Ohio is probably known more for its football than cuisine, but there are hidden gems all across the Buckeye State. While everyone has probably heard of Ohio’s famous “Graeter’s” Ice Cream, there are way more fun foods to try! Here are the top 5 foods you didn’t think to try in Ohio.
Goetta – Do you love sausage? Delicious, glorious sausage that usually comes in a patty-like form but sometimes in casings? When coming to Cincinnati, forget the chili with cinnamon and get goetta (pronounced get-uh). Cincinnatians love their geotta so much they even have a Goettafest every year (well it’s in Covington, Kentucky, which is basically Cincinnati. We’ll overlook that). The legendary sausage usually comes in a rectangle patty and is fantastic on its own or in omelets. It’s tough to find a restaurant in Cincinnati that doesn’t serve goetta, but you can pick up some Glier’s (the most-loved brand) and bring it home as a souvenir!
Paczki –While a lot of Ohio’s food is steeped in a German tradition, Cleveland is home to a strong history of Polish and Slavic immigrants. Thank god for this because they brought delicious paczki (pronounced poonch-key) with them. Paczki is basically a donut but the city of Cleveland enables the gorging on Paczki behavior with Paczki Day. When you’re looking to avoid the crowd go to any of the traditional Polish bakeries in Cleveland’s Slavic Village any day but Paczki Day!
Anything at ‘Melt’ – Did you drink too many Great Lakes beers last night? Do you have a crazy hangover that can only be cured with cheesy, greasy goodness? You need to go to Melt. With five locations in the Cleveland and Columbus area there is plenty of classic comfort food to go around. This seriously buzzed-about restaurant specializes in crazy grilled cheeses from the Parmageddon with pierogis in the middle, to the lasagna-sandwiched Godfather.
A giant sandwich and fresh pickles from ‘Katzinger’s’ – When you think Columbus, Ohio you probably don’t think about delicious delis, but you maybe haven’t been to Katzinger’s. This deli serves up huge sandwiches that rival the best delis in New York City. You can even try the sandwich Bill Clinton had at Katzinger’s called “President Bill’s Day at the Deli.” The best part of the experience is the free dill and garlic pickles to snack on while you wait for your sandwich!
Chicken and waffles from ‘Taste of Belgium’ – In the super trendy Over-the-Rhine (OTR) area of Cincinnati is Taste of Belgium. You might think this is a great time to get crepes or something a little more Belgian – but don’t do it. Get the chicken and waffles. The waffle is unlike anything you have ever had at a hotel continental breakfast. It is so fluffy and dense it’s sinful. Then they top it with a breaded chicken breast with maple syrup and (here’s the twist) hot sauce that forms an unexpectedly incredible flavor combination. Try it.
Hailey Mahan is a freelance writer, web developer, and storyteller. An Ohio native, she's a graduate of Northwestern's School of Journalism in Chicago.