In a city where it is gloomy and rainy for 60% of the year certain businesses are going to thrive. People who have the good sense to sell rain jackets, waterproof mascara, and coffee are set for life. Certain things just go hand in hand with rain and cold.
Which leads us to the point of today's post.
More specifically, where is the best chili in Seattle? Because what goes better with rainy, cold weather than hot, tasty chili?
Now you can find chili on a lot of menus around town, but only two of those menus count for anything. Slim's Last Chance and Mike's Chili Parlor. Both of these spots have history and a killer chili recipe. Today they face off.
Slim's Last Chance
Slim's is a bar in South Seattle in the Georgetown neighborhood that is a little dive-y, but welcomes all shapes and sizes to come and enjoy the food, drinks, and atmosphere. They not only have some of the tastiest chili in the city, they have a stage for musicians and a killer patio for nice days. The staff is friendly and decor will entertain you while you wait for your food to arrive. Once it does, you'll only have eyes for one thing!
They have 4 types of chili.
- Texas Red: traditional all meat chili made with choice beef
- Brisket n’ Bean: Pig Iron slow smoked brisket, ground choice beef, fire roasted tomatoes & red beans
- Chili Verde: New mexico green chilies, tomatillos, and slow simmered pork
- Turkey & White Bean: ground turkey, white beans, and serrano chilies simmered in a hearty broth
We love the chili verde. It's got a strong kick to it and the pork adds a ton of flavor. Add "the works" (cheese, sour cream, chives and tomatoes) and get a side of cornbread for the full experience. Make the final decision of whether to get your chili on top of (wait for it) jalapeño mac 'n cheese or white cheddar grits. Obviously, the Texas Red is a good option if you want something more traditional..but if you are a chili traditionalist we think you'll want to stick around for our next review....
Mike's Chili Parlor
Mike's is an institution in Seattle. Just walk past it on the sidewalk in Ballard and you can see it has been around to see a lot of changes in the city. The old diner has literally been surrounded by development. The Ballard Blocks, a large commercial mall with an LA Fitness and Trader Joes, left them just enough room on the corner of 15th and NW Ballard Way to continue doing what they do best, make chili.
Mike's has been serving up their famous chili recipe since 1922. The story as told by Tom Robbins for the Seattle Times is framed in the back of the bar. Four generations ago, Mike opened up his little shop in Ballard and has been going ever since. This spot feels truly authentic and hasn't become a tourist trap, even after being featured on a couple different TV shows like Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.
Now, when you go to Mike's you get one type of chili. It's the famous recipe that has been served for almost a century and they have been in business this long for a reason. That recipe is fire. It has the perfect amount of heat. The perfect ratio of beans to meat. The cheese and chopped white onion will take you back to a simpler time.
Now, they do give you some choices. You can get a bowl of chili, or cover a burger or hotdog with chili. You can also get the chili without beans, which is sort of weird, but also awesome for non-bean lovers or people on first dates. We also supposed you could go and not get the chili (they do have a full menu), but we don't know why you would.
So, who wins the contest? Well if you want good options and like a little southern spin on your chili, go to Slim's. If you want tradition and the feel of home cooking, go with Mike's! Let us know which one you choose!