When I travel, I like to sample the local cuisine. There are many ways to accomplish this. One can dine at the finest restaurants that a city has to offer, but one has to be wealthy in order to do that. One can also get himself invited to dinner by local folks in order to sample regional homestyle cooking, but one has to be outgoing, charming, witty, or quite good looking to gain the favors of reserved natives. Naturally, rich and beautiful folks have the advantage. If you find yourself lacking in those prized goods of human life, you can always sample the cheap but beloved establishments of a given place. Peasants and proletarians have their esteemed spots, too.
Lonely Planet and the Rough Guide often feature such delightful local dives where one can eat at establishments honored by regular folks. Another useful resource for travel within the United States is Roadfood.com. I recommend checking it whenever you venture into a new town.
For Cincinnati and its neighboring towns, Roadfood lists Price Hill Chili, Graeter’s, Putz’s Creamy Whip, Mr. Gene’s Dog House, Camp Washington Chili Parlor, Hathaway’s Coffee Shop, Zip’s Cafe, Blue Ash Chili, Friendly Stop Cafe, the Root Beer Stand, the Golden Turtle, and the Golden Lamb. I have eaten at all those establishments except Zip’s Cafe and the Friendly Stop Cafe. I would say that the list comprises many representative favorites from Cincinnati, though I note many conspicuous absences. Still, I encourage you to consult Roadfood and to enjoy those cheap eats.