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Gotta Goetta: Cincinnati Travel Report

For all photos, click to enlarge

I’ve already written about our recent Uni Watch party in Cincinnati and my visit to the Green Diamond Gallery. Today I want to tell you about the rest of my trip to the Queen City, which ran from Friday, Dec. 28, through Monday, Dec. 31.

I’m a big road trip guy (indeed, my only previous visit to Cincinnati was a brief stopover in the midst of a cross-country trip in 1997), which is why my travelogues are usually presented in a chronological format, so you can get a sense of how the trip progressed from one place to another. But for this trip, we stayed in one place for several days — rare for me — so instead of doing a chronological rundown, I’m just going to showcase a few places we went and things we experienced, without regard to the day-to-day progression.

Ready? Here we go.

The American Sign Museum

As you’re probably aware by now, I love old signs, so I’ve been happy to see two significant sign museums established over the past decade or so. I got to visit one of them, the Neon Museum, during my 2017 trip to Las Vegas. But until this recent visit to Cincinnati, I’d never been to the American Sign Museum. That was one of the big reasons for our trip.

My anticipation was tempered by the knowledge that small, independent museums are often a bit ramshackle and unprofessional, so I tried to temper my expectations. Happily, that turned out to be unnecessary — the museum totally delivered the goods. It was entertaining, educational, and fascinating. We spent over two hours there and could easily have stayed twice that long.

Here are two walk-through videos I shot, which provide a sense of the collection’s scope:

As you can see in that second video, they have a classic late-1950s McDonald’s sign. As a bonus, they also have the blueprints showing how that sign was supposed to be installed:

Although the museum’s collection focuses on neon, there are also plenty of non-neon items, as you can see in these next few shots:

The whole place was awesome — definitely a highlight of our trip (and of my entire year). I took a ton of additional photos, which you can see here. Enjoy!

Union Terminal

Cincinnati’s beautiful Union Terminal train station, built in 1931, is an Art Deco masterpiece (and is also the basis for the Hall of Justice!). A few trains still pass through, but these days the facility’s primary function is to serve as the home for a bunch of museums. We didn’t have time to explore the museums, but we did spend some time exploring the main lobby and some of the adjacent rooms, all of which was spectacular:

You can see a bunch of additional photos here.


Just as the New York Giants and New York Jets actually play in New Jersey, Cincinnati’s airport is actually in Kentucky, not Ohio. The Tugboat Captain had never been to Kentucky before, so we wanted to have a genuine Kentucky experience on the south side of the border.

It didn’t take long. On the day we arrived, we got our rental car and stopped in the town of Newport, Ky., where we got lunch at a local diner. That’s where we learned that you can still smoke cigarettes in Kentucky restaurants. Tobacco farming was a major component of the Kentucky economy for many years, so I guess it isn’t surprising that they still allow smoking in eateries, but we hadn’t anticipated it. And man, there were some people at the lunch counter smoking up a storm! I’d say that definitely qualifies as a real Bluegrass State experience.

(Update: Kentucky-based reader Michael Kinney informs me of the following: “Smoking in public places in Kentucky is a local decision, and almost no bigger cities still allow it. It’s been banned in Lexington for 15 years.”)

Roebling Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, which of course we’re very proud of here in New York, was designed and built by John A. Roebling. But before he built the Brooklyn Bridge, Roebling built the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, which spans the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati to Covington, Ky. When it opened in 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, and it’s generally credited with being Roebling’s “practice version” of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We visited the bridge on the Covington side, walked across to Cincinnati, and then walked back. It was all weirdly déjà vu-ish, because the bridge really does look a lot like our Brooklyn Bridge (albeit much smaller).


The Cincinnati area is home to goetta (pronounced GET-uh), a breakfast sausage made from beef, pork, steel-cut oats (sometimes called pinhead oats), and spices, pioneered many decades ago by the region’s German immigrant population. I had eaten goetta before and loved it (I got a bunch of it via mail-order back in the mid-2000s, when I was doing a lot of food writing), but I’d never had it in its natural habitat, so to speak, so I was eager to eat as much of it as possible during this trip.

Goetta is often formed in a loaf (this is one of the several ways in which it’s sort of like scrapple, although the oats make it much more toothsome, more texture-y), so restaurants usually serve it by the rectangular slice. The photo shown above is the slice I ordered at the smoky diner in Kentucky — it was excellent.

A few days later we had spectacular goetta, egg, and cheese sandwiches at Eckerlin meats, which is reputed by many to have the best goetta in town. It lived up to that rep — in fact, these sandwiches were the best thing we ate during the entire trip:

I liked this so much that I got a second sandwich without the egg and cheese, so I could savor the unfettered goetta:

The next day I had another slab of goetta at Pleasant Ridge Chili (more on that in a minute). This goetta looked just right — look at all the oaty texture! — but it had a much milder flavor profile than the others. Not enough spices:

I considered taking home a loaf of goetta, but it’s perishable and we didn’t have a cooler bag, so it would’ve been a little dicey to take on a plane. Instead, I’ve decided to make my own! There are lots of recipes on the web. Coming soon to Culinary Corner — stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’ve had this Undertones song stuck in my head:


Cincinnati’s most famous local food, of course, is not goetta — it’s chili, which is typically served on hot dogs (or Coneys, as they’re typically called) and over spaghetti (which is considered “three-way,” “four-way,” or “five-way,” depending on whether you order cheese and/or onions and/or beans) — and also on its own in a bowl, although that seems to be frowned upon and is served reluctantly, almost grudgingly.

There are two major chili chains in town — Skyline and Gold Star — along with a bunch of stand-alone chili parlors. People argue over which is best, but we decided to try the Skyline near the University of Cincinnati.

The Tugboat Captain had the classic order: a cheese Coney and four-way spaghetti, both with onions (no beans):

I’m not into cheddar cheese (I know, I know), so my Coney and spaghetti were cheese-free:

The chili was … interesting. I certainly didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t quite love it either. Longtime Uni Watch reader Scott Gleeson Blue has described Cincy chili as “a whacky alchemy of cinnamon and mystery,” and that sounds about right. The cinnamon notes were very, very strong — more so than I’d prefer.

A few days later we had breakfast at a place called Pleasant Ridge Chili and got an order of chili fries:

Again, very heavy on the cinnamon (although that was less objectionable at breakfast, especially since I was already having French toast).

Also of note, Pleasant Ridge Chili had lots of really great signage:

For this next sign, look at the little white dots in the lettering for “In Town!” and “Try It Today!” — such a nice touch (it’s easier to see if you click to enlarge):


We sampled another local treat called klunkers (sometimes spelled clunkers), which are little doughball donuts — sort of like a munchkin, but bigger and knottier. Delicious! Sorry I didn’t get a better photo. The bakery where we got them, Bonomini, had a beautiful old sign — note the faded grey block-shadow behind the red lettering:


• We had fun wandering through Findlay Market, a food marketplace packed with vendors selling meat, seafood, meat, baked goods, meat, produce, and did I mention meat? The sheer volume of butchers was astonishing (although maybe it shouldn’t have been, since Cincinnati was once nicknamed “Porkopolis”). Of particular note was the huge variety of flavored bacons: bourbon bacon, espresso bacon, honey-Sriracha bacon, rosemary-garlic bacon. The weirdest one was candy cane bacon, which had visible bits of pink-and-white candy canes lurking amidst the pork belly:

Also: The butcher shops all sold sausages called metts, which were new to us. When I asked, I was told that that mett is short for mettwurst — the Cincinnati version of a bratwurst, more or less. I asked our own Alex Hider about this when I met him at the Uni Watch party, and he said it was standard to attend a local cookout and be asked, “You want a brat or a mett?”

• Another great sign that wasn’t at the Sign Museum: The Captain spotted this excellent fence maker’s tag during one of our strolls around the city. I love the “Cin.O.” notation:

• We stopped at several local bars. Our favorite was the Junker’s Tavern, which had a nicely weathered sign outside, a very oddly shaped doorway on the inside, and ridiculously inexpensive drinks:


And there you have it — a very nice trip. My repeated thanks to Frank Bitzer and David Sonny for being such great ambassadors; to Patrick O’Neill and Jason Hillyer for the pleasure of finally meeting them after all these years; and to everyone else who showed up at the Uni Watch party.

Thanks for listening. We’ll get back to more standard uni-related content tomorrow.

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Click to enlarge

NHL Stadium Series leak: Looks like we have our first leak of the new year, as the Flyers’ jersey for their upcoming Stadium Series game against the Penguins began circulating yesterday. The design is consistent with the logo that was unveiled last month.

No sign yet of the Pens’ jersey.

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball News: The Nationals still have All-Star Game banners hanging outside Nationals Park, almost six months after the game (from John Muir). … Mets players who’ve worn No. 44 have not fared well (from @rjviking11). … Rose Culper came across this massive collection of Phillies bobbleheads. … In the middle of this screenshot is the Red Sox’s new “World Champions” logo (from @feetpodcast). … The Padres will be revealing a new 50th-anniversary logo on Saturday (from Jesse Agler).

NFL/Pro Football News: Statues in Kansas City are gearing up for this weekend’s Colts/Chiefs divisional playoff game (from @DrSoup_MD). … Speaking of KC: The Chiefs are handing out Patrick Mahomes-style headbands to the first 50,000 fans who arrive at Arrowhead on Saturday (from Ryan Atkinson). … A neat side story heading into Saturday’s game from Zak Keefer: Colts backup center Evan Boehm’s dad, Royce, is the ballboy for the Chiefs’ chain gang, and has been for a few years. This will be the first time Royce has worked one of Evan’s games. … McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas has opened a Raiders team store, but they’re not allowed to have “Las Vegas Raiders”-branded merch until the end of next season. … @MDMambo found these USFL-related items at a thrift store. … Peter Wunsch came across this old photo of former Washington QB Eddie LeBaron wearing a helmet with a very unusual facemask. … This old photo shows former 49ers DE Cedrick Hardman starting off a game with a two-digit jersey, but ending it with one digit when one of them fell off (from Pro Football Journal). … A Twitter user wanted to celebrate the hiring of Bruce Arians as head coach of the Buccaneers, so he made this Bucco Bruce Arians mashup logo (from Dan Pfeifer). … Ignacio Salazar found this NFL helmet checkers set for $3 at his local Goodwill.

College/High School Football News: Left over from Monday’s national championship game: It looks like one of Clemson WR Hunter Renfrow’s shoulder yoke pawprints was misaligned. The left pawprint had the correct orientation, while the right pawprint was facing a different direction (from multiple readers). … Here’s a spreadsheet showcasing every uniform worn by every FBS team in 2018 (from Trayton Miller). … Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Alabama’s massive football facility and equipment room (from Griffin Smith). … Here are the helmets for the Polynesian Bowl, a national high school bowl game for students of Polynesian descent.

Hockey News: The NHL All-Star uniforms are expected to be unveiled later today. Meanwhile, Adidas teased a photo of them, touting the sweaters as being made from plastic ocean debris (from multiple readers). … @stan_handsome noticed a prototype of the Bruins logo the team switched to in 1995 on a goalie mask worn during the 1991-92 season. … The Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL have revealed their Stick it to Cancer sweaters. Each player will have the opportunity to customize the back of his jersey by writing the name of a loved one affected by cancer (from @_emyshouldstop). … Here’s a look at the caps made for the Penguins’ Stadium Series match against the Flyers (from @SammyNos). … Penn State is adding a 3-D logo to their alternate helmets (from @TheBrokenTendy).

Pro Basketball News: Former Alabama basketball player and current Cavs PG Collin Sexton paid off his bet with former Clemson basketball player and Sexton’s current teammate Jaron Blossomgame by wearing a Clemson jacket last night (from Mike Chamernik) … The Chicago Sky of the WNBA is holding a T-shirt design contest. … Here’s the program cover for the 1972 ABA All-Star Game (from @GameplanChicago).

Soccer News: The Vancouver Whitecaps have released their new shirts that mark the 40th anniversary of the NASL Whitecaps winning the 1979 Soccer Bowl (from Josh Hinton). … Also from Josh: The Syria men’s national team has revealed their new shirts for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup. … One more from Josh: Looks like the allegedly leaked 2019-20 Arsenal shirts are fake.

Grab Bag: This writer presents what he thinks are 23 Cleveland throwback jerseys everyone should own (from Jason Hillyer). … The University of Vermont men’s lacrosse team has new matte helmets (from Maria Canales). … The Poland men’s national volleyball team, who won the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in September, are getting their own commemorative stamps (from Jeremy Brahm). … Reader Brandon H. was gifted a NASCAR polo for Christmas, which featured NASCAR’s new logo on the shirt, but their old logo on the tag. … Great-looking bowling uniforms for this Vancouver team from 1931-32 (from @Wafflebored). … MasterCard is dropping its name from its logo. … Eurovision, the popular European song contest, has revealed its 2019 logo. … Here’s the official logo for the Pope’s March visit to Morocco. … A South African government official recently donated a school uniform to a child in need, and his actions are garnering a bit of a backlash.

Comments (87)

    Awesome travelogue. Those spec sheets for the McDonalds site are a great find.
    Re: Las Vegas Raiders merch, considering there is a good chance they won’t play in Oakland next year, any idea how the NFL is going to handle this? Assume they play all their “home” games in London, would they be the London Raiders for one year, stay the Oakland Raiders, change to Las Vegas Raiders in advance? Same for San Diego, etc?
    I am still confused why they can’t just use UNLV’s stadium next year. While I am sure they will need to make some upgrades to the lockers, etc, it seems like the best option if they can’t find a home in the Bay Area next year.

    There’s been a lot of talk on where the Raiders will play next season, but nothing concrete. I’ve seen London (which would suck for all the teams in the AFC West), the stadium for Nevada-Reno and San Diego as possible Raider temporary homes.

    I’m wondering, if they’re considering Reno, why not Salt Lake? Rice-Eccles Stadium fits 45,000.

    Anything is possible at this point though the thought of 40,000+ Raiders fans descending on Salt Lake City makes me laugh.

    You answered your own question on why they can’t play in Vegas next year. Sam Boyd doesn’t meet the NFLs stadium standards

    I’ve heard that before, but very little detail on why. Again, if it is just locker room stuff how about upgrading the locker rooms. In the scope of things that seems like a better option than having them play in London next year. Though the possibility of them playing in San Diego is too good to pass up, if they draw more per game in San Diego than the Chargers do in LA. Though I hear the NFL would move the Raiders “home” game vs the Chargers to London or Mexico in that case, too much egg on their face for how Spanos would be received.
    Either way, to the point of Las Vegas branded merchandise, if they aren’t playing in the Bay Area next year, curious how they’ll handle it.

    Probably the same way the LA Angels handle it. Most of their merchandise doesn’t say “Los Angeles”. Just “Angels Baseball.”

    So a lot of stuff that just says “Raiders”

    I don’t know how many original MCDonalds sign still are in operation, but I do know there is one in Green Bay, and it beats the pants off the current sign.


    I don’t know how often you find yourself planning a visit to the Jersey Shore, however, given the opportunity you should check out the Doo Wop Experience Museum link
    I feel like this place would be 100% up your alley.

    I agree 100%.

    Also really impressed with that Phillies bobblehead collection. Some of those road alts were only available at blood drives, and you had to give blood. That’s dedication.

    Re: Cincy chili, it’s definitely not what you usually expect taste-wise when you think of traditional chili. It’s something almost totally different. I’ve made a knockoff Skyline recipe myself and in addition to the cinnamon there’s cocoa and nutmeg in it. It’s more of a uniquely-seasoned meat sauce than true chili. We’re lucky enough to have two Skyline locations here in Fort Lauderdale (living in a town with a lot of people from someplace else sucks for sports fandom, but it’s great for food! we also have the delightful Primanti Bros from Pittsburgh here), I’d driven past them my whole life and only ventured in for the first time a few years ago. Glad I did. Love the perfectly sized hot dogs and the 5-way is such an odd but delicious combo of flavors. And man, that giant mound of cheddar is my favorite bit lol.

    I took a friend from Michigan to a Reds-Tigers game. He wanted Skyline the second we walked in. I told him it’s not “chili”. I consider it more of a sauce or condiment to be served on dogs or spaghetti noodles. Get “chili” out of your mind. He agreed it’s best to get that pre-conceived notion out of your head because it’s definitely NOT chili. He loved it and now buys the cans of it and makes his own coney’s and 4-ways at home. And, yeah, that cheese! That’s how it’s done!
    Goetta made it’s way up the Miami Erie canal 175 years ago to my neck of the woods. For some reason it’s called “grits” here. Maybe just a change in translation from high German to low German. And now with the southern corn grits (crap!) that it gets confused with, it’s now sometimes referred to as “pork grits” to out-of-towners. The fresher the better, pressed thin, and fried to a nice crisp.
    And I don’t know why but I always thought of Metts to be a spicier bratwurst. At least they seem to be that way at our local Oktoberfest.

    Cincinnati has definitely mastered the right way to serve chili, but not the best way to make chili. Any real, no-beans, sans-cinnamon chili tastes best served with noodles four-way.

    If one is crossing the Roebling bridge from Cincy for a meal, I believe one is obligated under federal law to eat a Kentucky Hot Brown. First thing I did after my first visit to Kentucky was buy a low-walled casserole dish to make Hot Brown at home.

    Goodness, that McDonald’s sign, and the installation instructions, are glorious! Interesting to see that McD’s was already painting itself into a corner with specific numeric “burgers sold” claims on its signs in 1956. By the 1970s, McDonald’s signs had switched to replaceable plates for the numbers preceding “… Billion Sold”. Every year, sometimes more often, every restaurant would have to change out the numbers to advance the count. I recall speculating among my preteen friends about what they’d so when they passed 99 billion, since there were only spots for two digits. Eventually, McDonald’s solved the problem by dispensing with the specific numeric claim and putting “Billions and Billions Served” on the signs in the mid-90. But forty years is a long time to deal with the predictable problem of making numeric claims on one’s signs. (Related to the phenomenon of gas stations mainly installing signs that could accommodate only the digit 1 in the dollar space; when gas prices first spiked above $2 before the Great Recession, there was something of a minor crisis in gasoline retailing about how to indicate prices above $1.99.)

    During the energy crisis of the ’70s, the gasoline industry was constrained by pumps with mechanical registers. Stations that wanted to gouge their customers could only crank the price up to 99.9 cents, and that made the network news.

    The more things change … But interesting that the response to the need to charge more than $.99 was to add a fixed 1 digit to the left of the decimal, rather than adding space for a whole new digit to accommodate prices between $2-$9.

    And that’s as far as the old equipment would go too, so when prices went over $1, before we got new parts shipped in and installed we had to set the price at half the advertised amount and then charge double the meter reading. Good times!

    Ugh, you had Cincinnati style or Skyline Chili – It’s a bastardization of Chili. I guess they think if they hide it under a mountain of cheese you won’t notice. You want to know where the best Chili is? It’s in your local big city firehouse made by a firefighter.

    You were too kind in your review of it. You were also kind to Kentucky.

    One thing I think we can all agree about Skyline Chili is that it does not photograph well. Especially when poured over fries.

    Also, here in Charlotte, my local grocery store has started carrying Skyline chili in the can. I’ve thought about trying it since I’d had friends and family sing its praises, problem is it is priced at $5.29 each. The national brands like Hormel are usually about two bucks for a can.

    I’m usually not a fan of cinnamon, although I make an exception for Skyline Chili. Gotta have the cheddar with it…beans are good too. Absolutely no raw onions. It’s one of my favorite chilis but I almost never refer to it as simply “chili.”

    I have a craving for a chedda goetta now. Can’t wait for the goetta Culinary Corner!

    Great looking museum! I particularly enjoyed the Howard Johnson and Zenith signs, along with the spinning satellite.

    Bow ties for bowling? No ties for bowling!

    Look closely at the Padres 50th Anniversary teaser graphic. There’s a little bump on the top right that’s exactly where the Swinging Friar’s bat would break the frame of the logo.

    I am not sure that touting “made from plastic ocean debris” is the way to get fans to spend $200+ for a jersey! Yeah, I know they are garbage, but these are literally garbage.

    What’s really bad about Adidas Parley unis is that they’re almost always one-offs, or at the least rarely worn, so we have to wonder how much of the environment and the oceans are really being conversed.

    Late in the summer after kayaking on the Anacostia, I was walking back to my car near the ballpark and saw the All-Star banners being taken down. I tried to talk the guy doing it into letting me have a couple for my sons. No dice — but have gave me something from one of the booths. It went over well.

    That Senators cap on unsolved mysteries is a little early though — red caps didn’t come until ’68.

    Cincy is definitely an under the radar gem as far as cities go. Next time I’m there I’ll be sure to check out Union Terminal. I love me some art deco.

    In the wide world of mettwurst, there are essentially two different dividing lines: course or fine, and hard or soft. My mom is from Hessen in Central Germany, where the course-ground, soft sausage prevails. Spreadable smoked sausage is in fact god’s gift to sandwiches, but it’s borderline impossible to find in the Northwest. I highly recommend it.

    Whelp, glad you liked your visit. Your decidedly ‘meh’ attitude to Skyline isn’t surprising as its the inferior major brand. GOLD STAR was what you wanted but alas.

    You can order it online to be delivered to you at home if you wished…Just sayin.

    To each their own. I’ve had both on numerous occasions, and although there’s little difference, Skyline is superior to my taste buds. I would say Cincy Chili is really unique and I do get why some folks are not fans. The spices used are quite different than standard chili.

    Paul, is Cincy chili in any way similar to what’s in those Rhode Island chili dogs you wrote about before? We’re taking a family trip to NE this Summer and I’ll be sampling them!

    Paul is correct. Rhode Island’s Hot Weiners (aka NY System Weiners) have a thin brown meat sauce – not quite a chili. You’ll want to have them “all the way” with mustard, onions, and celery salt. You will want a few because they are small and if you are lucky the cook will line them up in his arm to put the toppings on (somehow we thought this was cool growing up). Wash them down with a coffee milk. But leave room for some of our other culinary delights – calamari w/ hot peppers, Del’s lemonade, and some italian food from Federal Hill. Enjoy your stay here Tim!

    Re: Vancouver Whitecaps ticker item. It is not a 10th anniversary kit.

    It is a nod to the kits the NASL Whitecaps wore when they won the 1979 Soccer Bowl. The team is celebrating the 40th anniversary of that win.


    On the 1972 ABA All Star Game program cover are the following Indiana Pacers and Kentucky Colonels players from left to right: Roger Brown, Artis Gilmore, Mel Daniels, Bob Netolicky, and Dan Issel.

    Glad the trip went well, and I’m bummed I missed the gathering.

    I moved to Cincinnati-area in March 2017. Been an awesome time since then. I traveled through a lot since 2004 when I was going to college in Kentucky. Not many skyline views beat the Cincinnati skyline coming down the hill on I75 north.

    Cincinnati chili is either a hit-or-miss. I love it, personally. Skyline, 4-way, onions, and dry. That’s the standard order. Occasionally I’ll mix it up with their habanero cheese. The one thing I’ve noticed about “chili” is this: every region/area has their own “chili” specs. I try to generally try them wherever I go to see what the styles are. Some say Cincinnati isn’t chili, whatever, many don’t think corn should be in chili either and it goes extremely well where I’ve had it.

    To start 2019, Williamstown, Kentucky became the first-ever “northern Kentucky” town/city to have a city-wide smoking ban. It’ll continue to hit more around NKY, I imagine. It’s already semi-rare to find a still-smoking restaurant that is more well-known.

    I will “second” the Hot Brown for a Kentucky dish. Although, it is more common around Louisville where it originated. Burgoo is another staple.

    Did you have any Derbie Pie in KY? Love that stuff; pecan pie with bourbon and chocolate chips…

    I’ve had it many times and even shared my own recipe for it many times here on the site. Didn’t have it during this trip, though.

    There’s still smoking allowed period, let alone in public eateries?

    (As you can likely tell, an ardent non-smoker from the Northeast).

    Peter, you aren’t joking! I’ve lived in numerous areas over the last few years and I seemed to been “sheltered” from smokers. I just never was around it UNLESS I went to something that seemed like a place that may have been notorious for smoking (state fair, county fair, etc.).

    Then, moving to NKY, it amazes me how many people seem to vape. It’s everywhere. Almost every stoplight I’m caught behind someone hotboxing with a vape. That stuff just pours out a cracked window like smoke out of a chimney.

    To put it into context, I am from the Hudson Valley.
    I traveled to Lima, OH not too long agon and went to “chain” restaurant and when they asked “smoking” or “non-smoking” my girlfriend replied “you’re kidding?”

    Working in NYC and in Philly, I find it INSANE when I hear stories that there is still ANY place that allows smoking indoors or even allowed on a public outdoor area (barring if they get caught).

    Granted, I am laughing hard now at the PSA’s playing in the NY-metro area comparing soda to cigarettes.

    People who vape are just rude, but I’ll take them as the lesser of two evils. I am happy we have PA as our buffer state.

    There are still bars in Philly where you can smoke inside. Off the top of my head, there’s the one by the Tower Theatre, and an upstairs bar called Tops on 15th street.

    Yeah, you definitely remembered something wrong. I live very close to Lima and outside of very few bars that say “screw it” after midnight, smoking indoors has been illegal and not remotely tolerated for a long time.

    *I just checked the ticket stub…October 2006 (A lot longer than I realized…was there for the Lima Symphony), but smoking was def ongoing in the restaurant.

    That would be right about when the ban started so that makes sense. I hated the ban when it started, even as a non-smoker. (Not a fan of the government taking anyone’s rights away.) But didn’t take long for me to absolutely love it.

    The feather stripe was probably a royal pain to apply.
    That short-lived Redskins helmet is one of my favorites.

    Someone help me out — What am I missing in the pictures of the guy who supposedly started a game wearing double digits and ended wearing a single digit?

    Never mind…After about 18 attempts I finally got the picture to expand and, suddenly, it all makes sense! LOL

    Skyline and Gold Star are the McDonalds and Wendy’s of Cincinnati-style chili, but I’m glad you went to the Skyline in Clifton near UC. Unique restaurant/experience.

    My preferred chili parlor is Camp Washington Chili. It’s chili is a little bit spicier than the big two.

    Union Terminal is such a gem.

    No visit to the top of the Carew Tower? Might have been too cold while you were there…

    My recollection is that Interbank was the consortium of banks that put together the system, but the first cards were MasterCharge. The competition was BankAmericard, which became Visa.

    That new Whitecaps jersey might be the worst possible example of an ad on a jersey. Most times ads are added to the existing jersey, which includes team logos etc. In this case, the ad is actually displacing the team name, and even worse, the city name if they do a road blue. The 1979 jersey is a very unique and beautiful design, and the team/city name on the front hoop is one of the many distinct features. I’m unable to put into words how disgusted I am with this, especially as this jersey is meant to honour a team that arguably won the most significant sports championship in the history of the city.

    Even worse: when I mentioned this on twitter as it came up on various supporters accounts, not only were people unbothered by this, many went out of their way to defend it and seemed to think it was a good thing. I get that more people haven’t given much thought to the issue, and don’t take sports jerseys as seriously as many of us do, but I was still surprised that an ad replacing the team name and city is considered by team supporters as being Not just OK, but good.

    Are the Whitecaps presently and historically more significant than the BC Lions?
    While I know Vancouver has supported the Whitecaps immensely, it would seem to me that the Lions would be the more preeminent team simply due to longevity and consistency.

    But I wouldn’t know.


    I see Wafflebored’s point about the Whitecaps winning “the most significant sports championship in the history of the city”.

    NASL was a 24-team, North America wide league in 1979. Much attention given to that championship win in front of the large crowd at Giants Stadium. Huge recognition of the win in 1979 in Vancouver.

    The Vancouver Millionaires have won the Stanley Cup in 1915. That is a more significant trophy, but maybe not during that period in comparison.

    BC Lions have won 6 Grey Cups in a pro football league that solely features teams in Canada (except that 1 title in 1994 during the Canadian football U.S. expansion experiment). In fact, that 1994 Grey Cup win over Baltimore may be the most significant sports championship in the history of the city.

    Of course, you are asking the wrong guy here. The Grey Cup, the chalice of Canadian professional football with its over 100 year history, more significant championship than a Soccer Bowl from my perspective in Canada. Grey Cup back in 1979 and still today garners mass attention north of the border. Soccer Bowl was just contested between the years of 1967 to 1984.

    Waffle, most of that likely has to do with the fact that most VW supporters weren’t alive/do not remember the ‘79 Soccer Bowl win, and the fact that nearly all modern MLS kits (and kits in all Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Central/South America) follow a basic format (league sleeve badge on one sleeve, sleeve ad on the other, maker’s mark on the upper right hand side of the front, club badge on the upper left hand side of the front, sponsor logo directly below the two aforementioned pieces to the front). Plus, the overall style of the kit is much more thoughtful and unique than many MLS kits within the last three or so years. Front what I can tell, this is less about the fact that an ad is in place of the old VW wordmark and more so about the overall thoughts of the kit, which were generally positive.

    I will read many things today – but I doubt I’ll read anything more pleasing than “unfettered goetta.”

    Great stuff today, Paul! I have never spent time in Cincinnati other than a few gas station stops on the way through to other places. However, with a few friends in the area now and your trip report, I’m eager to figure out a way to get out there.

    In particular, I can’t wait to sample the local fare. I was introduced to Cincinnati chili in Washington, DC, of all places, at a local chain of chili parlors called Hard Times. I’ve heard varying (largely positive) reports from “purists” about the authenticity of Hard Times’ rendition of the Cincinnati style, but it was always a personal favorite of mine. There’s a food truck here in the Denver area run by some Cincy ex-pats, which is the only way I’ve found to get my Cincinnati chili fix in Colorado aside from making it myself. Maybe a road trip to the source is in order sooner rather than later.

    PGA uni-watch update:

    There are usually a bunch of new equipment/hat sponsor deals at the start of the new year, and this year is no exception.

    The most noteworthy (from a golf, not Uni-Watch perspective) was probably Justin Rose, defending FedEx Cup champion and one of the “faces” of TaylorMade, jumping ship to join Honma. Honma has virtually no presence in the US or Europe but is big in the Asian market. Interesting thing about Honma clubs – their typical iron set includes a 10 iron! Club sets from years ago used to sometimes include a 10 iron, but all clubs nowadays go from the 9 iron to the pitching wedge. Honma’s 10 iron is a bit of a throwback.

    From a Uni-Watch perspective, the most interesting new deal was Gary Woodland joining Wilson golf. Woodland just finished second at the first PGA event of the new year. What’s interesting is that Woodland’s Wilson hat features the classic “Wilson” script. Wilson is one of the traditional golf brands from way back in the day, but the company fell on hard times in the 90’s. They made a strategic decision to start selling cheap-o golf clubs at places like Wal-Mart featuring the classic Wilson logo. This rightfully earned Wilson a reputation for being a cheap, big box club brand that no serious golfer would consider. They basically disappeared from the professional scene.

    To combat that reputation, Wilson started releasing quality equipment under the moniker “Wilson Staff,” which featured different logos and branding and whatnot. Wilson Staff does have a bit of a presence on the PGA tour, especially the European Tour. Padraig Harrington is probably the most prominent Wilson Staff guy. However, in the last couple years, Wilson has trying to re-brand their golf lineup to get back to the old “Wilson” name. I think it’ll be tough to distance the Wilson script from the poor reputation it’s earned, but Woodland is definitely the most noteworthy player to don the “Wilson” hat.

    Oof… that Flyers jersey is brutal. You don’t realize how much you miss white until it’s gone.

    On a related note, I think it’s interesting that the Flyers have essentially worn only one logo (in now four minor variations) on their jerseys for their entire history.

    Fantastic travelogue as always Paul. Have you ever considered penning a travel guide? I for one would be a day one customer.

    Thanks, Brian. My ideal travel guide has already been written. It’s called Road Trip USA, by my friend and hero Jamie Jensen. If you like my travel stuff, you need to get a copy of RT USA — trust me!

    + 1 on that. When I started reading about the sign museum, my first thought was that I should mention the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas, which I’ve visited a couple of times. And then I realized I probably learned about the Boneyard from you in the first place.

    Thank you for sharing your travelogue, Paul. I’ll be going over it again later as there is a lot of interesting things to ‘digest’.

    But I couldn’t help notice that the police officer on the Raybestos signs bears a resemblance to actor Glenn Ford.

    I think it is a stretch to say that Bruins logo is from four years in the future. The “black lines” on the spokes may be an artifact of the zoomed-in, low-res film grain photo enlargement; in any event they’re not as distinct as the black lines would later be.

    Great report, Paul. Lots of good photos, and you seem to find the coolest local bars too. The trip reviews are one of my favorite parts of this site. Cincinnati doesn’t usually come up on a list of top travel destinations, but it sure does have a lot to offer. I’ve enjoyed my visits there too. The next one will feel a little empty though, now that Cincinnati Gardens is gone. Also, I highly recommend a visit to the top of the Carew Tower.

    Union Terminal certainly is impressive. Breaks my heart that Buffalo’s Central Terminal lies shuttered in disrepair. Tragic.

    And regarding the Skyline Chili… I can never hear of it and not immediately think of what is now surely a legendary column:

    You ‘should’ own 23 Cleveland throwback jerseys and not one of them is from the ’85-’86 Cleveland State team?:


    The number font used in ’87-’88 was pretty sharp looking (sorry, best pic I could find):


    Metts in Cincinnati? Like when Ray Knight kicked Eric Davis’s keister back into the Riverfront Stadium artificial turf? Or the Mr. Red vs Mr. Met baseball head mascot controversy? #LGM Or is it Meats?

    The black sleeve end on that Flyers jersey is reminiscent of the design from their second-generation unis from the 80s to 2007. It’s not horrible… at least, I don’t think so.

    Cinnamon in chili? When people speak of Cincinnati chili, I always think of Ron White’s stand up routine about Cincinnati chili.

    Paul, your next visit to Cincy should be in August to coincide with GoettaFest! It’s a three day weekend event along the riverfront in Newport with tons of booths selling goetta inspired food items, live local bands and tons of stuff for the kiddies.

    I remember a layover I had when I was 10 at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport en route to Orlando. My 10-year-old self was amazed at hoe clean and beautiful it looked. Almost like a theme park and a mall wrapped into one. Apparently it’s still one of the best airports in the nation today.

    Hi Paul,

    Coming from a lifelong Lexington, KY resident, I’m so glad you enjoyed Cincinnati and the southern Ohio/northern Kentucky area! I wasn’t able to make the UW gathering, but I wish I could have. While I typically don’t like going to major cities (traffic, expensiveness, etc.) unless I’m watching a ballgame or playing soccer, I will say that Cincinnati is one of my favorite larger cities.

    As for the Kentucky notes, I can confirm that our smoking policies have modernized in the last decade and a half, though I was unaware we still permit in-restaurant smoking on a local basis. (Lexington and the rest of central Kentucky is smoke-free in all buildings to my knowledge). Also, whenever I am in northern Kentucky (Florence, for example) or southern Ohio (Cincinnati or Dayton) I always stop by LaRosa’s Pizzeria, which is a really good pizza and pasta restaurant (just a suggestion if you make it to the area again). Also, if you ever have the chance to go to Lexington, I highly recommend it. Based on the certain style of older, local restaurants you tend to visit on road trips, I believe we are the place for you!

    Josh, I had no idea you lived that close to Cincy. Wish you had come to the gathering — it would have been a pleasure to meet such a prolific Ticker contributor as yourself!

    Wow, I never thought there would be an american version of my hometown’s local food. If you want to know more of the origins of goetta, consider looking up “Knipp”, which is from Bremen. There is at least a short Wiki entry about it:


    Greetings from Bremen, Germany!

    I’m not sure which is cooler — that you just taught me something about goetta, or that Uni Watch has a reader in Germany!

    The initial designs for the Brooklyn Bridge were made by John A. Roebling, but he died after an accident surveying the site. The chief engineer, who made the final design and oversaw its construction, was his son, Washington Roebling.

    I was introduced to Skyline Chili when I was in college, and I must say I LOVE IT. The shredded cheddar on top? I could eat it all by itself.

    One thing I’ve found with Skyline is there’s two main camps:

    Those who ABSOLUTELY love it (me)

    Those who hate it (most people)

    It’s rare when I talk to someone who thinks it’s “so-so”.

    Seeing it on the site today is making me think I may have to go there for lunch.

    Yes, many times. There are plenty of places that serve it here in NYC (mostly restaurants run by Quebec expats). I’m a fan, obviously.

    Junker’s Tavern is two blocks away from Shake It Records, which is the best record store I’ve found in a handful of short trips to Cincinnati.

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