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Thread: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

  1. #1
    Winning the Human Race TheBigLebowski's Avatar
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    Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    I made brief mention of it in my reply to the Furman thread, but it has always amazed me that Cincinnati Chili hasn't caught on nationwide. We bring frozen Cincy Chili home with us after each visit and my Mom makes a really nice Cincy Chili from scratch. Each time she makes it, I make a point to come home and invite friends over and they always love it. Never had a single complaint.

    I will admit that I don't know how widespread chili parlors are around the midwest outside of Ohio, but I know it's nowhere to be found in the southeast and I would be amazed if any entrepreneur had the guts to bring a Goldstar or a Skyline out west.

    Question is, would it work elsewhere or, is it just too regional of a taste? I've always thought it would succeed down here but, of course, I have an obvious bias.
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    I know I did considerably well selling Skyline on eBay and then later through my own website. I finally stopped when my wholesaler raised the price to where I couldn't make a reasonable profit from it. I used to selling 10-12 4-packs every couple of weeks. I even had folks ask me to ship a box of crackers with them or the hot sauce (which at the time wasn't being sold in bottles). I even had one person buy some Worthmore Turtle Soup.

    I found this little bit online about Cincinnati's chili craze, although I have to say I've never seen a 5-way created as the writer suggests (spaghetti on top of the ingredients?) http://www.inmamaskitchen.com/FOOD_I...hilarttwo.html

    I can't say which chain is larger, Gold Star or Skyline (I think it's close to even), but Skyline knocks the socks off of Gold Star for out of town locations - about 42 restaurants. As you note, they're primarily in the Tri-state area. Gold Star has five out of town (Lexington & Dayton), whereas Skyline is as far flung as Indy, Louisville, Cleveland, Toledo, Mansfield, Columbus (14 stores now) and five in Florida. Florida is basically retired Ohians and college students as their starters.

    We had a a friend who grew up in St. Louis and his mom worked for a research company based here. After one trip to the home office, she came home and made "Cincinnati chili" for them, which he grew up eating after that.

    Could it work elsewhere? It's hard to say, I think. I've been hard pressed to think of many local cuisines that is so ubiquitous as our chili, with so many restaurants that serve it. The term "chili parlor" is something that nearly every Cincinnatian knows, whether born here or a transplant. The only possible one I can ever think of is Philly Cheesesteaks, but perhaps others know of anther one.
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    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Well, it's not just cincinnati. Gold Star has restaurants almost to the border of Tennessee. But it is very clustered. kinda odd that there isn't one in Columbus or Indianapolis.
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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    There's a Skyline in Naples Florida. Seems to do OK.
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    Vavasor TRF's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    I just checked, Skyline has 5 Florida locations

    Clearwater
    28776 U.S. Highway 19 North (727) 791-6887
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    Ft. Lauderdale
    2590 North Federal Highway (954) 566-1541
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    Ft. Lauderdale
    2834 North University Drive (954) 741-3929
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Ft. Myers
    5100-323 South Cleveland Avenue (239) 278-3929
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Naples
    710 Ninth Street North (239) 649-5665
    Map this location Smoke Free
    Suck it up cupcake.

  7. #6
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    There used to be a Skyline in Hilton Head(of course a popular Cincinnati vacation spot) but it suffered because eventually they couldn't get quite enough business on the chili side, and began to branch out into other typical fast food(burgers etc..) and the quality of everything suffered to the point where even Cincinnatians wouldn't go.

    Although, putting a home town place where people vacation is a less effective strategy than putting it where they "retire" to. If I go somewhere for a week I don't need to eat food from home.

    Also something to keep in mind, the actual Cincinnati chili recipe may be somewhat localized, but chili that is liquidy enough to top off chili spaghettis and other is also employed at restaurants like Steak N Shake.
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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Not west of the Mississippi, I've seen several fail out here (not franchised joints though)

  9. #8
    Winning the Human Race TheBigLebowski's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    I just checked, Skyline has 5 Florida locations

    Clearwater
    28776 U.S. Highway 19 North (727) 791-6887
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Ft. Lauderdale
    2590 North Federal Highway (954) 566-1541
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Ft. Lauderdale
    2834 North University Drive (954) 741-3929
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Ft. Myers
    5100-323 South Cleveland Avenue (239) 278-3929
    Map this location Smoke Free

    Naples
    710 Ninth Street North (239) 649-5665
    Map this location Smoke Free
    Wow. Good to see it's spreading. Unfortunately, however, those cities are nowhere near me. I live in North Florida.

    Makes sense about the retired Ohio snowbirds as a good market. There are plenty of those in Naples/Ft Lauderdale.
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  10. #9
    Hanigan's Homies DirtyBaker's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    I don't know why it wouldn't work elsewhere, it's incredible! Skyline has been post-church tradition in the DirtyBaker household for quite some time. I remember going to a Goldstar once way outside of Columbus but there are none within reasonable driving distance to most who live in Columbus.

  11. #10
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigLebowski View Post
    Wow. Good to see it's spreading. Unfortunately, however, those cities are nowhere near me. I live in North Florida.

    Makes sense about the retired Ohio snowbirds as a good market. There are plenty of those in Naples/Ft Lauderdale.
    Its not really spreading, just popping up in markets with a large Cincinnati population. Naples has a ton of Cincinnati show birds as well as a large midwest population. Throw in the Boston area people and that makes up the winter population of Naples.

    Don't know about Ft Lauderdale but Ft Myers also strikes me as another large Cincy snow bird destination. It is only about 30 miles north of Naples.

    What I find ironic is these locations in Florida. I really enjoy skyline but it just doesn't have the same appeal with it is hot out.

  12. #11
    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    The Skyline near Ft Lauderdale is cash only. They directed me to a ghetto ATM machine in the corner to withdraw some cash. That has always rubbed me the wrong way...I expect consistency within a franchise.

  13. #12
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    I'm not sure it couldn't work but it would be an uphill battle. People here have been weaned on this stuff for the most part. When you hook kids on something like that, they will more than likely eat it as adults. But if you just expect adults to eat it and they have never tried it before, it could be tough for it to take. Most transplants I've seen here hate Cincy Chili. I'm an exception because I love it but people tend to get set in their ways and won't try anything new. I don't think it could thrive in any other place like it does here but I could see a store here and there do good business.
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Skyline is pretty big in Indianapolis. There are several locations and it's sold frozen and in the cans at most grocery stores.

    I thought, though I could be wrong, that Skyline had a deal with Kroger where all Kroger stores (which spans many states obviously) carried Skyline?

  15. #14
    Blowing away bad memories Redsfan320's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Just had a 3-way for lunch today... it never loses it's deliciousness... no matter how many times you go there... yum.

    Can I add it was from Skyline... not GOLDSTAR

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: Cincy Chili - Can it Work Elsewhere?

    Love eating it, just can't do it often because it's so bad for you.
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