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91.7 WVXU welcomed food writer Julie Niesen in August 2018. Niesen will delve into local, regional and national food and restaurant trends, news of interest to local diners and food lovers, and the people and personalities in the Greater Cincinnati food scene.Niesen has been covering local food since 2008. Her award-winning blog, wine me, dine me, has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Serious Eats, The Cincinnati Enquirer (and its former weekly, Metromix), WCPO Digital, City Beat, WCPO-TV, Fox19, and many more. She is a longtime resident of Over-the-Rhine, where she lives with her menagerie of pets. When she's not eating food, thinking about food, cooking food or writing about food, she runs a thought leadership program for a technology company in Chicago.

Cincinnati Reds Literally Spice Things Up For 2019 Food Lineup

After a long Ohio winter, today is the first day of spring and, just a week from now, the first day of baseball season.

This year, the Cincinnati Reds are celebrating their 150th anniversary with a lot of new, great food around Great American Ball Park. Chef Gary Davis is in his second year in the Reds’ culinary lineup. He is an award-winning, Johnson & Wales-trained chef with extensive fine dining experience, first at Orchids at the Palm Court and then as executive banquet chef at Jack Casino. He’s the 2016 Northeast American Culinary Federation Chef of the Year, and has been a contestant on Guy’s Grocery Games. He brings his experience in both cooking for a crowd (GABP holds 42,319 people) and personalized experiences to the Reds, between serving thousands of hot dogs per game and also feeding private parties in the various clubs and private boxes around the ball park.

For the 150th season, Chef Davis has added quite a few items to the menu, many of which have some significant heat. Here’s the lowdown:

Scout's Club Exclusives

The Scout's Club serves tickets in sections 22-25 or 122-126 with a dedicated bar, food menu and more.

  • Mac and Cheese Dog, a bacon-wrapped dog with sweet barbecue sauce, pickled jalapeños and crushed Grippo's potato chips
  • Big Red Smokey "elote style," with charred corn, lime crema and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
  • Wicked Jalapeño Queen City Sausage, with queso, pico de gallo and tortilla chips
  • Italian Turkey Burger with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, balsamic grilled onions and arugula
  • Big Red Machine Burger, a beef patty topped with a big red smokey, sauerkraut beer cheese and crushed Grippo’s on a Servatii pretzel bun

Laura's Lean Beef also has a featured menu in the Scout's Club, offering three different egg rolls: bulgogi beef egg rolls; cheese steak egg rolls (served with a Cincinnati-style beer cheese); and Southwest-style egg rolls (these were your author's favorite at the media day; she may have had two of the bulgogi egg rolls).
Elsewhere Around the Ball Park

  • Grippo's is celebrating the 150th season with a commemorative bag of BBQ chips, available around the ball park as well as in the on-site UDF. This is the first time Cincinnati's classic, spicy-sweet chip will be available at the ballpark.
  • Frisch's is adding spicy tartar sauce to their menu: it's a twist on the original with added cayenne pepper. You can also get a delicious hot fudge sundae to enjoy at your seat.

Section 415 has a few new additions:

  • Reds Hot Burger, topped with Swiss cheese, A.1. sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapeños and onions on a brioche bun
  • Pork Schnitzel Sandwich

The Fry Box (Section 112) also features several new items:

  • Cincinnati Hot Pork sandwich: a twist on an Indiana tenderloin with hot sauce and jalapeño cole slaw on a Brioche bun
  • Cincinnati Hot Chicken: chicken tenders dipped in hot sauce on a slice of Texas toast, topped with sliced pickles and a side of cole slaw
  • Cincinnati Hot Fry Box: fries topped with Cincinnati hot chicken tenders and sliced pickles

Of course, your favorite hot dogs, Skyline Chili, La Rosa’s Pizza and other classic items are still available around the ball park.  
The first pitch of the Cincinnati Red’s 150th season is Thursday, March 28 at 4:10 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tickets are still available.