Ohio likes to call itself “the heart of it all,” and that’s not just because of its shape. The Midwestern state truly is a cross-section of the entire United States. It has rolling hills of farmland, booming metropolis cities, plenty of all-American suburban neighborhoods, and everything in between. There’s a reason why it’s the ultimate swing state; Ohio has all walks of life within its borders, and that makes for a fascinating and diverse food personality. To celebrate the vast landscape of Ohio, we rounded up 27 of the Buckeye State’s finest foods and fairs as part of our second-annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
Cleveland is the state’s true culinary hotspot. Once dubbed “the mistake on the lake,” Cleveland has seen a resurgence in recent years not only thanks to its sports dominance but because a few prominent chefs (such as Michael Symon) have taken a chance on the city. That’s led to a few phenomenal eateries in the Cle, such as Mexican hotspot Barrio, the high-end steakhouse Red, and the classic cocktail bar The Velvet Tango Room.
Though people across the country tend to only think of Ohio in election years, the state’s foods are worth considering all around. Cincinnati’s signature chili, Barberton-style chicken, and the state’s many, many breweries are a great reason to consider visiting Ohio. Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and fried chicken to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled these into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Ohio slideshow here.