There is no end to the debate of what the perfect bowl of chili looks like.
Is it a deep red or a creamy white? Turkey or beef? Beans or no beans?
While the most passionate would disagree, there really is no right answer. The only thing a great bite of chili needs to accomplish is the comfort it inspires and the smile it brings to your face.
So, while the debate rages, here are a few bites in Atlanta that will always bring both.
Fox Bros. BBQ
1238 DeKalb Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307; 404-577-4030, www.foxbrosbbq.com
Obviously the brothers from Texas would have a chili on the menu. The brisket chili is a deep red that, in true Texas fashion, is devoid of beans.
Sure, you can order it by the cup or bowl with a sprinkling of diced onions and cheese, or you can step it up a bit. Order it mixed with macaroni and cheese — or ask for a Lopez. With that, the chili will come smothering an order of tater tots with melted cheese on top.
Grindhouse Killer Burgers
Multiple locations, www.grindhouseburgers.com/
Sometimes chili is served in a bowl. And sometimes it graces an already mouthwatering burger — and that just makes it that much better.
The Championship Brisket Chili at Grindhouse Killer Burgers can be enjoyed by itself, or as a topping for their burgers, hot dogs and fries. The chili has won at three Chomp and Stomp competitions, so you know it's going to be good. (For all the bean-haters out there, this is the one for you. It's served sans beans and with a chili puree instead of a powder to give it that extra kick.)
One of the more surprising spots to find really great food is at this Midtown metal bar. Between Mastadon songs, you can order up some of the best bar grub around.
A go-to for regulars is the Jamaican jerk chili. The base is a mixture of beef and pork. A ton of spices go in and gives it a kick. The burn is slow, but real with this stuff. Trust us, you’ll be coming back for more.
931 Monroe Drive NE a106, Atlanta, GA 30308; 404-724-0151, metrofreshatl.com/
On a menu that always changes, the Mitchili is a constant. Named after the owner, Mitchell Anderson, this turkey chili is a favorite among diners. Made with a combination of ground turkey, turkey sausage, beans and spices, it’s just begging to be eaten on a chilly day.
The chili is also low-calorie, so indulge all you want. Want to try your hand at making it? We have the recipe right here.
552 Flat Shoals Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316; 404-584-0335, www.themidwaypub.com/
A favorite among beer geeks, this East Atlanta watering hole is turning out some top-notch fare. The chili is no exception.
While they offer a vegetarian version, the fan favorite is the green chicken chili. It's a thick stew of pulled chicken and spicy green chilies. The cheese crisp that comes on the side brings a touch of salt that brings the flavors together.Along with a deep selection of craft beers and big screens everywhere, it's the perfect bite for game day.
The Righteous Room
2142 Johnson Ferry Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30319; 770-559-5678, www.stayrighteous.com/
No, being a health conscious dive bar is not an oxymoron, and the Righteous Room has been proving that for 20 years.
A homemade vegan burger, grilled salmon and veggie chili all grace the menu, and the chili is made with black-eyed peas, making it at home in the South. It reaches peak perfection with a few drops of hot sauce.
If you want to throw the healthy part out of the window, opt for the chili to smother potato wedges along with cheese, for one of the more indulgent snacks in town.
RECOMMENDED VIDEO: Watch owners from Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q and JD’s Bar-B-Q discuss their best cuts
Chip Allen of J. D.’s Bar-B-Q explains some of his best cuts of meat and the Fox Bros explain the barbecue term “devil’s cut.”