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Adventurous-minded travelers only! Do try our world-famous Cincinnati-style chili.
But be forewarned! This is not the stuff you load up with chili peppers or serve in a bowl with cornbread. “Cincinnati style chili” should really be renamed “Cincinnati-style meat sauce” for proper accuracy. The thin, ground-beef based concoction is really quite tasty. You’ll find the chili to be ever-so-slightly sweet, with hints of exotic spices
that together blend magnificently with cheddar cheese and, in my opinion, minced onions.
HOW IT’S SERVED
Most commonly served on spaghetti or “cheese coneys,” the sauce (the chili) is the one thing Cincinnatians miss the most when they travel.
A simple, kid-friendly combination of ingredients is known as a “three way” and consists of spaghetti, chili and mounds of cheddar cheese. A “four way” adds your choice of beans or onions. For a “five way” add both. If you want a hotdog with just chili and cheese, simply request a “cheese coney.” You can ask for it to be served with mustard and/or onions. A common alternative to the above is the coney without the dog, known as a “chili cheese sandwich.”
Again – be forewarned – most (okay, pretty much all) of the non-natives I’ve met here do not care for it. Born and bred Cincinnatians, however, would happily hook themselves up to a chili IV. The two most ubiquitous chili chains in the city are Skyline and Gold Star. You seriously can’t sling a hot dog more than a few yards in any direction within greater Cincinnati without hitting one or the other.
Try a four-way today, and let me know your thoughts!