July 21, 2024


Cincinnati Chili: An American classic with Mediterranean origins

Cincinnati chili, like the Philly cheesesteak, Louisiana gumbo, and apple pie, is a famous American cuisine that is sometimes disregarded in favor of the “typical” Tex-Mex version. However, Cincinnati chili is not to be mistaken with chili con carne. While the chili common in Texas has Mexican roots, the Cincinnati chili has Mediterranean origins, resembling Greek pasta sauces more closely.

Jump to Recipe Print RecipeCincinnati chili is thought to have been originated by brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff, who served a Mediterranean stew as a topping for hot dogs, which they dubbed “coneys,” in 1922. A “way” system was established to make ordering more efficient, and it has since been imitated by countless restaurant owners offering Cincinnati chili.

Skyline Chili and Gold Star Chili, with 130 and 89 outlets, respectively, are by far the most popular of the estimated 250 individual and chain vendors specializing in Cincinnati chili in regions such as Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Florida, the Middle East, and abroad. However, while Cincinnati is arguably the region’s most popular cuisine, it has been severely panned by others who are more familiar with chili con carne and has been criticized as a bad example of chili.

It was even dubbed “horrifying diarrhea sludge” by Deadspin in 2013. Cincinnatians, on the other hand, are ready to defend the regional favorite. Fans have gone as far as “shooting” Skyline chili straight from the tin in the lead up to the Super Bowl on Sunday (February 13th, 2022), which the Cincinnati Bengals have made for the first time since the 1988 season.


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