In the Roaring Twenties, a new star would emerge on the food menu of the Cincinnati-based Empress Lunch Room owned by Greek immigrants Tom and John Kiradjieff, that recipe is what has been known for 90+ years as the famous Cincinnati Chili. A delightful iconic concoction made famous by its ingredients and Mediterranean vibe of flavors which included lean ground beef, beef stock, tomato paste, and a variety of Mediterranean spices that were piled on top of a plate of spaghetti noodles and later topped with cheese, beans, and even onions in various spinoffs at other restaurants trying copy the Empress Lunch Room’s famous recipe.
“Cincinnati Chili” has long been said to be a confusing encounter to those that have never had the pleasure of eating this Iconic dish made famous by the two Kiradjieff brothers. Many unsuspecting folks expect the flavor to be like that of a Texas-Style chili, or any type of chili for that fact. I’m sure they were confused by Mediterranean spices they were tasting in this Cincinnati Chili . You will either love the unique flavor like I do or simply hate it, but I really think given a fair chance you’ll fall in the love with Cincinnati Chili just like I did.
The Cincinnati Chili made famous by the brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff, would inspire Greek Nicholas Sarakatsannis, who worked at the Empress Lunch Room in the late 1920s, to open his own restaurant called Dixie Chili in Northern Kentucky, serving a version of the Cincinnati Chili concocted by Tom and John. Then later the Cincinnati Chili would yet again inspire another worker from the restaurant, Nicholas Lambrinides, in 1949 to open Skyline Chili in Price Hill and serve his own spinoff of the popular recipe. Continue reading