5 Places to Get Your Chili Fix in Houston (While It's Chilly)

Categories: Top Five

The Chili Shak 003.jpg
Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
A chili cheeseburger at The Chili Shak.
The Chili Shak

At this relatively new Braeburn spot, there are huge stacks of napkins on each tidy table -- and that's because you'll need them for the wonderfully messy chili dogs and chili burgers The Chili Shak sells. True to its name, everything on the menu features chili. You can get a bowl of it all on its own, of course, which tastes like Wolf Brand chili made by someone's loving father. (This is a compliment, I promise.) But it's best on top of a Frito pie with jalapeños and fine shreds of cheese or on a big, beefy burger with mayo, lettuce, melting cheese and crunchy red onions.

James Coney Island

Although it's not very Texan, Houstonians love the Greek-style chili at Houston's oldest hot dog restaurant. James Coney Island was founded in 1923 by Tom and James Papadakis, immigrant brothers from Kastelli Gravias, Greece. The Papadakis brothers sold their "secret recipe" chili for 15 cents a bowl and topped hot dogs with it, just as James Coney still does today. And although the ownership has changed since then, the Greek chili hasn't. It's still full of ground beef and beans, stewed together in a faintly sweet sauce that tastes of nutmeg. It's not full-on Cincinnati-style chili, but it's close. And it's still so popular that you can buy it frozen at the store, to go.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Honorable mention: Jus' Mac

Even though it's not a bowl of chili, the chili-topped Chili Cheese macaroni and cheese skillet at Jus' Mac remains one of my favorite dishes in Houston. Get it with a wedge salad (for a little textural contrast and, my God, something green), split them both with a friend and enjoy this chilly weather while it lasts.



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Location Info

Venue

Map

Haven

2502 Algerian Way, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Twin Peaks

4527 Lomitas St., Houston, TX

Category: Music

James Coney Island

3607 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Jus' Mac

2617 Yale, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tags:

chili
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30 comments
palladindc
palladindc

Remember to try as much chili as you can eat at the upcoming HOUSTON KOSHER CHILI COOKOFF Sunday March 3 at the ERJCC on Braeswood near Chimney Rock (11:30 - 3:00) Teams are still being accepted.

Abdul Farukhi
Abdul Farukhi

Why is it called chili when it's served hot and spicy?

susanterrywilhelm
susanterrywilhelm

So glad you mentioned Haven as the Wild Boar Chili was my first thought when I read the headline!  I could eat that by the gallon!

Houston Press
Houston Press

It's not a top 5 list - just a list of a few places to satisfy a wide range of different chili cravings! :)

Chad Nottmeier
Chad Nottmeier

There are 4 others on the list. There is a top 5 and an "honorable mention" ... did u actually read the article? And, HP nailed it with Armadillo Palace. It has been my favorite chili in H-town for a long time.

Chase Thorn
Chase Thorn

Houston Press.. if its the top 5 then there are 3 more, might as well have put Chili's and Denny's on the list.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

I really don't go out for chili, per se, as my own version of pedernales red is incredibly cheap and simple.  Frito pie, on the other hand, I'm always willing to go out for.  That said, steer clear of Jus' Mac (while they have plenty of really nice mac & cheese options, the chili mac isn't one of them.  It has beans in it; nuff said)  Instead, head to El Real, who not only has one of the best Frito pies in town, they're willing to serve it to you in the frito pie bag.

Brittany Kight
Brittany Kight

Ooh and the python chili at Sammy's is to die for.

Brittany Kight
Brittany Kight

Langford Grocery has pretty good chili. Surprisingly, Texas Roadhouse's chili is pretty good as well.

Carlitos Way
Carlitos Way

James Coney? Has to bet better chili in town than that. Might as well go to Wendy's.

blackrain35
blackrain35

Coney Island chili works on the hotdogs, but overall not very good. Might as well go to Wendy's.

Houston Press
Houston Press

Chase Thorn, there are four other spots on the list! :)

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

JCI's original hotdogs are a Houston classic.  But their chili is weak.  My favorite chili is at Shady Grove in Austin, but it's a bit to OTL for regular visits.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

The Capitol at St. Germain has a Texas Beef Brisket Chili with squash and jalapeno cornbread that is excellent most days.

Chase Thorn
Chase Thorn

really??? twin peaks and James Coney...you guys really did your research on this one!!!!!!!!

txvet
txvet

If you are looking for a healthier, take out option, the turkey chili at SNAP kitchen is really, really good.

gossamersixteen
gossamersixteen topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard Jus mac is just plain boring, nothing I've ever gotten has been very good. Middle of the road to average, and that certainly does not justify their prices.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

@blackrain35 Exactly.  Who in their right mind EVER goes to JCI for their chili?  They serve it over pasta for chrissake.  Choice failure in the highest regard.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Why don't we have a dislike button yet?

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@txvet Agree, it's quite tasty. One of the better meals I've tried there.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@FattyFatBastard  Chili on pasta=Cincinnati Chili, yes? I've never been tempted to try it, except for one version I saw on No Reservations. Fred's & Red's in Joplin, MO, oddly enough.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@kshilcutt  Very hard for me to wrap my brain around chili + pasta. Then again, I like beans in my chili so what do I know :)

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