In the Cincinnati region, chili is done differently. In place of chunks of meat and sizeable beans, you’ll get savory soupiness and creative accoutrements like spaghetti, hot dogs and mustard. In place of an overtly tomato-y base, you’ll taste hints of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and maybe even chocolate. Looking for the best Cincinnati chili in town? Pick your place: the classic and ubiquitous Skyline Chili, its rival chain Gold Star Chili, or maybe a mom-and-pop version like Price Hill Chili, Blue Ash Chili, Camp Washington Chili or Dixie Chili. Grab your fork; it’s chili time. Purchase a Cincinnati Chili Passport and document your visits to chili parlors around the region.
How to Eat It
- Heaped with cheese.
- With a fork, not a spoon. (And cut the pasta like a casserole. Don’t twirl it around your fork!)
- With hot sauce.
- Poured over spaghetti, hot dog, fries, potato or burrito— never alone in a bowl.
- With a side of oyster crackers.
Chili Terms 101
Chili + spaghetti (also called chili spaghetti)
Chili + spaghetti + cheese
Chili + spaghetti + cheese + onions or beans
Chili + spaghetti + cheese + onions + beans
Spaghetti + black beans + rice + cheese
Small steamed bun topped with a hot dog, mustard, chili, onions and cheese
Cheese coney minus the cheese
Chili Cheese Fries
French fries with chili and cheese
Small steamed bun with chili, mustard and onions
Adding a dab of hot sauce to an oyster cracker
Written by Elizabeth Miller Wood