Real Chili

Review by: Michael Stern

Chili parlors once were fairly common in big cities throughout the Midwest. With the exception of Cincinnati, where chili has remained a bona fide mania, most of them are gone. That is one reason we are so enamored of Real Chili.

What to eat at Real Chili

The chili itself is a heartland classic, served mild, medium, or hot, with spaghetti or beans, or spaghetti AND beans. The full and complete arrangement is known as the Marquette Special.

Degree of heat is determined by amount of meat. More meat = more heat. The meat is ground fine, brilliantly spiced, and deliciously oily. It goes atop layers of noodles and beans; and on top of the meat is piled a large fistful of shredded cheese (melting from the heat). You can also get sour cream and raw onions as a garnish. Every bowl comes with a side dish of oyster crackers to crumble on top or to eat as a sort of palate-cleanser between bites of chili.

Granted, this style of chili gets little respect from gastronomes who prefer the southwestern kinds, but even for the purist, Real Chili is an inspiring and enjoyable adventure in declassee dining. Sit at a counter or at one of two communal tables with backless stools and accompany your chili with beer or cherry Coke. A fast, friendly staff dole out second helpings at half price of the first, and if you have any doubts about this chili’s raison d’etre, consider the house motto: “Preventing Milwaukee’s Hangovers since 1931.”

Directions & Hours

  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 2:30 AM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 AM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 3:00 AM
  • Sunday: Closed

What To Eat

Marquette Special



Real Chili Recipes


What do you think of Real Chili?

2 Responses to “Real Chili”

valerie dusing

October 17th, 2005

Real Chili: probably the best late night place to get real chili, Cincinnati style. After Bastille days in Milwaukee, it’s the only place to go and satisfy that craving-hot-spicy-chili-with-noodles-cheese-sour-cream-and-no-beans moment.

My question? When can we get it in the suburbs of Milwaukee? Madison and Milwaukee are the only two locations I know of, but there are so many people in Mukwonago, WI who drive to get this incredible delight. When can we find it in Waukesha, or even in Mukwonago? With all the growth in these areas will we live long enough to see this happen? I certainly hope so.

It is worth the drive. Whether you like it mild, medium, or hot, they have it for you!


kev burns

April 9th, 2005

Excellant Chili, Served on Spagetti or without. I suggest adding cheese that melts right in. They do not serve alcohol as stated in the front webpage. Most regulars drink water but they do serve coke products. The location is storefront with stool (15) service. There are no tables. I went there about 4 times a week for 4 years until I moved away. If you go at dinner hour or late night on Friday or Saturday, expect to wait about 20 minutes. The food is presented by the same workers that worked there 20 years ago. Food is served in a soup bowl and a 2nd bowl is half price. Again the food is great and you should you will be getting a second bowl. Price Level is cheap – About $5.00 for the meal. Locals add oyster crackers to the chili and are often tossed about amoung the customers making it a fun, friendly place. People travel from around the USA for this great food.


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