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Mike's Chili Parlor

1447 NW Ballard Way, Seattle, WA - (206) 782-2808
Posted By Michael Stern on 12/27/2012 8:02:00 AM
As Jane plowed into a dish of spaghetti, chili, cheese and onions and I forked up a chili dog and our friend Diane spooned into a bowl of chili, it occurred to me that Mike's is one of an endangered breed of restaurant: the urban chili parlor. Other than in Cincinnati, where chili culture still thrives, there are precious few good, cheap, blue-collar eateries where chili is king.

We must tell you that this is NOT gourmet-yuppie-celebrity chef type chili. It is coarse-ground beef with enough grease that when it is served by the bowl, your spoon will slide through a glistening layer on top before it hits meat. An old article posted on the wall describes it as "Mexican with a touch of Chicago and a pinch of old Greece." The Chicago touch is evident in the item listed on the menu, strangely, as chili pasta: chili served atop a bed of limp spaghetti noodles, a gloss on the Windy City's chili mac. Greek spice pervades the meat which is more Mediterranean sweet than Mexican hot.

The hamburgers looked great in a hash-house way, and next time we intend to try some. Meanwhile, we recommend the chili dog topped with cheese and onions. And to drink, if beer is not your choice, have some lemonade. It's fresh-squeezed!

PLEASE NOTE: Because it is a bar, people under 21 are not allowed to eat here.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Chili Bowl
Chili Pasta
Chili Dog
Lemonade
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Chili burger from Mike's.
"Chili burger from Mike's."
Peter S





True urban chili parlors are hard to find. Mike's is the real deal.
"True urban chili parlors are hard to find. Mike's is the real deal."
Michael Stern


You can barely see the bifurcated hot dog buried underneath the chili, cheese and onions, and atop a steamed bun. Fork and knife are provided, of course.
"You can barely see the bifurcated hot dog buried underneath the chili, cheese and onions, and atop a steamed bun. Fork and knife are provided, of course."
Michael Stern


Mike's chili pasta is similar to Cincinnati 5-way chili, but stacked in a different order. This is one of those raunchy meals that tastes better and better the more you eat it.
"Mike's chili pasta is similar to Cincinnati 5-way chili, but stacked in a different order. This is one of those raunchy meals that tastes better and better the more you eat it."
Michael Stern


Chili Bowl contains nothing but meat and sauce and grease unless you ask for beans, onions and/or cheese. Oyster crackers are an essential sop for the top.
"Chili Bowl contains nothing but meat and sauce and grease unless you ask for beans, onions and/or cheese. Oyster crackers are an essential sop for the top."
Michael Stern


Mike's was mobbed when we entered a few minutes after 12 noon. By 1pm, it was nearly empty.
"Mike's was mobbed when we entered a few minutes after 12 noon. By 1pm, it was nearly empty."
Michael Stern


It seemed to us that most of Mike's customers were drinking beer. But we were thrilled with this tart, fresh lemonade.
"It seemed to us that most of Mike's customers were drinking beer. But we were thrilled with this tart, fresh lemonade."
Michael Stern



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