February 23, 2022

20 Cincinnati-Style Chili Parlors You Should Have Tried By Now

If you’ve lived in Cincinnati for any amount of time, you’ve likely stumbled into the center of a debate between die-hard fans of Skyline and Gold Star: Which local chili chain is the best? But if partisan chili politics isn’t your thing, you can always take the road less traveled and try your tastebuds at a neighborhood restaurant, many of which are just as steeped in tradition and their own unique recipes.

Regardless of which road you travel, here are 20 Cincinnati-style chili parlors that you should add to your meaty bucket list.
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Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati
Named one of the “10 Best Restaurants in Cincinnati” by USA Today, there’s no question as to why Camp Washington Chili has been operating since 1940. It is good eats! Despite having ‘chili’ in the name, this establishment offers many chili-free options, including a full breakfast menu plus burgers, sandwiches, salads and even beer. Try the 513-Way, which incorporates Cincinnati's other favorite meat: goetta.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Camp Washington Chili

3005 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati
Named one of the “10 Best Restaurants in Cincinnati” by USA Today, there’s no question as to why Camp Washington Chili has been operating since 1940. It is good eats! Despite having ‘chili’ in the name, this establishment offers many chili-free options, including a full breakfast menu plus burgers, sandwiches, salads and even beer. Try the 513-Way, which incorporates Cincinnati's other favorite meat: goetta.
Chili Time
4727 Vine St., Saint Bernard
Along Saint Bernard’s main drag, one sign stands out — a cartoon clock suspended in half a cup of chili. The message is clear: it’s chili time. This no-frills chili and all-day breakfast spot has been in the business of slinging coneys since 1963. The chili has an herb-y, salty flavor, which tastes a little different with each bite — some forkfuls are as savory as Skyline’s fare, while others are uniquely earthy.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Chili Time

4727 Vine St., Saint Bernard
Along Saint Bernard’s main drag, one sign stands out — a cartoon clock suspended in half a cup of chili. The message is clear: it’s chili time. This no-frills chili and all-day breakfast spot has been in the business of slinging coneys since 1963. The chili has an herb-y, salty flavor, which tastes a little different with each bite — some forkfuls are as savory as Skyline’s fare, while others are uniquely earthy.
Dixie Chili
733 Monmouth St., Newport; 3716 Dixie Highway, Erlanger; 2421 Madison Ave., Covington
With a location in Newport, another in Covington and one in Erlanger, Dixie Chili has become an integral part of Northern Kentucky culture; each location a local landmark in its own right. Founded in 1929 by “Papa Nick,” Dixie Chili has classic, secret-ingredient Cincinnati-style chili with cheese and onions on spaghetti. Traditionally, Dixie’s offerings are dominated by Wisconsin cheddar, and the garlic is a great counterbalance to the dairy, making it one of the area’s favorite chili joints.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Dixie Chili

733 Monmouth St., Newport; 3716 Dixie Highway, Erlanger; 2421 Madison Ave., Covington
With a location in Newport, another in Covington and one in Erlanger, Dixie Chili has become an integral part of Northern Kentucky culture; each location a local landmark in its own right. Founded in 1929 by “Papa Nick,” Dixie Chili has classic, secret-ingredient Cincinnati-style chili with cheese and onions on spaghetti. Traditionally, Dixie’s offerings are dominated by Wisconsin cheddar, and the garlic is a great counterbalance to the dairy, making it one of the area’s favorite chili joints.
Blue Jay Restaurant
4154 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Since its opening in 1967, the Blue Jay Restaurant has, for the most part, remained the same, boasting a nostalgic image and homestyle eats. As with any good local diner, there’s Cincinnati-style chili in bowls, on coneys and 3-ways, plus classics like all-day breakfast, double decker sandwiches and homemade pie.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Blue Jay Restaurant

4154 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Since its opening in 1967, the Blue Jay Restaurant has, for the most part, remained the same, boasting a nostalgic image and homestyle eats. As with any good local diner, there’s Cincinnati-style chili in bowls, on coneys and 3-ways, plus classics like all-day breakfast, double decker sandwiches and homemade pie.
The Chili Hut
390 Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland
Started in 2013, this food truck focuses on Cincinnati-style chili, offering a condensed menu with exactly what customers are looking for. Now with a brick-and-mortar in Loveland, The Chili Hut slings cheese coneys, 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-Ways and sandwich options for the non-chili lovers. Unique coney options include the Slaw Dog — a cheese coney topped with coleslaw — and the Eden Pork — featuring a spicy mett instead of a hot dog.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

The Chili Hut

390 Loveland-Madeira Road, Loveland
Started in 2013, this food truck focuses on Cincinnati-style chili, offering a condensed menu with exactly what customers are looking for. Now with a brick-and-mortar in Loveland, The Chili Hut slings cheese coneys, 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-Ways and sandwich options for the non-chili lovers. Unique coney options include the Slaw Dog — a cheese coney topped with coleslaw — and the Eden Pork — featuring a spicy mett instead of a hot dog.
Blue Ash Chili
9525 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash; 11711 Princeton Pike, Tri-County
Blue Ash Chili offers a variety of Cincinnati-style chili combinations and double-decker sandwiches at its various locations. The restaurant is known as a favorite of Guy Fieri and his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. The restaurant serves 3-, 4- and 5-Ways, plus a 6-Way, which offers fresh or fried slices of jalapeno.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Blue Ash Chili

9525 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash; 11711 Princeton Pike, Tri-County
Blue Ash Chili offers a variety of Cincinnati-style chili combinations and double-decker sandwiches at its various locations. The restaurant is known as a favorite of Guy Fieri and his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives show. The restaurant serves 3-, 4- and 5-Ways, plus a 6-Way, which offers fresh or fried slices of jalapeno.
OTR Chili Co.
1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Located in the Rhinegeist Brewery building in the former Sartre space, the menu features classic Cincinnati-style chili dishes— 3-, 4- and 5-Ways, coneys and chili cheese sandwiches, plus burgers, salads and dessert. There is also a vegetarian way and an Impossible burger for those who don't eat or want meat.

OTR Chili Co.

1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Located in the Rhinegeist Brewery building in the former Sartre space, the menu features classic Cincinnati-style chili dishes— 3-, 4- and 5-Ways, coneys and chili cheese sandwiches, plus burgers, salads and dessert. There is also a vegetarian way and an Impossible burger for those who don't eat or want meat.
Empress Chili
7934 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria
In addition to the usual crop of double-decker sandwiches and ways, Empress offers some zany takes on old favorites: individual chili pizzas with cheesy, saucy fare on dough and the tough-to-pronounce “spagoney,” which swaps out hot dogs for noodles.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Empress Chili

7934 Alexandria Pike, Alexandria
In addition to the usual crop of double-decker sandwiches and ways, Empress offers some zany takes on old favorites: individual chili pizzas with cheesy, saucy fare on dough and the tough-to-pronounce “spagoney,” which swaps out hot dogs for noodles.
Price Hill Chili
4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill
Generations of West Side patrons have grown up on this iconic, family-owned restaurant’s diverse, fairly priced menu. Having expanded several times over the years, there are now multiple dining areas and a full-service attached cocktail lounge called Golden Fleece. What sets them apart from other chili joints is their liquor license and full menu, which features an excellent Greek salad (with secret-recipe dressing), specialty sandwiches, steaks and all-day breakfast.
Photo: Marci Rhodes

Price Hill Chili

4920 Glenway Ave., Price Hill
Generations of West Side patrons have grown up on this iconic, family-owned restaurant’s diverse, fairly priced menu. Having expanded several times over the years, there are now multiple dining areas and a full-service attached cocktail lounge called Golden Fleece. What sets them apart from other chili joints is their liquor license and full menu, which features an excellent Greek salad (with secret-recipe dressing), specialty sandwiches, steaks and all-day breakfast.
Skyline Chili
Multiple locations
A locally based chain of chili parlors founded by Greek immigrants in Cincinnati in 1949. Their Cincinnati-style chili is poured over spaghetti or hot dogs along with chili burritos, fries and baked potatoes. Their vegetarian version is almost as tasty with black beans and rice.
Photo: Provided by Skyline

Skyline Chili

Multiple locations
A locally based chain of chili parlors founded by Greek immigrants in Cincinnati in 1949. Their Cincinnati-style chili is poured over spaghetti or hot dogs along with chili burritos, fries and baked potatoes. Their vegetarian version is almost as tasty with black beans and rice.