Palookaville Chili


I met some friends for lunch yesterday at Palookaville Chili. Wow, we loved it. This funky chili shop on Lorain Avenue (just past Fulton) specializes in chili or (as they like to call them) “hot pots o’ soul.” If you like chili you’ll love this place. Once you see the bill you’ll love it even more.

The star here is the chili, made from hand-chopped meats, fresh chiles, and proprietary spice blends. There are five “gourmet chilis” to choose from, including Texas beef, chicken verde, hot pork, spicy veggie, and spinach paneer. The spicy veggie and spinach paneer are vegetarian-friendly The chilis are served eight different ways – in a cup or bowl, on macaroni, on nachos, on rice, on a chili dog, in a burrito or as a sloppy jose. They also offer beef & cheddar, pulled pork and BBQ chicken sandwiches, which would pair nicely with a cup of chili. It is BYOB-friendly if you want to enjoy a beer with your chili.

As soon as I saw it on the menu online I decided to try the Sloppy Jose. Being a fan of hoagie buns, this was right up my alley. I could choose from any of the chilis and then could add toppings, including cheddar cheese, red onion, sour cream and jalapenos (baked beans are 50 cents more). I ordered the chicken verde (the mildest of the chilis) with everything but the jalapenos. I was going out to dinner that night and didn’t want to have heartburn or an upset stomach. It was served with a fork, which I quickly learned I would need. I tried to eat it as a sandwich and succeeded in making quite a mess. This sandwich was delicious. The chili was very flavorful and, for being a mild chili, had a nice heat to it. Combined with a can of Mountain Dew my bill came to a whopping $5.

I also splurged on a side of cornbread, which was $1.75. It was worth every penny. The cornbread was dotted with bits of corn and jalapeno and was more savory than sweet. It was also extremely moist.

I also had the pleasure of trying my friend’s spinach paneer chili (not pictured here), which featured spinach, Indian spices, and cubes of fresh Indian cheese (paneer). Wow, that was good. Despite being a meat lover I can appreciate a good palak paneer, and this spinach paneer did not disappoint – with chunks of paneer in a spicy spinach-based chili. Yum!

This little neighborhood gem is only open for lunch and closes at 4:00 every day. It features free wifi and plays some righteous bluegrass-rock music. My friend G. was loving the old-time music. We all felt very comfortable and will definitely be going back.

Contact info:

Palookaville Chili
3900 Lorain Ave.
Cleveland, OH


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