Think the Bourbon Trail with chili

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 06:00:07-05

When we decided to move to Cincinnati, the two things I was most excited about being closer to were the Reds and Skyline Chili.

Now that I’ve been here more than a year, I’m learning to appreciate other Cincinnati chili parlors — in addition to Skyline.

Cincinnati chili is one of those things that sets this city apart. It ties us together. It makes us special.

The Gold Star/Skyline question gets asked almost as much as “which school did you go to?”

I asked my oldest son a few weeks ago if he liked Skyline or Gold Star better and he told me:

“Skyline. But it’s like Skittles and M&Ms. They’re both good. But I LOVE Skittles.”

Nearly all of us have our favorite chili spots.


Kevin Necessary’s Cincinnati chili emoji.


One day in the office several of us were talking about Julie Niesen Gosdin’s Top 9 Chili Parlors.

That sparked an idea: What if we went to all of them in one day?

What has developed since then is brilliant, unhealthy, spectacular, disgusting and fun.

We’re creating the Cincinnati Chili Trail.

Think the Bourbon Trail with chili.

Here’s the map.

The goal is simple: Hit all nine of these chili parlors in one day.  At each one, we will order a cheese coney and a three-way. There might be some sharing involved. For safety’s sake.

Some of our intrepid warriors will fall by the wayside — and face the shame of not finishing the Chili Trail.

But the strong will each have a bite of a coney and a three-way at each location. They  will have the honor of being the first to complete the Chili Trail.

We chose Feb. 25 — National Chili Day — for this expedition into Cincinnati chili history.

You can follow our adventures on social media — we will be Tweeting and Instagramming using #ChiliTrail — or on


A three-way. Yum.


And you can even join in. Just hit these nine chili parlors.  You don’t even have to hit them all in one day (although major kudos if you do) and document your chili experiences on social media using #ChiliTrail.

If you are trying to eat at all nine locations, tag those posts with the hashtag #9waychallenge.

Are you strong enough to complete the Chili Trail?