Friday, March 4, 2011

JK's Chili Review


Coney Quest stop #10 got off to a rocky start when we visited Cleves Drive-In and found out they do not serve coneys. We regrouped and picked a new location which happened to be JK's Chili in Madeira, OH. Madeira is located next to the Kenwood area and is the birthplace of my mother. Even though I have this connection with Madeira, I haven't visited often. Seemed like a nice quaint town that is quiet compared to their neighbor Kenwood.

The best way to describe JK's is hole-in-the-wall. A big feature that JK's is proud of is you can bet the lotto there. The Powerball was up to $180 million the weekend we visited, so I ordered 3 cheese coneys with a Powerball ticket on the side. Keepin it classy! Even though it might not have appeared to be the classiest of chili parlors, we were not gonna judge a book by its cover, plus we enjoy a good small neighborhood diner. It's a chili parlor, not Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, so the ambiance works fine. Aside from some old time Reds decorations on the walls, not much to say about the decor. I did have to use the facilities while I was there, and yeah, it was a bit creepy. I would recommend going to the bathroom at home before making the trip to JK's. All of the staff were extremely nice and the place was packed while we were there, so you know the neighborhood loves JK's.

The menu is a basic diner menu. JK's is not open during the evening, so most of the menu features breakfast and lunch options, along with the standard chili items. JK's is one of the best priced parlors we have visited. If you come hungry you can get 4 cheese coneys for $5! Neither of us had that much room however.









Clint's Review

I had some big hopes for JK's. It was a nice neighborhood hole-in-the-wall parlor. Everything looked home made and delicious. Unfortunately the coneys came up short. The chili itself was ok. Reminded me a little bit of Gold Star, but less flavorful. I didn't pick up on the taste right away, but as I ate more I started noticing some similar flavors I found in the Gold Star coneys. You could call their brand Gold Star Light.

So the chili itself was average, where things go bad for JK's is the other components of the coney. The buns were hard, not rock hard or even stale, but not as fresh as I would like. JK's piles on the chili and cheese (sloppiest coneys since US Chili) and not only were the buns hard, they did not hold everything together well. It was similar to my experience with the cheese coney I had at my work cafeteria. I thought the hot dog would be good as they had a large griddle to cook every thing on, but once again I was disappointed. Not very flavorful and the hot dogs had an odd color. It wasn't all bad, I thought the cheese tasted good and I like the large amount that topped the coney.

Average chili - hard buns + good cheese - questionable hot dog x losing lottery ticket  = 2 out of 5. Like all parlors we visit, I really wanted this to be good. Unfortunately I left disappointed. However, since the chili and cheese weren't bad, I think a 3/4/5-way could be a good option here, but this is the coney quest.

Alison's Review

I love little hole-in-the-wall diners like JK's.  There is just something enjoyable about a community restaurant with lots of regular customers.  I would love it if we found Cincinnati's best cheese coney at one of these lesser known chili parlors.

I can't say, however, that JK's is that place.  Their cheese coney was a bit of a disappointment.  Overall, it was a pretty bland product.  It was really difficult to taste the chili, though it was loaded on pretty heavily.  I just couldn't pick up any of the flavors.  The cheese and the dog did nothing to boost the flavor either.  And the bun was mediocre.  Though the overall texture and appearance were fine, JK needs to kick it up a few notches.

If I ever return to Madeira, I would mind stopping into JK's for a greasy spoon breakfast, but as far as the coneys go I give them 2 out of 5 stars.

J.K.'S Chili on Urbanspoon

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