Chili like Zip’s Cafe

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Zip’s Cafe Chili Photo from Roadfood

Update on Zip’s chili: Both Main Street Cafe and Zip’s Chili are owned separately today. (At the time of the article below written years ago, both restaurants were family owned). Dave Murrie owns Main Street Cafe in Newton, and Mike Burke owns Zip’s Cafe in Mt. Lookout. Mike has worked at Zip’s, off and on, since he was 15! He purchased Zip’s from Brian Murrie over 4 years ago. The chili along with the famous Zip Burger are still iconic offerings on the menus. 

Casey’s chili like Zip’s Mt. Lookout – I pulled this from my archives from years ago. So many of you have requested this hometown Cincinnati fave!

Chili like Zip’s 

A couple years ago, I met with Pauline Murrie, Chef Owner of Main Street Café in Newtown. The reason?  It’s the same chili that’s made at Zip’s. Both restaurants are family owned. And the only thing I could pry out of Pauline was “start with the freshest meat, an 80-20 ratio and cook the meat without browning first.” Pauline said the seasonings were “normal stuff, but I use a bunch”.  I can still remember the taste: slightly sweet with a decent amount of heat, sort of smooth textured without a lot of beans.
Long story short, Casey was with a group of us eating at Zip’s and upon tasting the chili, said “This tastes like my mom’s”. Wow! Of course, I had to get her recipe. Casey’s recipe is handed down from her mom, Mary Lou Olberding Diersing. “No spaghetti allowed, and the tomato paste and brown sugar are what makes this taste good”, says Casey. Go to taste on the flavorings and add more, or less, if you like.
Note that Casey browns her beef first. I suppose you could skip this. One more thing – Casey says you could also add some chopped green pepper, frozen or not. But most people don’t.
Ingredients
2 pounds ground beef
2 small onions, diced
3 cans, 14.5 oz each, tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste plus 1 can water
3 cans, 14.5 oz each, diced tomatoes or chili ready tomatoes
1 large can chili beans (mild or hot)
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope Buena Vida chili powder or 1-2 tablespoons your choice
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar or more to taste
1-2 dashes Tabasco
Instructions
Brown beef and drain fat. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer and cook 1 hour or until desired consistency.

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