Monday, September 27, 2010

Nick's Chili Parlor review

The Better Half is away for a long weekend to see her sisters up in Toronto, and also visit her grandmother. So, I'm hope alone, doing some house projects. Anyhow, while she's gone I decided to finally pay a visit to a somewhat local legend in Nick's Chili Parlor. The Better Half has generally voted thumbs-down on Skyline Chili, as I think that mountain of cheese (mmmmm) that is loaded on to your food kind of leaves her feeling a bit ill at the mere sight of it (though, I'm happy to report the dear lass is a-okay with hot dogs or chili). Anyhow, worked late one day and dropped down the the near west side to get to Nick's.

The restaurant is currently under construction, and they have an illustration of what the restaurant will eventually look like, and it looks like an impressive face lift. I had looked this place up before, and I don't remember a website, but there is now the nice, clean website that I linked to above. I didn't ask many questions, so I'm not sure if there is new ownership, or merely a push to upgrade the facilities, but it looks like it will be a nice addition. Otherwise, the current location seems like a pretty simple, older-style fast food restaurant.

They don't have any "value meals" at Nick's, but they do have a daily special. I had tried to prepare during the day for this meal, so I had oatmeal for breakfast with some fruit, and at lunch I'd had a PB&J on Brownberry whole wheat bread, and an apple. I ordered the footlong with chili and cheese and an order of their "natural trim" fries.

The hot dog was a pretty thin wiener, but it had a nice ladling of chili, a fair dusting of cheese (no comparison to the mounds from Skyline) and onions. The chili is fairly standard and, dare I say it, a bit "Hormel-ish" in taste. But, the onions and an addition of some hot sauce helped it. The fries may have had some skin on them, but they certainly seemed to be the frozen-out-of-a-bag variety to me, and while airy and crisp, nothing very exceptional. The meal put be back about $7.15, and I wasn't really full (I also tend to have to spend too much at Skyline, too - so maybe it is me). I considered a bowl of chili to better gauge the chili on it's own without the hot dog, but I passed. Being a mere mile or so from the Long's Donut's on 16th and Lafayette Road, I also considered a stop there... but, I knew I had some cookies and cream ice cream at home, so held off.

The Nick's website touts the slogan "home of the Not Yet World Famous Chili"... and, well, I guess they're being a bit self-deprecating and yet honest at the same time. It has a lot of local lore and followers, but I wouldn't put this chili up there as anything special on it's own. And, I guess you can call me picky, but to pay $7.15 for a footlong, fries and a soda that didn't leave me full, well... I don't think that is very good value either. If I would have added a 5-way, a bowl of chili or just another chili dog, this meal would have been in the $9.50-$12 range, and that is way too much.

The verdict: 2.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Homey taste, but mostly middle-of-the-road.


Leslie said...

i agree with you with the price..I've never eaten there before. I used to work at the VA and the OI&T dept LOVES nick's chili

Anonymous said...

Does Nick's Chili taste like Skyline Chili(I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn'

Indy Grub Review said...

No, it doesn't really taste like Skyline... it doesn't have that distinct flavor (wahtever it is) that Skyline includes. (that said, I do like Syline!)