The Taste of Cincinnati is about food. And the food at this year's festival is about diversity, according to the Regional Chamber's Brendon Cull.
"This is who we are as a community and it's who we want to be. When a visitor comes to see Taste of Cincinnati they'll see all the diversity that this region has to offer. That's a really special part of the weekend," Cull said at a preview event Tuesday.
He says it's not an accident that nearly half of the 18 food trucks and 33 restaurants participating are either minority- or immigrant-owned.
"We have more restaurants than we can fit in the event. What's great is we have an incredible high-quality selection of restaurants from all over the region that want to participate in this. It's certainly something that we know that to attract a wide variety and diversity of people to Taste of Cincinnati we have a lot of different food options available."
Cull says a diverse festival is a reflection of a diverse community.
"If you come to Taste you see all of the diversity that Cincinnati has to offer. You see that in the people that are there, and you see that in the food options that are available. It showcases us as a city that has international roots and is welcoming and has a great variety of options."
This year's Taste of Cincinnati is May 26 through the 28, on Fifth Street, between Main and Sentinel Streets.
On Tuesday, the Chamber announced the Best of Taste winners:
Food Truck Best Dessert:
Third Place: Hungry Bros. – Fried Cheesecake
Second Place: Marty’s Waffles – Belgian Sugar Waffle with fresh sliced strawberries and whipped cream
First Place: SugarSnap! – “Make it a Sundae” Brownie
Food Truck Best Appetizer:
Third Place: Best Thing Smokin’ – Smoked Pulled Pork Sliders
Second Place: Red Sesame – Mini Quesadilla
First Place: Adena’s Beefstroll – The Stroll
Food Truck Best Soup-Salad-Side:
Third Place: Hungry Bros. – The Kevin Bacon Ranch
Second Place: Wicked Hickory – Brisket Mac
First Place: Packhouse – Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
Food Truck Best go Vibrant!:
Third Place: streetpops – Pineapple Strawberry Swirl Streetpop
Second Place: Hungry Bros. – Chicken Schwarma Slider
First Place: streetpops – Pineapple Passionfruit Streetpop
(go Vibrant! menu items adhere to the American Heart Association per-serving standards of 6.5 grams or less of total fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat, a half gram or less of trans fat, 20 milligrams or less of cholesterol, and 480 milligrams or less of sodium.)
Food Truck Best Entrée:
Third Place: Empanadas Aqui – Bad Girl Empanada
Second Place: Slice Slice Baby – Ballpark Sausage Pizza
First Place: Adena’s Beefstroll – Ma’s Meatball Sub
Restaurant Best Dessert:
Tied for Third Place: Pompilios – Tiramisu Cannoli
McCormick & Schmick’s - Cinnamon and Sugar Shubert Roll
Second Place: Market Street Grille – Crème Brulee
First Place: Alfio’s Buon Cibo – Chocolate Raspberry Tiramisu
Restaurant Best Appetizer:
Third Place: Market Street Grille – Crab Cake
Second Place: Thai Taste – Crab Rangoon
First Place: Island Frydays – Jerk Chicken Pasta
Restaurant Best Soup-Salad-Side:
Third Place: McCormick & Schmick’s – Watermelon Gazpacho
Tied for Second Place: Market Street Grille – Sidewinder Fries
Delicio – Pepperoni Pasta Salad
First Place: Tickle Pickle – Mac & Cheese with crushed BBQ Grippo’s
Restaurant Best go Vibrant!:
Third Place: Tickle Pickle – Black Bean Burger
Second Place: Market Street Grille – Spicy Chicken Wrap
First Place: Silver Ladle – Silver Ladle Salad
Restaurant Best Entrée:
Third Place: Tickle Pickle – Jalapeno Jam Burger
Second Place: Island Frydays – Caribbean BBQ Wings with Yellow Rice and Mixed Vegetables
First Place: Alfio’s Buon Cibo – Veal Short Rib Ravioli