Queen City Cookies, baked in Cincinnati. Kinkead Ridge wines from Ripley. Riehle’s Select colorful popcorns from Southern Indiana. The shelves at Keegan’s Specialty Seafood Market read like an atlas of the region. The range of seafood, on the other hand, travels from around the world each day, the fresh tubs of ice brimming with sunset-hued king crab legs and live oysters. With Carabello Coffee and locally crafted wines from Kinkead Ridge filling the shop with earthy aromas and revelry, chefs in the kitchen craft a host of prepared foods. There, clams simmer in a creamy chowder base, a smoker cooks tuna belly and mahi mahi at low temperatures, and whisks dream of being used as anything other than an imaginary microphone.
The aromas of fresh-baked pita in clay ovens, char-grilled kebabs, and homemade baklava mingle and waft through Istanbul Cafe's bright turquoise dining room replete with Turkish wall hangings. To ensure authentic Mediterranean and Turkish flavors, the chefs do as much food preparation in house as possible, from spearing fresh kebabs daily to hand making desserts from scratch to carving gyros meat right off a spinning gyroscope. The baked eggplant comes stuffed with lamb, tomatoes, peppers, and and herbs served with sauteed seasonal vegetables and basmati rice. Seated around tables, patrons may sip steaming mugs of turkish coffee and tea or uncork their own bottles of wine toted from home.
Kroeger and Sons, as its name might imply, has been family owned and operated since 1972, though it recently passed to a new family equally dedicated to the art of the sausage. The meat market offers some 40 different varieties of sausage every day. Load up on Kroeger and Sons' super lean hand-made chicken sausages ($5.99/lb), southern sagey breakfast links ($3.29/lb), or hand-packed German franks in natural casing ($4.99/lb). Break out of the sheath with a whole pork roast ($4.89/lb), piggy chops stuffed with cornbread ($4.49/lb), and thick- or thin-cut hickory-smoked bacon ($3.99/lb). If you're still beneath your daily pork quota and need one more pig tick to satisfy your bacon boss, then nosh into Kroeger's extra-thick baby back ribs ($5.89/lb).
Voted the best stop for chocoholics by Ohio magazine, the Dayton-based Esther Price infuses its old-fashioned chocolate concoctions with dairy-fresh cream and butter—pairing rich cocoa with several fruity and savory flavors. Sample an array of aromas with the 18-ounce light and dark assorted chocolates ($12.30), with each box containing a sampling of Esther Price's most popular pieces—coconut cream, peanut butter cream, caramel pecans, cherries, almond toppers, and more. Other options include the chocolate-coated pretzels ($9.75), which come dipped in light or white chocolate, and the 8-ounce sweetheart mints ($7.55), which offer a decadent way to freshen one's breath before a hoverboat driving test. For those who prefer their sweets minus the sucrose, the confectionary also offers plenty of sugar-free options. Tentative tasters can use the Esther Price candy key to determine what flavors are contained within each morsel before tasting.
The Herb Shop advocates holistic health care with a brimming supply of natural supplements and herbal formulas. Owner and horticultural curist Shelton Hendriex cultivated The Herb Shop after finding solace and alleviation in alternative medicine. Meander past the multitude of natural remedies such as St. John's wort ($24.40 for 60 tabs), echinacea purpurea ($33.70 for 180 caps), and valerian root ($15.75 for 100 caps). From ear infections to thyroid disorders, the knowledgeable staff at The Herb Shop can suggest an herbal aid to soothe the symptoms of many common conditions.