Did you know that, in 1844, Cincinnati was home to 26 different meat-processing plants? In fact, the city was America’s chief pork processing center, unseating previous title-holder, Buffalo, New York. Cincinnati’s proximity to rivers and abundant farmland brought an influx of pigs in the 1820s, providing much wealth for the city. The popular images of pigs fresh off ships running through the streets did not amuse everyone, but it did inspire the nickname "Porkopolis."
Sadly—or fortunately, depending upon your perspective—Chicago earned the distinction as the country’s leading meat processing center in 1861, and Cincinnati’s Porkopolis crown was semi-retired. Even though the stockyards are gone and salt pork is not quite the household staple it once was, we Americans love our bacon. In fact, we love it so much, we dedicated a whole day to celebrating the piggy product. Every year on December 30, Americans here in Porkopolis and across the country, tuck in to a bevy of bacon inspired treats.
If bacon-flavored ice cream, popcorn, or chocolate bars aren’t your style, no need to sit out the celebrations. Hoof on over to one of these four great restaurants and raise a rasher to Cincinnati’s porcine spirit.
1. Teller’s of Hyde Park
Site of the former Hyde Park Savings and Loan building, the spacious interior of Teller’s offers high ceilings and huge skylights with refined touches that pay homage to its historical roots. The upstairs outdoor patio is one of the best al fresco dining venues in Cincinnati right here in Hyde Park—Deupree House’s own backyard. And are there really any more fun activities for seniors than the chance to blend your own brunch cocktail at the Bloody Mary Bar?
If you’re a purist determined to eat bacon on this grand day, go for the grilled salmon Cobb salad with rosemary spiced potatoes. If you’re OK with “close enough,” the banger sausages, smashed potatoes, fried eggs, and caramelized Brussels sprouts are hog heavenly.
2. Taste of Belgium
The folks at Taste of Belgium are so serious about waffles that they built their own cast iron waffle maker. Each waffle is baked individually using a generations-old family recipe full of thick doughy goodness and caramelized Belgian beet sugar. Obvious order choice? The McWaffle, of course. Egg, bacon, and Gruyère—unlike anything you’ll find under those golden arches. Craving cow with your pig? The brunch burger combines bacon, beef patty, Havarti, and egg.
3. Red Feather Kitchen
Step inside the casual, brightly lit elegance of the hugely popular Red Feather and take your seat along the rustic brick walls. This contemporary farm to table restaurant offers friendly service and complimentary beignets in a cozy space. Commemorate Bacon Day with a juicy burger smothered in soft creamy boursin cheese, candied bacon, and red onion marmalade—named one of Cincinnati’s best burgers. For a further indulgence, pair it with a cocktail called The Resurrection, made with Prosecco, vodka, mulled blackberries, and lime.
4. Sleepy Bee Café
With locations in Oakley and Blue Ash, the environmentally conscious Sleepy Bee is all about traditional comfort foods sourced from local producers. You’ll find pesticide- and GMO-free healthy dishes in a welcoming dining room with exposed brick. The extensive menu contains plenty of options for the gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan crowd. We suggest that regardless of your entree choice, you add a side of local and pasture-raised Marksbury Farm no-nitrites-added bacon or sausage.
You might not realize that another nickname bestowed on Cincinnati back in the late 1980s is “Blue Chip City,” which refered to the high quality of life we enjoy here, and Bacon Day is just one of 365 days on the calendar that hold enriching and entertaining activities for seniors here in Porkopolis, year after year.