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 With old gyro advertisements mixed with other outdated stuff falling off the walls and a few framed pictures like you’d see in your grandmother’s house, the theme wasn’t retro or classic but just old and tired.
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: