking.

1135 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH

Newport Hoffbrauhaus:  We once stumbled on a German folk celebration here. The men danced with sausages around their necks and we ate schnitzel bigger than our heads topped with beer cheese. Plus, fried pickles.

200 E 3rd St, Newport, KY

Rheingeist Brewery: Built in the the skeleton of the old Moerlein bottling plant, these guys brew 20bbl batches of beer that sing with flavor. Play some cornhole and ping pong, or throw an epic party in their 25,000 sqaure foot space.

1910 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH