Two Odd Shots
The mural next to the big Skyline Chili restaurant in the Camp Washington section of Cincinnati – and a New York Times (September 5, 1990) food reviewer called a trip to Skyline "a rite of citizenship" for people new to the city.
Skyline Chili is a chain of chili restaurants based in Cincinnati, founded in 1949 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides. If you don't know, Cincinnati-style chili is an odd and rather bland sauce used over spaghetti or hot dogs, containing a blend of spices that gives it a strange, distinct taste. No one from Los Angeles or the Southwest would call it chili. Officially, the recipe for Skyline Chili is a well-kept family secret among Lambrinides' surviving children, but many Skyline patrons and Cincinnatians believe that the taste comes from chocolate and cinnamon, spices common in Greek meat dishes. And there are the signature dishes – cheese coneys (a hot dog topped with Skyline Chili, mustard, onions, and cheese), and 3-ways (spaghetti topped with Skyline Chili and cheese; 4-ways (choice of beans or chopped raw onions added), and 5-ways (beans and chopped raw onions both added). It's an acquired taste.
But Skyline Chili is Cincinnati. Out here, Paris Hilton was arrested for drunk driving on her way to one of our unique In-and-Out Burger joints, the one down the street on Sunset. In Cincinnati she would have been headed to Skyline Chili.