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Camp Washington Chili Parlor

3005 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH - (513) 541-0061
Posted By Mike Sheldon on 7/9/2008 3:09:00 PM
Camp Washington Chili, when it was in the former old building, WAS an area institution... a destination. When they moved into the new cheap copy of the former, it went down fast. It's now a cheaply built parody of its former self.

The food is poor, the service worse. Most important, the chili is watery and next to flavorless. Basically what we got was "slop on a plate." I am a near native of the Cincy area and KNOW what this should be... and the real thing, not ruined and served by children, is now hard to find. Even though it's "just" chili/spaghetti/etc. it requires some care in preparation. It should not be made with overcooked watery spagetti covered by too-thin chili, thrown at you by kids only concerned with a tip and their next break (but that's my gripe about most food service these days).

Summary: Camp Washington Chili was a destination for us years ago; real character and good food prepared by adults. Now it's not worth anyone's time or gas to get there. Just don't bother.

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Scorecard

A close-up of the 5-Way shows the quintet of ingredients working in perfect harmony.
"A close-up of the 5-Way shows the quintet of ingredients working in perfect harmony."
Cliff Strutz





The cheese coneys here are small and overrun with cheese.
"The cheese coneys here are small and overrun with cheese."
Cliff Strutz


Camp Washington Chili makes a fine version of that unique Cincy breakfast meat, goetta.  It reminds me of the scrapple we have back in Pennsylvania, only leaner.
"Camp Washington Chili makes a fine version of that unique Cincy breakfast meat, goetta. It reminds me of the scrapple we have back in Pennsylvania, only leaner."
Cliff Strutz


Camp Washington is a fine place to try another of Cincy's local specialties, the double decker. This sandwich is ham and turkey on toast, all being held together by a toothpick!
"Camp Washington is a fine place to try another of Cincy's local specialties, the double decker. This sandwich is ham and turkey on toast, all being held together by a toothpick!"
Cliff Strutz


In Texas, you'd be strung up for serving chili with beans and spaghetti.  In Cincinnati, it's the only way.
"In Texas, you'd be strung up for serving chili with beans and spaghetti. In Cincinnati, it's the only way."
Michael Stern


A modest bacon and egg sandwich breakfast at Camp Washington Chili Parlor ... with lettuce and mayo, of course.
"A modest bacon and egg sandwich breakfast at Camp Washington Chili Parlor ... with lettuce and mayo, of course."
Michael Stern


Jane (top) forks into a plate of five way at Camp Washington.
"Jane (top) forks into a plate of five way at Camp Washington."
Michael Stern


Keepers of the secret chili recipe! This picture is from three decades ago, when we first met John Johnson after he bought the chili parlor from his uncles. He has since won a James Beard award for excellence and the restaurant is new and shiny ... but the chili is the same classic plate he made in 1977.
"Keepers of the secret chili recipe! This picture is from three decades ago, when we first met John Johnson after he bought the chili parlor from his uncles. He has since won a James Beard award for excellence and the restaurant is new and shiny ... but the chili is the same classic plate he made in 1977."
Michael Stern


John Johnson stands by one of the great vats in which his chili is currently steaming. These silver vessels were moved from the old location.
"John Johnson stands by one of the great vats in which his chili is currently steaming. These silver vessels were moved from the old location."
Michael Stern


Camp Washington's new counter is broad and roomy, with plenty of booths behind for those who prefer a more intimate chili-eating experience.
"Camp Washington's new counter is broad and roomy, with plenty of booths behind for those who prefer a more intimate chili-eating experience."
Michael Stern


Note the time on the wall. That's A.M.; John Johnson was already hard at work brewing the day's chili; and the customers included some who were concluding a long night with plates of five-way as well as others who were beginning their day with goetta and eggs.
"Note the time on the wall. That's A.M.; John Johnson was already hard at work brewing the day's chili; and the customers included some who were concluding a long night with plates of five-way as well as others who were beginning their day with goetta and eggs."
Michael Stern


This is the new Camp Washington Chili, just yards away from where the old one used to be, with the same round-the-clock hours and the same delicious chili.  (Jason Buchsbaum photo)
"This is the new Camp Washington Chili, just yards away from where the old one used to be, with the same round-the-clock hours and the same delicious chili. (Jason Buchsbaum photo)"
Michael Stern



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