Tuesday, November 30, 2010

History of Dixie Chili

It is appropriate that the first stop on the quest after Empress is Dixie Chili. If Empress is the father of Cincinnati style chili, then Dixie is one of its sons. Eighty years ago an employee of Empress Chili, Nicholas Sarakatsannis, decided to leave Empress and set up his own parlor and give birth to a new flavor of Cincinnati chili.

As a teenager Sarakatsannis escaped to the U.S. from Greece, a country in violent battle with Turkey at the time. He worked in Greater Cincinnati area candy stores and hot dog stands as a young man until he became an employee at Empress Chili.

Seeing the potential in this product and believing he could improve the recipe, he decided to start up his own chili parlor in Newport. Despite having been founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, his restaurant has not only survived the test of time, it has thrived. Dixie now has two additional locations in Erlanger and Covington, and can be found at local grocery stores. The original location is now the oldest chili parlor in Northern Kentucky.

Dixie Chili, the pride of the Sarakatsannis family, boasts its thick, spicy, and freshly made chili. It is made in the Newport Commissary by Sarakatsannis's sons who maintain the original, and very secret, family recipe. Since the beginning of the quest, Dixie Chili has been one of the most recommended by readers. We will soon find out if Dixie lives up to its reputation.

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