Cretan’s Grill, or Cretan’s Chili Restaurant as the sign outside says, is located on Vine St. in the heart of Carthage. The interior is done up in classic wood paneling, linoleum floors, and a chromed-out lunch counter along the wall. Wooden booths line the opposite wall with a row of tables and chairs in between. The menu includes the Cincinnati chili items you’d expect, with the notable exception of chili with beans or 5-ways — no beans at Cretan’s. Cretan’s also serves up double-deckers, burgers, and a nice selection of plate lunches. Six members of the chili team ordered up a mess of chili — read on to see what we thought.Overall Rating:
Cretan’s Grill in Carthage is a simple little old school diner that serves chili, burgers, and double deckers. It is like walking back in time. The menu is laminated text and the pricing is great. For less than $5 I sat down to a bowl of chili and coney. The chili is tasty and was served hot. It had a great flavor and was on the mild side of my internal spice scale. It didn’t wow me, but it wasn’t lousy like some of the other places we’ve endured. This Cincinnati chili was a 6.5 for me given the great value.
I was pretty disappointed that they have chili in their name but don’t serve a 5-way. So I did have to substitute my normal order with a 4-way and French fries. The food was okay on taste, nothing unusual to report. The portions were average and pricing was very reasonable. I would have scored higher if a 5-way was on the menu.
I ordered up my usual bowl of plain with two cheese coneys. The food arrived promptly and I immediately dug into my bowl of chili. My first impression was that the chili was on the watery side, so I added some oyster crackers to help solidify things a bit. Curiously, the oyster crackers weren’t really able to soak up much of the moisture. Stir though I might, I just couldn’t keep the meaty bits of the chili emulsified with the watery bits. The chili had a mild flavor with mild heat. Tasty, but not as delicious as some of the bolder chili’s we’ve encountered. I was also a bit put off by the slightly gristly nature of the beef in the chili. This chili required some chewing which was neither expected nor enjoyed. The cheese coneys came in delightfully soft, steamed buns. They were a little light on the cheese for my tastes, and the watery nature of the chili rapidly caused the bottom of the buns to disintegrate. Nevertheless the cheese coneys were delicious, tempering my slight disappointment with the bowl of chili.
Cretans Chili was a surprise. Seems like the more old school a place looks, the better the chili on this tour. The chili was meaty and had good flavor. Fries were pretty average. No fountain drinks, you gets cans but this isn’t a deal breaker. The surprise was the price, they may have been the best value on the tour. The service was fast and friendly. Cretans comes in at a solid 8.0 for me.
What a great find! I thoroughly enjoyed Cretan’s. For me it’s a solid stop on our tour and return visits are forthcoming. The service was great, its a small quaint diner that serves beverages fresh from a can! The chili was one of the best I’ve had and is deserving of high marks. The food came out hot with a fresh spattering of melted cheddar, my 3-way looked perfect and tasted even better! Even the funny looking oyster crackers were fresh.
The cheese coneys were light on chili and cheese in my opinion…the hot dog definitely overtook the taste of the chili, which when tried without the dog had a nice flavor and consistency. Cretan’s does not officially offer cheese fries on their menu, but I ordered cheese fries anyways. I was given a side of cheese, and then my fries arrived shortly after. Cretan has the kind of fries I like, they were cooked well but unfortunately not seasoned, I did like the ability to add the cheese myself, so that it would melt on its own…but I didn’t love the $1.40 price for a small side of cheese. Overall, Cretan’s was decent….I would definitely consider going back to try one of their double-deckers.