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William Rini of A Taste of Excellence Catering explores unique Ohio cuisine

Ohio is known for an array of unique cuisine options, from shaker lemon pie to buckeyes and 'city chicken.

CLEVELAND, OHIO, UNITED STATES, August 14, 2018 / -- Ohio has its eclectic history and diverse population to thank for its array of specialty dishes. As William Rini of Strongsville-based A Taste of Excellence Catering explains, as a state with strong Polish and German heritage, unusual dishes such as the mysteriously named 'Polish boy' have left their mark firmly on the Ohioan culinary landscape.

Perhaps stranger still, William Rini reveals that one particular Ohioan dish, known as 'city chicken,' actually contains precisely zero chicken. "I'll touch on that again shortly," he adds.

From the comparatively run-of-the-mill 'Cincinnati chili' to dishes such as kielbasa, pierogi, and goetta, "it's a mixed bag" according to Rini. He goes on to reveal that, special to Cincinnati as the name suggests, Cincinnati chili is a thin meat chili dish, typically served over spaghetti and topped with cheese. "It's also sometimes served over hot dogs, which is rather less run-of-the-mill," he adds.

Meanwhile, kielbasa—a traditional Polish pork, beef, or veal sausage—is usually served as a sandwich on rye bread with mustard and sauerkraut when dished up in Ohio. Another Polish dish, pierogies are potato dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut, meat, and cheese. "They're delicious," adds William Rini, "and traditionally fried with onions in butter."

The A Taste of Excellence Catering boss continues, "A German-American fusion breakfast option, goetta is a dish of Ohioan origin which features oats and ground pork, cooked until crispy on a griddle and served with either ketchup or apple butter."

Back to the aforementioned 'city chicken,' Rini reveals that the dish is in fact made of pork, which is skewered and fried, or baked. "Sometimes also breaded, the dish is especially popular in the greater Cleveland area," adds the successful catering company owner.

Equally mysteriously named and hailing from a similar area, a 'Polish boy' is a sandwich of grilled kielbasa served with chips, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce.

Of two sweeter options, William Rini points toward Buckeyes and shaker lemon pie. "Buckeye candy is largely exclusive to Ohio," he suggests. A peanut butter mixture dipped in chocolate, Buckeyes are made to resemble the nut of the buckeye tree, indigenous to the state.

Meanwhile, shaker lemon pie—also known as Ohio lemon pie—is a sweet lemon dessert dish topped with a flaky pastry crust and traditionally served warm, found exclusively in the state.

"Furthermore, with its swathes of fertile farmland," Rini adds, wrapping up, "Ohio is also the perfect place to pick up delicious, locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables."

To learn more about William Rini and A Taste of Excellence Catering, please visit

Eric Ash
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