The Chili Report team ventured all the way out to Batavia today to visit Moonlite Chili. Moonlite Chili is located in a storefront on Main St. in the quaint village of Batavia, near the Clermont County courthouse. The interior is “chili parlor standard” with a selection of tables and booths and a small, two-stool lunch counter. Dimly lit, with a window AC unit rattling away, the place screams chili dive. The menu is comparatively small — a selection of breakfast items, some sandwiches, and of course chili all the standard ways. Vacations and prior commitments left us with only two members of the chili team, though we’ll try to get more of the team out there and update this page as the reviews come in.
Moon-Lite Chili represents one of only a very few independent chili parlors on the east side of town. I loved the vibe and atmosphere of the place though for most of our meal we were the only customers in the place. Like some of the best chili parlors, entering Moon-Lite feels like stepping back in time about 60 years. Service was prompt and friendly and the food came out quickly. As usual I ordered up a bowl of plain and two cheese coneys. The chili was very thick though not especially meaty lending it an interesting texture somewhat akin to sausage gravy. It packed a nice back of the throat heat along with an interesting spice mix. I still can’t quite put my finger on it, but the flavor was very unique among the chili parlors we’ve visited so far. There was a very noticeable exotic-tasting spice that left a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. I can’t say that I loved it, but it wasn’t unpleasant. The coneys were a little hit and miss. The first thing I noticed was their size — they were huge for cheese coneys in Cincinnati with standard sized hot dogs and buns. One of my buns was a little on the stale side, and the cheese was in short, dry shreds. The powerful flavors of the chili continued to stand out even in the coney, largely overpowering the cheese, mustard, and onion flavors. All in all a decent place to quench a chili craving if you’re nearby but I can’t say I’d recommend driving out to Batavia just for the chili.
After a 20 minute jaunt out to Batavia we finally stumbled on our location, right in the heart of Batavia, next to the courthouse. It looked like a gem, the windows painted with their specialty items “Breakfast” and “Chili” made it easy to read when cruising Batavia’s main street entertainment district. We entered the parlor as the solo patrons on this day, the staff quickly sprang to life and eagerly greeted us, I guess 11:45 is early for lunch in Batavia. Nonetheless we were quickly served with drinks and crackers and I ordered my usual, 3-Way and a Coney. The food came out fast and I was happy with the portion and ratios. Perfect amount of cheese, spaghetti and chili. The food was neither disappointing or exceptional, my Coney was fresh, but the bun was little on the dry side. The 3-way was good, larger noodles than most and cooked perfectly, the cheese wasn’t fresh and the chili was OK. It had a slightly bitter taste, but it didn’t hold me back from cleaning my plate. Nice value, less than 10 dollars for a drink, 3-Way and a cheese Coney…including a tip. I’m not sure I would make a special trip, but if you find yourself in Batavia around lunch time I would drop in on Moonlight Chili. Solid 5 1/2.