Chili Bun

Unique to Appalachian Kentucky, the chili bun is a chili dog without a wiener. It costs about a dollar and is sold in nearly every convenience store that has a kitchen as well as in drive-in restaurants. Typical condiments are yellow mustard and chopped raw onions, most often put into the bun before the chili, meaning that you don’t see them when you unfurl the wax paper to behold the clever little sandwich. But they’re there; and they are important, the mustard adding picnic zest, the onions delivering sweet crunch. At Lily Shop-N-Cart in Lily, Kentucky, the made-from-scratch chili is assertively beefy with a complex spice profile that includes notable pepper bite.

Restaurants With This Dish

A pair of Coney dogs at Duly's in Detroit, OH
Duly’s | Coney Island Hot Dogs | Old School Diner | Detroit


Frosted mug of root beer on a drive-in car tray
Root Beer Stand


Lily Shop-N-Cart


Styrofoam container holds hot dog bun filled with chili, onions, and mustard ... but no hot dog
Billy’s One Stop



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