Nothing takes the sting out of a cold, dreary day quite like a warm bowl of chili. No matter how you like it—extra spicy, vegetarian, sans beans, or hidden by a topcoat of cheese and sour cream—the perfect bowl of chili is out there waiting to be discovered. These are some of the best options in all 50 states.
1. ALABAMA // CHRIS' HOT DOGS
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
For over a century, Chris’ Hot Dogs has enticed presidents, movie stars, and regular folk with its famous franks and legendary chili sauce. Founded by Chris Katechis, a Greek immigrant, the restaurant uses a secret family recipe to make 10 gallons of chili every day. Not only can you cover your hot dog or hamburger in it or order it by the bowl, you could also take home a pint ($5), quart ($9.50), or gallon ($35) to satisfy any off-hour cravings.
2. ALASKA // BREAD AND BREW
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
This hip sandwich shop pours their hearty Alaskan Reindeer Chili into a bread bowl. You'll find reindeer sausage, kidney beans, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions in this savory blend.
3. ARIZONA // CRACKERS AND CO. CAFE
Location: Tempe and Mesa, Arizona
Head to Crackers & Co. Cafe for lunch, where everything on the menu is made from scratch. The soup selection is impressive, and the cup of chili is flavorful and a delightful half of a soup-and-sandwich order.
4. ARKANSAS // IZZY'S RESTAURANT
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
This family owned Little Rock restaurant creates all its recipes, grows its own herbs, and even has a honey bee and Monarch butterfly garden. Their fantastic chili is made with fresh certified Angus beef, pinto beans, and tomatoes, and can be ordered on its own or as a topping for Izzy's tamale platters.
5. CALIFORNIA // MARTY'S HAMBURGER STAND
Location: Los Angeles, California
Near Rancho Park in West Los Angeles, Marty's Hamburger Stand is a tiny, cash-only spot that has served Vienna beef burgers and hot dogs since 1959. The chili at Marty's has a thick, spreadable consistency that works perfectly atop chili cheese fries and burgers.
6. COLORADO // WEST END TAP HOUSE
Location: Denver, Colorado
The West End Tap House makes a fine Wild Boar Sloppy Joe and raved-about "Lambsicle" appetizers, but for a hearty bowl of chili on a chilly day, you can't beat their elk chili, made with ground elk, black beans, and tomatoes and topped with plenty of cheese and onions .
7. CONNECTICUT // VANILLA BEAN CAFE
Location: Pomfret, Connecticut
Located in a restored barn dating back to the early 1800s, Vanilla Bean Cafe is a cute place with some killer chili. Their award-winning, traditional beef chili contains lean ground beef and chorizo, and it's topped with grated cheddar cheese, scallions, and tortilla chips. And if you can't make it to Connecticut, the full 20-ingredient recipe is available here [PDF] if you want to make your own.
8. DELAWARE // THE DOG HOUSE
Location: New Castle, Delaware
As you might be able to ascertain from its name, The Dog House isn't fancy. But the old-fashioned hot dog dive has an under-$5 foot-long chili cheese dog that has had generations of fans coming back for more.
9. FLORIDA // THE STONE SOUP COMPANY
Location: Tampa, Florida
This gourmet soup and sandwich shop in the Ybor City Historic District serves healthy, amazing food. Play some dominoes or checkers as you wait for your Ybor Chili. Available in a cup, bowl, or quart, this meaty chili contains ground beef, Italian sausage, and pulled Cuban mojo pork.
10. GEORGIA // NU-WAY WEINERS
Location: Multiple locations, Georgia
With locations in Macon, Warner Robins, and Fort Valley, you're never too far from a Nu-Way Weiners. Since it first opened in 1916 (making it the second-oldest hot doggery in the U.S., after Nathan's Famous in New York), Nu-Way has made a comforting bowl of chili, and it now serves a mouthwatering chili-cheese coleslaw hot dog.
11. HAWAII // ZIPPY'S KAPAHULU
Location: Multiple locations, Hawaii
This famous diner with two dozen locations throughout Hawaii sells insane amounts of its fantastic signature product, Original Recipe Chili. Get the chili with chicken or a frank, over rice, atop cheese fries, or as a burrito—the choice is yours!
12. IDAHO // DAWG ON GRILL
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Dawg On Grill is a hot dog establishment where you'll find plenty of "dawgs"—corn dogs, brats, sausages, and "puppy dawgs" for the kids. The chili dog with grilled onions, peppers, and nacho cheese will satisfy your cravings, but if a simple chili topping isn't enough, you can get a bowl for just $3.50.
13. ILLINOIS // BISHOP'S FAMOUS CHILI
Location: Westmont, Illinois
The cooks at Bishop's Famous Chili (currently the fourth generation of Bishops making the recipe "Grandma Bishop" used to open the doors in 1925) spend 24 hours making each batch of chili, and you can taste that time and effort with every flavorful bite. If you're feeling ravenous, get your chili with a tamale and a side of cornbread.
14. INDIANA // LOUGHMILLER'S PUB & EATERY
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
This fun pub hosts live music and celebrates Colts home games with drink specials and tailgates. The chili is full of ground beef and kidney beans, and pairs well with a beer and Pepper Jack Stuffed Pretzels.
15. IOWA // QUINTON'S BAR AND DELI
Location: Multiple locations, Iowa
Residents of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Coralville know that Quinton's Bar and Deli makes a mean homemade chili. The bread bowl chili is meaty and topped with diced red onions and shredded cheddar.
16. KANSAS // WOODYARD BAR-B-QUE
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Three words: burnt end chili. The three-bean chili at this beloved barbecue restaurant is a stew of black, red, and kidney beans, plus a generous amount of paprika and cayenne. It's topped with burnt ends, those gloriously fatty, flavorful pieces of brisket, which really add a punch to the classic dish.
17. KENTUCKY // THE CAFE
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Don't let this cafe's simple name fool you: The food is complex, thoughtful, and memorable. Situated in a former warehouse in Paristown Pointe, The Cafe serves a rustic West Yellowstone Montana Chili with diced green onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and banana peppers.
18. LOUISIANA // DOE'S EAT PLACE
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Carnivores will love Doe's Eat Place, which has been cooking sensational steaks and tamales since 1941. Go for dinner and get a half-dozen all-beef tamales, which come with a cup of Doe's delightful homemade chili.
19. MAINE // GEAGHAN'S PUB
Location: Bangor, Maine
Craft beer, live Celtic music, and hearty chili can all be found at Geaghan's Pub. The bowl of beef chili is served with tortilla chips—perfect for dipping—and they also top their nacho salad with it, in case you'd like some greens as well.
20. MARYLAND // ONE-EYED MIKE'S
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Take one step into this gastropub in Fell's Point, and you'll see thousands of Grand Marnier bottles, each belonging to one member of the pub's Grand Marnier club. The fantastic chili here, though, will make you forget all about your boozy surroundings. It's served with tortilla chips, sour cream, and cheddar cheese.
21. MASSACHUSETTS // GRENDEL'S DEN
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Customers rave about the chili at Grendel's Den, a popular restaurant near Harvard Square. The Five Bean chili is unique and spectacular, thanks to the cilantro pesto and cornbread that accompany it.
22. MICHIGAN // CHELI'S CHILI BAR
Location: Detroit, Michigan
This sports bar is owned by Chris Chelios, a former ice hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings. The three-time Stanley Cup champ clearly knows his way around the ice and a bowl of chili. Order the original, chicken, or vegetarian chili, and spice it to your liking with additional jalapeños.
23. MINNESOTA // THE LOON CAFE
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
The Loon Cafe is seriously crazy about chili. A few of the many options include Pinto's Diablo Chili (ground beef, vegetables, and kidney beans) and Turkey White Bean (lean ground turkey breast and garlic tomato sauce). Various chilis are served with Texas toast, flour tortillas, or jalapeño cornbread.
24. MISSISSIPPI // MUGSHOTS GRILL AND BAR
Location: Multiple locations, Mississippi
At Mugshots Grill and Bar, the people are friendly, the flavors are sufficiently Southern, and the chili is criminally good. The Walker's Texas Ranger chili is full of beef, bell peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes. For a bit more crunch, try Spencer's Nachos, which are piled high with beef chili and cheese.
25. MISSOURI // BLUEBERRY HILL
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
This restaurant and music venue in the Delmar Loop has given locals the perfect place to chow down since 1972. Its award-winning spicy chili, garnished simply with cheddar cheese, isn't the restaurant’s only draw. If you recognize the name, it's likely in connection with rock pioneer Chuck Berry, who kept a standing monthly set at the venue for more than 17 years, up until his death at age 90. Don't forget to check out the impressive collection of pop culture memorabilia on display before you leave.
26. MONTANA // CASEY'S WHITEFISH
Location: Whitefish, Montana
Located just outside Glacier National Park, Casey's Whitefish is a pub and grill that serves an extraordinary elk chili made with pinto and black beans, green onions, and mild cheddar and jack cheese. When the weather’s warm, head upstairs to enjoy the view at the area’s only rooftop bar. After you enjoy your chili, you can try your luck at the casino games on the restaurant’s first floor.
27. NEBRASKA // HI-WAY DINER
Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
This diner on the south side of Nebraska's scenic Highway 2 is open 24 hours a day, keeping customers happy day or night with plenty of comfort food. For the perfect road-trip snack, get the homemade chili on its own, or try the chili omelet, served with onion and cheddar.
28. NEVADA // BEEFY'S
Location: Reno, Nevada
All the beef at Beefy's comes from Reno's own Ponderosa Meat & Provision Co., and you can taste the quality with every bite of chili con carne. Made fresh each day, the chili is topped with parsley and cheddar cheese. You can order it on its own or on top of a hot dog, burger, omelet, or fries.
29. NEW HAMPSHIRE // RED ARROW DINER
Location: Multiple locations, New Hampshire
When you eat at Red Arrow Diner, you're dining at a place with history. The first location opened in Manchester in 1922, and today, its chili dishes are famous across New England. We recommend the chili hash browns and the Five Alarm chili.
30. NEW JERSEY // OCEAN CAFE
Location: Multiple locations, New Jersey
With four locations across Central New Jersey, Ocean Cafe is a casual restaurant chain that focuses on healthy offerings like salads, wraps, and smoothies. The chicken chili is a highlight of the menu thanks to its sweet-and-spicy flavor and generous portions of meat.
31. NEW MEXICO // FRONTIER RESTAURANT
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Finding the best bowl of chili can be challenging in a state known for its peppers, but in New Mexico, look no farther than Frontier Restaurant, an Albuquerque staple just off the University of New Mexico campus. Its green chile stew is so beloved that many fans try to make it at home, but nothing compares to the real deal. You can order it by the bowl or on top of your burrito or enchilada. The stew is also on the menu at Frontier’s sister restaurant, Golden Pride, which has four locations across Albuquerque.
32. NEW YORK // CHAMPS DINER
Location: Brooklyn, New York
You'll find stellar comfort food like chili cheese fries and milkshakes at this Williamsburg diner, with a twist: Everything on the menu happens to be vegan. Take a break from meaty chilis and get a bowl of the three-bean version at Champs. We recommend washing it down with a cookie dough shake.
33. NORTH CAROLINA // ROSETTA'S KITCHEN
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
The best chili in North Carolina also happens to be meatless. This vegetarian soul food restaurant crafts thoughtful, creative dishes using local produce and top-notch ingredients. Their chili is a spicy vegan option that will warm you up in no time. If you don't want it in a bowl, the chili cheese fries are hand-cut and smothered in vegan queso.
34. NORTH DAKOTA // DOGMAHAL DOGHAUS
Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
DogMahal DogHaus is a hot dog and sausage joint with a spunky vibe. Though it specializes in franks, it also does a mean chili. The Under Dog is a quarter-pound beef frank brimming with hot chili, onions, and cheese. If you're aren't feeling the dog, you can get the chili on its own, too.
35. OHIO // CAMP WASHINGTON CHILI
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
This chili parlor in Camp Washington might be the ultimate destination for chili lovers. The restaurant's renown chili is available by itself, over spaghetti (a local delicacy), on a burger or fries, or topped with beans or cheese. With so many options, you'll definitely need to make multiple trips back.
36. OKLAHOMA // IKE'S CHILI
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Ike Johnson and his nephew, Ivan, opened this chili establishment back in 1908. Over a century later, their famous recipe still delights customers (and Martha Stewart). You can order the original beef chili or opt to get it with beans, spaghetti, or mac and cheese.
37. OREGON // BALDY'S BARBEQUE
Location: Redmond and Bend, Oregon
Central Oregon's Baldy's Barbecue is the place to get some truly magnificent meat. Voted one of the best barbecue joints in the area, this family-owned restaurant serves its spicy smokehouse chili with cheese, diced onions, sour cream, and a side of cornbread.
38. PENNSYLVANIA // DOUBLE WIDE GRILL
Location: Multiple locations, Pennsylvania
The Double Wide Grill knows how to entertain vegans and meat lovers alike. Nosh on the spicy Jailhouse Beef Chili (no beans, for you chili con carne purists) or the equally spicy grilled vegetable chili, which contains beans, tomatoes, and corn. Its three locations in the Pittsburgh area boast bar trivia, karaoke, and live entertainment, and its South Side restaurant has been voted one of the best outdoor dining options in the area—it even has a special dog patio featuring a separate menu just for Fido. (Sorry, that one doesn't feature chili.)
39. RHODE ISLAND // BEN'S CHILI DOGS
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
The state might be known for its clam chowder, but Ben's Chili Dogs has been serving up the red-meat favorite since 1969 (though yes, they also serve clam rolls and chowder). To get a true Rhode Island version of the classic chili dog, sprinkle some celery salt on top.
40. SOUTH CAROLINA // PAWLEYS FRONT PORCH
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Relaxing on a porch is a distinctively Southern experience, and Pawleys Front Porch injects that kind of laid-back hospitality into its food. Located in Five Points, this restaurant is known for its patio, food truck, and thick burgers. The chili, which is divine, is available in a cup or bowl, or atop hand-cut fries.
41. SOUTH DAKOTA // PHILLIPS AVENUE DINER
Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Phillips Avenue Diner boasts a jukebox, milkshakes, and some of the best diner chili anywhere. Enjoy the retro vibe as you dig in to a big bowl of homemade ground beef and beans, either as-is or loaded with tasty toppings.
42. TENNESSEE // ELWOOD'S SHACK
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Elwood's Shack is a down-home establishment that serves barbecue, fish tacos, and burgers. Their outstanding chili is made with Texas beef brisket, Guinness Stout, and curry powder.
43. TEXAS // THE SHADY GROVE
Location: Austin, Texas
Located near Barton Creek and the Colorado River, The Shady Grove is a casual restaurant with a huge patio and plenty of shade from a nearby grove of pecan trees. The roasted vegetable chili contains diced onions, jalapeños, and jack and cheddar cheese.
44. UTAH // THE MOAB BREWERY
Location: Moab, Utah
As Moab’s only microbrewery, The Moab Brewery has a natural advantage when it comes to blowing people's minds and tastebuds. Sip on their popular Dead Horse Ale as you wait for a cup of the chunky vegetarian chili, which is chock-full of healthy vegetables.
45. VERMONT // LANGDON STREET TAVERN
Location: Montpelier, Vermont
This Irish watering hole has a pool table, Vermont-brewed beers on tap, and some of the best homemade chili in the state. The southwest-style chili is topped with cheddar-jack cheese and served with a hunk of garlic bread.
46. VIRGINIA // STATION 2
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Located in a former fire house called Engine Company 2, Station 2 cooks gourmet burgers made from natural, Virginia-grown beef. Get a side of firehouse chili with your burger, or go all in with the chili cheeseburger or "American nachos" (a.k.a. potato chips under a blanket of chili and cheese).
47. WASHINGTON // HOLE IN THE WALL BARBECUE
Location: Seattle, Washington
Barbecue and chili often go hand in hand, but this barbecue spot has perfected the art of tangy sauce, smoky meats, and spectacular chili. Chuck's Railroad Chili is a thick, spicy red stew bursting with black beans and ground beef.
48. WEST VIRGINIA // CUSTARD STAND
Location: Multiple locations
Custard Stand started out in 1991 as a take-out dairy bar, but customers loved their chili so much that the company shifted focus. The founders appeared on Shark Tank in 2016, and today, you can enjoy their beefy hot dog chili or chili soup with beef and beans.
49. WISCONSIN // RED ROCK SALOON
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mouthwatering barbecue, live rock and country music, and a mechanical bull make Red Rock Saloon a wild place to hang out. Try their famous Red Rock Chili, or get the brisket chili atop the Frito Pie Burger.
50. WYOMING // CHUGWATER SODA FOUNTAIN
Location: Chugwater, Wyoming
This cute soda fountain is Wyoming's oldest operating soda fountain, and you can feel the history oozing from the walls. Choose between their famous Chugwater Chili or green chili, both of which pair well with a hand-dipped ice cream shake.