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Nov 7, 2007 08:56 PM

Damn, I want some Skyline Chili!

For years, long before I ever heard of Skyline Chili and their famed three-ways, four-ways, and five-ways, I was cooking "Cowboy Spaghetti" for my family: relatively tamed-down chili served over pasta and covered with melted cheese, a zingier alternative to meat sauce, but still so not-spicy so my parents could enjoy it.

Serving chili over spaghetti noodles is a Cincinatti chili tradition, and Skyline is the most famous and well-known of the Cinicinatti chili parlor chains. Originated by a Greek immigrant, the chili is not spicy or chunky, but more of a thin, meaty sauce that is perfect for serving over spaghetti or hot dogs (Coney dogs) and smothering with mounds of shredded bright orange cheddar cheese. Chili purists would probably hate the stuff (it contains cinnamon, among other things), and while it isn't likely to win any chili cookoffs, it is damn good if you're in the mood for it. And I've been in the mood for it lately!

Skyline's website lists their locations: mostly in Ohio, with a few in Kentucky, Indiana, and oh yes, Florida, where I live. Just none of them are anywhere close to me in the Orlando area. I really wish they would open one here -- we get so many tourists from the Midwest that I'm sure a Skyline parlor would be a welcome sight. Plus chains tend to flourish in our market, just for the novelty factor alone. I've been to the two locations in Fort Lauderdale, but not in years. Occasionally I can even find their chili in the frozen food case at Publix supermarket, but again, not in a few years. I find myself needing a fix.

The more ubiquitous Steak 'n' Shake chain serves chili mac three-ways, four-ways, and five-ways, but it isn't the same (and like I said, anyone can make their own chili and serve it over pasta). Skyline just has a really unique product that is worth trying at least once. Their chili really is like nothing else, and I personally love it. Are there any other fans here?

Skyline's website:

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  1. Being from Cincinnati and often needing a fix myself, my mother always gives me a couple of cans for christmas. The canned stuff isn't as good but works in a pinch. The first thing I always do when I go home to Cincinnati from Boston is eat at Skyline and et a small 3 way and one cheese coney. My husband and I almost didn't get married because he didn't like skyline at first. Just kidding, kinda of. :)

    1. If you were jones-ing enough to have Skyline (sometimes pronounced as Ska-lee-nee) you would make the trip to Ft. Lauderdale. You just dont want it bad enough, I guess !

      11 Replies
      1. re: smt

        I have never, ever heard it pronounced Ska-lee-nee - and I grew up in Cincinnati. It's Skyline, as in a city skyline. Is that a joke pronunciation like Tar-jay for Target?

          1. re: HilaryAnn

            I'm 23y/o, born & raised in Cincy. That is, without a doubt downright bulls*~it. Why the individual would make such a claim...i have nooo idea, Hilary. Noo, idea...sigh

            1. re: Laurelton513

              I live in Cincinnati and I've heard it pronounced that way. It's just like the Target/Tar-jay thing...just a joke to make a simple place sound fancy.

              1. re: jordanhamons

                -_- heh.
                (Boo's the joke off stage[moreso out of exsistence])

          2. re: smt

            Not with gas as high as $3.25 a gallon. I could drive three hours expensively, or I can just make my own chili!

            But I did buy a package from the frozen food case tonight, and I'll probably pour it over some spaghetti later this week.

            1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

              Well, it wasn't as good as I remembered it. I don't think the frozen stuff would be as good, and I didn't have the right kind of shockingly orange shredded cheese either. Oh well.

              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                You are right on about the "Cincinnati Recipe Chili Mix". I converted my wife to Cincy Chili and she makes it pretty darn close to Skyline's with those spice packets. My wife just won't mash oyster crackers into her chili!

            2. re: smt

              I grew up in Cincinnati and I have heard the alternate pronunciation. Of course I left Cincy after college 23 years ago. Skyline was the best after punk shows at Bogart's or Sudsy Malone's (Especially the Wolverton Bros.)

              1. re: RevJay

                Wow, the late lamented Sudsy's! Sounds like you went to UC about the same time I did, going to shows on Short Vine back when that weird arcade (Jupiters?) was next to Bogarts. My old band played Sudsy's several times & I went to tons of shows there, and Skyline was always great at 2am before stumbling back to the dorm.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  JUPITER AND BEYOND'S!!
                  was thee absolute sh*t. i miss it. Clifton/Greater Cincinnati has changed...a LOTTTT... :s

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              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. I am a native Cincinnatian and have had shipments of Cincinnati-style chili mailed to me on occasion over the years.

                  The best canned variety was Stegners, a small packer known for their chili, turtle soup, and mock turtle soup. Unfortunately, they expanded into MREs and went out of business in 2003.

                  Actually, my best experience recently was to buy a chili mix called "Cincinnati Recipe Chili Mix" which is available at most Krogers stores in the Cincinnati area and can be ordered at (800) 443-4371. If prepared as directed on the package AND if you use 80/20 ground beef, the taste is very close to Skyline's.

                  Both Gold Star and Skylines can be ordered over the internet at their websites.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jlawrence01

                    I have also used the Cincinnati recipe mix with excellent results. It's been a while since I've seen it in a regular grocery store in Milwaukee, but I find it occasionally at Big Lots. Strangely enough, frozen Skyline also occasionally turns up there.

                    1. re: Fydeaux

                      If you have problems finding it, e-mail me as I have quite a supply as I am in Cincinnati 3-4x per year.