Anyone who reads CityBeat’s dining section knows that we try not to cheerlead for restaurants unless they truly deserve it. We’re honest in our assessments, and that’s what gives our dining section credibility.
One thing that’s part of our dining coverage’s philosophy, though, especially under my watch, is that we lean towards local. There are so many great locally owned and operated restaurants here in our fair city that I don’t need to encourage you to spend your dining dollars at big chains. Their corporate office has an ad budget to tell you all about their products — they don’t need my help!
So we’re focusing this issue of the Dining Guide on one of this area’s astonishing assets — our many, varied local, independent restaurants.
What do they do best? Heritage, authenticity, hospitality — we’ve got it.
I cringe when I hear that people take out-of-town visitors to a chain. I’m gonna bet they have that same chain where they live, too! What’s unique about it? What does it say about our city? How much does it help our economy? Our local restaurants buy from local stores. Local folks clean them, wash their linens, sell them flowers for their tables, do their valet parking. Local artists show their art on the walls. Local musicians play there. Support them and the benefits for our community are endless.
Nothing but chains in your neighborhood? I don’t believe that. I’ve discovered surprisingly delicious homemade food in all sorts of odd places. Somewhere near where you live or work, there’s a diner with a blue-plate special, a taqueria with its own special spicy salsa or a sandwich shop that uses excellent locally baked bread. Find it and support it. It won’t be more expensive than the corporate competition. Maybe they only serve breakfast now, but if lots of their regulars start asking them to open for dinner on weekends, they just might.
You don’t have to be a locavore, a gourmet or a foodie. Read CityBeat, or local blogs or just ask around. You’ll discover a place that serves a meal that wasn’t trucked in from a factory. If not, then you live in a great location to start a restaurant. Let me know when you do, and we’ll write about it. Customers will pound down your door.
Greater Cincinnati is fortunate to have more than its fair share of independent restaurants with something to brag about, and I hope that our 2011 Dining Guide — and CityBeat’s continuing weekly coverage — will help you find and support your favorite.
Terry's Turf Club burger pictured above.