1. Blue Ash Chili
If it’s good enough to make Guy Fieri go out of his way to try some of it, you know it has to be legit. Featuring everything from one of the craziest food challenges you’re going to find in the country to the classics, it’s no wonder why this place has had a steady rise to greatness. Why is it underrated, then, you ask? Because not enough people have taken the short trip up north to give it a try. Cincinnati, you’re missing out on something by staying at the same old place, but especially their own interpretation of a 6-way.
Yeah, the 5-way can be found in a lot of places, but no others can claim a 6-way like this. Blue Ash Chili, which was recently featured on national television, decided to take it one step further by topping their delicious 5-way with jalepeno caps. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, you have to consider the fact that a 5-way is always amazing as is, but add on the spiciness of the fried jalepenos? You’ll be feeling chili bliss. Oh, and now they have a food truck. Our lives are complete.
2. Dixie Chili
What’s not to love about Dixie Chili, one of the oldest names in the business of Cincinnati chili that just never gets the full credit that they deserve. Offering everything from vegetarian chili to one of their loaded 6-ways, Dixie is one of those places that we have to give credit to. That goes without saying that they also have plenty of amazing sandwiches and desserts, too. What really caught our attention, though, was their Chili Man Dip…
They warn you that it’s for more than one person right on the menu, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to be sharing this delicious dip. Taking a twist on the typical dip, Dixie Chili loads down this beautiful dip with cream cheese, mashed pintos, onions, plenty of cheese, and is topped with parsley. It’s quite a bit for one person, sure, but who doesn’t want to gorge themselves on delicious chili anyway?
3. Price Hill Chili
It can be disputed that Price Hill Chili is the best chili in the city, but there’s no way around the fact that it’s the pride of the Westside when it comes to our hometown favorite. They have a true connection with the community, and it’s made clear by the amount of people there every night. Everyone from entire families to couples on their first dates can be spotted there on a typical night. The good news is that there’s much more to it than just the chili items that you’ll find there. They have everything from burgers to desserts to make this more of diner experience, while also having some kickass chili.
The best way to enjoy their chili is literally just a chili bowl with crackers. It may sound kind of boring, but the spices in the chili are some that just shouldn’t be masked with anything else. It’s the best on a rainy, dreary day, because it will never fail to lift your spirits. After wolfing that down, take the time to enjoy their Baklava, too. It’s the perfect way to end your meal, and you’ll be on your way feeling like a million bucks.
4. Empress Chili
In the essence of keeping its originality, Empress has stayed in Cincinnati for nearly 100 years now. Many things have changed since then, but one thing remains true: they’re a staple among the crowd of Cincinnati chili scene. Their secret recipe chili is a little spicier than some, but it made a lasting impression upon us. It is THE original Cincinnati chili parlor, and the taste would make you think that they’ve had extra time to perfect it when compared with the competition.
One thing that you’ll find only at Empress is their Chili Pizza, which features pizza dough instead of the typical bun of a coney. It’s pretty unconventional, but leaves you feeling much more fulfilled than the typical dishes you’ll get elsewhere. They may still be one of the smaller names in Cincinnati, but their big taste has created a loyal following. The empress will always hold the crown for them.
5. Delhi Chili
What can a two-cheese blend do for a cheese coney? Amazing things. One bite into their cheese coney was enough to see why it’s the most popular menu item that they have. That goes without saying that the chili itself was fantastic. It’s more of a mom-and-pop type place, but it’s earned the reputation for being one of the friendliest spots around. Everyone that comes in seems to be a loyal regular, making it a desirable place for anyone not looking to be a number at their usual spot.
Let’s get back to that coney, though. Sweet baby, was it too good to have just one. After wolfing down three more, we can certainly say that this coney was one of the absolute best we’ve ever had. Maybe it’s the cheesy blend, maybe it’s the amazing service… whatever it was, we’re hooked, and we’re going to be coming back soon.
6. Camp Washington Chili
Yet another diner-esque spot can be located at Camp Washington Chili. A long-time favorite among hungry students with the late-night munchies and professionals alike, there’s something to be said about the late-night kindness of Camp Washington Chili, and how convenient their location is to pretty much everything in Cincinnati. They’ve been making their chili in house since 1940, and it’s apparent that a lot of love goes into each batch they make, as it’s never bland nor lacking in flavor.
Speaking of not being bland, the variety of people who come through the door on a weekend night is quite amusing after a certain hour. There’s no better place to hear someone recount their drunken escapades than here. Being open 24 hours per day definitely comes with drawing in pretty much every type of person you can imagine. For the true fanatics of Cincinnati chili, rejoice! There’s even a place where you can have chili for breakfast!
7. Pleasant Ridge Chili
Speaking of spots that are open nice and late, Pleasant Ridge is another one of those spots that never gets the respect that it deserves. Taking pride in it’s comfort food, it’s easy to get distracted from the fact that they have some pretty fantastic chili here. Celebrating their fifty year anniversary this year, Pleasant Ridge Chili has plenty to be proud of after becoming a favorite for all types on the east side of town.
Another place where simplicity goes a long way, there’s no better way to enjoy your chili at Pleasant Ridge than in only the most classic of ways: on the 3-way. Sure, it’s not going to get all of the pomp and circumstance as some of the other things you can choose from, but it was still hardy, and didn’t splash all over the place like other competitors sometimes will. We definitely had our hunger satiated and our spirits high. It’s great to have so many great choices of chili in Cincinnati.