Who Knew? Empress Chili holds the crown for the first chili parlor in the Queen City

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is home to many fascinating facts, offbeat oddities, and "I did not know that," moments. With that in mind, WCPO asks "Who Knew?"

If one food continues to define our city, it’s Cincinnati chili. Most often, we think of Skyline as being our flagship chili parlor. Did you know the first three-way created in the Queen City was built in a small mom & pop restaurant that is still serving from its location on the West Side?

For more, we consulted Dann Woellert, who wrote the book on our Queen City delicacy. Here's a blurb from the Amazon listing for  "The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili."

"Cincinnati is certainly judged by its chili. Some claim it's not even chili, but those are just fighting words to natives who have developed the crave. Cincinnati is a long way from El Paso, and our chili is not Tex-Mex style. It is a unique blend typically served as a three-way: over spaghetti and covered in shredded cheddar cheese. From its 1922 roots with the Slavic-Macedonian immigrant brothers Kiradjieff in a burlesque theater, Cincinnati chili has become a million-dollar industry supporting 250 chili parlors. "

Become a WCPO Insider to read about Empress Chili and learn where in the Tri-State you can find the highest concentration of chili parlors.

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