Fashion Update

Everything you need to know about Cincinnati-style chili (for National Chili Day!)

Cincinnati-style chili, in all its glory, turned 100 years old in 2022. To commemorate a century of chili and spaghetti and cinnamon and cheese, The Enquirer went all-out.

Now that we are well into year 101, we decided to revive all that tasty content for National Chili Day, Feb. 23. (And I’m sure we’ll dig this up again the next time the mood strikes. I hope you’ll join us then, too. Because you can never have too much chili, amirite?)

Here’s a look at the 10 unique ways we chose (and continue to choose) to celebrate our bowls and coneys. Enjoy.

1. We did a blind chili taste test. (Could you do it?)

Cincinnati Coney Trail map with checklist by Cincinnati Enquirer on Scribd

3. We visited what might be Cincy’s most overlooked chili parlor

4. We made a timeline of which chili parlors opened when

Since its creation in 1922, Cincinnati chili has become an icon of the Midwest.

Anthony Bourdain called it “the story of America on your plate” and the Smithsonian magazine named Cincinnati chili one of the “20 Most Iconic Foods in America.” In 2020, Skyline Chili was featured in an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Although it may have more locations than any other local chili chain, Cincinnati chili did not start with Skyline. It actually began in 1922 when Greek brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff immigrated to Cincinnati and started selling a dish novel: Chili on spaghetti.

Over the years, countless others have joined the Cincinnati chili party. Here’s a timeline of when some of the big players opened for business. You might be surprised to see which parlors came before others.

5. We made a personality test that tells you which Cincinnati chili you are!

6. We asked local celebrities for their go-to chili orders

Emilio Estevez: Two cheese cones with no onions and an order of fries to share. And a half diet/half regularDr. Peppers?

Sarah Jessica Parker: A large three-way, likely from the Clifton Skyline.

Jeff Ruby: Something called “the wet SOC.”

Pureval Aftab: A regular four-way with onions and two cones with everything on them.

7. We asked our cartoonist what chili means to him

Kevin Necessary documents his love for Cincinnati-style chili.  But first, some research.

Kevin Necessary documents his love for Cincinnati-style chili. But first, some research.

8. We showed you how to make it at home!

Teach your friends that Cincinnati chili is nothing to be afraid of. That sum of its parts is little more than ground beef, onions, garlic, dried herbs, tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar and a dab of Worcestershire sauce.

But it’s more than that. Just as you can get a good gumbo from at least 100 southern Louisiana restaurants or a quality clam chowder in any random New England fish house, they are almost always better when they’re homemade.

9. We taught you 6 things you might not know about its origins

  1. The roots go back to Macedonia.

  2. It all started with Empress Chili.

  3. Empress Chili was named for a burlesque theater.

  4. It’s based on a Greek stew.

  5. The cheese was added later.

  6. There’s only one Empress left.

10. We made a TikTok … because it’s 2022

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: National Chili Day: Everything to know about Cincinnati-style chili

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