Thursday, December 8, 2011

Skyline Chili

Skyline Chili is a chili franchise specializing in Cincinnati-style chili. There are several locations, mostly in Ohio, but franchises also exist in Kentucky, Indiana, and Florida (Wikipedia states there are roughly 110 total locations).

I was recently in Ohio, and several people mentioned that I had to go here for some chili. I found a Skyline Chili just outside of Columbus, Ohio for my dine-in experience.

The late Nicholas Lambrinides and his three sons founded Skyline Chili in 1949 after Nicholas immigrated from Greece. The name "Skyline Chili" references the amazing Cincinnati downtown skyline. Fleet Equity Partners now owns Skyline Chili, but the recipe remains unchanged (in accordance with the wishes of Nicholas and his sons) and is currently stored away in a safe.

Their famous chili, and other products!
That's what a "3-way" Chili Spaghetti will look like
I popped in just before 9:30 p.m. (their closing time). I got a takeout order of their Loaded Chili Bowl ($4.99): Skyline's famous chili with beans, diced onions, shredded cheddar cheese, with a side of sour cream. They smartly kept the components separate, and I basically assembled the dish at my hotel room. This meal also came with a package of oyster crackers.

Had to bring the good stuff to the top here!
Loaded Chili Bowl from Skyline Chili...without the sour cream
This chili looked rich in color, almost milk chocolaty. Great chili flavor here; I found the unique spice blend extremely enjoyable. While the recipe is a closely guarded secret, many loyal customers believe that chocolate and cinnamon are used in this chili (and may be in other Cincinnati-style recipes). Whatever the recipe may be, it's been a very successful one!

The packets of hot sauce accompanying the chili were put to good use here. This chili had a starchy feel to it, and perhaps the beans in this one contributed to that. There are no large clumps of meat here; it's more of a pulverized meat texture that I got more than anything else. Cincinnati-style chili has more of a saucy consistency perfect for spaghetti and hot dogs. While I didn't get the chili spaghetti this time, I'd consider the 5-way (spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, and beans) if in the mood on my next visit.

A great tip from a Yelp reviewer mentioned that I should consider getting chili spaghetti "inverted" when ordering chili spaghetti. I'm not sure if all Skyline joints (or any other chili place) allows for this, but it's a darn good idea. Consistent with a "fast-food" joint, the service was relatively quick.

Skyline Chili is good stuff, and the Loaded Chili Bowl was a nice introduction to their famous product. Apparently, one can buy the chili online, so if I'm ever craving this stuff again, I know where to get it! 7/10

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