Petition drive to name Cincinnati "Chili Town USA".

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX10) - Thursday was the day to get your chili fix. It was "National Chili Day."

A local group wants to make Cincinnati-style chili known to the world. All area chili parlors may soon be jumping into the same chili pot. Gold Star Chili hopes they can all come together to get the Queen City designated as "Chili Town USA".

"Yeah, we're a chili town, I'll sign that," said Michael Craven. He added his name to a petition to get Cincinnati named, "Chili Town USA".

Craven craves his Gold Star Chili just about any time of day.

"It's great for dinner," he said. "Great for lunch, every now and then I might even have it for breakfast."

It's way better than Texas chili for sure, he said.

"It's not as hearty and it's not as heavy," he said. "It's just a lighter kind of chili, it's got a good sweet taste to it."

Gold Star is hoping for solidarity among the areas 250-plus chili parlors.

"One thing we can all agree on is everybody loves chili here," said Charlie Howard, Gold Star Chili's Marketing Director. "This truly is Chili Town USA, so we're hoping that everybody will get on board for the greater good of the city."

They're hoping for 50-,000 signatures.

"I think that we can get the same kind of cache out of that Milwaukee gets from 'Beer City' or Battle Creek 'Cereal City'."

There's the popular cheese coney.

"Gonna put mustard, come down here put some chili, then put some onions on them, this is the finale," said Gold Star's manager, Teresa, who then added tons of shredded cheddar cheese.

"It has really a Mediterranean flavor palate and the families that started the Cincinnati-style chili came from Jordan, came from Greece."

And like Greek, Spiros Sarakatsannis. "Absolutely," he said. "We would love everybody to come to Cincinnati for chili."

Sarakatsannis' family's been in the chili biz for 80 years.

"There was a burlesque theater in downtown Cincinnati," he explained. "Called the Empress and right next door it the same building, there was a hot dog stand called the Empress also."

Sarakatsannis says that man put spices the Greeks used into Empress chili and his father worked there about two weeks, before starting off on his own. Because his friend owned Empress, he moved across the river to Newport and started "Dixie Chili".

"I love their cheese coneys," said Pam Jones. "It's my first time having them here."

Jones was enjoying a cheese coney at Price Hill Chili. Everyone has their loyalties.

"This is the best place for chili," said one man enthusiastically, as we found at Camp Washington Chili, where talk of a Chili Town USA petition was well-received.

"Sure, absolutely," said Gerry Porter.

People have lots of fond chili memories, like Marilyn Rieselman, whose dad would bring it home on payday.

"It was fantastic," she said. "It was a special treat once a week."

"Definitely," echoed David Sebastian in the booth near her. "Best chili in the world."

You can sign the online petition and be a part of the push to name Cincinnati, Chili Town USA. Click on the link below for more information.

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