Cincinnati chili

chili
Courtesy of Julie Niesen

If there’s anything more iconically Cincinnati than our chili, you’d be hard pressed to find it. Spaghetti, topped with a thin, sweet-spiced meat sauce and a pile of bright orange cheese: locals generally love it, and everyone else is just a little confused. Where did it come from? Why do Cincinnatians love it so much? Is it even chili?

If one food continues to define our city, it’s Cincinnati-style chili. Brian O’Donnell is joined in the studio by Dan Woellert, author of the new book, The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chilli, which traces this specialized dish from early inception to the growth of a variety of chili parlors. Also joining in the conversation are Chris Kiradjief and his Uncle John Kiradjief from the Empress Chili restaurants.