Best Of 2017

Best of Cincinnati 2017: CityBeat's annual ode to the best people, places, businesses, eats and arts in town, as chosen by readers and staff

Best of Cincinnati 2017

Last year, CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati issue turned 20. That’s two decades of recognizing the best people, places, organizations and things happening in our treasured river town — as voted on by readers and pontificated upon by our intrepid team of Cincy-loving staffers.

While turning 20 was a big deal, turning 21 is more fun: It means we’re finally old enough to drink at another alt-leaning local mainstay, The Comet, Northside’s Rock & Roll burrito bar (featured here) — which just so happens to also be commemorating two decades this year.

Plenty has changed since we launched this project back in 1996, but much has stayed the same. Local creatives are still pushing against our lessening yet ever-present conservative cultural backdrop. Art and cultural institutions, restaurants and retail options continue to make Cincinnati a true gem among its peer cities. And our neighborhoods are changing in dynamic, if often complicated, ways. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is the format of this humble collection of Cincinnati highlights: a combination of reader picks and staff favorites. Our high-tech readers’ poll is more engaging than ever (mobile access > mail-in ballots), and the hip city we’ve become has made writing up hundreds of staff-chosen picks easier than ever. 

As we unveil the winners of this year’s readers’ poll and offer up our takes on the best of the past year, we’ll also reflect on the aforementioned Northside bar The Comet, whose staying power can be traced at least in part to the fact that it has barely changed over the years. We also look back on a busy year for acclaimed chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, who has been here since the early 1990s and just opened three eateries in 2016. And we point your attention to the quaint town of Rabbit Hash, established in 1847, whose century-old General Store has been remade after a crippling fire — into exactly what it was before. 

Becoming a sage adult, we’ve seen the ebbs and flows of the city and rallied behind its people, history, businesses and causes. In this year’s 164-page Best of Cincinnati issue — our biggest yet — we hope you enjoy reflecting on both where Cincinnati has been and where it is going. 

— DANNY CROSS AND MAIJA ZUMMO, PROJECT EDITORS