OK, I've gotten 1/3 of the way through this chat/thread (20+ pages - "gasp") and thought I had better report some of my comments before they became a book. As is, this will be a long post. Sorry. Also sorry if some of this has been stated in the remaining 2/3 of the thread. I'll restrict my comments to places mentioned in the thread and wait to add my own choices until after I've read the whole thing.
Since I'm new to these forums (today), a short bio: After 40+ years in Cincinnati (and 50+ in Ohio), I relocated to central Missouri two years ago and opened a pie shop and espresso bar in a touristy small town in wine country. Although new to foodservice, my wife and I (no kids) have always liked to dine out, and have eaten at many, many places in Greater Cincinnati. I also used to be a reporter, so I might get a little wordy at times . Again, sorry.
Arnold's - unique, but a notch less delicious since Jim Tarbell sold it some years ago. The Greek spaghetti is tasty, and they once had cold chinese noodles on the lunch menu that was also a treat.
Sugar & Spice - went there a lot as a kid and enjoyed it. Went back in the 90s and was underwhelmed. Still there, I think.
The Cricket - had a memorable night there (the old one) when there with a group that had just watched Tom Seaver pitch his no-hitter at Riverfront Stadium. It was a cool old Cincinnati place.
City-Q - I lived about a block from this place in my last Cincy-area home. I tried it in its first iteration and was not impressed. Didn't go back after they re-opened.
Upper Krust - the original, I believe, was the one in Reading at Reading and Galbraith Roads. The Clifton one was added later. Dad took us there a lot as kids. It later moved to Chester Road in Sharonville, and survived through that move and a later name change, but is now long gone.
The Comet - a cool place with a really eclectic crowd, good live music, and the "best jukebox in town". I don't like the burritos though.
Mr. Herb's - I've been to the one in Hebron, and the fish is indeed superb!
F&N Steakhouse - another of Dad's favorites, he would take us there (or Walt's) after a trip to Turfway Park. RIP
Maury's Tiny Cove - a Cincinnati institution, but I never had a good meal there. I don't get it.
Pasquale's Pizza - once a sizable chain, there are only a few left. Once had some of the best hoagies in town, with excellent egg-bun hoagie rolls. I had one walking distance from where I grew up. mmmmm.
Jimmy's BBQ (Vine Street in Hartwell) and Jim Dandy's BBQ (Sharon Road in Sharonville) - very similar stories. Each started with a BBQ trailer in local parking lots (coincidentally, each did a stint in the lot of Brentwood Plaza, near my mom's house) and later moved to a permanent restaurant. And failed within a year of the move.
The Root Beer Stand - in an old A&W drive in, still serving a similar menu. We used to make this a regular Wednesday night stop during the summers.
Mr. Genes - Original location on Beekman Street is
in a terrible neighborhood but the food is good. The building was destroyed a few years ago by a runaway school bus, but they were planning to rebuild. I don't know if that happened.
Pacific Moon - never tried it, but I was a regular at Alex and Barbara Chin's previous place, Chin Dynasty in St. Bernard. It was tasty.
Guenther's - great place, steaks are awesome and they do a really nice Mahi dinner. Call early for weekend reservations.
Cactus Pear - went there for lunch on occasion with work groups. Awful. Lots of artistry, but don't go if you are hungry.
Vinyl - I don't understand the guy who said it wasn't in a bad neighborhood. A friend of mine was murdered in that block after leaving a club. Call me not convinced.
Thanks for the thread, TJ. More later.