MTM Cincinnati: Pleasant Ridge Chili


It’s Saturday night…  No!  Sunday morning.  Good God, it’s Sunday morning!

You find yourself wandering the streets of northern Cincinnati, afraid to go into Norwood or Bond Hill.  You want to eat, but the nearest Waffle House is across the river in Covington, and frankly, you didn’t like sitting next to the hooker who passed out on you last time you went.

White Castle?  Forget it.  Those belly bombs only make your hangover worse.  You just want to plunk down and eat at a hole in the wall where you can come down from your big night out.  This being Cincinnati, you want Cincinnati-style chili.

What to do?  What to do?

Well, if you wander into Pleasant Ridge along Montgomery Road, you can hit Pleasant Ridge Chili.  Yes, it’s a hole in the wall.  My wife says she used to hit it a lot in her radio days.  Most recently, we hit it after church on a Saturday night.  (We go to a rough church.  I drank Sam Adams at a small group meeting.  The pastor was bleeped during a service.  Yes, I said bleeped.)

Pleasant Ridge Chili is not as iconic as the chains like Skyline or Gold Star, nor the mom-and-pop places Camp Washington and Blue Ash.  However, like Camp Washington and Blue Ash, it’s a small place that’s open late and serves breakfast early.  However, whereas Blue Ash and Camp Washington are diners specializing in chili (Blue Ash is probably more famous for its double-decker sandwiches), Pleasant Ridge is what it is, one of those old neighborhood chili places that never left its original building, at least not since 1970.

The neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge has an eclectic mix of other holes in the wall, including an Irish tavern, an Ethiopian restaurant, and a bar and grill called The Gas Light.

And of course, why post about this place if not for the chili?  Pleasant Ridge Chili is mild compared to the others, maybe closer to Skyline than anything else.  However, the meat is coarsely ground, making the meal more filling.  It’s not the best chili in Cincinnati.  I still give that crown to Dixie, but will gladly agree to disagree on Camp Washington.  But it is more satisfying than most of the chains.

And it’s not a bad place to grab a quick to-go meal or to chill out after bar hopping on a Saturday night.

[More My Town Mondays posts with Travis.]


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