Covington Chili has been serving up chili to Covington locals since 1936, making it among the oldest of the chili parlors we’ll be visiting. Situated on Madison Ave. near Pike St. Covington Chili occupies a narrow building, leaving room for a row of booths along the wall and a long lunch counter. Some tables and chairs occupy the back of the restaurant. The menu includes the usual assortment of breakfast, gyros, and double-deckers in addition to the standard chili fare. Six members of the chili team visited Covington Chili today — read on to see what we thought.Overall Rating:
Nowhere close to “Chili Biddy” status. The food was decent on taste. The portions were okay. The price was fair. I’d repeat visit but not at the top of my list.
Covington Chili has been serving up chili for 75 years. I love visiting some of the old, historic chili parlors and generally figure if they’ve survived this long, they must be doing something right. The exterior and interior of Covington Chili is, frankly, run-down and is probably about 50 years overdue for a makeover. Thankfully, the chili needs no such work. My bowl of chili was perhaps the meatiest I’ve had thus far which resulted in a hearty, meaty flavor. The heat wasn’t immediately apparent, but about halfway through the bowl I started to notice a slow burn in my mouth that really made the flavors of the chili start to jump out on my tongue. The coneys were excellent — fresh bread, nicely grated cheddar, and a healthy dollop of mustard made for a coney that was definitely a cut above the average. Not the best chili I’ve had so far, but it definitely stands a bit above most of the parlors we’ve visited and is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood.
At first glance, Covington Chili didn’t look promising. It definitely has that old school greasy spoon look. The wait staff was just ok at best although they appeared busier than maybe their normal pace. Fortunately, the chili made up for it. Very meaty 4 way with good flavor towards the mild side and a good portion size. The fries were average. Deducting a few tenths for service, I’m still giving them a solid 7.
Having been born, raised, and a staunch supporter of everything Covington for all my years I must be the first to admit I am ashamed that today was my first visit to Covington Chili. I’ve always seen it sitting there across from the Madison Theatre on Madison Ave and always thought that it looked tasty, but never have I ventured inside. Today, we make it right. The chili parlour itself ranks up there with some of my other favorite contenders. Long, narrow, and dimly lit, it’s the quintessential diner with the long bar and stools on the left overlooking the cooking, and tables up against the wall on the right. At the front of the restaurant sits a large jukebox that remained quiet throughout our stay. The menu items have your typical parlour items of chili, sandwiches, and breakfast fare. On a non-chili note I saw the chicken wrap and it looked fantastic! We sat at the bar and was waited on one of the youngest chili servers we’ve experienced on our tour. Service was prompt and enjoyable, even though we overheard that someone else missed their shift and our waitress was running the whole show. I was quite impressed that she kept everything flowing pretty solidly even though the restaurant was filling up with the lunchtime rush. The chili was meatier than some of the other contenders, yet still had a bit of soupiness left at the bottom of the 4-way. There didn’t seem to be too much of a spicy punch to the chili, and the aftertaste was minimal at best. There was definitely ample chili on both the 4-way and the coney and wasn’t sloppy. The onions were flavorful and the cheese was fluffy and thinly grated, as it should be. The bun was OK, not too soft yet didn’t seem to be two day old bread, one day at most. We had to ask for oyster crackers, and that may have been due to the lunch rush, but when delivered they fresh and crunchy. The hot sauce was in a squeeze bottle, and not too hot. Maybe they fill their squeeze bottles with Frank’s or Texas Pete’s, a mild yet flavorful burn. Overall, and hometown biases aside, I rate Covington Chili towards the top. The combination of parlour ambiance coupled with a pretty decent chili and decent price makes this a solid 7 out of 10 stars. A repeat visit is certainly doable.
Covington Chili was tasty. My 3-way was served up exactly the way I like it. Enough fresh cheese, not a mountain, for a nice layer covering the plate edge to edge. Best of all is was a juicy serving which allows me to make the most of my two packs of oyster crackers…soaking it all up. I plowed my 3-way as if it where a late night 2AM 4th meal. Which begs the question, does my hunger affect my overall chili rating? Who cares…the chili is worth a return trip, the parlor itself yielded a nice counter with plenty of seating along the adjacent wall. Perhaps the best part was the bill, a regular 3-way and a Pepsi for under six bucks.