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21 chili dishes to fire up the menu

Chili season is here, and the simmering pot of melting flavors is ready to pour on hot dogs, brats, tots, nachos, burgers, fries and more.

Like a roaring campfire, a bubbling pot of chili brews up powerful memories that stir the senses just in time for fall.

“My dad had a restaurant when I was younger where he made an amazing chili,” recalls Aramark Chef Bill Reardon of Fairfield University. “He still makes that chili to this day that everyone raves about. It’s a craft, kind of like a Sunday gravy is to others.”

Using that inspiration, Reardon created his own twist, a mezcal-braised short rib chili.

With a signature chili in place, the time is right to see how your chili plays with other menu items. We found chili on tater tots, in a bread bowls, in bags of Fritos, on top of jalapeno waffles, and a quite a few other inventive spots on the menu. We also came across some incredible white chicken chilis and a few meatless chilis, using both plant-based “meats” and good old beans or sweet potatoes. Check out these spicy numbers for inspiration.

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