A pizza joint on the chili tour? Have we lost our minds? A tip led us to discover that Papa Dino’s does in fact offer up chili by the bowl, way, or coney cooked up according to Papa’s secret family recipe. Papa Dino’s is located at the corner of Calhoun and Clifton, right across the street from Hughes high school and UC’s campus and has been a late-night favorite of UC students for decades. Some us had even been to Papa Dino’s previously, but none had ever had their chili or even recalled that they offered chili. Papa Dino’s has a large menu filled to the brim with pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers, you name it. Oh, and chili. So, after all the chili was dished out, can a place known for its pizza compete with the dedicated chili parlors??Overall Rating:
Didn’t offer a 5-way, so I went with a 4-way. I was pretty disappointed when my food was brought out cold, too cold to eat. I did receive a new order without complaint and I received a discount for said mistake without asking for it. The food was okay with flavor, but a little greasy for my liking. The portions were big, but I cannot compare portion to cost due to the discount received… I don’t think I will be overly excited to try them again, but maybe…
A mixed bag. Papa Dino’s offers a cup or bowl of chili which is relatively rare among Cincinnati chili parlors which usually just have it by the bowl. So I ordered up a cup of chili and two cheese coneys. The cup of chili, still quite large, arrived with a heaping mound of cheese on top, usually an option rather than standard. The cheese coneys were enormous, easily dwarfing even the largest cheese coneys encountered thus far on our survey of Cincinnati chili establishments. Portions were clearly not a problem at Papa Dino’s. The cheese coneys were topped with lots of fluffy, finely shredded cheddar, freshly chopped onion, and a nice smear of mustard all sitting inside a pillowy-soft, fresh bun. Very well prepared and very impressive. Ultimately the downfall for me was the chili itself. The chili had very strong flavor of tomato, not what you normally expect from Cincinnati-style chili and tended more towards a chunkier style of chili. It’s certainly not Texas chili or even “generic midwest diner chili” but it certainly strains the definition of Cincinnati chili. Still, it was tasty and boy was there lots of it.
There’s an old adage, “Do one thing and do it well” which seems to typically equal success. So I guess I shouldn’t be super surprised when a pizza joint in Clifton gives me an overwhelming “Meh” with their chili. The chili itself had an overbearing tomato flavor to it, which makes sense considering their other main dish is pizza. The noodles were too fat, and don’t seem to be the typical noodles you find in chili parlors. Even the coney was “meh”. But, I did enjoy both the service at PD’s as well as the portions. The price kinda reflects the portions, but I’m OK with that. Maybe we’ll come back on a pizza tour, but as for future chili lunches, this place is off the list.
Like most college restaurants often do, they support late night eating binges from students. So monster portions is what I now think of for Papa Dino’s. The service was great and we received drinks promptly. I ordered a 3-Way that came out weighing more than most small children…I could only eat half. The chili was sweet, a little hot sauce flavor was added for my taste, and it had more ground beef than what you find in traditional Cincinnati Style Chili. Everything was fresh and tasty and it was a very satisfying meal. I would definitely go back for a second visit