February 18, 2022

26 Cincinnati Restaurants That Are Totally Worth the Wait

Despite the long lines, wait times or reservation struggles, these Queen City eateries live up to the hype. From top-notch fried chicken joints to bakeries slinging outstanding donuts and bustling brunch spots, these local eateries are absolutely worth the wait.
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PearlStar
1220 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
This popular Over-the-Rhine spot opened in September 2021 and has been packed ever since. PearlStar offers both East and West Coast oysters and other raw delicacies including crudo, ceviche and tartare. The bar pours “old-school martinis, frozen drinks and Lone Star Beer on tap." If you didn't make a reservation, you can sit at the bar or grab one of the seats in front of the oyster bar and watch the chefs shuck away.
Photo: Catie Viox

PearlStar

1220 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
This popular Over-the-Rhine spot opened in September 2021 and has been packed ever since. PearlStar offers both East and West Coast oysters and other raw delicacies including crudo, ceviche and tartare. The bar pours “old-school martinis, frozen drinks and Lone Star Beer on tap." If you didn't make a reservation, you can sit at the bar or grab one of the seats in front of the oyster bar and watch the chefs shuck away.
Sugar n’ Spice
4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills; 1203 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine
Open since 1941, Sugar n' Spice's original pink Paddock Hills diner is known for its fun atmosphere and being a comfortable and family-friendly place to eat (ask for a free rubber duck with your meal). Favorite menu items include "wispy thin" pancakes and giant omelets. Lines at the petite original can be long, but there is also a second, larger location in Over-the-Rhine.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Sugar n’ Spice

4381 Reading Road, Paddock Hills; 1203 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine
Open since 1941, Sugar n' Spice's original pink Paddock Hills diner is known for its fun atmosphere and being a comfortable and family-friendly place to eat (ask for a free rubber duck with your meal). Favorite menu items include "wispy thin" pancakes and giant omelets. Lines at the petite original can be long, but there is also a second, larger location in Over-the-Rhine.
Two Cities Pizza Company
202 W. Main St., Mason
If you’re looking for some damn good pizza, this Mason eatery is absolutely worth the trek — and wait for a seat. Two Cities Pizza Company, a dining destination housed in Mason’s former city hall, closes the chasm between the dueling pizza metropolises of New York City and Chicago, offering both styles of pie.

Two Cities Pizza Company

202 W. Main St., Mason
If you’re looking for some damn good pizza, this Mason eatery is absolutely worth the trek — and wait for a seat. Two Cities Pizza Company, a dining destination housed in Mason’s former city hall, closes the chasm between the dueling pizza metropolises of New York City and Chicago, offering both styles of pie.
Pepp & Dolores
1501 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pepp & Dolores is inspired by Sunday dinners at Thunderdome co-founders Joe and John Lanni's grandparents' house.The menu features housemade pastas — like spaghetti limone, a butternut and mascarpone pasta and a lobster and squid ink pasta — along with a focus on shareable dishes, salads and bread.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Pepp & Dolores

1501 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
Pepp & Dolores is inspired by Sunday dinners at Thunderdome co-founders Joe and John Lanni's grandparents' house.The menu features housemade pastas — like spaghetti limone, a butternut and mascarpone pasta and a lobster and squid ink pasta — along with a focus on shareable dishes, salads and bread.
Incline Public House
2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill
Named after the Cincinnati incline that traveled to Price Hill, Incline Public House features a gorgeous view of the city as well as New American eats for brunch, lunch and dinner. The menu includes pizzas, burgers, salads and even cheesesteak, plus a great bloody mary at brunch. It's a popular and busy restaurant, so be prepared for wait.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Incline Public House

2601 W. Eighth St., Price Hill
Named after the Cincinnati incline that traveled to Price Hill, Incline Public House features a gorgeous view of the city as well as New American eats for brunch, lunch and dinner. The menu includes pizzas, burgers, salads and even cheesesteak, plus a great bloody mary at brunch. It's a popular and busy restaurant, so be prepared for wait.
Goodfellas Pizzeria
1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 6099 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge; 603 Main St., Covingvton
Goodfellas Pizzeria features New York-style pizza in a 1920s-inspired setting. The wait in a literal line to try their popular pizza can be long, especially on the weekends, but it's worth it. Alongside their giant slices and pies, other menu items include calzones, salads and their signature meatball sub. For an extra dose of carbs, grab a breadstick the size of your arm. Plus a side of their housemade ranch dressing.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Goodfellas Pizzeria

1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine; 6099 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge; 603 Main St., Covingvton
Goodfellas Pizzeria features New York-style pizza in a 1920s-inspired setting. The wait in a literal line to try their popular pizza can be long, especially on the weekends, but it's worth it. Alongside their giant slices and pies, other menu items include calzones, salads and their signature meatball sub. For an extra dose of carbs, grab a breadstick the size of your arm. Plus a side of their housemade ranch dressing.
The Baker’s Table
1004 Monmouth St., Newport
Located just across the bridge from downtown Cincinnati, The Baker’s Table serves seasonally changing prix-fixe meals Thursday to Sunday. Their menu includes locally sourced produce and proteins, with a focus on sustainability. They also have a variety of desserts including must-try ricotta donuts. And, as the name suggests, don't skip the bread. Make a reservation online in advance.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Baker’s Table

1004 Monmouth St., Newport
Located just across the bridge from downtown Cincinnati, The Baker’s Table serves seasonally changing prix-fixe meals Thursday to Sunday. Their menu includes locally sourced produce and proteins, with a focus on sustainability. They also have a variety of desserts including must-try ricotta donuts. And, as the name suggests, don't skip the bread. Make a reservation online in advance.
Brown Bear Bakery
116 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine
Brown Bear Bakery first started in 2012 and has become increasingly popular every year. It grew from just a table with some pastries to a full retail bakery, featuring a variety of pastries and desserts.  Lines can be long, sometimes out the door, but getting to try popular items like the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Twist or the Coffee Cake is worth any wait. Online ordering starts at 9 a.m. each day they are open.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Brown Bear Bakery

116 E. 13th St., Over-the-Rhine
Brown Bear Bakery first started in 2012 and has become increasingly popular every year. It grew from just a table with some pastries to a full retail bakery, featuring a variety of pastries and desserts. Lines can be long, sometimes out the door, but getting to try popular items like the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Twist or the Coffee Cake is worth any wait. Online ordering starts at 9 a.m. each day they are open.
Sotto
118 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati
Sotto is the perfect place for a romantic Italian meal or a night out with friends. The basement trattoria is one of hottest places in town to grab homemade pasta and a classic cocktail. Be sure to reserve a table in advance, or snag a seat at their bar. Ask for a table with a view of the kitchen to get a front row seat to all of the behind-the-scenes action.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Sotto

118 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati
Sotto is the perfect place for a romantic Italian meal or a night out with friends. The basement trattoria is one of hottest places in town to grab homemade pasta and a classic cocktail. Be sure to reserve a table in advance, or snag a seat at their bar. Ask for a table with a view of the kitchen to get a front row seat to all of the behind-the-scenes action.
The Echo
3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park
Opened in 1945 and located in Hyde Park, The Echo has been a popular and busy restaurant for breakfast and lunch for many years. Try one of their many breakfast combos early in the morning, or stop in for lunch and have a cheeseburger or club sandwich, which are all served by a friendly and welcoming staff. There's typically a line out the door weekend mornings.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Echo

3510 Edwards Road, Hyde Park
Opened in 1945 and located in Hyde Park, The Echo has been a popular and busy restaurant for breakfast and lunch for many years. Try one of their many breakfast combos early in the morning, or stop in for lunch and have a cheeseburger or club sandwich, which are all served by a friendly and welcoming staff. There's typically a line out the door weekend mornings.