The Squirrel brings back Cincinnati’s chili roots

Twenty-five years ago, The Red Squirrel opened at the corner of Fourth and Walnut downtown Cincinnati. In May 2010, Renee Fields purchased the restaurant and changed the name to The Squirrel

Although Fields changed the name, she didn’t change much about the menu. But she did add a few items, including an award-winning hickory smoked BBQ that spends hours in prep on a rotisserie smoker. The Squirrel also brought back the original Cincinnati chili, Empress Chili, and is the only restaurant that serves it. 

The menu is also chock full of double decker sandwiches, salads and soups that Fields makes fresh daily. She sees food as not just food, but an art.  

Fields’ interest in cooking stemmed from her parents, who are seasoned cooks—they’ve done fundraising events for the Shriners Hospitals for Children and cooked at Taste of CincinnatiSummerfair, the Appalachian Festival and the Mason lodge that her dad belongs to. 

“We hope to offer a fun environment and good food at a good price, while staying true to our roots and keeping the Cincinnati tradition alive and kicking after all of these years,” Fields says. 

By Caitlin Koenig
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