Breakfast at Sports Page in downtown Cincinnati

sports page main

We’d mentioned several times how we’d like to try one of the two Sports Page Cincinnati downtown locations, but for some reason the timing, much like going to Tucker’s, never quite worked out. Well, we finally made it for breakfast a few weeks ago, and we’re here to tell you about it.

We went to the location on Main St., but we’re willing to bet the location on Vine St. is very similar. The server was friendly, and the place was near empty. Behind us sat a group of men who seemed like regulars, always a plus for a good dive to have some loyal patrons.

omelette sports page

I ordered the Cincinnati Omelette which is basically everything good about breakfast rolled in an egg: cheese, goetta, and home fries. To say this omelette was big would be doing it a disservice, it was massive. We were in a time crunch, so I wasn’t able to finish it, but man it was tasty.

sports page interior

The interior of Sports Page is pretty much what you’d hope for… Old Cincinnati sports posters and promo items as well as some not-so-thin screen televisions. It feels like it could be in a big city downtown or a little town square. It was quaint. It was good. It was cheap.

IMG_0881

When it comes to breakfast, price, quantity, and quality of goetta are always high on the list of priorities and Sports Page nailed it. No biscuits & gravy on the menu, but that’s ok. Looking forward to returning to try the lunch menu!

Sports Page on Urbanspoon

Some of the places we’ve been so far around Cincinnati:

 

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Did the famous Tucker’s Restaurant live up to its reputation?

Tucker's OTR

Since the inception of Dives without Wives we’ve wanted to make it over to Tucker’s Restaurant. Since 1946 Tucker’s Restaurant has been serving Cincinnati residents of all demographics. It’s seen a fair share of ups and downs in the neighborhood, but Tucker’s stood as a beacon of the community. Even after a senseless shooting a few years ago, Tuckers attracts everyone from elective officials to the homeless. The Tucker family serves them all with a smile.

When I started working near Tucker’s Restaurant in Over-the-Rhine I knew I had to go there soon. I got my chance a few weeks ago and here is our review of the experience…

Tucker's Booth

Most notable is the ambiance. The place is the size of a tin can and it’s perfect. Somewhat rough around the edges and cramped, but that’s what makes this place so special. Most of our group ordered burgers, but a few of us strayed away towards the breakfast menu. Unfortunately, it was late in the afternoon and I am sure I got the last of the biscuits. If I’m honest, my meal was pretty unappealing. Cold gravy and hard biscuits… Which is a shame because people rave about their biscuits and gravy. I vow to return at a normal breakfast hour to try them again.

tucker's biscuits & gravy

tucker's burger

My co-workers’ meals all looked pretty great. Nice, big piles of burgers and fries at a reasonable price. I’ll let the pictures speak for Tucker’s. Going back ASAP for another go at the B&G.

tuckerssoup

 

Tuckers on Urbanspoon

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Chili Time in St. Bernard

I personally think it's always Chili Time

I personally think it’s always Chili Time

Our final stop on the little mini-tour of Cincinnati style chili places was Chili Time in St. Bernard.  To be honest, we don’t make it over to St. Bernard… ever.  It’s just one of those little forgotten areas that despite being near UC and the highways, we just forget it exists.  Chili Time in St. Bernard, however, is a great excuse to venture into this quaint area of town.

 

First thoughts on Chili Time in St. Bernard

We had a good feeling about Chili Time as we walked up to the door.  The exterior had that 70s/80s feel, and quite frankly, we were craving chili.  Anytime we’re hungry when we walk in the door, the place gets the benefit of the doubt from the start.

 

 

Hello delightfully outdated interior.  Perfect for Chili Time

Hello delightfully outdated interior. Perfect for Chili Time

The interior feels like an old chili parlor… Old chairs and booths and not a hint of pretentiousness, and I noticed as we waited to order everyone seemed to know each other.  Table after table came in and were addressed by name and seated like it was their thousandth time visiting.  If there’s something we can appreciate, it is a place having regulars and Chili Time seemed to have a whole bunch.

 

The first thing I noticed on the menu was Chili Time only closes for a couple hours a night… Cincinnati style chili joints also get special props if they serve late into the night.  The next thing I noticed was the breakfast section.  I don’t care what kind of restaurant or what time of day it is, I am always tempted to order breakfast.  I held off the urge and stick to the game plan… Coneys and a 3-way.

 

chili time 3-way

Chili Time 3-way

The coneys were pretty standard.  If we’re being transparent, it keeps getting more difficult to distinguish each place from the last.  The chili seemed a little spicier than most places, and it had a touch of unique flavor that we found appealing.  The 3-ways we ordered weren’t bad either… Lots of cheese and chili.  Overall, Chili Time’s chili was definitely in our top three so far.

 

A random rant about online reviewers…

Now I also have to vent a little about what others have said about this delightful little chili parlor.  I checked a couple other reviews before I wrote this, and I saw someone complaining about the chicken sandwich they ordered.  The person went on to mention they hated chili.  Why on earth did you go to a place called Chili Time?  This astounds me.  Don’t tarnish this place’s reputation because you made an ordering mistake.  Granted, Chili Time has a large menu, but do you really expect a chicken sandwich to be their specialty?  Sorry, I digress.

 

Final Thoughts on Chili Time in St. Bernard

So all in all Chili Time has generous hours, friendly service, and a small-town feel right in the city.  If you’re looking for a place that has a perfectly outdated décor with tasty chili, we highly recommend Chili Time.  I know Camp Washington is the place that gets all the attention in the I-75 corridor, but quite frankly, Chili Time beat it by a mile.

 

Ok, we’re done writing about chili for a while.  I have run out of ways to describe chili, cheese, and spaghetti.

Chili Time on Urbanspoon

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Pleasant Ridge Chili – The chili tour continues

Pleasant Ridge Chili sign

Gotta love the painted sign on the exterior of Pleasant Ridge Chili

So after Gourmet Chili we thought our little mini Cincinnati style chili tour was over for a while.  We’d had too much chili, and quite frankly, I’m sure our sodium intake was at an all time high.  Then I get a text… “I’m craving chili.  Pleasant Ridge Chili?”  That’s all it took for us to be sitting at Pleasant Ridge Chili fifteen minutes later.

 

First thoughts on Pleasant Ridge Chili

The side wall is painted with a giant advertisement for the place.  Good ol’ fashioned ads like this seem to be a rarity these days.  It reminds me of the old Coca-Cola or Mail Pouch Tobacco painted walls that adorned both cities and the countryside in days of old.  You can’t help but like a place with this kind of style.  I was excited to step inside.

The interior of Pleasant Ridge Chili doesn’t have an intense diner feel, but it still has a good amount of Cincinnati memorabilia covering the walls.  Our server was prompt and friendly, and by looking around I could tell many of the people in the room were regulars.

 

Pleasant Ridge Chili 3-way

Probably our overall best chili experience so far at Pleasant Ridge Chili

Chili at Pleasant Ridge Chili

We each ordered a three way and a coney.  After eating at several places, I’m realizing we aren’t really experts on tasting notes.  I can’t tell you what makes one better or worse than the other.  If you’re looking for an in-depth review of spices and flavors, you’ve probably stopped reading this blog a long time ago anyway.  The easiest way I have to sum up the chili at Pleasant Ridge is that it was good enough to be a substitute for Skyline if need be.  The chili had the right sweetness that many of the other places lacked, and the cheese had the right thickness to melt in the way a good three-way should.

Apparently, like many of the other chili parlors we’ve visited, other things on the menu are a must-try as well.  When I go back I’ll try the gravy cheese fries considering how every single review I read raves about how excellent they are.  Then I’ll repent for gluttony.  Again.

 

Final thoughts on Pleasant Ridge Chili

All in all, Pleasant Ridge Chili is the only place we’ve tried so far I feel confident saying we’ll eat at again in the next year.  Now, truth be told, part of the reason is Pleasant Ridge Chili is only five minutes away versus the other chili houses which take a little more effort to visit.  I probably wouldn’t drive past a few Skylines just to get to the other places we’ve tried so far.  Pleasant Ridge Chili, on the right day, could actually lure us away from Skyline for a meal.

 

Pros: charming exterior, best overall chili experience so far

Cons: No real striking cons, but know that it is cash only

 

Pleasant Ridge Chili on Urbanspoon

 

Next up: Chili Time

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Gourmet Chili -Cincinnati Chili Tour

Gourmet Chili -not so gourmet after all

Gourmet Chili -not so gourmet after all

This post will be short and sweet.  After a tasty chili cheese fry experience at Dixie Chili, we walked on down the street to Gourmet Chili in Newport KY.  The place had the initial feel of an old dive, something we always love.  The furniture was old and since it was in Kentucky and allowed smoking, the place had a fair share of cigarette smoke in the air.  I thought for sure this might be that diamond in the rough.

Our server was pleasant enough, and we enjoyed reading the story on the menu of the original founder.  He sounds like a wonderful Greek immigrant that worked hard to build his little chili parlor as well as help his community.  To that, we tip our hat.  For food, our orders were similar to the previous stops: a couple cheese coneys, please.

All was good in the world until I looked up and saw our two coneys go in the microwave.  If I’m being honest, they tasted pretty decent, but the point is we wouldn’t expect to see our hot dogs and buns get nuked at a Cincinnati-style chili parlor.  Now, once again I give the benefit of the doubt about their other food items.  They may have an excellent breakfast and a great sandwich of some sort, but the bottom line is… if you’re selling so few coneys that you have to microwave a couple then you’re not really much of a chili parlor in this town.  The coney is one of the major food groups at any respectable Cincinnati style chili house.  The mere fact they were too lazy to actually cook our hot dogs before putting the chili on them just show a lack of care.

I’m also not naive, and I’m sure more than one of our dishes since the start of DWOW has been microwaved or at least defrosted in the microwave.  Just please, at least have the decency to not microwave it right in front of me… Ignorance is bliss.  And with that, we’re on to the next stop, and I must say… It was pretty fantastic.

Pros: It felt like it was going to be a great dive

Cons: It wasn’t.  Get rid of the microwave.

 

Gourmet Chili on Urbanspoon

 

 

Up Next: Pleasant Ridge Chili

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Dixie Chili in Newport -Cincinnati Chili Tour

Dixie Chili - A Northern Kentucky Staple

Dixie Chili – A Northern Kentucky Staple

My friends to the south have long talked about their admiration for Dixie Chili.  With a few locations, we stopped by the most well-known of them… Downtown Newport.  Much like Skyline, Dixie Chili has an established branding theme that uses bright colors to make the location feel a lot like an old classic chili parlor, but with a new and clean feel.  The walls were adorned with pictures of the area, something I find to be a necessity for a good Cincinnati style chili parlor.  Overall, the inside was clean, bright, and inviting.

 

A less than welcoming start at Dixie Chili

Our orders were simple, a three-way, a couple cheese coneys, and an order of chili cheese fries.  The problem, however, was we didn’t have any clue about the ordering process at Dixie Chili.  The lady at the front desk gave Doug a flag for his meal and that was it.  We had no clue we were supposed to pick up a tray.  After he figured that out, I realized that my order didn’t come with a flag…  I assume that meant I was supposed to stand at the counter until it was ready.  No one from the register to the kitchen ever seemed all that happy to see us or help us.  When my food was finally ready they just put it on my tray and walked away.  I can’t say they seemed too excited to see us.  By the time the chili cheese fries came out they seemed to be a little friendlier with us, but I never got the idea that southern hospitality was a priority.

 

3-way and and a coney at Dixie Chili Newport

3-way and and a coney at Dixie Chili Newport

The food at Dixie Chili

Confusion of ordering aside, the food was pretty good.  The three-way and coneys had chili that was thick and meaty, probably ranking in at 2nd or 3rd in our overall chili scoring.  The real winner, however, was the chili cheese fries.  Dixie Chili uses waffle fries, the only one on our tour to do so, and it makes all the difference in the world.  You see, a waffle fry acts like a scooper.  Each bite has just the right amount of chili and cheese on it.  Traditional chili fries leave you with slimy fries and a pile of stuff left over.  Not so with waffle fries.  Well done Dixie Chili, well done.

 

 

Dixie Chili chili cheese fries

Dixie Chili Newport has the best chili cheese fries we’ve tried in a long time

Final thoughts on Dixie Chili

So Dixie Chili is pretty different from all the other places we visited being it’s a chain restaurant and all.  For that reason, it stacks up most closely with Skyline and Goldstar in terms of style and feel.  The inevitable fact is you lose some charm when you’re a chain.  With that being said, the food was good and the atmosphere still felt diner-ish.  If I’m comparing to Skyline, Skyline still takes the cake, but Dixie Chili reigns supreme in the world of chili cheese fries.

 

Pros: amazing chili cheese fries, good 3-way

Cons: Not very welcoming to us, chain restaurant vibe

Dixie Chili on Urbanspoon
Up next: Gourmet Chili

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Price Hill Chili – DWOW Chili Tour

Price Hill Chili and the Golden Fleece (image courtesy of Price Hill Chili)

Price Hill Chili and the Golden Fleece (image courtesy of Price Hill Chili)

Ask any west sider, and you’ll learn a thing or two about Price Hill Chili.  It’s been serving up food for the past fifty years and has joined the ranks of those restaurants that even us east siders have heard about.  We decided Price Hill Chili would be stop number three on our first night of our little Cincinnati style chili tour.

In all fairness to Price Hill Chili, we were hurting when we walked in the door.  Prudence and moderation had not won out over the course of the night.  Between the last two stops (Sam’s Fish & Chicken and Camp Washington Chili) we each had consumed chili cheese fries, 2 cheese coneys, and 6 chicken wings plus I believe a three way snuck in the mix.  To say we were full would be an understatement.

 

First Thoughts on Price Hill Chili

The first thing you notice about Price Hill Chili is its outside curb appeal.  As you drive by you can’t help but think you’re about to visit an old-timey chili parlor.  Couple that with the exterior of their cocktail lounge, the Golden Fleece, and it just feels like you’re about to go somewhere good.  And we were.

We sat at the bar and resolved ourselves to only have one coney and leave.  Unfortunately, sitting at the bar means sitting by the grill…. The heat coming from the kitchen didn’t feel too good on a bloated face, but that’s our fault, not theirs.  First thing I noticed about the inside of Price Hill Chili is the Cincinnati memorabilia.  Call me old fashioned, but I believe every mom and pop diner in Cincinnati should be covered with Cincinnati paraphernalia. Price Hill Chili gets an A-plus for getting it.

 

Sitting at the bar at Price Hill Chili

Sitting at the bar at Price Hill Chili

Service at Price Hill Chili

Our service was quick and we felt bad for only ordering a coney each, but the sweet lady in the kitchen said she figured we were on a little coney quest.  She took turns with another young woman as our server, who also happened to be incredibly beautiful.  I debated typing that, not wanting to look like a jerk, but it’s true.  I was somewhat embarrassed to be served by her seeing how I’d just gorged myself for the past two hours.

 

Back to the food at Price Hill Chili…

So here is the deal with our coneys.  The chili was good.  The cheese was the best of the day, almost Skyline quality and style, but the hot dog was too soft.  When you’ve had too much food to begin with, I can assure you an undercooked hot dog won’t make you feel very good.  With that being said, we watched food leave the kitchen the whole time we were there, most of it headed for their Golden Fleece Lounge, and it all looked absolutely amazing.  If I were to pick any of the places we’ve visited on our chili tour to eat something besides chili, I’d pick Price Hill Chili.

 

Conclusion:

Price Hill Chili is a lot like Camp Washington in that you can’t really call yourself a diehard Cincinnatian without visiting both.  Will I drive from the east side just to have PHC?  Probably not, but if I’m in the area, it’s a surefire good bet for good food.

 

Pros: Friendly staff, great ambiance, other food looked amazing

Cons: Coney hot dog was undercooked

 

Next up: Dixie Chili

Price Hill Chili on Urbanspoon

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Opening Day Cincinnati Reds 2013

Well it’s that magical day that only happens once every spring: Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds 2013

Rain or shine, there is a special kind of beauty about today… The thought of baseball being played again makes the winter seem to be officially over, and the thousands of people downtown today will be a gentle reminder: America still loves baseball.

I thought Dives without Wives should write something to commemorate the day, but I think the best we could ever do is to repost something from last fall…  While last October turned out to be quite a bust for the Redlegs, we have renewed hope once again on this day in Cincinnati…  Below is a repost of our story from last fall.  It is one of my favorites.

 

October in Cincinnati: Why we love baseball

Baseball season in Cincinnati

Within the next few weeks, the Cincinnati Reds will be fighting for one of the most elusive prizes in sports: a World Series championship.  While I am no sporting expert (just ask my friends), I can’t help but feel a hint of euphoria when I think about baseball.

For many children, soccer is now the first organized sport they learn to play.  Of course, if you live in a mud hut in the middle of nowhere, kicking a ball for hours is a more probable sport to learn than baseball.  I get it.  But for me, the first of many sports I would suck at was baseball.  I can still remember wearing my glove all night before my first t-ball game.  Growing up in Indiana, you typically root for the Reds or Cubs (and the occasional jerk will like the Cardinals), all depending on who your father liked.  My dad just liked cars, so I decided to like the first team I saw on TV, the Atlanta Braves.  Part of me will always be a Braves fan, but after living in southwest Ohio for a few years, I couldn’t help but be a Reds fan.  I will be a Reds fan the rest of my life.  Reflecting on this year of baseball, you must admit there is something special about this game and this team.

In a post-steroids era, we may think our heroes don’t seem so great anymore.  The Reds, however, have restored my faith.  I’m sure if we were to pull back the curtain and meet the wizard, our view of all pro sports would be forever tarnished, but this year I have reasons to believe the world isn’t so bad.  I have reasons to believe people still have a lot of love in their hearts.

A good head shaving

For starters, many of you saw the picture circulated of Marty Brennaman kissing the forehead of a little girl battling cancer.  A simple dare to shave his head if the team won ten consecutive games turned into something so much more.  Marty used the dare to raise over $50,000 for the Reds Community Fund, a large portion coming from Charlie Sheen.  While Sheen’s donation was impressive, let’s not forget that much of the money came from people like us- everyday people with jobs and bills and a little kindness in our hearts.  And to really make the head shaving a tear jerker, three little kids with personal battles as intense as imaginable were down on the field to share in the festivities.  Just read what the Red’s article about the event had to say:

“Afterward, wearing a T-shirt that read ‘I’m Still Me,’ Brennaman welcomed three young cancer patients from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center onto the field with him.

‘My friend John was at the Children’s Hospital the other day and a young lady said to him, a patient, ‘On Friday night, Marty Brennaman will look like us,’’ Brennaman said before kissing the children’s heads: ‘And I can’t begin to tell you how much that touched my heart and how thrilled I am to be a part of your world.’”

Of course, the cynic in me wanted to discount Brennman’s heart.  I’ve heard all sorts of rumors about him, and I started to think, “But he still may be a jerk.”  Then it hit me: I’m a jerk.  I’m no different than Marty.  I have a lifetime of experience in hurting those around me and not living like a real man in my daily life.  I hope, probably a lot like Marty does, I have a few moments of kindness mixed in my daily failures as a man.  And like all guys aspiring to be real men, I hope my future days have more of the kind moments and less of the selfish, prideful ones.  Marty reminded me that we are all about the same- imperfect creatures continually thinking the world revolves around us, but with plenty of moments to do something special.

Life is a lot like baseball.  Every at bat is a chance to turn it around- bring a friend in to home or make your own rounding of the bases, bringing the same opportunity to the next man in line.  Most of the time, we will strikeout, but how beautiful when we don’t.

Ted

If Marty’s head shaving wasn’t enough to call this baseball season a success, enter Ted.  I highly suggest everyone read the article, but I’ll give you the highlights.  Teddy has Down Syndrome, and his parents won a charity auction item which allowed Teddy to be the batboy for the Reds on August 17th.  What transpired was truly beautiful.  Everyone felt joy that night.  Players smiled more, Teddy had a night he will never forget, and his parents saw the power and joy their son offers to so many people.  In a world where we measure our impact by our output, Teddy reminded us that our only impact worth mentioning comes from the amount of joy we bring those around us.  In the end, nothing else really matters.

What a great way to spend your birthday.

I only made it to a few games this season, but I’m always amazed by how wonderful a trip to the baseball stadium is.  To look around and see kids with gloves on, grandpas teaching their family about the game, and awkward couples kissing on the kiss cam, you would think you’re about as close to heaven as you can get.  You’d be right.  I had the pleasure of being a tagalong to a one year old’s birthday party which included his first Reds game, complete with a Reds issued certificate to prove it.  If you’ve never taken in a game with three children under the age of four, you haven’t lived.  A kid doesn’t keep interest in a baseball game, but somehow, it is still a magical experience.  The sights, the smells, the hot dogs… they all create a memory.  When we played a little game of baseball in a park a few weeks later, I was amazed when his older brother somehow knew how to wind up like a pitcher, something he was never taught, but rather absorbed it from the magic of the game.

I don’t know what October has in store for the Redlegs.  I don’t know if I’ll be sitting here in a few weeks watching them win the World Series.  This I know: we’re told that if we do anything well, but do it without love than it is worthless.  One thing is for certain, if the Reds win this year, they will have done it with love, and for that it will be of much importance to all of us.  Even if the playoff run ends abruptly, I’ll think of all the joy this season brought to people like you and I, countless children battling cancer, Teddy, and all the people in between.

Of course, I hope it doesn’t. (As we all know, it ended quickly.  It was a real bummer.  Hoping for better things this year)

 

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Sam’s Fish & Chicken aka Sam’s Chili

Sam's Fish & Chicken in Price Hill

Sam’s Fish & Chicken in Price Hill

Let’s just be clear… the sign out front says Sam’s Chili but apparently the place is actually called Sam’s Fish & Chicken.  It was also not our plan to stop in, but on our way to Price Hill Chili we saw the sign and thought, “hey, why not?”

 Funky from the outside, depressing on the inside

Sam’s Fish & Chicken looks like a delightful greasy spoon from the outside… It looks like a tired little shack on the inside.  I believe the old saying goes, “good from afar but far from good.”  Readers know that Dives without Wives loves a good, down-home greasy spoon, but there wasn’t really any charm to the inside of Sam’s Fish & Chicken.  With old gyro advertisements mixed with other outdated stuff falling off the walls and a few framed pictures like you’d see in your grandmother’s house, the theme wasn’t retro or classic but just old and tired.

 

Wings at Sam's Fish & Chicken

Wings at Sam’s Fish & Chicken

Ordering at Sam’s Fish & Chicken

To be fair, places like this can surprise you with amazing food, so we held on to hope as we prepared to order.  After ordering, the friendly lady at the front register made small talk with us while a man sat in the corner behind the register.  In the thirty minutes we were there, I did not hear him speak or see him stand up.  His role at Sam’s Fish & Chicken remains a mystery to us.  Two men in the back got to work immediately on our food, cheese coneys & some chicken wings.

The wings weren’t bad.  When I ordered spicy garlic the lady asked if I wanted them hot… sure…  I didn’t know that meant I’d have spicy garlic wings with hot sauce dumped on them.  Hot, but overall not too bad.  Our coneys were nothing to write home about, and the chili on them had the consistency of store bought stuff.  We should have taken the server’s advice and tried the pizza, her favorite, but remember we were on a chili quest.

 

Final thoughts on Sam’s Fish & Chicken

From our little experience at Sam’s Fish & Chicken I gather that Sam’s is the kind of greasy spoon you place all your orders to go.  As charming as the outside was, the inside just felt shabby and unloved.  If you’re looking for a Cincinnati style chili place to try, I’d suggest you skip on by Sam’s Fish & Chicken.  After all, they’re not even called Sam’s Chili anymore.  If you’re in the mood for some greasy spoon food to go, you might give the rest of the menu a try.  It’s at least worth saying you tried Sam’s Fish & Chicken.  Considering the fact Sam’s Fish & Chicken has a ridiculously high rating on Urbanspoon, someone out there must really love their food…

As an end note about the interior… This place is so close to having a great little diner feel.  If they took down the broken & outdated cardboard advertisements and cheesy home kitchen decorations and replaced them with simple black & white photos of Cincinnati they’d be in the money.

Pros: funky curb appeal, friendly staff, street cred for it’s other foods (so I’m told their gyros are amazing)

Cons: run-down interior, unmemorable chili

 

Up Next: Price Hill Chili

 

Past Chili Tour Posts:

Camp Washington Chili

Intro (Skyline)

Sam's Fish and Chicken on Urbanspoon

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Camp Washington Chili

The retro diner feel of Camp Washington Chili

The retro diner feel of Camp Washington Chili

When people talk about Cincinnati style chili, Camp Washington Chili is often heralded as one of the top spots.  As you come down the street, you can’t miss it.  With an iconic retro feel, Camp Washington has the look and feel of a diner from the yesteryears.  When you walk in, the feeling continues.

 

 Initial impressions of Camp Washington Chili

If you have the time, you can read the numerous framed newspaper and magazine articles that adorn the walls of the place.  Literally every spare piece of wall is covered with people praising Camp Washington Chili and its long heritage of chili making.  I assume this too will be framed and hung on the wall.  No one garners more respect in the journalistic community than Dives without Wives.

The menu is extensive including breakfast and sandwiches, but we were there for only one thing: chili.  Our orders were simple: chili cheese fries and cheese coneys with no onions.

Our server was friendly, but it did take a little while to get our food.  My guess is the fries need to be made fresh, so we understand the slight delay.  It probably wasn’t a long wait, but our excitement and hunger made it feel like an eternity.  Finally, our food arrived and our chili tour’s first stop was underway.

 

Camp Washington Chili's chili cheese fries

Camp Washington Chili’s chili cheese fries

The food

The first thing you’ll notice if you’re a Skyline fan is the difference in the chili.  Camp Washington chili is slightly meatier, but also less sweet.  While I’d feel odd and gross ordering a bowl of chili at Skyline, Camp Washington’s chili is thick enough I could imagine ordering a bowl of it.  The coney wasn’t bad, but it was drier than we’d prefer.  The fries were good, but at the end of the day, I’d still prefer Skyline’s fries just based on a preference for Skyline chili vs. Camp Washington chili.

Other reviews mention the spiciness of the chili… Maybe we’re accustomed to dumping hot sauce all over things, but I didn’t think it was spicy…  I wouldn’t be scared of it if you don’t like spicy foods.

 

Final thoughts on Camp Washington Chili

Overall, Camp Washington Chili lived up to its name as a must-try spot on anyone’s Cincinnati style chili tour.  The staff was friendly, the food was good, and the atmosphere had the retro diner feel we always love at Dives without Wives.  To be fair to Camp Washington Chili, I should also point out I ate breakfast here about a year ago, and it too was tasty.  If you’re hankering for chili as you drive up I-75, why not stop in and give it a try?

Obviously, our reviews aren’t technical in nature, and we’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave comments below on your experiences at Camp Washington Chili!

 

The pros:  retro diner feel, extensive menu, history of the place, chili thick enough to be its own dish, open 24-hours a day

The cons: coney was too dry, chili was good but not remarkable

 

 Up next: Sam’s Chili

Sweet neon sign at Camp Washington Chili

Sweet neon sign at Camp Washington Chili

Camp Washington Chili on Urbanspoon

Categories: Food, Uncategorized | 2 Comments