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City Billiards

208 Richland Ave. West, Aiken, SC - (803) 649-7362
Posted By Michael Stern on 3/4/2013 8:32:00 AM
City Billiards says that the recipe it uses to make chili for chili dogs is 50 years old. It is a good one that deserves longevity. The dog itself is a pink little pup without much character, but as chili dog aficionados know, that's often exactly right as the foundation for a transcendent frankfurter. An excellent artisan sausage, even a top-notch, all-beef frank, like you expect in Chicago, can upset the balance and detract from the chili. At City Billiards, the wan wiener exists more for harmony than melody: an oinky home for a thick application of chili that is dense and meaty, balanced wonderfully between sweet and spicy. In concert with grated cheese and/or cole slaw, you've got an A-1 true-South hot dog.

The main culinary attraction at City Billiards is not the chili dog, but the cheeseburger, which is, according to the sign outside, "the best cheeseburger you'll ever eat." If all you know about burgers is golden arches or Whoppers or Five Guys, the claim may be valid, but most hamburger-conscious Roadfooders have had burgers in this league, and better. Don't get me wrong: It is one heck of a fine burger, thick and juicy with velvety insides ready to drip juice at first bite. If you order one, you will be asked how you want it dressed. "What's normal here?" I inquired, and received mine with mayonnaise, mustard, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and raw onions. It was a handsome and delicious package. All kinds of other toppings are available (bacon, mushrooms, jalapeno cheese, etc.)

City Billiards, which really is a billiards parlor, offers a broad bar menu of sandwiches, salads, and wings with and without bones. I've yet to summon interest in anything but the chili dog and cheeseburger, and you can be sure I will be stopping back for those next time I visit Aiken.

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Scorecard

3 - Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Overall: Excellent - Worth a Detour
Cheeseburger
Chili Dog
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The chili City Billiards applies to its hot dogs is thick and beefy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, an intriguing brew that is completed with cheese, mustard and raw onions. Slaw is another good optional topping, although its sweetness does tend to distract from the chili's complex character.
"The chili City Billiards applies to its hot dogs is thick and beefy, slightly sweet, slightly spicy, an intriguing brew that is completed with cheese, mustard and raw onions. Slaw is another good optional topping, although its sweetness does tend to distract from the chili's complex character."
Michael Stern





Hand-pattied and a full inch thick, the burger is griddle fried to extreme succulence, the cheese laid on at the last minute and covered with a lid so it melts quickly. We wouldn't dream of having it any way but with the full complement of condiments, including mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and raw onion. The sesame seed bun is steamed soft and able to absorb burger juice, mayo, and mustard, becoming a delicious breadstuff.
"Hand-pattied and a full inch thick, the burger is griddle fried to extreme succulence, the cheese laid on at the last minute and covered with a lid so it melts quickly. We wouldn't dream of having it any way but with the full complement of condiments, including mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and raw onion. The sesame seed bun is steamed soft and able to absorb burger juice, mayo, and mustard, becoming a delicious breadstuff."
Michael Stern


The 8-Ball Cheeseburger has smoked ham, pepper jack cheese, plus mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion.
"The 8-Ball Cheeseburger has smoked ham, pepper jack cheese, plus mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion."
Cliff Strutz


The cool, sweet slaw makes a nice topping for hot dogs.
"The cool, sweet slaw makes a nice topping for hot dogs."
Cliff Strutz


The focus here is definitely on the food, as we never saw anyone shooting pool during our visit.
"The focus here is definitely on the food, as we never saw anyone shooting pool during our visit."
Cliff Strutz


The sign above City Billiards' front door is an audacious boast. Not to impugn the excellent cheeseburger served here, but I do believe I have eaten better.
"The sign above City Billiards' front door is an audacious boast. Not to impugn the excellent cheeseburger served here, but I do believe I have eaten better."
Michael Stern



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