by Cassie Lipp
131 days ago
Posted In: Food news
at 01:48 PM | Permalink
It’s a Wednesday, and the line at Cuban Pete Sandwiches on Court Street downtown
stretches out the door during lunchtime. Hungry customers don’t mind waiting in
line for the only authentic Cuban cuisine in Cincinnati. The staff is prepared,
having pre-made 50 traditional Cuban sandwiches at the start of their shift.
The restaurant catches the attention of a Cuban man, who cuts all the way to
the front of the line and approaches Nelson Fonticiella.
“This isn’t real Cuban food!” the man tells Fonticiella.
Fonticiella, the restaurant’s owner and general manager, simply tells the surly
customer he has no idea. The man admits he has been looking for authentic Cuban
food in Cincinnati for years. He hasn’t even been able to find a restaurant
that uses Cuban bread for sandwiches.
Of course, he doesn’t believe that the man before him with green eyes, red hair
and freckles is Cuban —not until he samples the piece of bread Fonticiella
gives him. It’s so good that he orders a Cuban sandwich and eats the entire
thing while having a conversation with Fonticiella’s father. Just one sandwich
isn’t enough for him, so he orders a steak sandwich and scarfs it down in the
store before ordering a chicken sandwich to go.
“A real Cuban guy sat there and couldn’t resist eating two of our sandwiches,”
Fonticiella says later. “That’s about as complimentary as it gets.”
He knows for a fact Cuban Pete is the only restaurant in Cincinnati that
serves authentic Cuban bread, which he imports from Miami.
The bread cooks up nice and crisp when sandwiches are pressed, giving them the
perfect filling-to-bread ratio (as opposed to other styles of bread that can
make sandwiches too … bready).
Each week Fonticiella roasts 100 pounds of pork for his sandwiches and tacos. It’s
juicy, tender and flavorful.
“This is authentic as it gets. Besides, I’m cooking in an oven instead of
burying a pig in the ground,” he says with a laugh. “Eventually I’m going to
have to teach someone else how to do it, but I’m having trouble giving up my
secret pork recipe.”
The recipe comes from a leather-bound book he found in his grandmother’s attic
containing all of his great-grandfather’s recipes. Pedro — or Pete, as he was
nicknamed — cooked for his hungry baseball teammates in Cuba. Although he did
not make it to the U.S. when the family immigrated to Florida, his recipes did.
Fonticiella’s grandmother began to teach him how to cook when he was seven
years old. Now, his great-grandfather Pete’s recipes account for half of what
is served at Cuban Pete, including the chicken and steak. The other half are
The idea for Cuban Pete began eight years ago when Fonticiella opened a food
truck in Lexington, Ky. The business moved to Cincinnati three years ago after
Fonticiella frequented the city for concerts and saw the restaurant and music
scenes expanding. So far, he has not regretted his decision to move up north.
“The thing I love about Cincinnati is that everyone who is from here or lives
here is proud as hell to be from Cincinnati,” he says. “Everyone knows the ins
and outs and the history of their city.”
Although he originally intended to open up more Cuban Pete in other cities
such as Indianapolis, Fonticiella has decided to stay put in the Queen City. In
fact, he loves it so much that a second location will open by the end of the
summer. The new store will be located somewhere in northern Cincinnati, he
“I want to take the food and culture that has influenced me my entire life and
share it with places that don’t really have it,” he says. “Cincinnati is the
perfect place to start. Every day, I have people coming up to me telling me
it’s the best sandwich they’ve ever had in their life.”
It’s not just the unique foods that makes Cuban Pete an experience — it’s
also the interaction with the staff and Cuban culture.
“Ninety percent of the time when it’s not busy, you are going to see me sitting
and talking with the customers,” he says as a couple of regulars step into the
restaurant. He greets them by name.
While Fonticiella’s father lives in Lexington, he regularly commutes to
Cincinnati and hang around Cuban Pete. Fonticiella describes his father as
the quintessential loud Cuban; he is always out on the floor talking to
Understandably, customers’ favorite part of Cuban Pete is the food. I enjoyed
the authentic Cuban sandwich as well as the Chicky Boom-Boom sandwich. Seasoned,
marinated chicken is complemented by the perfect combination of sweet jerk
sauce and spicy Sriracha, paired with red onions and tomatoes.
Enjoy hand-cut fries as a side or fried plantains for a sweeter alternative. They’re sweet and enjoyable enough for dessert. You can also get some of Pete’s
amazing pork or chicken on a taco, which comes with pineapple cilantro salsa.
There are also breakfast options and different variations of the Cuban to try,
such as the creative Cincy Cuban with goetta.
The menu will be expanding with healthier options and desserts Feb. 1, with
house-made black bean burgers, salads with homemade dressing, and Tres Leches Cake.
All menu items are reasonably priced, especially considering the quality of the
food. Cuban Pete serves the only authentic Cuban food in Cincinnati, and
Fonticiella goes the extra mile when sourcing his ingredients. He can find his
pork, drinks and ingredients for marinades locally from Jungle Jim’s, Findlay
Market and Restaurant Depot, but the bread and bolo ham come from Florida.
For more information on CUBAN PETE: cubanpetesandwiches.com
by Julia Olmsted
137 days ago
Posted In: Alcohol
at 01:32 PM | Permalink
to fill your stomach before a night out? Love loading up on artisanal
appetizers, fancy finger foods and awesome hors d’oeuvres? Calling all foodies:
these bars are for you.
food is your cup of tea, the Hofbrauhaus in Newport is the place to be. It’s
hard to go wrong with their bier cheese fries or any of the indulgent schnitzel
options — and don’t forget about their legendary beer selection! This local
favorite was the first Hofbrauhaus in America, modeled after the 400+-year-old
original in Germany. So loosen your belt and join in the tradition.200 E. Third St. Newport, Ky.
859-491-7200.$$. Lots of space.
we head to this eclectic Mediterranean bar and grill. Sit down for some tapas
while you experience one of their famous karaoke or trivia
nights, and make sure to check out the calendar for their next live music act.
This place is perfect for a low-stress, high-caliber night out with close
friends, acquaintances you occasionally grab dinner with or a hot date.7454 Beechmont Ave., Anderson,
513-827-9146.$$. Theme nights.
BrewRiver GastroPub – East End
GastroPub has some of the best “bar food” (if you can even call it that) in the
area — they call chicken liver pate a light snack. The head chef, Michael
Shields, spent six years working under Emeril Lagasse: chef extraordinaire and
the star of 12 different cooking shows. If you love New Orleans delicacies and
an incredible beer and wine suggestion for every
meal, then this
authentic establishment is right up your alley.2062 Riverside Dr., East End,
513-861-2484.$$. Live music.
0 Comments · Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Gabriel’s Place, a
center for food education and sustainable community space, empowers high
school students to make healthy meals from the things they can find in
their cupboards or at the corner store; the kind of ingredients most
kids look at and say, “There’s nothing to eat.”
by Jac Kern
at 12:04 PM | Permalink
Movoto Real Estate made a
video introducing 12 West Coasters to five of Ohio’s
favorite dishes. Predictably, the Cincinnati-centric grub gets mass hate by people with extremely sensitive gag reflexes. Here
are the best reactions.
Glier’s Goetta: On its
appearance: “Quinoa sausage?” On its taste: “[I want] an Egg McMuffin with
that.” On its mouth feel: “You can’t choke on it, it just slides right down.”
Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips: “It
almost looks like human skin.” “They probably serve this at, like, games and
shit. Like, ‘I’m at the Reds game in Cincinnati. Cincy!” “Have you ever walked
into an old warehouse and it has, like, that musty smell? That’s what it tastes
Skyline three-way: “Looks
like some jail spaghetti.” “I can see this being like comfort food, but for
some reason it’s not comforting me.”
Sauerkraut Balls: “It
legitimately looks like a poop.” “Like a white person pot sticker”
Buckeyes: Everyone enjoy
this with little verbal reactions except for a couple assholes that collectively hate chocolate and peanut
butter (as well as puppies and sunshine, I’m guessing). A buckeye made them gag.
In the end, how did our
high-brow neighbors to the west feel about Ohioans?
“Turns out they’re just
regular humans like you and me.” There you have it, folks!
It’s unclear whether this
video was created to spark interest in Ohio real estate or remind Midwesterners
that they’ll die fat and unsophisticated if they don’t move to California. Decide
Ohio: Home of regular humans
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 3, 2014
A downtown Cincinnati restaurant delivery
service just made getting dinner easier: With Cincybite, you don’t have
to choose between pizza or Mexican food — they’ll bring you both.
Covington's Commonwealth Bistro promises regional cuisine in a community-oriented space
2 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Commonwealth Bistro has been
two-and-a-half years in the making for Chef Chris Burns and his wife Tess, the duo
who founded The Awesome Collective, an organization that spreads
everything great about the community of Covington.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Some people will go all-out for
Halloween-themed snacks and build monsters out of Jell-o or make
cupcakes that look like black cats, but that takes a lot of effort and
creativity. Here are some fast ideas to whip up some spooky snacks and
cocktails that are pretty decent/thematic.
by Hannah McCartney
Death row inmate found hanged, first in-vitro hamburger served, it's Shark Week!
Ohio death row inmate Billy Slagle, who was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 7 was found hanged in his cell on Sunday. Slagle, who fatally stabbed his neighbor 17 times in 1987, was recently denied clemency by Gov. John Kasich, despite a rare request from prosecutors to have his death sentence commuted to life in prison. CityBeat last week covered the situation here. The restraining order granted last month to Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, the gay Ohio couple who in July flew to Maryland to officially tie the knot after 20 years of marriage, is set to expire today, meaning the judge overseeing the case must either renew the restraining order or issue a preliminary injunction. Arthur, who suffers from debilitating ALS, a neurological disease, is not expected to live much longer, which is why the two are fighting for their marriage to be recognized in their home state; in the case of Arthur’s death, Obergefell wants to be rightfully listed as his “surviving spouse.” The first in-vitro hamburger, made of edible beef cells without actually killing a cow, was served today in London. According to food experts, the mouthfeel is similar to a conventional hamburger, but the traditional fatty flavor is still lacking. A pool of mosquitoes in Dayton's Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first in the region this season. Two Pennsylvania children have been prevented from discussing fracking for the rest of their lives under the terms of a gag order issued to their family in a settlement from drilling company Range Resources, who offered the children's family $750,000 to relocate from their fracking-polluted home, where they suffered from "burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and earaches" and other ailments as a result of their proximity to Range's drilling. It's Shark Week, y'all.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 03:50 PM | Permalink
Food stamp program losing temporary funding boost
With a temporary boost to the federal food stamp program
coming to an end this November, more than 1.8 million Ohioans — 16 percent of the state’s population — will receive significantly less food aid, according to an Aug. 2
report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
The report calculates that the cut is the equivalent to
taking away 21 meals per month for a family of four. After the cut,
the food stamp program will provide each person with less than $1.40 per meal,
according to CBPP’s calculations.
Citing research from the USDA that shows many low-income
families still fail to meet basic standards for food security, CBPP says
the cuts will hit families that arguably need more, not less, help:
“Given this research and the growing awareness of the inadequacy of the
current SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit
allotments, we can reasonably assume that a reduction in SNAP benefit
levels of this size will significantly increase the number of poor
households that have difficulty affording adequate food this fall.”
Although the federal food stamp program has been cut
before, it’s never been cut to this extent, according to CBPP. “There
have been some cuts in specific states, but these cuts have not
typically been as large or affected as many people as what will occur
this November,” the report reads.
The reductions could also have a broader economic impact:
Every $1 increase in food aid generates about $1.70 in economic
activity, according to progressive think tank Policy Matters Ohio.
“Ohio’s foodbanks and hunger charities cannot respond to
increasing hunger on their own,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive
director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, in a statement released
by Policy Matters. “SNAP takes Ohioans out of our food pantry lines and
puts them into grocery store checkout lines. It provides supplemental
food to the most vulnerable among us. Now is not the time to further
reduce this already modest assistance to struggling families.”
About 48 percent of Cincinnati children are in poverty, according to a 2011 study from the National Center for Children in Poverty. Despite that, city funding to human services that benefits low-income families has been cut throughout the past decade. CityBeat covered that issue in greater detail here.
The cut to the federal food stamp program kicks in
automatically in November instead of the original April 2014 sunset date
as a result of laws passed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and
Congress. Obama and congressional Democrats are now urging legislation
that would remedy the situation, but it’s unlikely anything will pass
the gridlocked Congress.
Republicans are preparing a bill that would further cut
the food stamp program, which they see as too generous and expensive.
From Fox News:
“Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana and Kristi Noem of South Dakota, two
Republicans who helped design the bill, said the legislation would find
the savings by tightening eligibility standards and imposing new work
requirements. It would also likely try to reduce the rolls by requiring
drug testing and barring convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles
from receiving food stamps.”