August 02, 2019

25 Essential Northern Kentucky Restaurants You Should Have Tried By Now

It’s easy for Cincinnati foodies to focus all their energy on the city proper, but there are plenty of top-notch establishments on the other side of the river that deserve love. From decades-old joints to hip new eateries, here’s a list of 25 Northern Kentucky restaurants you don’t want to miss the next time you venture south of the Ohio River.
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Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
336 Monmouth St., Newport; 1990D Northbend Road, Hebron
Strong's Brick Oven Pizza has become a local favorite since opening their first location in Newport in 2012. Known for their chewy, charred crust and flavorful sauce, they have been voted Northern Kentucky's best pizza every year since 2014 by Northern Kentucky Magazine. Their first Ohio location is now open in Reading.
Photo: Khoi Nguyen

Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria

336 Monmouth St., Newport; 1990D Northbend Road, Hebron
Strong's Brick Oven Pizza has become a local favorite since opening their first location in Newport in 2012. Known for their chewy, charred crust and flavorful sauce, they have been voted Northern Kentucky's best pizza every year since 2014 by Northern Kentucky Magazine. Their first Ohio location is now open in Reading.
Photo: Khoi Nguyen
Dixie Chili
733 Monmouth St., Newport; 3716 Dixie Highway, Erlanger; 2421 Madison Ave., Covington
With a location in Newport, another in Covington and one in Erlanger, Dixie has become an integral part of Northern Kentucky culture; each location a local landmark in its own right. Traditionally, Dixie’s offerings are dominated by their Wisconsin cheddar, and the garlic is a great counterbalance to the dairy, making it one of the area’s favorite chili joints. 
Founded in 1929 by “Papa Nick,” Dixie Chili has classic, secret-ingredient Cincinnati-style chili with cheese and onions on spaghetti.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Dixie Chili

733 Monmouth St., Newport; 3716 Dixie Highway, Erlanger; 2421 Madison Ave., Covington
With a location in Newport, another in Covington and one in Erlanger, Dixie has become an integral part of Northern Kentucky culture; each location a local landmark in its own right. Traditionally, Dixie’s offerings are dominated by their Wisconsin cheddar, and the garlic is a great counterbalance to the dairy, making it one of the area’s favorite chili joints. Founded in 1929 by “Papa Nick,” Dixie Chili has classic, secret-ingredient Cincinnati-style chili with cheese and onions on spaghetti.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Walt’s Hitching Post
3300 Madison Pike, Fort Wright
Walt’s Hitching Post is a kick-back, casual place where everybody knows your name. Open in some iteration since 1942, classic menu items include Walt’s Legendary Fried Chicken, country fried steak with white-pepper-bacon gravy and fried chicken livers. All steaks are dusted with a unique seasoning blend and charred to perfection at 850 degrees, and on Fridays, Kosher-salt encrusted prime rib is on special — while it lasts. 
Photo: Paige Deglow

Walt’s Hitching Post

3300 Madison Pike, Fort Wright
Walt’s Hitching Post is a kick-back, casual place where everybody knows your name. Open in some iteration since 1942, classic menu items include Walt’s Legendary Fried Chicken, country fried steak with white-pepper-bacon gravy and fried chicken livers. All steaks are dusted with a unique seasoning blend and charred to perfection at 850 degrees, and on Fridays, Kosher-salt encrusted prime rib is on special — while it lasts.
Photo: Paige Deglow
La Mexicana
642 Monmouth St., Newport
Home of some of the city’s best tacos: tacos al pastor with deliciously marinated pork shoulder, barbacoa, carne asada, lengua (tongue) and sesos (brains; they wash down perfectly with a cerveza). For vegetarians, wide-ranging fillings include seasoned pumpkin flower, corn truffle, hongos, beans and queso fresco. This inexpensive and authentic menu has been known to incite cravings after as little as one visit.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

La Mexicana

642 Monmouth St., Newport
Home of some of the city’s best tacos: tacos al pastor with deliciously marinated pork shoulder, barbacoa, carne asada, lengua (tongue) and sesos (brains; they wash down perfectly with a cerveza). For vegetarians, wide-ranging fillings include seasoned pumpkin flower, corn truffle, hongos, beans and queso fresco. This inexpensive and authentic menu has been known to incite cravings after as little as one visit.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Hofbräuhaus
200 E. Third St., Newport
Newport is home to the first authentic German Hofbräuhaus in America, modeled after the legendary Munich location. Traditionally decorated rooms, beer brewed on-site (in line with the German Purity Law “Reinheitsgebot,” using only hops, malt and water), a huge biergarten and German dishes make this a fun dining option. Servers bring you your schnitzel and wurst in traditional German garb and there’s live music almost every night. 
Photo: Susan Keller

Hofbräuhaus

200 E. Third St., Newport
Newport is home to the first authentic German Hofbräuhaus in America, modeled after the legendary Munich location. Traditionally decorated rooms, beer brewed on-site (in line with the German Purity Law “Reinheitsgebot,” using only hops, malt and water), a huge biergarten and German dishes make this a fun dining option. Servers bring you your schnitzel and wurst in traditional German garb and there’s live music almost every night.
Photo: Susan Keller
Riverside Korean Restaurant
512 Madison Ave., Covington
For authentic Korean dishes, Riverside Korean Restaurant is an excellent choice. They offer traditional rice-based, steaming hot dolsot bibimbap with mixed vegetables, a sunny-side-up egg and your choice of beef, chicken or tofu. All entrées are served with a delightful selection of traditional side dishes called ban chan.
Photo via Facebook.com/RiversideKoreanRestaurant

Riverside Korean Restaurant

512 Madison Ave., Covington
For authentic Korean dishes, Riverside Korean Restaurant is an excellent choice. They offer traditional rice-based, steaming hot dolsot bibimbap with mixed vegetables, a sunny-side-up egg and your choice of beef, chicken or tofu. All entrées are served with a delightful selection of traditional side dishes called ban chan.
Photo via Facebook.com/RiversideKoreanRestaurant
York Street Cafe
738 York St., Newport
Built in the 1880s, the building holds a beautifully decorated eclectic café, a lounge with live music and an art gallery, along with a terribly romantic garden patio. Order a Conversation Board, with samplings of different appetizers, and let the words flow. A great place for a first date since 1997. 
Photo: Paige Deglow

York Street Cafe

738 York St., Newport
Built in the 1880s, the building holds a beautifully decorated eclectic café, a lounge with live music and an art gallery, along with a terribly romantic garden patio. Order a Conversation Board, with samplings of different appetizers, and let the words flow. A great place for a first date since 1997.
Photo: Paige Deglow
Libby’s Southern Comfort
35 W. Eighth St., Covington
This Southern-inspired restaurant located in Covington offers an incredible menu along with a full bar boasting antique bourbons and boozy slushies, plus a super brunch selection (hello goetta hush puppies). Snag a seat inside where soft light pours in from the massive windows, or take a seat on the beautiful patio.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Libby’s Southern Comfort

35 W. Eighth St., Covington
This Southern-inspired restaurant located in Covington offers an incredible menu along with a full bar boasting antique bourbons and boozy slushies, plus a super brunch selection (hello goetta hush puppies). Snag a seat inside where soft light pours in from the massive windows, or take a seat on the beautiful patio.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Greyhound Tavern
2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell
The Greyhound Tavern has offered down-home comfort food to Northern Kentuckians since the 1920s. The atmosphere is pleasantly country-fied, with wood paneling, vinyl tablecloths and multiple fireplaces, and so is the menu. The tavern is known for its herbed secret-recipe fried chicken, available daily with family-style specials on Mondays and Tuesdays and a starring role on the Sunday brunch buffet, which also features a carving station, casseroles, goetta, biscuits, mashed potatoes and other hearty fare. 
Photo via Facebook.com/GreyhoundTavern

Greyhound Tavern

2500 Dixie Highway, Fort Mitchell
The Greyhound Tavern has offered down-home comfort food to Northern Kentuckians since the 1920s. The atmosphere is pleasantly country-fied, with wood paneling, vinyl tablecloths and multiple fireplaces, and so is the menu. The tavern is known for its herbed secret-recipe fried chicken, available daily with family-style specials on Mondays and Tuesdays and a starring role on the Sunday brunch buffet, which also features a carving station, casseroles, goetta, biscuits, mashed potatoes and other hearty fare.
Photo via Facebook.com/GreyhoundTavern
Fessler’s Legendary Pizza & Hoagies
343 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
Originally named Pasquale’s, this affordable and tasty pizza joint is family owned and operated, bringing in steadfast customers since 1963. They’re known best for their fast service, thick crust and legendary hoagies.
Photo: Liz Davis

Fessler’s Legendary Pizza & Hoagies

343 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
Originally named Pasquale’s, this affordable and tasty pizza joint is family owned and operated, bringing in steadfast customers since 1963. They’re known best for their fast service, thick crust and legendary hoagies.
Photo: Liz Davis