Blue Ash Chili

Review by: Michael Stern

The way chili works in greater Cincinnati is that you build your plate, according to the layers you like. You can get a dish of only chili and spaghetti, or you can get a 3-way (chili, spaghetti, and cheese), 4-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese, and raw onions), or 5-way (add beans). You can even get a 5-way, hold the onions, extra cheese. The possibilities are nearly endless.

A layered plate of Blue Ash 5 way is a beautiful thing. The chili meat is dark and resonant, not too spicy but with complex character; and the spaghetti noodles are always fork-friendly: not too long, and squiggly enough that they stay on the tines of a fork with virtually no slippage.

Good as the chili is at Blue Ash, this Naugahyde-and-linoleum eat-place is also a magnificent sandwich shop. “We think we have the best sandwiches in town,” the menu advises; and in Cincinnati, sandwiches are a big deal, almost as big as chili. As in every Cincinnati chili parlor, double deckers reign at Blue Ash. A double decker means two ingredients of your choice are sandwiched in three slices of bread, making a sandwich that is so tall it is a challenge to lift from its plate. Ingredient choices for double-deckers range from bacon and egg to hot ham and cheese, turkey, and roast beef. Any combo is possible, including “turkey and turkey,” “beef and beef,” etc., meaning your double decker is simply a double lode of a favorite ingredient. We are especially fond of hot ham, which is sliced thin and loaded into the bread in moist clumps, especially when paired with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Bacon is quite wonderful in any double-decker; it is piled on thick and curly – great with turkey, eggs, or cheese.

On the side, for variety’s sake, many customers get one or two Coneys – small hot dogs in tender buns, customarily dressed with chili, onions, and mustard and completely covered with a great fistful of grated orange cheese.

What To Eat

Double-Decker Sandwich

5 Way Chili

Mac and Cheese

Chili, Cheese Coney

Chili Lasagna


Blue Ash Chili Recipes


What do you think of Blue Ash Chili?

One Response to “Blue Ash Chili”

Dave O'Ball

April 24th, 2011

If you’re a fan of Cinci chili, you must visit Blue Ash. They are well-staffed and efficient, and service doesn’t slow down much during the dinner rush. As for the food, it’s probably a toss-up with another parlor as to which one serves the best chili in town, which is pretty high praise considering this is a city where chili parlors outnumber McDonald’s.

I had a six-way and thought there was too much stuff going on. A simple three-way is advisable, in my opinion, perhaps with the addition of some hot sauce if you like it a little spicier. The mac and cheese is a really solid entry, prepared in the old-school style. While I’ve had better, it’s well worth ordering. The coneys are probably the best I’ve had, better than the chains to be sure. Again, a little hot sauce improves things.

If you’ve never had Cinci chili you need to do one thing before you try it: forget the word chili. It’s like no other chili you’ve had. I liken it to the meat sauce that tops moussaka.


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