Skyline Chili – Skyline Chili is unique in that it is not chili con carne, the meat dish that originated in (and is the state dish of) Texas. Instead, Cincinnati-style chili is a sauce usually used over spaghetti or hot dogs, containing a unique blend of spices that gives it a very distinct taste. Officially, the recipe for Skyline Chili is a well-kept family secret among Lambrinides’ surviving children. However, many Skyline patrons and Cincinnatians believe that the unique taste of Skyline Chili comes from chocolate and cinnamon, spices common in Greek cuisine’s meat dishes. The general recipe is not unique to Skyline — “Cincinnati-style” chili is sold by several chili parlors in the area including Empress, Dixie, Gold Star Chili, Camp Washington, and other chili parlors.
That is some chili sitting on a bed of spaghetti. That is also what I’d had on Saturday for lunch.
I’d heard about Skyline Chili long before I’d tasted it. People who’d grown up or lived in Ohio had very strong opinions about it. Haters loathed the thought of it, while devotees praised it to the heavens. I had to taste it for myself.
Verdict? It does indeed taste like cinnamon. The chili is slightly sweet. I ordered the 5-Way chili, Skyline Chili with red beans and onions and cheese on spaghetti. It really was just like eating chili on top of spaghetti, although a sweeter chili than I’m used to. Chili con carne this was not. It was a bit like a mole sauce.
Would I eat it again? Yeah, sure. It was cheap and the chili itself was good, as long as you don’t call it chili. It’s more of a sweet meat sauce. I’ve love to try it on fries or a potato sometime. Who’s up for another trip to Skyline?