One of the reasons I blog is that I want there to be more good food in Cincinnati - So, I criticize bad food and praise/popularize good food, doing my small part to shift incentives to favor better restaurants. Fortunately, many very good lunch spots have opened in downtown Cincinnati over the last couple years that I can say good things about (They're all better than a $5 Footlong). So, as part of my ongoing (quixotic) effort to encourage people to try options other than Subway/Quiznos and help further develop a market for good and interesting food downtown - I present my picks for the best downtown Cincinnati lunch sandwiches:
I suppose it's not quite a sandwich, but It's Just Crepes is, of course, awesome. There's nothing comparable to it in Cincinnati. Restaurants that are the single representation of a type of food often disappoint as they have no competition. Unfortunately, I don't have much experience with other similar crepe joints, but I can say that I really like the output here. The only complaint I can level is that it's sometimes tough to keep the crepe/sandwich together. But, I can manage. If you work downtown, you'd be foolish not to try this place.
Here's a Pizza Crepe and a slightly dirty hand (And I acknowledge that while I like a lot of variety in my restaurants, I don't vary my order that much):
The first time I stopped here, I just had a slice of pizza. It was good. However, if you're going to Capri, you really should try the panini. They don't look like most of the pressed panini you see around here, but they also taste much better. The quality of the ingredients here really stands out. Although you can barely see it in these picture, both sandwiches include some buffalo mozzarella which was outstanding. They use very high quality materials here and it shows - awesome sandwich.
I hesitate to post these pictures, because I'm not sure they do the food justice (It's tastes much better than it looks), but at least they give you an idea of what you are ordering:
Gilpins Bagel and Deli
Serving steamed bagel sandwiches, Gilpin's is unique in downtown Cincinnati. I don't put them on this list for being unique but because Gilpin's make a damn good steamed bagel. The sandwiches include more meat than you would expect and are also a bit messier. They also have a pretty good selection of ingredients, with which you can build your own sandwich. The end result is excellent.
Here's a short of the best Corn Beef Bagel I've ever had:
Silverglade's is just a good straightforward sandwich. They have been in Findley Market since 1922, and have also had a lunch sandwich shop downtown for ten years now (making them a downtown institution compared to the others here). They use all Boar's Head meats, which are not amazing but quite a bit better than Subway meats. While they don't have as interesting a menu as some of the other places on this list, you really can't go wrong here. They have a big menu with wraps, pannini, soups, and salads. All the things I've tried (mostly the Italian sandwiches) have been good. So, if your coworkers don't want bagels or crepes, this is a fine alternative.