Tour de Taste
For some, Cincinnati is synonymous with sweet chili served over spaghetti, while a trip to Philly means only one thing (hello, cheesesteak!). Now you don’t need to travel to sample these regional favorites. We’ve found five meals perfect for transplants craving a taste of home or foodies looking to sample another city’s culinary pièce de résistance.
$6.75 Lupie’s Café
Bypass the Texas-style chili for a bowl of this stuff. It’s flavored with sweet spices: cinnamon, clove, and turmeric. It’s smoother than most chili, too: the base is a blend of ground beef and tomato paste, with no chunky beans. Order it poured over spaghetti or on a hot dog and top the whole thing with cheddar.
2718 Monroe Rd., 704-374-1232
Tom’s Pittsburgh Salad
$12.75, Red Rocks Café
Co-owner and Pittsburgh native Ron Herbert pays homage to his home city’s French fry fetish with this decadent salad. Traditional accouterment like cukes, tomatoes, and hard- boiled eggs support the starring players—a serving of warm, golden fries and a five-ounce cut of London broil cooked to order.
8712 Lindholm Dr., Huntersville, 704-892- 9999; 4223-B Providence Rd., 704-364-0402
$7.99, Duckworth’s Grill and Bar
Modeled after Philly’s own Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s, Duckworth’s take on this classic offers eight melty, messy cheese options. (May we recommend the Cheese Whiz?) The seven-inch sandwich comes with five ounces of steak and plenty of onions piled onto a fresh roll. Double the meat for just 99 cents.
1600 E. Woodlawn Rd., 704-527-5783
Beef on Weck
$7.50, Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill
Owner Kirk Weaver is a Buffalo transplant, so it’s no surprise he serves Upstate New York’s signature sammie. His version boasts top round beef that’s roasted for six hours, dipped in au jus, and piled onto a traditional kummelweck roll topped with coarse sea salt and caraway. Sample it as a slider ($3) — and don’t forget the horseradish.
1524 East Blvd., 704-370-1177
$6.95, Boudreaux’s Louisiana Kitchen
Here, pieces of tenderized gator tail are marinated in buttermilk and Cajun spices, flash fried, and served with a hot, mayo-based Creole dipping sauce. For a full taste of New Orleans, follow the appetizer with hearty red beans and rice, served with spicy sausage and cornbread.
501 E. Thirty-sixth St., 704-331-9898