Lauded by Cincinnati magazine and CityBeat, Tony's of Cincinnati intrigues tongues with a menu loaded with specialty steaks and seafood platters. Start fresh feasts with selections from the raw bar, such as shrimp cocktail ($16) or oysters in the half shell ($2.50 each), which recount tales of the sea that Herman Melville would require twelve-hundred pages to tell. Nine ounces of juicy, center-cut filet mignon glisten next to a choice of potato ($34), and organic Scottish salmon intermingles internationally with Tuscan cannelloni-bean ragu and tomato-chardonnay broth ($30). Like a cherry atop a pile of cherries, crown the mouthwatering feast with homemade cannoli, whose crisp shell and creamy fillings take teeth for a last hurrah.
A family-owned and operated business, Cheezburger Cafe's menu of fresh, hand-formed burgers, hand-cut fries, and sweet shakes made with real ice cream smothers hunger like a flaming match doused in a tub of yogurt. A wide range of specialty burgers dominate center stage, with the Mainliner with Swiss cheese, tartar sauce, and lettuce ($4.39); the BLT & E burger with bacon, fried egg, lettuce, and tomato ($4.99); and the notoriously massive Triple Threat Pounder ($8.99) taking burgered bliss to strange new places, especially when washed down with a regular banana-split shake ($3.99) or one of Cheezburger's other 34 shaked-milk varieties (including cookie dough, Oreo fudge mint, and Creamsicle). Hungry diners and real live bears, meanwhile, can add tasty sides such as the small or basket-size Cajun Fuji fries ($1.99 for a small/$2.99 for a basket), seasoned waffle fries ($1.99/$2.99), or homemade onion straws ($3.95).
At Toot's, neon lights illuminate the sports jerseys hanging on the walls and rafters. Though it bills itself as a kid-friendly sports bar, Toot's allegiance does not lie with any one team, meaning all sports fans are welcome here, whether they support the Bulls, Tigers, or Fighting Unicorns. With flat-screen TVs scattered throughout, guests can keep their eyes on the game and their hands on the food as they nosh on wings, nachos, and fried pickles. More substantial bites can be had with half-pound burgers and baskets of fried shrimp and catfish.
Blue Chip Cookies’ delectables have sated the toothsome taste buds of dessert-deprived sugar mongers for more than 25 years. The handmade chewy rounds are concocted with real butter, premium Guittard and Ghiradelli chocolate, and pure cane sugar. Blue Chip's recipes contain no artificial preservatives or trans fats. Sink teeth into a variety of the shop’s signature cookies ($7.50 for a half-dozen; $13 for a dozen), including chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, and Blue Chip joy, a tasty trifecta of coconut, almonds, and chocolate chips—all mingling, networking, and schmoozing to be the cookie’s number-one ingredient. Pint-sized confections can be paired with a sip from Blue Chip Cookies’ drinkable menu, featuring steaming cups of gourmet coffee ($1.85 for a large) made from freshly roasted coffee beans ($14 for a one-pound bag) and fruit-packed smoothies ($2.75 for a medium), perfect for cooling off scorching mouth pipes or recently-branded tongues recovering from your knitting group's controversial initiation ritual.
Bucks Tavern combines the atmosphere of a cozy neighborhood sports bar with the menu of a locally minded gastropub. Start with an order of crispy potato skins—stuffed with cheese, bacon, and scallions, and served with sour cream ($9)—or a bowl of Bucks' homemade beef chili ($5) before tempting your taste buds into swimming up-tongue with a grilled-salmon salad (baby spinach, provolone, tomatoes, candied walnuts, and hard-boiled egg, topped with Atlantic salmon, $13). A hand-breaded, all-natural whitefish sandwich ($8.50) will satisfy lunchtime customers who suspiciously resemble a flock of seagulls in a trench coat. Even pub staples are delivered with an upscale twist. The grilled cheese showcases creamy havarti, tomato, fresh basil, and a drop of honey on a pedestal of wheatberry toast ($7), and Dan's burger tops a hand-sculpted beef patty with pepper jack, bacon, fried-onion straws, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce ($8). All sandwiches come with a side of Bucks’ slaw or seasoned fries—the raffish, fast-living, smooth-talking brother of waffle fries. A children's menu, meanwhile, delights toy-humans with favorites such as sliders, chicken fingers, and mac ‘n’ cheese, all served with a side of fries.
Melodie's Coffee Café sates grumbling tummies with a menu brimming with traditional and specialty beverages, baked pastry treats, and daily lunch specials. Caffeinate sleepy souls with the italian cappuccino ($2.30 for a 6 oz.), coat throats with an iced chai tea ($3.30 for 12 oz.), or indulge in the sweet stylings of a Milky Way constructed from espresso, steamed milk, and a caramel galaxy swimming with 400 billion chocolate stars ($3.80 for 12 oz.). Inner food processors howling for heavier dishes can fuel up with one of Melodie's specialty dishes including hot paninis, soups, salads, and belgian waffles (only on Saturday and Sundays). For a sweeter treat, bite into a cinnamon roll ($2.75) or lick away a cake-cone-swaddling soft-serve ice cream ($1.60–$1.90).