Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili

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ScreamingChicken
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2009/05/13 09:18:51 (permalink)

Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili

I thought about putting this in the "Where Should I Eat?" forum but because it's quite specific I decided to put it here instead.
 
Every August I'm in the Lebanon and Dayton areas of Ohio (via Indianapolis and I-70 east) and after reading the Cincinnati Chili Crawl trip report I'd like to try to find some chili when I'm there this year.  Note that the only time I'm anywhere near Cincinnati is early Sunday morning on the way home and chili probably won't be very attractive to me at time, so I'm looking elsewhere.
 
My contact in Lebanon told me that there's a Gold Star and a Skyline there but that's all he's aware of.  Obviously they're successful chains (especially Skyline, with locations all over Ohio and in Indiana and Florida as well) but would those of you who've eaten a lot of chili suggest them?  Or are there other places that I should consider?  Thanks!
 
Brad
#1

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    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 10:03:17 (permalink)
    Either one should be fine to try it out for the first time. 

    Sure, they are both chains, but they are both decently good.  I think it is fair to say that of the two, Skyline is the more popular in general here in Cincinnati

    That said, I don't know much about Dayton or Lebanon, and will leave it up to the folks out that way to let you in on any non-chain options in their area.
    #2
    wheregreggeats.com
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 10:53:20 (permalink)
    I'd do Skyline.
    #3
    mayor al
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 11:31:55 (permalink)
    Of the two chains (both represented here in the Louisville area) we prefer the Skyline.
    #4
    CajunKing
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 13:21:22 (permalink)
    Brad

    The chili parlor we rated as #1 has a location in Mason (near Kings Island) that is close to lebanon.

    www.blueashchili.com

    Lebanon does have 2 independents, but I have never tried them and could not vouch for them
    #5
    Foodosaurus
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 13:29:40 (permalink)
    I will be flying through the Cinci Airport in August on my way back from SoCal.  I understand that there is a Gold Star Chili there. 

    That will be my first experience with Cinci Style Chili.
    #6
    LJM
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 14:15:24 (permalink)
    There are one or maybe two Skyline Chili restaurants right off I-70 as you drive  through the Dayton area.  I drive from DC area to Chicago and back twice a year, and usually try to make a stop at Skyline.  I once lived in Cincinnati, and am not big fan of Skyline chili.  IMO, Hard Times Cafe in the DC/MD/VA area has better Cincinnati style chili compared to Skyline.  If you have never had Cincinnati style chili, than I would recommend giving Skyline a try but don't use it as benchmark to judge other chilis.  To me, Cincinnati style chili resembles more a pasta meat sauce than a chili.   Good luck and enjoy.
    #7
    carolina bob
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 21:14:40 (permalink)
    Brad, I think that Camp Washington and Empress are the two best of the six places that we sampled during the Cincinnati Chili crawl, but I still prefer Skyline over any other. I wouldn't bother with Gold Star; their chili is, IMO, a bit on the bland side.
    #8
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/13 22:08:17 (permalink)
    Brad,

    I know you're not afraid to cook, so you might like to make your own Cinci Chili.  There are a bunch of recipes online, I think this one captures the essence of the style.  The spices are unique to this style of chili, and include cinnamon, allspice and cocoa.

    I once saw a recipe that called for boiling the beef, I don't know if that is common or not.  You may want to use an enameled roasting pan for that.

    Don't flag me bro'
    #9
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/14 01:45:54 (permalink)
    ^^that's what my mom does. I can PM you the recipe from work, Brad.

    I would say Skyline, too.
    #10
    Foodbme
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/14 02:44:12 (permalink)
    Skyline Chili is a good middle of the road Cincy Chili. There are places better and there are worse places. If you have limited time, I suggest you go there. It will give you a good representative sample of what Cincy Chili is all about. I suggest you go to one in Cincy. I think the ones in other towns are franchises so you might not get Skyline's best efforts there.
    #11
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/17 12:36:26 (permalink)
    The only time I have had Cincy chili is when I made it myself from a recipe posted on this thread as Skyline Chili.  I thought it was good but I have no idea how it compared to the "real" thing.
    #12
    Russ Jackson
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/18 13:43:04 (permalink)
    I would eat Skyline before Gold Star. But if you can get to Cincy Camp Washington Chili or my favorite Dixie Chili in northern Kentucky...Russ
    #13
    donw9876
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/05/20 20:45:36 (permalink)
    CajunKingLebanon does have 2 independents, but I have never tried them and could not vouch for them


    What are these places? The only two chili places I know in Lebanon are Skyline and Gold Star, both on East Main St. at the shopping center.


    #14
    Time for Pie
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/06/08 17:59:34 (permalink)
    Cincinnati chili preferences are highly subjective...I know folks who will argue for hours on end over "the best" Cincinnati chili.  Don't get too worked up over how thick or thin one brand of chili is over another - I was a delivery driver around Cincinnati for over a decade, so I've visited a lot of chili parlors - the thickness varies by location far more than it does by brand. 

    I prefer Gold Star's chili.  It is a wee bit sweeter than Skyline.  I don't agree that it is more bland than Skyline...just that it is different.  To me, the chili at Blue Ash has a slight burnt overtone that tells me they are using some chipotle pepper in it.  Similar to that is found at Chili Time in St. Bernard.  Empress' chili usually has extra fat/grease in it that makes it less appealing than most of the others.  It has been a long time since I had Camp Washington or Dixie chili, so I can't compare them to the others. 

    Does anyone know if Uncle Steve's Chili still exists?  It was opened by a disgruntled family member from Camp Washington Chili, just across the street, and was around for years.  Similar recipe, but not the same.
    #15
    NYPIzzaNut
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    Re:Needing an intro to Cincinnati chili 2009/10/04 12:54:45 (permalink)
    Russ Jackson

    I would eat Skyline before Gold Star. But if you can get to Cincy Camp Washington Chili or my favorite Dixie Chili in northern Kentucky...Russ



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnati_chili




    Of these brands I would rate them:

    1 Worthmore (great flavor and price)
    2 Dixie (great flavor and somewhat overpriced)
    3 Gold Star (good but way overpriced)
    4 Skyline (decent flavor but way overpriced)
    5 Cincinnati Recipe (the blandest and absolutely most tasteless of all, and the most overpriced)
    post edited by NYPIzzaNut - 2009/10/04 13:06:48
    #16
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