Warm Chili on a Winter Day: 5 Texas Hill Country Winners

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


With cooler temperatures comes the desire for some hot, stick-to-your-ribs food, and in Texas, that means chili! Luckily, we Texans know a thing or two about chili, and as such, can impart some wisdom on the subject. First tip: find a place to cook it for you! In no particular order, here are 5 Texas Hill Country venues that serve up a great bowl of chili to keep your taste buds toasty:

1. Institute of Chili, San Antonio


Photo: Facebook/The Institute of Chili

The Institute of Chili received national attention in 2013 when Food & Wine magazine published its list of best chili places in the United States, and this food truck made the cut. The truck, which is parked near the Alamo, was inspired by “chili queens” of San Antonio-19th century street food vendors described in history writings of Texas. Today, the truck serves an only slightly modified chili recipe version that was found in the Institute of Texan Cultures’ archives.

2. Texas Chili Parlor, Austin


Photo: Facebook/Texas Chili Parlor

One of the more famous restaurants for serving chili in Texas, as it should be, considering it’s their namesake dish. By itself, on a hot dog, burger, or in Frito pie, they serve many varieties including beef, white pork, vegetarian and sausage, but the original is what the locals go for. And when in Rome…’er Austin…

3. Grape Juice, Kerrville

Warm Chili on a Winter Day: 5 Texas Hill Country Winners

Photo: Facebook/Grape Juice Kerrville

Albeit garnishing another dish, and not necessarily the main feature, the chili at Grape Juice is served in a phenomenal menu item called “The Honey Badger.” This delish dish is a combination of their “Crack”eroni and cheese, surrounded by their chili portion, and topped with a mound of Fritos. The establishment has an amazing menu, not the least of which boasts this amazing concoction, and it really is something you need to try at least once!

4. Pacific Moon, San Antonio


Photo: Yelp/Aillet M.

Owner and cook Han Olmstead prepares her famous chili for the Pacific Moon, “when available”. That’s right, it’s a popular dish. She came up with her chili recipe when she moved to Wisconsin in ’75, and since then, it’s evolved to become one of their most popular menu items. Made with fresh ingredients, Pacific Moon roast’s the chili in a wok and then boil hot water in order to make the hot oil in the pan, so a smoke flavor is added.

5. Shady Grove, Austin

Photo: Facebook/Shady Grove Restaurant

Page 1 of 2:12