28 of the best chili orders in Charlotte, from extra spicy to vegetarian to served over mac ‘n cheese

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Photo courtesy of Providence Road Sundries

Chili is one of those foods that rarely comes to mind while we bask in the harvest of the summer sun. But when the days grow short, and the weather turns gray and cold, a hot soup is often solace to those seeking both warmth and comfort.

Whether you consider it a soup, stew, or in a category of its own, your love for chili despite its uninspiring, simplistic name shows Shakespeare’s words still ring true: ‘A soup by any other name would smell as sweet.’

Here’s a list of some of the best chili options* in Charlotte to warm your toes and heat your soul.

*This list is for stand-alone chili, not for condiment chili (I’m looking at you, Brooks’ Sandwich House and Vic, ‘The Chili Man’)—which is meant to be eaten as a garnish rather than as a meal.

Sir Edmond Halley’s

4151 Park Rd A

Photo courtesy of Sir Edmund Halley’s

Vegetarian Chili ($4/cup; $6.95/bowl) – According to general manager, Helen-Marie White, Sir Ed’s vegetarian chili has entered in three chili cook-offs and has taken home first place every time. It’s made with TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein), three varieties of beans, and roasted tomato.

Comet Grill

2224 Park Rd

Veggie Chili ($2.50/side) – Do yourself a favor and order a side of their hand-cut french fries to go along with this small cup of chili for a meal built for comfort.

Pinky’s Westside Grill

1600 W Morehead St

Homemade Veggie Chili ($3.95) – This vegetarian-friendly version is topped with onion and a pile of cheddar cheese.

d.d. Pecker’s

10403 Park Rd

Mark’s Chili ($2.95/cup; $4.95/bowl) – Yes, they’re known for wings—and rightly so. But the chili here is also a hit with South Charlotte regulars.

Lupie’s Cafe

2718 Monroe Rd

Texas Chili (Spicy); Cincinnati Chili (“Skyline Chili”); Vegetarian Chili; Southern Style Chili ($6.75) – This classic Charlotte neighborhood favorite specializes in chili. Options include: in a cup, in a bowl, over spaghetti or mac n’ cheese. Comes with a side of pintos, cheese, onions, and a piece of cornbread.

Mimosa Grill

327 S Tryon St

South End Chili ($8) – The eclectic chili coming out of chef Thomas Marlow’s kitchen with pulled short rib, three beans, Ashe County cheddar, and crispy black-eyed peas is a steal at eight dollars.

Park Road Soda Shoppe

4121 Park Rd

Homemade Chili ($3.49) – This ‘50s-style diner serves its chili alongside fantastic milkshakes and maybe the best burger in the parking lot.

Rusty’s Deli

8512 Park Rd

Rusty’s “Serious” Chili ($4.99) – Try and ignore the reuben and instead order Rusty’s chili with turkey. It has a reputation.

Mac’s Speed Shop

Multiple area locations

Brisket, Beef & Black Bean Chili ($5/cup; $8/bowl) – Best eaten as a dip with the provided tortilla chips, you can add cheddar, jalapeños, sour cream, and onion for a dollar more.

Queen City Bites & Crafts

135 Brevard Court

Traditional Red Chili ($10); White Chicken Chili ($9.50); Vegetarian Chili ($9.50); The Other Queen City ($8.50 – 9.50, based on toppings) – Queen City Bites & Crafts offers chili several ways. Flocks of blue-cheeked, Uptown workers remember this just as the weather cools down.

Hawthorne’s Pizza

Multiple area locations

Photo courtesy of Hawthorne’s Pizza

Bowl of Award Winning Chili ($5.95) – Served with a side of cornbread and topped with cheddar, red onion, and crispy matchstick potatoes, this chili is worth switching to in between your regular orders of pizza and baked pasta.

Bean Vegan Cuisine

3001 E Independence Blvd

Our Famous Chili ($3.99/cup; $4.99/bowl) – No meat products are used in this all vegan version. Flavor comes from simmered vegetables and spices while the textured vegetable protein provides a meat-like mouthfeel.

Fitzgerald’s

201 E 5th St

Chili ($3.99/cup; $4.99/bowl) – This menu option keeps it simple and ungarnished with beef, vegetables, and beans simmered in broth—and a side of crackers for crumbling.

Kickstand Burger Bar

1101 Central Ave

Homemade Chili ($3.95/cup; $5.95/bowl) – This chili is classic with cheese, red onions, sour cream, and a side of cornbread.

Providence Road Sundries

2628, 1522 Providence Rd

Beef Chili; Chicken Chili ($4.75/cup; $8.75/bowl) – Ask for “All the Way” for sour cream, cheese, onions, and jalapeños at this Myers Park neighborhood favorite, popular for sports games and holiday get-togethers.

Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop

1930 Camden Rd #2001

Beef and Black Bean Chili ($3.50/cup; $4.50/bowl) – This South End retro diner changes it soup selection daily but the chili is always available.

Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill

1524 East Blvd

Photo courtesy of Lebowski’s Neighborhood Grill

Home-Made Chili ($3.99/cup; $7.49/bowl) – You can order this chili in a cup, bowl, or over Lebowski’s mac & cheese with curly cavatappi pasta.

Carolina Prime Restaurant & Steakhouse

225 E Woodlawn Rd

Steak House Chili ($2.95/cup; $3.95/bowl) – This spicy, chunky stew-like chili is one of the few Texas-style representatives in town.

Roasting Company

1332-B Central Ave; 1521 Montford Dr

Santa Fe Beef Chili with Black Beans ($6.99) – Beef may be third on your list of meats to try, behind the rotisserie chicken and roast pork at this local spot, but that really just speaks to the completeness of the menu here. You can order this Southwestern chili by the bowl, on a salad, over rice with queso, or in tacos.

Big View Diner

16637 Lancaster Hwy

Organic Turkey Chili ($6.95) – Big View Diner’s chili is hearty AND heart-healthy.

Letty’s

2121 Shamrock Dr

Homemade Chili ($4.50/cup; $6.50/bowl) – It’s hard to go wrong at Letty’s on Shamrock unless you forgo the optional pinto beans served on top of this chili. It’s a creative condiment that allows for the base to remain rich and meaty.

Are there any other area chilis that I have to try? Let me know in the comments.

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