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Avril-Bleh & Sons

33 E. Court St., Cincinnati, OH - (513) 241-2433
Posted By Michael Stern on 10/19/2012 4:52:00 PM
Before the Civil War, Cincinnati got its moniker Queen City because it was the largest and fastest-growing metropolis in the Midwest. Shortly thereafter, when it outpaced Dublin as the world's foremost pig processor, it earned the name Porkopolis. There now are bigger cities in the heartland, but there is no place where you can eat pork in so many ways. From goetta and liver pudding to ribs, ham, and bacon, restaurant menus and grocery store meat cases are packed. Sausage is a specialty.

Being from Chicago, I thought I knew something about sausage; but a browse through Avril-Bleh & Sons across from the Cincinnati courthouse sure opened my eyes. The family-run meat market has been in the pork packing business for well over a century (house motto: "A link with the past since 1894"). They make more sausages than I ever knew existed. These include bierwurst, bratwurst, knockwurst, bockwurst (spring only), yard sausage (with garlic), tiny links, oatmeal rings, liverwurst, kielbasa, wieners (natural casing or skinless), Cajun andouille, smoked Italian and chorizo, and the city's beloved metts. Short for mettwurst, a mett is a cured, deeply smoked, rugged-grind sausage about twice as portly as a regular hot dog firmly packed inside natural casing.

I cannot imagine a better place to enjoy a mett than at an al fresco table on the sidewalk just outside Avril-Bleh, where the shop maintains a cart that sends the appetizing aroma of grilling pork through the neighborhood. Unlike the gigantic repertoire inside, the cart's menu is minimal: kielbasa, Italian sausage, chorizo, brats, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and three kinds of metts (regular, hot and cheddar), all available bunned with peppers, onions, kraut and condiments. What a splendid taste of Cincinnati!

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5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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A cheese mett, ready to burst as soon as teeth crunch through its natural casing. The cheese packed into the link is a fine complement for smoky meat. Metts are a passion in Cincinnati; Avril-Bleh is one of the city's old-time butcher shops where they are one of many pork sausages made the old-fashioned way.
"A cheese mett, ready to burst as soon as teeth crunch through its natural casing. The cheese packed into the link is a fine complement for smoky meat. Metts are a passion in Cincinnati; Avril-Bleh is one of the city's old-time butcher shops where they are one of many pork sausages made the old-fashioned way."
Michael Stern





Avril-Bleh's sidewalk grill. The porky smoke perfume it sends all around Court Street is fetching.
"Avril-Bleh's sidewalk grill. The porky smoke perfume it sends all around Court Street is fetching."
Michael Stern


The menu inside Avril-Bleh is an education in the art of butchery.
"The menu inside Avril-Bleh is an education in the art of butchery."
Michael Stern


This photo was taken early afternoon. At the peak of lunch hour, the grate was fully covered with a crowd of grilling tube steaks.
"This photo was taken early afternoon. At the peak of lunch hour, the grate was fully covered with a crowd of grilling tube steaks."
Michael Stern


Sign of good eats in a lively, up-and-coming vintage Queen City neighborhood.
"Sign of good eats in a lively, up-and-coming vintage Queen City neighborhood."
Michael Stern



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