Best Chili Ever – Seriously!

It’s that time of the year where we all crave a nice hot steaming bowl of chili!! And not coincidentally, this Thursday – November 25th – is National Chili Day! Well – do we have a recommendation for you – highly recommended too!

John and I stopped at Hard Times Cafe during our walk down King Street in Alexandria, VA today. They have been in business for over 40 years and my goodness did we taste why! I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant for many months, but as we opened the door, Deborah greeted us (full masked) and directed us to open tables with COVID-regulated seating. We chose one not realizing how happy we were about to be.

Deborah took us in hand and boy does she know her chili. She’s worked at Hard Times for 14 years now and she took us under her wing when she realized we were newbies to Hard Times. The menu is extensive – check it out at As we debated between four types of chili: Texas, Cincinnati, Terlingus Red, and Vegetarian; Deborah suggested she bring over a sampler of all four for us to try first. Texas is the meatiest, Cincinnati the sweetest, Terlingus by far the spiciest and you all know what Vegetarian means.

My choice was the Texas – by far. John chose both the Texas and Terlingus Red. He loves the really hot stuff. But then the next challenge is how do you want your chili served. I admit to having a weakness for a chili cheese dog so I couldn’t get past that menu item – although I am also partial to a chili mac. John wanted both so when he found the “Chili Bubba” option – he was like – SCORE!

The Chili Bubba is cornbread topped with two of your favorite chilis then smothered with cheddar, tomatoes, onions, and sour cream. Both our selections were absolutely huge – and while not pictured – my chili cheese dog was accompanied by half a plate of fries.

You know the food is fabulous when the hungry man across from you keeps exclaiming things like “Oh my goodness, this is the best chili ever!” or “You have to write about this!” and then “I’m going to tell them you will – I want the recipe too!” Well, we didn’t ask for the recipe but we are already making plans to return.

Yes – that’s right! This Thursday for National Chili Day!! Hope you can join us! While we may be at the original restaurant in Alexandria, please check out their other locations too! And if you’re not ready to dine-in, they also have a thriving pick-up business as well. Check out their other specials too – like free chili for kids!