Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cincinnati Chili on Restaurant Row

One of the recent developments in Downtown Cincinnati is Restaurant Row, which is the 6th street block between Walnut & Main and has space reserved for restaurants. Currently Bartini's, Trattoria Roma and Mr. Sushi are the only occupants but they will soon get a familiar name as a neighbor.

The Cincinnati Buisness Courier reports Tim Lambrinides will open a fast casual restaurant on Restaurant Row. If you think you recognize the Labrinides name, you should, it is the founding family of Skyline Chili. Tim Lambrinides is the general manager of Nick & Tom's Restaurant and Bar in Bridgetown and surprisingly has never worked for a Skyline restaurant. I don't know if Tim's new venture will have cheese coneys but they will have the Silver Ladle Way which is spaghetti, Cincinnati-style chili, homemade black bean soup, onions, jalapeƱos, and shredded cheese. Blue Ash Chili now has competition for the most creative "way" in town.

The new restaurant is scheduled to open later this year and if they have coneys on the menu we will give them a shot.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Remaining Timeline of the Quest

When we first started the Cincinnati Coney Quest we had a list of 12 parlors and expected to take about 4 months to finish our quest to find the best coney in Cincinnati. We are now a little over a month away from the one year anniversary of the Quest which now features more than 20 chili parlors. Today I made the decision that I would like the quest to end sooner than later. Not to delve to deeply into my personal life, but this is mainly due to me wanting to get back into a more healthy lifestyle which will include cutting back on not so healthy foods such as cheese coneys.

But do not worry loyal coney quest followers, we are not ending the quest. We would just like to ramp up the quest and finish by the end of the year. I have decided to make some cuts to the remaining restaurant list. We are cutting the following restaurants that don't really have a history as a chili parlor, just happen to be restaurants that have coneys on their menu: Lynna's Grill, Mr. Gene's Weenies on Wheels and Papa Dino's Pizza. If anyone does visit any of these three and would like to write a review for the Coney Quest, we would love that.

We still plan to visit the following restaurants that are either chili parlors or at one point in their history were chili parlors: Christofield's Family Restaurant, Cretan's Grill, Moon-Lite Chili, Patrick's Sports Bar and Grill, and East Side Chili (if they open by the end of the year). After we visit these restaurants, we will return to our Top 4 parlors to see if our previous rankings still hold up, then crown the best coney in Cincinnati. We will finish our canned chili challenge and also post any Cincinnati chili related news.

I often get asked if I ever get tired of the quest. I really don't, it has been a fun and mostly tasty journey. However, as delicious as I find cheese coneys, it just isn't in my best health interests to eat coneys so often. After what has become a longer journey than expected, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Poll Results: Cold vs. Melted

Our latest poll asked if our readers preferred cold cheese or melted cheese on their coneys. This became one of the most lopsided polls we have conducted. 81% said they prefer cold cheese over melted. While I figured cold would win, I did not think it would be by such a wide margin. I would also infer that most prefer the dine in experience, as it is difficult, maybe impossible, to not have the cheese melt if you get your coneys to go.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Angelo's Family Restaurant Review

When one hears the name Angelo's Family Restaurant for the first time, most likely they imagine an Italian eatery. However this is not the case here as Angelo's in Finneytown is a restaurant with typical American restaurant food with some Greek items as well. Some of those "Greek" items happen to be Cincinnati chili.

The best way to describe the atmosphere at Angelo's is picture a less chain like Bob Evans. There were many homey paintings hung up along the walls and we were definitely the youngest patrons in the restaurant. Angelo's is fairly spacious and was doing good business on the Monday night we visited, so it appears to be a neighborhood favorite.

Clint's Review

I really, really wanted to like the Angelo's coneys, but ultimately they fell short. There was nothing terrible about their coney, but nothing stood out either. Their ultimate downfall is the chili. The chili was on the sweet end of the spectrum but overall I found the taste to be bland. The texture was a bit different too, it wasn't watery but wasn't very meaty either. Kind of like a chili paste, which does sounds a lot more unappealing than it really was, but I can't think of a better word to describe it.

The other aspects of the coney were also very average and not enough to turn an average coney to a good coney. The cheese was freshly shredded, not a store bagged cheese, which is something I will always approve of. However the coneys could have used more cheese. At first Alison felt the buns might have been stale, but I don't think they were. I think the buns might have been slightly warmed up which gave a little crispness to them, but if they were toasted it wasn't for very long (I agree with Alison's assessment of them in her review). The hot dogs were ok, like most of the coney they did not stand out.

I give Angelo's a 2.5 out of 5.

Alison's Review

Angelo's cheese coneys had a good flavor in the first bite. The chili was mildly flavored but a nice combination of warm spices. The mustard and onion acted as complements to the chili, which was surprising because I usually find them to overwhelm milder flavored chilies like this.

Though a good product upfront, I enjoyed it slightly less with each bite. The cheese seemed to be a little harder than typical chili parlor cheese. Maybe it was a lower oil content. The bun had a slight crispiness as if it were kept a little too close to the grill. The chili, though it seemed at first to be more sticky in texture than watery, eventually began to make the inside of the bun a little soggy. Though none of these factors are all that offensive, the overall texture was off. I give Angelo's a 3 out of 5 for their coneys. Angelo's Family on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Poll: Cold or Melted Cheese

A while back someone on Twitter (I want to say @chilitownusa, not positive though) asked their followers if they preferred cold* cheese or melted cheese on their coneys. For some reason I was thinking about this the other day and thought since we haven't done a poll in a while, this would be a good question to ask our readers.

So which do you prefer? Do you like a mountain of shredded cheese on top of your coney or do you like it when the cheese is melted? Personally, I like both but prefer cold and that is the main reason I don't get coneys to go very often.

Poll is on right side of page and closes Friday at 11AM.

*By "cold" I really mean not melted, doesn't have to be right out of the refrigerator cold.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quest Stop #25

Due to the end of summer being busy and some personal matters we had to take care of, the quest stops weren't as frequent this past month. Luckily after Oktoberfest weekend our schedule opens up and we can visit chili parlors on a more regular basis.

Quest stop #25 will be Angelo's in Finneytown. It sounds like an Italian restaurant but apparently its Greek and has Cincinnati style chili. We shall visit Angelo's early next week and should hopefully have a review by the end of the week.

In other parlor news, thanks to our friends at the Chili Report, we have learned that Crookshank Chili is still in business...kind of. Earlier I crossed them off the list because I saw they were no longer in business. While its true Crookshank Chili does not exist, the restaurant that is there now, Patrick's Sports Bar & Grill, still serves Cincinnati chili. So we will now add Patrick's to our list.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Canned Gold Star Chili

The 2nd chili in our "Canned Chili Challenge" was the offering from Gold Star Chili. Thanks in part to reader suggestions, we made some adjustments from our last at home experiment. Overall we made solid coneys and the changes did improve the coney, but still not quite chili parlor quality.

Last time we mentioned the hot dogs were a little too large. We wanted to buy the Queen City foot long hot dog as they are similar in size to a chili parlor dog, but Kroger was sold out. So we went with the regular Queen City hot dog and cut them in half. This was an upgrade as it allowed us to put more chili and cheese on our coneys. However, the Queen City dogs were not quite as good as the Blue Grass dog, which is what Gold Star uses at their parlors.

The other area we wanted to improve was the shredded cheese. Last time we should have gone with a finer shred. This time we used a microplane which produced shredded cheese that had more resemblance to the parlor cheese we are used to. Freezing the cheese a half hour before shredding was helpful too. We also went with a medium cheddar cheese and thought it was better than the mild we went with previously.

The Gold Star canned chili was ok, but not quite as good as what you get at the parlor. We thought the Dixie product had a very close resemblance to the parlor product, unfortunately can't say the same for Gold Star's. It definitely taste similar, you could tell it was Gold Star Chili, just not as satisfying. Alison felt the chili tasted salty.

Overall the coneys were an improvement over our previous attempt, but we still aren't quite at parlor quality yet. Even though we didn't love the chili, we would still recommend it to Gold Star fans.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blue Ash Chili "No Freaking Way" challenge

Over the weekend a couple of followers on Twitter asked if I would try the Blue Ash Chili "No Freakin' Way" challenge. My answer is simple: No Freakin' Way!!! In this challenge the customer has to finish and 8 pound 4-way. If you finish you get the usual T-shirt, spot on the Wall of Fame and a free meal. Kudos to anyone that can even come close to finishing this gargantuan meal. On the other hand, if someone creates a cheese coney challenge, I may consider it.

Close up photo of the 4-way:

In other news, apparently the Darkside enjoys Gold Star Chili:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Win Gold Star Chili for a year

The best chili is of course free chili. Here at Cincinnati Coney Quest we like to inform our readers of opportunities to acquire free chili. For those who believe Gold Star Chili is the "Taste of Cincinnati", we found a promotion you might be interested in. Gold Star is currently running a contest where one lucky Cincinnati chili lover can win free Gold Star for a year (it's really a Gold Star gift card for $350). There are also weekly prizes ($50 gift cards). You can also earn a free cheese coney for inviting friends to enter. The sweepstakes run from September 6 - September 30. Visit to enter.