The Top Chili in Cincinnati

There is an all important debate that continues in Cincinnati, Ohio. Who makes the best Cincinnati-style Chili? The contenders are Skyline Chili, Gold Star Chili or Dixie Chili? Cincinnati and the surrounding communities are filled with these busy Chili Parlors.

First, what is Cincinnati chili? The thing you need to know is that Cincinnati Chili is distinctively unique. It is not chili con carne. It is not a chili based stew with beans and tomatoes. Cincinnati chili is a meat sauce that you will find, most likely, over spaghetti and hot dogs. Though, through the years Cincinnati Chili has been the star ingredient of burritos, baked potatoes, and even french fries.

What do you do to finally find the winner of the best Cincinnati-style chili? You hit the streets! Now, I realize this is an unofficial poll. Hey, it is chili. What do expect? I actually went out and polled one hundred regulars of Cincinnati chili parlors. It did not take me long to realize my polling process was deeply flawed. I visited each chili restaurant and randomly asked diners what was their favorite Cincinnati chili? At Skyline Chili, Skyline Chili was the winner At Dixie Chili, Dixie Chili was the winner. At Gold Star Chili, Gold Star Chili was the winner.

The only thing left to do was a random poll. I asked friends, family, and mere acquaintances. I asked people in line at the grocery store. I asked people I passed in the mall. I asked the mailman and the cable guy. After I asked one hundred people, there was a clear winner. The winner of my very off the record, best Cincinnati-style chili is (drum roll please�) Skyline Chili! Out of one hundred Cincinnati Chili eaters, eight-two percent picked Skyline Chili.

Skyline Chili was founded in 1949 by Nicholas Lambrinides. Nicholas Lambrinides was a Greek immigrant who opened his first Skyline restaurant in a section of town known as Price Hill. The recipes for Skyline Chili are a well-kept family secret among Lambrinides’ surviving children. Many Cincinnatians and Skyline patrons have spent many hours in their own kitchens trying to duplicate the recipe. None with complete success. Many believe the unique taste of Skyline Chili come from a mix of chocolate and cinnamon.

Skyline’s menu includes their signature dishes: cheese coney hot dogs (Skyline Chili, mustard, onions and cheese), 3-ways (spaghetti topped with Skyline Chili and cheese; 4- and 5-ways can be made by adding beans and onions to the dish). Additional menu items include burritos with Skyline Chili, classic and Greek-style salads, french fries and baked potatoes topped with Skyline Chili.

Skyline Chili parlors are fresh and vibrant, with friendly and approachable service. Their dining rooms are always busy, but comfortable in a homey way. All dishes are deeply flavored and worth trying. When you sit down you are served with a bowl of oyster crackers. True Cincinnatians grab that bowl of crackers and smother it with Skyline Chili hot sauce. It is a (free) appetizer while waiting for the main course.

Skyline Chili operates over one hundred restaurants throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan and West Virginia. So you see, you don’t have to be in the Cincinnati area to enjoy Cincinnati-style chili.

If you pass a Skyline Chili parlor, go in, inhale the breeze of simmering chili. Enjoy first class food at an economy price!

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