HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
What's your latest food project? Share your adventure

"Cincinnati style" Chili

RacerX Dec 27, 2008 11:34 PM

Just saw this on an episode of Cooks Country and was wondering if any place in So Cal served this regional specialty?

Cincinnati style appears to be a thinner style than what I'm used to seeing and apparently its typically served over a plate of spaghetti with the option of shredded cheese, beans, and/or onions as condiments.



  1. a
    attran99 Dec 27, 2008 11:40 PM

    Try Chili John's in Burbank. They do have what you speak of...haven't tried it myself, but the chili is quite good.

    Chili John's
    2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

    1. Peripatetic Dec 28, 2008 02:09 AM

      Jonathan Gold just had something on Cincinnati-style chili and, like attran99, recommended Chili John's as a best approximation:


      1. Das Ubergeek Dec 28, 2008 05:43 AM

        Chili John's will do the pasta thing, but the problem is that Chili John's is perhaps the worst option in Burbank, which given the Chowhounds' general opinion of Burbank as a dining destination, is really saying something.

        It really is the most revolting chili ever. I'd sooner eat Stagg Chili cold out of the can.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek
          Hershey Bomar Dec 28, 2008 07:58 AM

          My dad and I love this place. It's never open so call first.

          1. re: Hershey Bomar
            annalulu Dec 28, 2008 08:08 AM

            I'm also a fan of Chili John's, I don't understand the negative comparison to CANNED chili! But to each his own.

            Chili John's does a great vegetarian chili with bulghur. Very tasty!

            1. re: annalulu
              RacerX Dec 28, 2008 09:49 PM

              Thanks everyone for the heads up on Chili John's - looks like I'll give it a shot. I know its had mixed reviews but I figure I'll take one for the team if I get the opportunity.

              And thanks for the heads up on the mail order option Servorg. I did an online order from Lou Malnati's last year to satisfy my curiosity on Chicago style deep dish so I may give Skyline Chili a try...

          2. re: Das Ubergeek
            swimfin Dec 30, 2008 01:10 AM

            1000% agree. Bought to go and got home with an inch of grease at the top of container - too daunting to even attempt. Chili John's = arrogant movie set and no more. Whew! Feel better now.

          3. a
            ahuacatl Dec 28, 2008 09:00 AM

            I spent a decade in Cincinnati and Goldstar/Skyline are one of my must-haves whenever I'm back in the area. It's pretty low brow stuff, but it has a very distinctive flavor and somehow when the cheap and unremarkable ingredients are piled together they are transformed. It is thin and runny, but it's more of a bonding/saturating agent compared to other chilis. I can't imagine eating it by itself. If somebody was halfway smart, they would open a franchise/knockoff out here. Easily 65% of Los Angeles has lived in Ohio, they're just keeping it secret. Not just that, but it's exactly the right kind of cheap, interesting, recession appropriate food for LA. I never acquired a taste for White Castle, but Cincinnati chili is very addictive.

            I do a knock off with Trader Joe's supplies. I use the their canned turkey chili to which I add some diced white onion, a little garlic, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, semi sweet chocolate chips and cayenne powder. I serve it on spaghetti, covered with shredded mild cheddar cheese and sprinkled with oyster crackers. A little Cholula sauce for color on top and there you go.

            1. The Chowhound Team Dec 29, 2008 03:02 PM

              Folks, please let us all know if there are options for this style of chili in the Los Angeles area.

              We ask everyone to keep the L.A. board focused on where to get good food locally. Discussion of the chili landscape in Ohio doesn't help anyone find local sources of the stuff in L.A. region, which is what this board's about.

              1. p
                posh Dec 29, 2008 04:19 PM

                For better or worse, I had Cincinnati (Skyline) chili twice a week until I was about 15. It just doesn't exist outside of southern Ohio and can't really be made at home a la America's Test Kitchen. Canned Skyline chili, however, tastes pretty much the same as what gets served at their restaurants, Then all you'll need is some overcooked spaghetti and bright yellow cheese and you can enjoy a taste of my fair and humble hometown here in the city of Angels.

                Note: Many people who didn't grow up on it don't care for Cincinnati chili because it is sweet, thin, and uniquely spiced. And generally pretty low grade.

                1. Servorg Dec 29, 2008 05:21 PM

                  If you need your Skyline fix and you can't find it in LA then just follow this link to the General Topics board:


                  (who was it that said there is more than one way to skin a cat?)

                  1. monku Dec 29, 2008 07:54 PM

                    Bob's Big Boy......chili and spaghetti?
                    Bruddah's in Gardena.....hot dogs in chili on rice

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: monku
                      yinyangdi Jan 14, 2009 05:39 PM

                      2d monku's reco of BBB chili & spaghetti; that's where my people got their fix for Cincinnati-style chili outside of the home.

                    2. n
                      neurolux Jan 11, 2009 12:09 AM

                      Red Rock Chili in the Century City Mall food court has it. It's quite tasty, and I think it's authentic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: neurolux
                        kevin Jan 11, 2009 04:55 PM

                        red rock is now long gone from the CC shpping ctr. in it's place is Lawry's.

                      2. j
                        JeetJet Jan 11, 2009 05:23 PM

                        I see those food shows also and that Cincinnati chili spaghetti dish has put that city on my map for future travel. At Carney's I have tried the spaghetti w/ chili plate and have been very happy. I have no clue if it is ever close to the Cincinnati style chili but Carney's has, IMO, the best chili in L.A.. I really enjoyed Carney's chili on that giant serving of spaghetti. I added some cheese and onion. I could not finish it and took the rest home. It seemed even better later with a re-heat but maybe that was only because I was looking forward to having more. I had this meal twice at the Sunset location.
                        8351 Sunset Blvd.
                        12601 Ventura Blvd.

                        Show Hidden Posts