Seven Innovative Takes on Cincinnati Goetta to Change Your Mind About the Meat

These area restaurants are elevating the hearty German pork-and-oats mush to an art form

Aug 7, 2018 at 9:38 am
click to enlarge 21c Breakfast from Metropole at 21c Museum Hotel - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
21c Breakfast from Metropole at 21c Museum Hotel

Goetta is one of the humble local food products that Cincinnatians frequently share with first-time visitors. 

In Southwest Ohio, sausage makers have been combining oats, seasoning, beef and pork into a loaf since the 1800s. The dish was inspired by the German immigrants who settled in the area; they added grain to a mixture of meats to help stretch their pork and beef supply over multiple servings.

No longer is goetta merely the historical side dish of choice for our pork-loving city: With so many Tri-State restaurants embracing the possibilities of goetta in their menus, the dish is becoming an art form.

Fresh out of a sizzling pan, a slab of goetta is perfectly crisp on the outside, with a savory grit-cake-like interior. Eaters love the hearty crunch and the way bits of goetta meld with other flavors like eggs and potatoes. 

Alongside Cincinnati chili, goetta holds a special spot in our local hearts, even if it isn’t at the top of the list. If you haven’t gotten a chance to try it yet, back away from the meat case at the grocery store and try your first bite at one of the many eateries making it central to their menus. 

Here are some of the most innovative twists on the goetta tradition that might convince even skeptics to give it a try.

21c Breakfast Metropole at 21c

In the pursuit of the perfect bite, ordering this breakfast or brunch dish at Metropole at 21c Museum Hotel might just gift you every flavor at once: spear a bit of over-easy egg with a crispy roasted potato, a charred tomato and a flaky edge of goetta. If this seems like too much fork-balancing for you, layer it all on the toast that comes with the meal. The acid of the tomatoes makes this an exceptionally out-of-this-world combination. 609 Walnut St., Downtown, 

Goetta Grilled Cheese  Bellevue Bistro

An adventurous eater can find a wide array of goetta options on the menu at this small breakfast and lunch eatery in picturesque Bellevue. Try it mixed into a breakfast bake with sweet potatoes, marshmallows and pecans — a wonderful melding of sugary sweetness with the meat — or with cheddar jack cheese and sautéed onions. However, goetta shines brightest on the goetta grilled cheese, straight out of the frying pan. Meiners Meats goetta is topped with a fried egg and cheddar jack and American cheeses on whole wheat toast. Let the gooey cheese string out of the sandwich while you look out onto Fairfield Avenue as you eat. 313 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, Ky.,

Goetta Mac and Cheese Balls Urban Grill on Main

Let’s face it: mac and cheese rolled in breadcrumbs and fried will always be a delicious food, and Urban Grill offers these balls alongside many other homey mainstays. This Newtown café, with its exposed wood beam décor, is a delightful place to sample the fried snack. Add savory nibbles of goetta in and among the cheesy cream sauce? Just a bonus. A restaurant that revels in the fact that “Bacon built this city!” is certainly a place to sample pork of all sorts. 6623 Main St., Newtown,

Red Feather Omelet Red Feather

This Oakley eatery is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with a special brunch menu on Sunday mornings. Among the omelet offerings is the Red Feather Omelet. Boursin — truly one of the lightest and loveliest of cheeses — is combined with cheddar and Eckerlin Meats’ goetta in an ooey-gooey, fluffy omelet. Red Feather focuses on just a few well-designed dishes with their brunch menu, and many of the items are labeled with the farms where they originated. The combination of eggs, cheese and goetta — all from places nearby — will remind you that local is truly delicious. 3200 Madison Road, Oakley,

click to enlarge Goetta nachos from Colonial Cottage - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Goetta nachos from Colonial Cottage

Goetta Nachos Colonial Cottage

Open since 1933, this home-cooked eatery offers friendly Southern-style service with a comfy diner atmosphere. There is an entire menu section devoted to goetta dishes, from a goetta Reuben with chips to a goetta burger, but the goetta nachos are a must. Swirls of nacho cheese and jalapeños bring out a different side of the goetta —the crumbly meat seems to hold up better than typical taco beef atop a pile of tortilla chips. The locals in Erlanger swear by all of the Colonial Cottage’s goetta iterations, but especially the nachos — and especially for breakfast. 3140 Dixie Highway, Erlanger, Ky.,

Goetta and Sweet Potato Hash Red Roost Tavern

A farm-to-table restaurant inside downtown’s Hyatt hotel, Red Roost Tavern offers this take on goetta. The sweet potato adds an unusually delightful flavor — like a little bit of maple syrup on your chicken and waffles. The pork-and-beef crispiness juxtaposes with the yielding starchy sweetness of sweet potatoes, all resulting in a surprisingly healthy and delicious brunch favorite. Red Roost Tavern lists just how nearby all of its food was grown or raised and dresses up this hash with a classy scallion chimichurri and roasted red peppers. Topped with a poached egg, every bite is a new adventure. 151 W. Fifth St., Downtown,

The Washington Park Strada Symphony Hotel and Restaurant

When Sunday brunching Symphony-style at this boutique OTR hotel, you can sample the Washington Park Strada. Made with purple potatoes and a kick in the form of green chilies, this eggy casserole features goetta with some of its best companions: bacon, tomato, sourdough bread and sharp cheddar. Bacon has a different crunch than goetta, so you’ll be able to taste the distinction between the two different meats in every bite. The flavor of sourdough bread also adds depth to this rich dish. 210 W. 14th St., Over-the-Rhine,