FX Excursions

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Top 5: Cincinnati Chili Parlors

by Matthew Rimer

Mar 18, 2015

Skyline Chili, Cincinnati, Ohio © Nicholas Eckhart | Flickr

North America

Cincinnati chili is truly a unique dish. Created in the Roaring Twenties, this recipe incorporates a soupy chili con carne, seasoned with spices like cinnamon and sometimes chocolate, over a bed of spaghetti or a hotdog bun.


The dish can be ordered in a number of ways:

Bowl: chili in a bowl

Two-way: chili and spaghetti

Three-way: chili, spaghetti and cheese

Four-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions

Five-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans


However, this food is not for everybody — in Deadspin’s recent “The Great American Menu,” ranking the delicacies of each state, Cincinnati chili ranked dead last, after “getting hit by a car.” They referred to it as “abominable garbage-gravy” and “sensorily and spiritually disgusting.” Even still, thousands of Ohio natives stand by their favorite culinary indulgence, and praise it for its cultural footing and nuanced blend of flavors.


Skyline Chili, Cincinnati, Ohio © Dina Roberts Wakulczyk | Flickr

Skyline Chili © Dina Roberts Wakulczyk | Flickr


Skyline Chili

The corporate option for chili adventurers is undoubtedly Skyline. With nine different locations around the city, the clean and polished aesthetic might not be for all. That being said newbies and seasoned chili critics alike praise this venue. Even president Obama stopped in recently to enjoy the food.


Delhi Chili

For a warm, homey chili experience, visitors should explore Delhi Chili. The plain-looking exterior is anything but representative of the quality of chili inside. The recipe is full of flavor. but easy on the grease, offering a smooth, distinct taste.


Goldstar Chili

Longtime rival of Skyline, Goldstar is the second largest chili chain in the city. However, this location emphasizes originality in their product. They claim that they have, “the only Cincinnati chili actually made in Cincinnati.”


Price Hill Chili

On the West side of the city is Price Hill. This full-service bar is known for their own recipe called “the weiner bun.” This concoction features two grilled wieners on a single bun covered in chili.


Camp Washington Chili

This ‘50s-style diner, on the corner of Colerain and Hopple, is perhaps home to the best chili is Cincinnati. Open 24 hours a day, and complete with a drive-thru, this stop is known for their world-class coneys that would rival those of New York.



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