I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Troy, Ohio.
Greetings from Troy, Ohio
N 40° 3.3005’ W 084° 14.1008 Elev. 888 ft.
I was initially kind of skeptical of Skyline Chili. A globe-trotting conductor friend had told me I should try it. “It’s pretty good,” he said. “I think it has cinnamon in it.”
Because I’m not the world’s biggest cinnamon fan, I thought that sounded a bit weird. Then I did a little research and read that Skyline Chili fans said it contained not only cinnamon but chocolate, as well. By then I was thinking it’s not chili — it’s mole!
Still I really wanted to go there because I knew they served Cincinnati Chili, a creation of Macedonian immigrants that first appeared in the 1922. Cincinnati Chili is markedly different from conventional chili in that it’s really a thin, meatless, sauce, contains no beans, and has none of the spices usually associated with chili or, more precisely, chili con carne.
Although its often served as a topping for Coney Dogs, what really makes it “Cincinnati” to me is that it’s used as a “topping” for spaghetti. There are a number of ways you can get it: Two-way (chili and spaghetti), Three-way (chili, spaghetti and cheese), Four-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese and onions); and Five-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans).
I had to have some Five-way chili and, after seeing you can get a Cheese Coney (“Specially-made hot dog in a steamed bun, with mustard, covered with original, secret recipe Skyline Chili, diced onions and a mound of shredded cheddar cheese) for $1.75, I was on my way in.
I was immediately greeted by the lovely “team leader” Taylor who asked if I was ordering “for here or to go?” To go, I said. As we chatted she discovered that it was my first visit to Skyline Chili. “If you eat it here I’ll pay for your meal,” she said. Huh? It turns out that your first visit to (the Troy?) Skyline Chili is on the house, you just can’t take any leftovers with you.
I ordered a Cheese Coney, a small Five-way Chili ($4.59), and a Sweet Tea ($1.79). When I took the first bite of the Coney my fears of it being a weird-tasting sauce were quickly alleviated. In fact, the Skyline Chili chili is really mild spice-wise, almost bland compared to what I thought it would be. It wasn’t that it was bad — it’s actually pretty good — just that it wasn’t bursting with flavor like I was expecting.
Likewise the Five-way Chili wasn’t as flavorful as I was hoping. I’ve made this at home using homemade chili con carne and I think that’s a lot more fun and fulfilling. Then again, if you’re a kitchen-less vagabond Skyline Chili’s Five-way is a pretty good substitution when you’re craving chili-topped spaghetti.
While I was eating I looked at the menu and saw that you can “Make any Favorite Extreme with Habanero Cheese.” I think next time I go I’ll try that on a Coney and see if it takes it over the top. I’ll also order more food; I wasn’t completely sated when I left and, by then, wanted something different.
This is an inexpensive place and the staff is really friendly. In fact, not only did Taylor tie a bib on me, she gave me a short course on how to eat the food to get the “total Skyline Chili experience”; place the serving dishes vertically to your body so you get all the ingredients in every bite.
Before I left Taylor gave me a card for a free Cheese Coney on my next three visits and the manager, Mark, handed be a goody bag containing his and the General Manager’s business cards, a to-go menu, a Skyline Chili bib, a sample packet of Skyline Chili Hot Sauce, a bag of Skyline Chili Oyster Crackers and (a particularly nice touch) a York Peppermint Pattie.
Total cost for my Skyline Chili experience would’ve been $7.99 … but the first one is free.
And so we roll.
Skyline Chili, 1775 W. Main St., Troy, Ohio,
with locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Florida
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.