food

We've found the best chili restaurant in every US state

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Bowls of goodness

From down-home barbecue joints to cute plant-based cafés, restaurants across the States serve wonderfully warming bowls of chili. You’ll find spicy Southwestern-style offerings packed with green chiles and Texan classics that are all beef and no beans. Here’s our favorite dish from every state.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Alabama: Chili With Chedda’, MELT, various locations

With three joints across Alabama (in Huntsville, Hoover and Birmingham’s Avondale), MELT is all about updating American-style comfort food classics with creative spins. The menu is bursting with imaginative grilled cheese sandwiches, and its cheese-smothered chili is a triumph too. Made with no beans, it’s rich and meaty, and it’s pictured here alongside a tempting-looking chicken Parmesan sandwich. Customers rave about the food and service alike.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Alaska: Alaskan Reindeer Chili, Bread and Brew, Anchorage

Hip joint Bread and Brew serves a classic Alaskan-style chili that’s a hit with loyal customers. It’s made with Alaskan reindeer sausage and simmered low and slow with green chiles, tomatoes, kidney beans and a spot-on blend of spices. You can pay extra to get it served in a bread bowl.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Arizona: TEXAZ RED Homemade Chili, Texaz Grill, Phoenix

As its name suggests, this down-to-earth grill has a Texas theme that’s shown off with a collection of memorabilia (think flags, road signs and baseball caps) and a menu of meaty classics. A standout is the TEXAZ RED Homemade Chili, which is “some of the best around”. It’s made without beans and topped with cheese and a generous dollop of sour cream.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Arkansas: Purple Cow’s Famous Homemade Chili, Purple Cow, various locations

Purple Cow’s locations are best known for their eye-catching desserts and retro décor, but the chili packs a punch too. It’s homemade, zingy with peppercorns and spices, and topped with cheese, onions and fresh herbs. Get it in a bowl, or ladled over a burger or hot dog.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

California: Original Beef Chili Bowl, Chili John’s, Burbank

Opened in 1946, this down-home restaurant is Burbank’s oldest and its tried-and-tested chili bowls are the signature dish. You can get versions with turkey, chicken or lentils, but the Original Beef is the fail-safe option. It’s made to a decades-old recipe with a blend of secret spices (you can choose the heat) and served over rice or spaghetti, with or without beans.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Colorado: R & C Pork Green Chile, Cherry Cricket, Denver

There’s a reason this Denver hangout has been in business since 1945, because its food – including its imaginative chili bowls – keep customers coming back. The highlight is the R & C Pork Green Chile, which has even won awards. It’s made in true Colorado style with tasty hunks of pork, warming green chiles and tomatoes.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Connecticut: Award-winning Chili, The Vanilla Bean Café, Pomfret

Another dish that’s not short of accolades, the chili served up at The Vanilla Bean Café has plenty of fans. Beef is slow-cooked with a bounty of spices – including cayenne, cumin and chili powder – and chunky veg like celery and pepper is thrown in for good measure. It’s served in generous portions, and topped with tortilla chips, cheese and scallions.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Delaware: Bowl of Chili, Woody’s Dewey Beach, Dewey Beach

Woody’s Dewey Beach may be most famous for its incredible crab cakes, but there are some days when only a bowl of the warming, spicy stuff will do. Served with onions, shredded cheese and sour cream, the chili here is the best around – and it also works great as a side dish if you’re ordering from the sandwich menu.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Florida: New Mexico Chili, LoKal, Miami

Inspired by the Southwest, LoKal’s New Mexico Chili is a fan favourite. Punters say it’s got just the right amount of heat. The dish comes sprinkled with white onions and Monterey Jack cheese, and served with a side of tortilla chips.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Georgia: Brisket Chili, Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Atlanta

You can’t go wrong with most things on the meat-heavy menu at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Atlanta – but the chili is a must-eat. It’s made with wonderfully tender smoked brisket (with only the best certified Angus beef) and it’s topped with red onions and cheese. Gobble it up with jalapeño cornbread and crackers.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Hawaii: Chili, Zippy’s, various locations

This Hawaiian chain specialises in comfort food, and it makes a mean bowl of chili too. It’s packed with beef and beans, plus tomatoes and spices that lend it a rich flavour and a deep red colour. A round of fluffy white rice is the perfect, simple accompaniment.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Idaho: Blue Ribbon Chili, Goodwood BBQ Company, Meridian

Just like most of the menu, the chili at Meridian’s Goodwood BBQ Company is like a big, warm hug. Customers describe the dish as “deliciously smoky” and it’s best enjoyed in a bowl with plenty of cheese, or layered over nachos or a burger.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Illinois: Quinoa Chili, The Chicago Diner, Lakeview

The Windy City may be famous for its Italian beef but, when it comes to chili, it’s a veggie option that takes the crown. The Chicago Diner’s Quinoa Chili is spicy and smoky, with plenty of cumin and chipotle peppers. It’s served with popping jalapeño corn fritters, plus extras like avocado and sour cream.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Indiana: 5-way Chili, Nick’s Chili Parlor, Indianapolis

Billing itself as “Indy’s original chili parlor”, Nick’s opened back in 1974 and it’s easily stood the test of time. Chili is still the menu mainstay, and the joint’s recipe is a closely guarded secret. It’s named “5-way” for the five elements that make up the perfect bowl: fresh spaghetti, sharp Cheddar, onions, red beans and, of course, steaming spoonfuls of beef chili.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Iowa: Jake’s Spicy BBQ Steak Chili, Jethro’s BBQ, various locations

The chili at this easy-going BBQ joint (with a handful of locations across Iowa) really hits the spot. As the name suggests, the dish is just the right balance of spice and smoke, and it’s made with top-quality steak. It’s served piled high with jalapeños, cheese and sour cream.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Kansas: Burnt End Chili, Woodyard Bar-B-Que, Kansas City

You can see just how deliciously chunky and tender the meat in Woodyard’s Burnt End Chili is. It’s a fabled menu highlight packed with three types of beans and oodles of spices, and one diner even describes it as “life-changing”. The restaurant itself has been going strong for more than five decades, and it’s been featured on top TV programmes like Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Kentucky: Check’s Famous Chili, Check’s Cafe, Louisville

Describing itself as a “neighbourhood tradition”, Check’s Cafe has been serving a solid menu full of American classics for more than 60 years. And the recipe for its “famous” chili dates right back to 1944. It’s rich and meaty, and best served with “all the fixins” – that’s spaghetti, white onion and plenty of cheese.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Louisiana: Brisket Chili Cup, Central City BBQ, New Orleans

NOLA’s Central City BBQ is ultra hip and it’s got a menu with just as much substance and style. You can’t go wrong with the slow-cooked, no-bean Brisket Chili Cup – it looks extra tempting here, layered with cheese, sour cream and green onions. It would be delicious as a topping for the restaurant’s signature fries too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Maine: Beef & Bean Chili, Sea Dog Brewing Company, various locations

The best Maine chili can be found at cool brewing company Sea Dog. It’s made with both beef and beans, and finished with plenty of pico de gallo, cheese and tortilla chips. While it’s just fine served from a bowl, it’s even better when piled onto a burger with plenty of sour cream and fried onions (as pictured).

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Maryland: Chili, One World Cafe, Baltimore

A vegetarian chili is the winning dish in Baltimore and you’ll find it at One World Cafe, a charming stop that’s focused on veggie, plant-based and free-from dishes. The chili is extra filling, packed with brown rice, beans, veggies and plenty of spice, and served with a side of tortilla chips.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Massachusetts: Texas State Penn Chili, All Star Sandwich Bar, Cambridge

This Cambridge joint might be a sandwich shop by name, but the chili is the real star of the menu. It’s Texas-style (that’s all brisket and no beans) and it’s got a real kick. A hearty dollop of sour cream and a hunk of cornbread will help with the heat.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Michigan: Chili Flight, Dr Rolf’s Barbeque, Muskegon and Grand Haven

Dr Rolf’s Barbeque has a trio of delicious chilis on offer – and happily you don’t have to choose. Order the Chili Flight and you’ll get all three: that’s White (smoky chicken and beans), Green (pulled pork and black beans) and Red (smoked brisket, black beans and pinto beans), plus a cornbread waffle on the side.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Minnesota: Pinto’s Diablo Chili, The Loon Cafe, Minneapolis

The chili bowl at The Loon Cafe earns plenty of praise from punters and press alike – and rightly so. It’s described as “a Minnesota-born chili” since the recipe was dreamt up right here and it consists of beef, beans and veggies with delicate spices. A hunk of Texas toast on the side is perfect for dipping.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Mississippi: Chili, Mugshots Grill & Bar, various locations

Even on the mammoth menu at Mugshots – which includes burgers, sandwiches, salads and hot dogs – its signature chili dish stands out. It’s a classic beef chili that’s slow-cooked, finished with heaps of cheese and onions, and served in a bowl or in a cup as a side. You can get it over your burger or hot dog too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Missouri: Dixon’s Chili, Dixon’s Famous Chili Parlor, Independence

As its name suggests, this no-frills Independence spot is all about chili – and it’s got a long history. Its first incarnation was as a street cart, until a restaurant opened in 1919. The tasty chili has been served the same way for a century: with carefully seasoned beef layered over beans. You can choose it dry, soupy (with bean broth) or juicy (with the meat juices), and top it off with ingredients from jalapeño relish to humble ketchup.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Montana: Elk Chili, Casey’s, Whitefish

Burgers and barbecue plates are served at this convivial, pub-like haunt in Whitefish and – in real Montana style – the joint makes its moreish chili with elk. Billed as a “fan favourite” by the restaurant, the dish is slow-cooked for delicious results and is described by punters as filling and flavourful. The Elk Chili Cheese Fries are a hit too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Nebraska: Vegetarian Chili, LeadBelly, Lincoln and Omaha

Head to LeadBelly (with locations in Lincoln and Omaha) for a top-notch vegetarian chili. It’s famous for serving the dish with a cinnamon roll, so you’ll get the perfect blend of sweetness, smoke and spice. Diners say the chili is as good as homemade.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Nevada: Mamas Homemade Chili, Mr. Mamas Breakfast and Lunch, Las Vegas

There are near-endless restaurant choices in Sin City, but the best place to get a hearty bowl of chili is this humble spot a few miles off The Strip. You can choose an 8oz or 12oz (227g or 340g) bowl of Mamas Homemade Chili, which is described by diners as “sweet” with a perfect beans-to-meat ratio.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

New Hampshire: 5-Alarm Chili, Red Arrow Diner, Manchester

The Red Arrow Diner has a history that stretches back to 1922 and – now with four locations – it’s become something of a New Hampshire institution. The menu is big and filled with standard diner grub, but you can’t beat the 5-Alarm Chili which, as the name suggests, is extra hot. It typically comes smothered in cheese sauce and customers love it.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

New Jersey: Chicken Chili, Ocean Cafe, various locations

This laid-back restaurant has two locations in New Jersey and it breaks chili tradition, using chunks of chicken rather than standard ground beef. The place has a health-focused ethos, and the lean chili is packed with beans and spices that give it just as much depth and warmth as a more typical dish. Punters wax lyrical about it.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

New Mexico: Sadie’s Chile, Sadie’s of New Mexico, Albuquerque

It’s easy to find a fantastic bowl of chili in this Southwestern state, but Sadie’s offering just nudges into the winning spot. It’s made just how you like it: you can choose to have it red or green (with red or green chiles), and with or without beans (purists go without). It’s served with a flour tortilla on the side, or it’s seen here spooned over classic rellenos.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

New York: Veggie Chili, Bubby’s, New York City

It’s another veggie chili win in the Big Apple. The Bubby’s tongue-in-cheek mission statement is to “defend the American table” and “steal grandmothers’ recipes”. And we’re sure grandma would be proud of the lip-smacking vegetarian chili. It’s made with loads of beans and vegetables, and rounded off with sour cream and cheese.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

North Carolina: Hearty Chili, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Asheville

The city of Asheville is achingly hip and it’s got a roster of veggie and plant-based spots to prove it. One of the best, Rosetta’s Kitchen, focuses on “vegan soul food” and serves up an excellent, hearty chili that’s even won awards. It’s paired with homemade cornbread and promises to be both “belly-filling” and “soul-warming” – customers heartily agree.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

North Dakota: Chili, Scotty’s Drive-in, Bismarck

Scotty’s Drive-In is a Bismarck legend, opened back in the 1960s and made famous by signature items like the Rebel Burger. The meaty chili has won the place plenty of fans too. It’s homemade, wonderfully thick and oh-so-spicy, and it’s especially good when layered over crunchy tortilla chips with bountiful amounts of oozing cheese.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Ohio: 5-way Chili, Camp Washington Chili, Cincinnati

When ‘chili’ is right there in the joint’s name, you know the offerings will probably be great – and Camp Washington has delivered “over 75 years of chili goodness”. The spot delights punters, or “chili-heads”, with its top-secret recipe. Go all out and order the 5-way: the moreish chili is piled up on spaghetti and beans, and finished with lashings of onions and cheese.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Oklahoma: Range Chili, Iron Star Urban BBQ, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City’s Iron Star Urban BBQ whips up a solid homemade chili. Customers describe it as “real chili” since it’s made Texas-style, forgoing beans in favour of all beef. And it comes topped with sour cream and cheese, with a giant cornbread muffin and pickles on the side.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Oregon: Chile Bowl, Pepper Box Cafe, Portland

A heaping bowl of pinto beans topped with Cheddar and served with tortilla, the crowd-pleasing Chile Bowl at Portland’s Pepper Box Cafe comes with either New Mexican red or green chile sauce. And if you want both? Do it Christmas-style! There’s extra chorizo and pork carne adovada for the meat-lovers, too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Pennsylvania: Chili, Race Street Cafe, Philadelphia

The rib-sticking chili at Philly’s Race Street Cafe is a meat-lover’s dream. It’s a combination of steak, chicken and andouille sausage, with filling beans thrown in for good measure, and plenty of cheese on top. Diners rave about it, with one die-hard fan even dubbing it “life-altering”.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Rhode Island: Seasonal Chili, Julian’s, Providence

Julian’s draws Providence’s cool crowd, with its industrial-chic décor and chilled-out vibe. The menu – which is focused on brunch – is ever-changing, and the seasonal chili always pleases customers: they say the dish, with shoestring tortilla chips, avocado and fresh herbs, hits just the right spot.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

South Carolina: Brisket Burnt End Chili, One Hot Mama’s, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton

One Hot Mama’s dishes up a huge menu of belly-busting American favourites, from ribs and wings to barbecue platters – and the Brisket Burnt End Chili is the perfect option for the cooler months. The smoky burnt ends lend the dish a wonderful flavour and it’s a proud winner of local cook-offs. It’s garnered rave diner reviews too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

South Dakota: Diner Chili, Phillips Avenue Diner, Sioux Falls

There are plenty of reasons to visit this popular Sioux Falls diner: cool retro interiors, a classic, convivial diner vibe and a menu of American staples. That menu includes a stellar chili that’s absolutely loaded with beef and beans. Diners eat it in steaming bowls or ladled over spaghetti, and they give it high praise.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Tennessee: Chili, Varallo’s Restaurant, Nashville

Varallo’s proudly touts its status as the oldest restaurant in Music City. Its story started with Frank Varallo Sr, who began doling out his chili from a street cart in the early 1900s. It was such a hit that he opened a bricks-and-mortar location in 1907. More than a century later, Varallo’s (now under new ownership) is still going strong and the secret-recipe chili remains popular. Plump for the ‘3-way’ option with spaghetti and tamales, or just get it straight up.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Texas: Chili, Texas Chili Parlor, Austin

The meat-loving Lone Star State is well known for its chili, which is traditionally served with plenty of beef and no beans. The version at Texas Chili Parlor in Austin follows tradition with mouthwatering results. Diners say it’s nice and spicy, and that it’s filled with generous amounts of chunky beef. The red chili comes in varying heat levels, from ‘X’ to ‘Xxx’, plus there are other versions like White Chili made with pork.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Utah: Lentil Chili, Cuppa, Ogden

The little city of Ogden has a food scene that punches above its weight and Cuppa – a charming, plant-based café – is one of its stars. The menu, which changes with the seasons, is packed full of veggie delights and the vegan chili is always a winner when it features. Like the rest of the offerings here, it’s made with organic, non-GMO ingredients including hearty lentils. The spot has a near-perfect Yelp rating too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Vermont: Ribeye Chili, Langdon Street Tavern, Montpelier

Everything about this Irish-inspired tavern is cosy, including its super-warming chili – perfect for chilly Vermont winters. It’s made with chunky rib-eye steak and kidney beans, and the sauce is extra rich and smoky. It’s all crowned with loads of sour cream and Cheddar, plus a ring of tortilla chips. Diners love the friendly atmosphere here too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Virginia: Cincinnati Chili, Hard Times Cafe, Alexandria

The Hard Times Cafe is a veteran “American Chili Parlor”, opening back in the 1980s, and it’s still one of the best places in the whole country to get a delicious bowl of meaty stew. Their Cincinnati Chili is a crowd-pleaser: finely ground beef is simmered with tomatoes and lifted with sweet spice like cinnamon. The 1920s recipe comes from Greek immigrants.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Washington: Chili Carlos, Slow Fox Chili Parlor, Vancouver

Chili is the bread and butter of this hip, hole-in-the-wall joint in Washington’s Vancouver. There are plenty of delicious bowls on offer, but the Chili Carlos is the ultimate choice. It’s a meat feast made with ham hock, pork shoulder and chorizo, plus peppers, onions and filling hominy. You’ll get a slice of deliciously sweet cornbread with it too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

West Virginia: Game Day Chili, Maloney’s Pub, Summersville

Another sports bar that gets its chili just right, Maloney’s offering is loaded with red beans and packed with heat. And that tongue-tingling spice is pared down with lots of sour cream and cheese. There’s a white bean chicken chili on the menu if you fancy something different too.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Wisconsin: Chili, Real Chili, Milwaukee

This Milwaukee hot spot is entirely focused on delicious chili, which it has been dishing up since 1931. The recipe for the slow-simmered chili is top-secret and sees a bowl of heavily-spiced meat topped with cheese and sour cream. You can order it layered over beans or spaghetti, or heaped onto nachos or a hot dog.

food, we've found the best chili restaurant in every us state

Wyoming: Buffalo Chili, Cowboy Coffee Co., Jackson Hole

Wyoming is well-known for its classic meaty mains, and many spots across the state make a great chili. Jackson Hole’s Cowboy Coffee Co. serves a lot more than brews and, in proper Wyoming fashion, its chili is made with buffalo meat. It’s constantly praised by diners and it’s typically served with a hot sandwich or panini.

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