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jokadrma
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2006/03/24 10:04:11 (permalink)

Cincinnati Chili

Hey!

I'm leaving for Cincinnati tomorrow ... and I need recommendations for a great chili dive. I've read all the reviews on the site, but I need the lowdown for a one-stop shopper. Which one should I choose? I've already eliminated Skyline and Gold Star because I don't want to eat at a chain. I want the best heaping plate of chili, provided it's the only stop I'll be able to make ...

Camp Washington?
Price Hill?
Blue Ash?

Thanks for any help...
Josh
#1

294 Replies Related Threads

    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 11:27:53 (permalink)
    I prefer Blue Ash Chili, but the majority who eschew chains point to Camp Washington as the best

    Camp Washington also has several other advantages

    1) They are open 24 hours a day except a short closure Sunday - so you can get the fix any time of day
    2) They are centrally located and right off I-75 - much easier to find and get to than Price Hill Chili or Blue Ash Chili, particularly for a visitor
    3) They also serve the other two Cincinnati specialities you should also sample while you are there: goetta and double decker sandwiches

    Either will be very good.

    For proper\complete chili sampling, make sure you get one of each:
    a chili spaghetti plate (3 way, 4 way, or 5 way - whatever seems most appealing)
    a cheese coney - make sure you specify whether you want onions and/or mustard, or assumptions will be made and you'll get both
    a cup of plain unadorned chili
    #2
    jokadrma
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 14:29:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    I prefer Blue Ash Chili, but the majority who eschew chains point to Camp Washington as the best

    Camp Washington also has several other advantages

    1) They are open 24 hours a day except a short closure Sunday - so you can get the fix any time of day
    2) They are centrally located and right off I-75 - much easier to find and get to than Price Hill Chili or Blue Ash Chili, particularly for a visitor
    3) They also serve the other two Cincinnati specialities you should also sample while you are there: goetta and double decker sandwiches

    Either will be very good.

    For proper\complete chili sampling, make sure you get one of each:
    a chili spaghetti plate (3 way, 4 way, or 5 way - whatever seems most appealing)
    a cheese coney - make sure you specify whether you want onions and/or mustard, or assumptions will be made and you'll get both
    a cup of plain unadorned chili
    #3
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 14:37:30 (permalink)
    Enjoy....
    #4
    mayor al
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 14:39:45 (permalink)

    Josh,
    TJ's recommendations are 'Right On the Nose' !! If you take his advice I can promise you a good Cincinnati Chili Experience! Enjoy !!
    #5
    jokadrma
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 15:04:54 (permalink)
    Thanks to the both of you ... I'll let you know how it goes!
    Josh
    #6
    marky
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/24 15:23:28 (permalink)
    camp washington is awesome. usa declared it the best chilihouse in america years ago and i traveled alot in the 80s so there i would be sitting at the counter in chili 5 way heaven.
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/25 12:44:04 (permalink)
    Although Gold Star Chili is not the best of Cincy, it is located in the B concourse in the Cincy airport and is very handy when I travel through.

    I always get their three way along with one of their short dogs. Makes a very handy snack.

    They also have a nice container to get a six pack of their chili. I bought one, brought it home, made my own version of three way and enjoyed a snowy evening.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #8
    jokadrma
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/28 10:24:12 (permalink)
    Back from the trip to Cincinnati ... through planning we hit Camp Washington first. Then because of location/time we also squeezed in Gold Star and Skyline.

    Much as it pains me to endorse a chili chain, I must say that Skyline was above and beyond the best of the three. We opened up the MainStrasse location after Sunday Service at the Covington Basilica. Can anyone tell me that spice that you can distinctly taste in most Cincinnati chili's? It's hard to describe, but very distinct and somewhat sweet. Whatever it was, it was more pronounced at Skyline than anywhere else. What Camp Washington DID have going for it, in my opinion, was that it was the hottest of the three.

    I will concede that Camp Washington may have suffered a bit because they packed our order to go when we were eating in-house, so a plate of 4-way with beans was jammed into a styrofoam cup with very little noodles to speak of. But I also tried a roast-beef double decker there that was delicious. Gold Star was a very distant third.
    #9
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/28 10:34:06 (permalink)
    Glad to hear of it :-)

    I guarentee your experience at Camp Washington would have been much improved had you eaten on dishes.

    Did you also get a coney? Plain chili? what about the goetta?

    I can't tell you the spice mix - it is a carefuly guarded secret, one wo which I am not privy :-). Typically guesses include (but are not limited to) cinamon, nutmeg, cocoa/chocolate, and/or allspice.
    #10
    jokadrma
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/28 11:52:12 (permalink)
    That's what I figured ... that it would have been much better with a plate. The upside was they include one too many cheese coneys so I had to eat 2 instead of 1. Bummer. So yep, I did get the chili (4-way and plain w/beans), the cheese coney, a double-decker sandwich and we did split some chili cheese fries also. I knew I forgot something, however, and didn't get to try the goetta. Oh well, I have decided I'll be back!

    At Skyline I got a 4-way also and a cheese coney. I was amazed at how quickly a small 4-way and cheese coney filled me up. At Gold-star, I just got a small cup of chili w/beans to go.

    Next time I'll pencil in Blue-Ash. I really need to nail whatever that particular spice was, that is what sealed the deal for me at Skyline.
    #11
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/03/28 11:55:04 (permalink)
    Well, at least you can buy the spice packets locally, or order them shipped via the mail
    #12
    Blower
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/05 20:05:53 (permalink)
    Going for my first taste tomorrow, cant wait to see what all the hubub is about...5-way here I come...
    #13
    jjjrfoodie
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/06 16:19:12 (permalink)
    You will not be disappointed.
    #14
    startrooper00
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/06 18:38:12 (permalink)
    Enjoy your first 'taste' and let us know what you think?
    #15
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/06 20:06:53 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Y'all making me HONGRY!
    Wishing I Could Go(etta) Right Now, Ort. Carlton in Livermushean (But Ya Gotta Know Where To Look!) Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. I'm not trying to start a scrap(ple), but my favorite is Park Chili on Hamilton Avenue... AFTER Camp Washington, of course.
    #16
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/06 22:46:04 (permalink)
    Now now Ort - you do have the scrambled dog down there to tide you over, right?
    #17
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/08 17:43:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson
    Now now Ort - you do have the scrambled dog down there to tide you over, right?


    TJ,
    For that one has to venture to Columbus, about 175 miles from here. I will be up for the trip shortly; I have a brewpub there (The Cannon Brewpub on Broadway) to review while I'm at it. I might as well grab a scrambled dog (at The Dinglewood Pharmacy first, natch) while I'm there... or two... or seven.
    Then I motor to Auburn, Alabama to sample the libations at The Olde Auburn Ale House downtown. On the way, I'll eat a plate of BBQ at a recommended-to-me place in Phenix City and drive by WCLS radio's directional towers.
    Ah, me -- so many things to eat, so many to drink....
    Wistfully (Full Of Wists?), Ort. Carlton in 30601-land.
    #18
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/08 18:35:50 (permalink)
    So the scrambled dog is ONLY in Columbus, GA? I had thought it was a all-Georgia thing.

    I have a friend working in a Military hospital there in Columbus
    #19
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/10 22:10:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson
    So the scrambled dog is ONLY in Columbus, GA? I had thought it was a all-Georgia thing.


    TJ,
    Absolutely not! It was begun at a long-vanished place named Firm Roberts' Cafe on Old Cusseta Road sometime around 1926 (somebody in the kitchen probably got bored one night and concocted it). After a few years, the fame of the dish made Roberts' eatery locally famous.
    One of the kitchen workers, a man named Lieutenant Stevens, memorized the recipe in the early 1940's with the ultimate intent of figuring out ways to improve it. When Firm Roberts' closed, he took a job at another place, and following several successive transfers, he prepared his now-improved scrambled dogs at the luncheonette of the amazingly-named Dinglewood Pharmacy on Wynnton Road in Columbus for around 40 years. He's retired now, but he still comes in periodically "to stir the chili," as he puts it, around peak lunchtime.
    Purists of the dish advise me that you eat your first one at Dinglewood (especially if you can get Mr. Stevens to make it for you, which isn't difficult), then venture elsewhere to see how the other places do it. Country's BBQ on Broad Street downtown makes a credible version, but there are at least two or three dozen other places that produce the dish. It hasn't travelled any farther than Phenix City, Opelika, and Auburn, Alabama that I am aware of, although there is a long-established hot doggery in downtown La Grange, Georgia that might serve a version: Charlie Joseph's; 128 Bull Street. (They also have one suburban location.)
    This is, indeed, a ways off the initial Cincinnati chili topic, o moderator, but it answers TJ's implied question as well as I am able.
    Doggedly Submitted, Ort. Carlton in Already-Scrambled Athens, Georgia.
    #20
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/10 22:49:04 (permalink)
    Thankee Ort!
    #21
    Blower
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/18 17:28:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by startrooper00

    Enjoy your first 'taste' and let us know what you think?



    Not bad at all. Went to Camp Washington and got the 5-way and some chili cheese fries decided to eat it there for the ambiance.
    It Definiteley different from the "normal" chili I'm used to but it was good. When it came out it looked just like the picture heaping high and quite beatiful looking loaded with cheese, finely diced onions and beans. After carefully digging through the cheese layer I found the chili quite pleasant tasting. Chili cheese fries were outstanding, found the fries to be crisp and the chili and cheese plentiful. Tried with and without the hot sauce and I do like my food spicey but not sure about the vinegar franks style hot sauce (which I like) on the chili I think some red pepper flakes would have done better to add heat while preserving the taste. Don't know if I'll be making the 300 mile ride for some but I wouldn't turn down going there again if we were going by the place.

    I now know what jokadrma is talking about it almost tastes like a hint of allspice or something close to that in the chili.

    Would have done the coney too but I was still stuffed from breakfast :)

    #22
    Pdasilva0324
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/30 15:54:06 (permalink)
    Cincinnati style chili is one of the worst culinary concoctions I have ever laid eyes, nose, or tongue on. Ginger? In chili? It's supposed to be sweet? YYUUCCKKK..it tastes like Crest toothpaste with a hint of onions. Adding some spaghetti or noodles certainly doesn't help matters and gives pasta a bad name.
    #23
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/04/30 16:05:39 (permalink)
    Tell us how you REALLY feel, Pd

    For many, it is an acquired taste. One that a very high percentage of Cincinnatians have acquired.

    Sorry about your luck.

    Can somebody send this person some lutefisk? :-)
    #24
    Blower
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/02 17:36:49 (permalink)
    I agree, its aquired.

    When I cook spaghetti at home it al dente and the sauce is homemade (I make gallons of sauce every year with cases of farmers market tomatos) just like its supposed to be. Luckily, I have that occasional craving for overcooked spaghetti with the canned sauce and fake cheese. Sometimes you just gotta slum it and feed your inner child. haha

    So, I ended up taking to cincinnati chili like a fish to water. When I first had it I thought it was ok, but witin a week or 2 I started craving it. I ended up making my own(used dried beans slow cooked and a pinch of allspice, pinch of sugar, unsweeted coco powder and intenionally overcooked the noodles), man it was good and pretty darn close to the real deal(BTW a sharper cheddar works well on top).
    #25
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/02 18:03:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pdasilva0324

    Cincinnati style chili is one of the worst culinary concoctions I have ever laid eyes, nose, or tongue on. Ginger? In chili? It's supposed to be sweet? YYUUCCKKK..it tastes like Crest toothpaste with a hint of onions. Adding some spaghetti or noodles certainly doesn't help matters and gives pasta a bad name.


    It is important that you add in your opinion!!!

    You may not enjoy Cincy Chili and that is your opinion and I respect that but not all folks agree with your taste. Everything is a matter of taste.

    Quite frankly many of the people enjoy this chili. I am one of them but again, it is my opinion.

    I suggest that you post what is your personal opinion. We may not enjoy what you enjoy but we will never know unless you present it in a more paltable way.

    Thanks
    Paul E. smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #26
    V960
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/02 18:36:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pdasilva0324

    Cincinnati style chili is one of the worst culinary concoctions I have ever laid eyes, nose, or tongue on. Ginger? In chili? It's supposed to be sweet? YYUUCCKKK..it tastes like Crest toothpaste with a hint of onions. Adding some spaghetti or noodles certainly doesn't help matters and gives pasta a bad name.


    It's cinnamon you taste not ginger. You have a palate that matches your manners.
    #27
    CasperImproved
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/02 18:59:52 (permalink)
    Pdasilva0324 - Any sauce (even chili related) that has gained respect from a large number of people, must be worthy of contemplation... if you personally would not consider eating this as chili, consider (with imagination) what it *might* be good on. That's what being a good cook/chef/appreciator/etc. would do. If you can't think of something you might try it on based on ingredients and/or cook method, rack it up to different strokes for different folks... personnally, I prefer my pork ribs with a glaze or BBQ sauce, but I don't poke at people that like their's dry...

    Go with the flow and appreciate the differences in those around you. Diversity is a good thing... else you might only like gruel.

    Casper
    #28
    Pat T Hat
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/02 22:16:15 (permalink)
    Oh let us not forget the original "Empress Chili"! Their beans are the best I think and the chili is nothing less than top drawer. Still just a small family operation. I love "The Camp", Price Hill is good but ya know I just plain love chili! Raised on the Cincy stuff and we just use it for the Greek meat gravy it is. Try it on eggs or as a "Way" Omelette. The cinnamon is what everybody thinks of, but the real measure to it's "Cincyness" is the use of allspice and clove. In the proper proportions it's what gives it that extra kick. I think it really brings out the red pepper chili's that the best places put in whole(At Camp Washington I've never gotten a pint without at least one floating around).
    #29
    Pigiron
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    RE: Cincinnati Chili 2006/05/03 10:49:55 (permalink)
    Man, I LOVE Camp Washington. I can't get decent chili of ANY kind around my parts, with the exception of my own Veggie Chili. Camp Washington really has a unique flavor, and the new location (maybe it's not so new anymore?) is very spiffy and clean. Enjoy!
    #30
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