Diner: A Perfect Diner

The Chili Pot is the antithesis of lowfat eating -- and proud of it

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I really hope my doctor doesn't read CityBeat. I'm cursed with bad genes that give me high cholesterol. I'm supposed to monitor religiously what I eat. He suggests, "a tossed salad with no-fat dressing for lunch." I suggest he get a life. For the most part, I comply. But some days, I need a fix — food that really "sticks to the gut," as they say. For those days, thank goodness, there's The Chili Pot.

The Chili Pot is the antithesis of low-fat, low-cholesterol eating. And I suspect, proud of it. As well it should be.

The food they serve is substantial, inexpensive and far better tasting than anything like it at the national chain restaurants found along the nearby strip of Colerain Ave.

Off the beaten path, The Chili Pot resides in an old house along Pippin Road. Inside, there's barely room for 10 tables and booths and a few seats at the tiny counter. The place tends to fill up quickly, especially on weekend mornings.

The day after a successful St. Patty's Day celebration is the ideal time to make a visit to The Chili Pot. In addition to pleasing protestors of low-fat-food, it's also the perfect choice for another popular menu classification: hangover food.

All the necessary ingredients for treating a hangover are here (except for "hair of the dog") — cheesy omelets ($4.50-$6) and biscuits and gravy ($2.50). Folks will even find Cincinnati-style goetta as a standard side choice. One of the breakfast combinations looks like the best choice for a post-party celebration: Cash's Mountain Man Breakfast ($5.95) — one-half order of biscuits and gravy, one-half order of hash browns, four eggs, toast and jelly and choice of bacon, sausage, ham, goetta or bologna. Other traditional favorites, such as Country Fried Steak ($5.95) smothered in homemade sausage gravy, or Two Center-Cut Pork Chops ($6.95) with two eggs and hash browns, would probably do the trick as well.

Lunch choices are a mix of hot sandwiches, such as Beef BBQ ($5.50) and the Chicken Pot ($5.95), or burgers ($1.65-$7.15) and hoagies. Deli sandwiches, including Monster Double Deckers ($3.95-$8.20), are huge, and served with chips. And, of course, there's chili, served regular ($2.50) or Texas Style ($2.75) on coneys ($1.15) or over spaghetti ($2.95), making three-, four- or five-ways ($3.75-$3.95).

Dinners are good ol' American, home-style favorites. Choices include Grilled Ham Steak ($5.95) for a 10-ounce cut of Bluegrass ham, served with three side dishes — a choice of more traditional favorites, like applesauce, cinnamon apples, cole slaw, cottage cheese, fries, hash browns or mashed potatoes. I could see my husband's eyes lighting up as he reviewed each and every selection on the menu. Just to make sure he wasn't dreaming, he even asked the server if they had any eggplant or arugula on the menu. I think she sneaked into the back to make sure she had her chemical spray.

For our meals, we disregarded all healthy advice and chose from the "specialties" section. We started off splitting an order of the Texas Chili Cheese Fries ($2.95 small; $4.95 large), a heaping plate of crinkle-cut fries smothered in melted shredded cheddar cheese and topped with a ladle of Texas-style chili, served with sour cream. The fries were perfect, with just enough crispness to hold up to the spicy chili. A small order is definitely enough for two to share.

I should have listened to our server when I ordered the Chicken Quesadilla ($5.95) and asked my husband to split it with me. She warned me that it was large enough for two of us to share, but I was feeling greedy. The tortilla itself had to be at least 12 inches in diameter, and it was stuffed full of bacon, cheese, grilled onions, salsa and crispy, deep-fried chicken. (See why I hope my doctor isn't reading this?) It was dreadfully delicious, but I don't regret one bite. Of course, I could finish only half at this sitting (the other half made a tasty supper). I could have used a little more sour cream, but, you know, I'm watching my cholesterol.

My husband ordered another specialty: the Deluxe Burrito ($3.95). It's of the same huge tortilla filled with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and it's smothered in chili, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. The cheesy, meaty, salty, spicy mix was, in his words, "the perfect 'diner' burrito."

Desserts were limited at our visit to the homemade Éclair Cake ($1.95), made up of graham cracker crust layered with creamy custard and topped with a rich chocolate icing. All desserts at The Chili Pot are homemade, but the éclair cake, according to our server, is by far the most popular. We took a piece to go, and I devoured most of it myself later in the day.

The Chili Pot is a great find, perfect for an inexpensive, hearty meal. With two full bellies and a relatively full wallet, our visit off the beaten path was an enjoyable, gluttonous event. ©

The Chili Pot
Go: 2702 Hyannis Drive, Bevis, Ohio

Call: 513-742-8414

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m

Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Prices: Inexpensive

Payment: Visa and MasterCard accepted

Vegetarian Friendliness: Slim pickings:

grilled cheese, tossed salad,

cinnamon French toast.

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