Kentucky’s Year of Food: Enjoy a German Treat


Savannah Osbourn
Published March 01, 2018

Sprawled along the banks of the Ohio River, the Northern Kentucky River region has big-city offerings with the feel and affordability of a smaller destination. In Newport, visitors can enjoy waterfront dining and attractions directly across the river from downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, which can easily be reached via shuttle, bicycle or even walking thanks to several pedestrian bridges. MainStrasse Village, a German-heritage neighborhood in Covington, carries on the legacy of the German and Irish immigrants who moved to the area during the 1800s. Today, this storybook “German village” displays colorful handcrafted goods, antiques and German-inspired cuisine.

Signature Flavors: One of northern Kentucky’s most distinct calling cards is goetta, a meat-and-grain sausage introduced to the area by German immigrants during the early 1800s. This breakfast patty combines pork, beef, onions and pin oats, creating a texture akin to sausage and hash browns mixed together. Each summer, MainStrasse Village hosts a three-day event called Goettafest to celebrate the dish, and Cincinnati holds its own Goettafest in the fall.

Southern tomato pie could be described as a variation on pizza; it features tomatoes, herbs, grated cheese and white sauce layered inside a pie crust. It can also be prepared as a dessert with buttered and sugared green tomatoes.

Tracing its roots back to the early pioneer days in Kentucky, transparent pie is a simple, custardlike concoction of sugar, butter, cream and vanilla baked into a pie shell. Magee’s Bakery in Maysville is renowned for its transparent pies.

Great Group Restaurants: Modeled after the 400-year-old Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany, Hofbrauhaus Newport invites groups to dine like Bavarian kings in its 250-seat Bier Hall, or stop by for a tour and beer tasting. Otto’s is an intimate bistro in Mainstrasse Village with appetizing Southern dishes such as truffle fries, tomato pie, fried green tomatoes and bourbon-marinated pork.

Must-See Attractions: Anchored by the Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee is a vibrant waterfront entertainment district with shops, restaurants and weekly events during the summer. Just outside Newport, the Notre Dame-inspired Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption contains the largest stained-glass church window in the world. Religious travelers would be remiss not to visit the Creation Museum in Petersburg as well as its sister attraction, Ark Encounter, in Williamstown.