Cincinnati Chili Tour 2017!
Last year, we scheduled 7 locations and 1 was closed so we visited 6 chili parlors and that was just too much food and a very long day. For this year, we are back to 5 locations and that seems to be about our limit. Here is our tour map and the actual locations are listed below.
NOTE: The official Cincinnati Chili Tour video is at the bottom of this page!
#2 Dixie Chili
733 Monmouth St, Newport, KY 41071
#3 Chili Time
4727 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45217
#4 Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225
#5 Price Hill Chili
4920 Glenway Ave #2, Cincinnati, OH 45238
This year’s group was Bob, Fred, Burt (1st timer), Tim, Mike (1st timer), TimC (1st timer) and Bill. Fred, Bob, and Bill have been on every one of our Cincinnati Chili Tours thus far.
Quote of the Day
On the Cincinnati Chili Tour after having just left Dixie Chili, Bob said, “The thing about being in Kentucky, you can have a kids three-way and not be frowned upon.”
First, we are not professional food evaluators and we don’t play one on TV and we didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. We’re just doing this because we enjoy it!
1st stop, Gourmet Chili
Gourmet Chili, Newport KY, began in 1986 and was started by Steve Stavropoulos, a Greek immigrant who worked at Skyline for awhile when he first came to America. This is a very basic diner kind of place, very friendly and a “Cheers” kind of feel. The place was a little grungy and the restroom report wasn’t good. Other than that…
Chef George invited me back to see their big 60 gallon chili pot in action. Tim gave him one of our extra hats. The chili itself was pretty good with a little kick to it and the group, overall, was pretty pleased with the chili. Two important notes: 1) you are allowed to smoke in Newport restaurants, so it’s a smoky place and 2) it’s cash only. Scoring-wise, Gourmet was in the middle of the pack for food and closer to the bottom in other areas (see scores, below).
2nd stop, Dixie Chili
Just down the street from Gourmet is Dixie Chili. We visited Dixie in 2013 as well. Dixie is set up a little differently than most other chili parlors. It’s more of a cafeteria format where you get in line and order your food first, then grab a tray, walk a few feet, and pick up your order – no waitress/waiter. It’s definitely the fastest chili delivery system of them all. I made the mistake of trying the vegetarian chili here. It tasted like a very sweet pasta sauce and I couldn’t even finish it. Lesson learned.
3rd stop, Chili Time
This parlor was recommended by a friend of a friend last year, so we added it to our list for this year. Chili Time was as clean as many of the others, but scored below average in other areas and they managed to mess up one of the coneys which were not supposed to have any mustard.
4th stop, Camp Washington Chili
This year, we reversed the route and pushed Camp Washington Chili toward the end of the day to see if it made a difference in our evaluation. It really didn’t. The food was good and the place was clean. We met up again with Johnny Johnson the Godfather of Camp Washington Chili and had a great interview with him. Check it out! There is so much history at this place…it’s sort of iconic.
5th stop, Price Hill Chili
We started with Price Hill Chili last year and decided to end with them this year. They did not disappoint in any category and edged Camp Washington out in the overall scoring. This parlor also had a ton of memorabilia scattered throughout their many walls and rooms. We even saw one of the servers helping an older gentleman move about the restaurant. Food-wise they had some of the best chili and goetta and ended up tied with Camp Washington in the food category (see scores, below).
The Chili Scores
Here are our scores for the chili parlors visited during this year’s tour. We evaluated each chili parlor on 4 categories: food, cleanliness, service, ambiance. We tossed the high and low scores in each category.
We evaluated based on a 1 to 10 chilies scoring system, where 1 chili is really bad and 10 chilies is excellent.
Our overall winner this year was Price Hill Chili with 8.75 chilies, followed by Camp Washington Chili with 8.65 chilies. Camp Washington did a bit better than in 2016 and were only slightly behind Price Hill this year. Price Hill and Camp Washington were tied for first place this year in the food category at 8.60.
Adjusted Overall Scores
1. Price Hill 8.75
2. Camp Washington 8.65
3. Dixie 8.25
4. Chili Time 6.80
5. Gourmet 6.30 (ambiance)
Adjusted Food Scores
1. Price Hill 8.60
1. Camp Washington 8.60
2. Gourmet 7.40
2. Dixie 7.40
3. Chili Time 5.60
Best Chili: Price Hill, followed by Gourmet
Best Goetta: Kind of a tie between Gourmet and Price Hill (all parlors use the same brand – the difference is in the preparation).
White Glove Award: Dixie Chili
And in Conclusion…
Resulting from this year’s tour, we have made some decisions regarding future chili tours.
We decided to do the tour on the 4th Saturday of April each year.
We decided to bring in 4 new chili parlors each year and will keep Price Hill and Camp Washington on an alternating rotation basis. Those will be our benchmark parlors each year.
We’re going to cap our group size at 10…maybe 12 if the demand is high…because seating becomes a bit of a challenge with a larger group and we prefer to all sit together so we can more effectively evaluate each chili parlor and have an all-around great time.
Thanks for following us this year and we look forward to seeing you here and on Facebook at CincinnatiChiliTours!
Cincinnati Chili Tour – Video Summary
Cincinnati Chili Tour – Facebook Live Feeds