With the requisite bib at Skyline Chili in Dayton, Ohio (photo of Sheila Scarborough by Mike Goheen, Dayton Daily News)On a recent trip to Dayton, Ohio to teach social media workshops at the Dayton Daily News, my host Mike took me to lunch at an Ohio institution….

Skyline Chili.

Started by a Greek immigrant in Cincinnati, Nicholas Lambrinides, the Skyline Chili restaurants feature a signature dish of spaghetti with a chili-ish meat sauce on top and then a huge mound of shredded cheddar cheese on top of that.

Food that sticks to your ribs at Skyline Chili, Dayton, Ohio (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I know I’ll bring out the Midwesterners waving pitchforks on this,  :)  but I say “chili-ish” because if you’re like me and live in Texas, you think chili has no business sitting on pasta, and it should be very meat-chunky (beans are good, too) with liberal use of chili powder.

We have a world-famous chili cookoff in Terlingua, TX where people spend days arguing about all this, in between chewing through their chili concoctions.

However, when an Ohio person says,”This is OUR chili – deal with it,” then you smile, put on the signature bib and order up, especially when it’s your host.

Close-up of spaghetti, meat and cheese at Skyline Chili, Dayton, Ohio (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

I got the “4-Way,” one of several Ways on the menu that you can order your spaghetti/meat/cheese combo (there is a menu section that says “Ways.”)

A “4-Way” adds diced onions OR red beans, and a “5-Way” is diced onions AND red beans. It was massive, and very tasty, especially since I love cheddar cheese.

A Way can be made vegetarian by substituting black beans and rice for the meat.

A small bowl of oyster crackers also appeared, which is standard at Skyline although I’m used to seeing them with New England clam chowder.

Any group of Ohio foodies will argue about the relative merits of Skyline vs. Gold Star chili vs. Dixie Chili, all started in Cincinnati (Dixie is now only in Kentucky.)

As long as I can get a walk in to burn off such a pile of food, I’m up for any of them!

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