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Ohio State Fair: Food Guide

From sandwiches that celebrate our state's farmers to more than three dozen food items new to the fair this year, here's a sampler of what you can dig into. 

The arrival of the Ohio State Fair means food — lots and lots of food. The options range from the traditional Ohio shredded chicken sandwich to pretty much anything you can dip in batter and throw in a fryer. We tackled the fair food options two ways: First, we sampled sandwiches at the Taste of Ohio Cafe (featuring pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and dairy options from Ohio farmers.) Then, we looked into the more than three dozen foods new to the fair this year. Here's where to find them and what we thought about the ones we tried. 
Taste of Ohio Cafe
Taste of Ohio Cafe 
Farming has been at the core of the Ohio State Fair since its inception in 1850, but it wasn’t until 1993 that fair-goers could try locally sourced dishes served up by associations representing our state’s beef, chicken, pork, lamb and dairy producers. The Taste of Ohio Cafe offers a wide range of options ranging from Hickory-smoked brisket to Ohio’s famous hot shredded chicken sandwich. You can even grab a glass of Ohio wine or an Ohio-made domestic or craft beer to enjoy with your meal in the air-conditioned space that’s always a big draw for fair-goers. Here are three sandwiches we recommend. 
Shredded chicken sandwich
Hot Shredded Chicken Sandwich ($5.50): The hot shredded chicken sandwich is an Ohio staple and you’ll find it at one of the two Taste of Ohio Cafe stands offering poultry dishes. Served on a white bun, the sandwich is probably most easily enjoyed with a fork, and it perfectly delivers what hot shredded chicken sandwiches should be. 
Pork Loin Sandwich
Pork Loin Sandwich ($5): This Ohio Pork Council sandwich features two thick pieces of pork loin on a bun. Drizzle it with barbecue sauce or enjoy it without. You can’t really go wrong either way. 
My Big Fat Greek Gyro
My Big Fat Greek Gyro ($11): Sure, it’s the priciest of the three options sampled, but the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association’s gyro delivers. The lamb meat is shredded versus shaved and served with olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and lettuce stuffed into a pita. 

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New Fair Foods 
There are more than 40 new foods offered at the Ohio State Fair this year. We know you have your perennial favorites, but it's also fun to branch out (especially when a Flamin' Hot Cheeto Corn Dog is among the new arrivals). Here’s our rundown on the nearly three dozen new food finds and our take on the ones we tried. 

It may help to download the Ohio State Fair map here. The food finder on the state fair website can also help you locate the treats featured below. 
Apple Fries
Apple Fries
Marshal Family Farm, west of Kasich Hall entrance
These are more apple wedges than fries, and they’re cooked fresh to order so plan to wait a few minutes. But these eight Granny Smith wedges were perfectly prepared and deliver a delicious punch of apple flavor. (Just be careful. They are hot!) 
 
Authentic Mexican FoodI
Ledesma Concessions, near Taste of Ohio Cafe 
Stray from traditional fair foods by trying some authentic Mexican cuisine, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas. 

BBQ Chicken Nachos
Dre's Place BBQ, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Chips and cheese are great, but how about amping it up with some smoky barbecue chicken? Yes, please. 

Breakfast Wraps
KG Concessions, near Taste of Ohio Cafe and ShowPlace Pavilion
A solid breakfast will get you fueled up for exploring the fairgrounds, and these wraps featuring traditional breakfast-time ingredients will do the trick. 

Brisket Nachos
Dre's Place BBQ, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Again, we love chips and cheese, but dumping some brisket over top just makes it so, so much better. 

Buckeye Funnel Cake
KG Concessions, near Taste of Ohio Cafe and ShowPlace Pavilion
Deep-fried buckeyes are a fair tradition, but this year a buckeye funnel cake is on the menu, too. A chocolate-and-peanut-butter mixture is topped with powdered sugar and — drumroll, please — served on a funnel cake in the shape of Ohio. 

Caribbean Noodles and Jambalaya Rice

Giuseppe's Concessions, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
These noodle and rice dishes feature chicken, pork or vegetables and are cooked in a wok in front of fair-goers. Order a bubble lemonade to wash it down. 

Chicken Philly Sandwich
Provenzale, WNCI Food Highway on west side of WCOL Celeste Center Entrance
Sure, it hails from Pennsylvania but this Ohio twist subs chicken instead of beef in the city of Philadelphia’s classic, cheesy creation. 

Chicken Salad Croissants

KG Concessions, near Taste of Ohio Cafe and ShowPlace Pavilion
The deli favorite comes to the fairgrounds: a buttery croissant stuffed with chicken salad. 

Chocolate Candy Bar Shish Kebab
Bulk Candy Store, near 17th Avenue across from Brown Sheep Building and east side of Lausche Youth Center
Enjoy a mix of assorted candy bars — skewered, battered and deep-fried for an easy-to-hold treat that will keep you guessing what candy your next bite will reveal. 

Chocolate Deviled Eggs
Ohio Poultry Association, Taste of Ohio Cafe 
A lightly smoked, hard-boiled egg is filled with chocolate mousse, putting a sweet spin on the traditional creation. 

Churros
Casa DeMexico by Neffy's, Bricker Marketplace Building Food Court
The food court located inside the Bricker Marketplace Building features international favorites, including this crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside traditional Mexican desert topped with cinnamon sugar. 

Cold Brew Coffee
Sweet Shop, Bricker Marketplace Building Food Court 
We know you need your caffeine fix. Heres how to get your pick-me-up in the form of a refreshing drink that'll help you beat the heat.  

Corny-Kabob
AWB Concessions, west of Shoppes at North Commercial 
Created with alternating layers of hot dog and cheese, this out-of-the-ordinary kabob is hand-dipped and fried to create yet another twist on the traditional corn dog. 

Deep-Fried Charleston Chews
Bulk Candy Store, near 17th Avenue across from the Brown Sheep Building and east side of Lausche Youth Center 
You know the classic candy: chewy vanilla-flavored nougat topped with chocolate. But have you ever had it dunked in batter and deep fried? That's what we thought. 

Deep-Fried Corn on the Cob 
Glo Concessions (WNCI Food Highway north of WCOL Celeste Center near Main Street Stage) and Marshal Family Farm (west of Kasich Hall entrance)
Our state's star summer crop gets the deep-fried treatment. The good news: It is ever-so-slightly healthier for you than deep-fried candy bars. 

Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese Balls
The Tot Spot (Fun Time Foods), north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building 
Are you noticing a trend here? The deep-fried parade of options continues with the arrival of mac & cheese balls. You have some walking to do anyway, right?

Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese on a Stick 
First National Bank of Hot Dogs (S&C Concessions), east side of Giant Slide
Sure you could eat them with your fingers, but when fried mac & cheese makes the jump to a stick it becomes much more portable. 

Deep-Fried Mini Gummy Burgers
Bulk Candy Store, near 17th Avenue across from the Brown Sheep Building and east side of Lausche Youth Center 
We know the Ohio State Fair has served deep-fried gummy bears before, but these mini gummy burgers turn a new corner in culinary creativity. They are battered, deep-fried and served with Fruity Pebbles cereal on top, making for a jelly-filled-doughnut feel. 

Deep-Fried Tofu
KG Concessions, east of ShowPlace Pavilion
Soybeans are a staple agricultural crop in Ohio, so why not go for something that celebrates it: cubed, deep fried and served with salsa.  

Edible Cookie Dough
Wonderland Cookie Dough, north end of Meijer Kiddieland near Central Park 
We know, we know, eating cookie dough from the tube is a health hazard (but we've actually done it and lived to tell the tale). No need to worry here. This stand serves edible cookie dough in flavors such as M&M, chocolate chip, birthday cake and cookies & cream
Flamin' Hot Cheeto Corndog
Flamin' Hot Cheeto Corn Dog/Hot Dog
Tracey Company, corner of 17th Avenue 
We didn’t even know the traditional fair corn dog needed an upgrade until we tried this creation that incorporates crushed-up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into its batter. The creation is served with a side of Sriracha-infused nacho cheese and a handful of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ride shotgun for visual flair and a little extra heat. Despite all the fiery talk, this corndog is pleasantly spicy and totally enjoyable. (You can also order a traditional hot dog topped with the spicy nacho cheese and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.) 

Fried Jalapeno Rings 
KG Concessions, near Taste of Ohio Cafe and ShowPlace Pavilion 
The perfect marriage of crunch and heat comes to the Ohio State Fair in the form of these spicy jalapeno rings coated in batter and deep-fried. 

Frozen Buckeye Cheesake & Frozen White Chocolate Oreo Cheesecake
Maggie's Sundae in a Cone, WNCI Food Highway, southeast corner of Bricker Marketplace Building
If you've never had a piece of frozen pie dipped in chocolate before your eyes and handed over to you on a stick, you're in the right place.

Hash Bomb
The Tot Spot (Fun Time Foods), north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
You like hash browns, right? Well, how about sandwiching bacon and melted cheese between two crispy hash browns for a sandwich that'll work as breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

Nitro Coffee 
Eaton Cookies, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Need a morning or mid-afternoon pick me up? Go for this handcrafted cold brew infused with nitrogen (smooth!) and served fresh from the tap.

Philly-Style Soft Pretzels
Big G's, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building 
So, we've already given Philly cheesesteaks the green light for the Ohio State Fair. Now try this pretzel that serves as a base for a bunch of Philly-inspired toppings.  

Philly Tots 
Donut Burger (Dickerson and Kenna), WNCI Food Highway, southeast corner of Bricker Marketplace Building
This one gives a pile of tater tots the Philly cheesesteak treatment, smothering them with steak, onions and green peppers covered with melted cheese. 

Pigs in a Blanket on a Stick
First National Bank of Hot Dogs (S&C Concessions), east side of Giant Slide 
Just like it sounds: Hot dogs and cheese are wrapped in dough, cooked to golden perfection and served on a stick.

Pork Butt Tots 
Donut Burger (Dickerson and Kenna), WNCI Food Highway, southeast corner of Bricker Marketplace Building
Tater tots, meet nachos. Nachos, meet tater tots. Now that we've gotten that out of the way let's throw some pulled pork, green onions, red onions and melted cheese on top. 

Pressed Sandwiches 
“Hot Off the Press” Pressed Sandwiches (Hill Concessions), north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
The Big Piggy features grilled ham, bacon, pulled pork and cheddar cheese. The Cuban is made with pulled pork, pickles, Swiss cheese and sauce. 

Puckering Pickle Popsicles 
KG Concessions, north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
Popsicles are a classic summer treat, but this spot gets inventive by subbing in pickle juice to create a satisfyingly sour creation. 

Pulled Pork or Chicken Sundae
Famous Gabby's, west side of Ag-Pro Companies Taft Coliseum
Built on a bed of french fries and baked beans, you can opt for pulled pork or chicken with coleslaw. 

Sake Beef Jerky
iJerky Guy, Bricker Marketplace Building, Bay 301
Try some Japanese-inspired beef jerky at this spot you'll find among the bays at the Bricker Marketplace Building.


S'mOreo Funnel Cake

Made from Scratch Funnel Cakes (Hill Concessions), north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
And to think we used to only have traditional funnel cakes. This invention tops the fair favorite with powdered sugar, hot fudge, marshmallow cream and crumbled Oreos. 

Skyline Tots 
The Tot Spot (Fun Time Foods), north of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building 
Those who hail from the Queen City won't want to miss out on this dish featuring Cincinnati's iconic Skyline Chili and shredded cheese. 

Specialty Grilled Cheese 
the Giddy Piggy, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building
With flavors such as spaghetti, buffalo ranch chicken and Thanksgiving, these grilled cheese creations go far beyond the simple squares your mom used to make for you. 
Sriracha Bacon Maple Donuts
Sriracha Bacon Maple Donuts
Inky Dinky Donuts, east side of WNCI Food Highway on the corner of 17th Avenue across from the sheep barn. (Note: The Ohio State Fair program says these are Sriracha Peanut Butter Crunch Donuts, but Inky Dinky Donuts told us they are making these instead.) 
Sweet-and-savory doughnuts have become a trend, and this food stand serves its version by adding some heat to the equation. A pile of tiny fried doughnuts are piled into a boat and topped with a drizzle of Sriracha, bacon and maple. It’s an unusual mix, and its success probably depends on how culinary adventurous you tend to be. 

Strawberry Lemonade, Cucumber Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade
First National Bank of hot Dogs (S&C Concessions), east side of Giant Slide 
Why should lemons have all the fun. Choose from sweet strawberry, tart raspberry or refreshing cucumber.

Strawberry Tea, Strawberry Lemonade, Cherry Lemonade
Big G's, west side of Nationwide Donahey Land & Living Building 
Yet more options for quenching a summer thirst. 

Whisky BBQ Jerky
iJerky Guy, Bricker Marketplace Building, Bay 301
From the guy who brought you sake jerky — keep an eye out for this smoky whiskey BBQ jerky that conjures the flavors of a backyard cookout. 

Explore the Fair: Iconic Spots | Food Guide | Animal Attractions | Where to Cool Off | Show Times

For more information about the Ohio State Fair, which runs through Aug. 4, visit ohiostatefair.com.

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