Finally, the temperatures have dipped to align with the season, which means it’s officially chili time in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!
Did you know chili was a Great Depression-era staple? It’s a one-dish meal that’s easily stretched and easily modified to match on-hand ingredients. Make it with or without beans or meat to make it your own. Or better yet, come try ours!
These 10 spots for the best chili in Virginia’s Blue Ridge feature a great variety of options. You’ll find chilis that set your mouth afire, as well as those laid back white bean versions, too. Whether you dig it con carne or no carne, you’ll find the perfect bowl at one of our fave chili restaurants, listed below. Taste the good stuff!
Note - This list is not a ranking. Just 10 local spots for delicious chili!
1. Bent Mountain Bistro | Bent Mountain
Bent Mountain Chili at Bent Mountain Bistro is stocked full of organic beans and grass-fed beef, making it a delicious, healthy cold weather warm-up for lunch or dinner. It’s served with shredded cheese and a slice of bread. You can even opt for the Poor Mountain Spaghetti, a dish that features the chili served over a plate of pasta!
2. Beamer’s 25 | Roanoke
At Frank’s place (aka Beamer’s 25), the homemade chili is beanless. Try a bowl topped with shredded cheese, scallions, and sour cream when in downtown Roanoke for an immediate warm-up. If you care to share (or even if you don’t), you can also enjoy it over fries!
3. 419 West | Roanoke
The 419 West White Chicken Chili is served in a bowl, as you’d expect, or over nachos with Vermont cheddar cheese. Either way is a great way to enjoy this favorite at 419 West.
The homemade Smokehouse Chili at Allsports Café is a kidney and pinto bean mix with ground beef, tomatoes, and onions. To give an extra kick, it’s topped with jalapenos and cheese. Have a bowl and catch a game on the tube. It’s a cool place to hang out with the locals for a while.
5. Hollywood’s Restaurant & Bakery | Roanoke
Great northern beans, chicken, and green chiles blend perfectly to create a white bean chicken chili at Hollywood’s. Shredded cheese and freshly baked bread make it a hearty meal on a cold day. Share with a friend by ordering the White Bean Chicken Chili Nachos. It’s the same great chili poured over a pile of nacho chips, and all topped with shredded cheese, tomatoes, and green onions. And don't forget to leave room to try some of Hollywood's amazing desserts.
6. Fork in the Alley Brick Oven Pub | Roanoke
The Triple Fork Chili at Fork in the Alley is so named because of its density. Beanless, its base is extra lean ground beef and its flavor is derived from pure ancho chili … the sweeter, redder, drier version of poblano. Add toppings like cheddar, onions, or jalapenos, if you want.
7. Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill | Roanoke
The Three Pepper Bison Chili is comprised of just that – three peppers: roasted poblanos and ghost peppers, and topped with jalapenos. There is indeed bison in the chili, along with ground beef and red beans. Try a cup or shoot for the bowl, but be sure to have a glass of water on hand. Ghost peppers are the hottest known pepper and 400 times hotter than Tabasco.
8. Texas Tavern | Roanoke
If you’ve yet to try the “world famous” chili, er … chile, at Texas Tavern, you’re missing out. It’s a quintessential culinary bucket list item that requires checking off. Grab a seat at the counter and order a “bowl.” Trust us, they’ll know what you mean. Like onions with your chile? Order a “bowl with,” and that’s what you’ll get. Cheese? Order a “bowl with, add a slab.”
9. The Swinging Bridge | Paint Bank
The homemade buffalo chili is made with farm-raised buffalo from the back field. It’s but one of the buffalo options on the menu. Ask to add onions or cheese to this bean and meat mixture, and get the cornbread, too! You’ll thank me.
10. Wildflour Market & Bakery | Roanoke
The soups rotate daily at Wildflour, but the White Bean Chicken Chile is available every day. Settle in and let this cozy bowl of comfort warm you from the inside out.
Vegetarian Bonus - Town Center Tap House | Daleville
Homemade chili is offered daily, and in a veggie version, to boot! Have some over fries and topped with cheese, or over nachos topped and with a ton of goodies.
Map of Locations
Upcoming Event - Sample all kinds of great chili and vote for your favorites at the upcoming Smith Mountain Lake Chili & Craft Festival at Bridgewater Marina on November 4!
Taste your way through Virginia’s Blue Ridge and show us what you’re eating. Snap a pic and be the foodie you always knew you could be. Tag #BlueRidgeDay so we can cheer you on!