(WMC TV) - The Slider Inn just won the chili bowl.
The bar, slider and pub grub hot spot at 2117 Peabody Ave. (www.facebook.com/SliderInn, Twitter @TheSlider Inn) wins the Restaurant Scorecard's 2nd Annual Best Restaurant Chili Cook-Off.
"It's just a great flavor," said Seth Agranov, author of the blog Best Memphis Burger (www.bestmemphisburger.com). "It's a great consistency. It's garnished beautifully. This chili just took it up a notch on every level."
The Slider Inn succeeds its big brother Bardog Tavern, the 2011 Best Restaurant chili champion.
Aldo Dean owns both establishments. He admits Chef Jesse Keenan's chili recipe at The Slider Inn is slightly more mischievous than Bardog's.
"You know, our chili's a lot of fun," said Dean, the "fun" ingredient being Keenan's roasted jalapeno sour cream. "It's pretty chunky with the onions and peppers and beef."
"Now I know what the secret is that we were wondering about," said Claudine Nayan, author of The F Word Memphis food blog (www.thefwordmemphis.blogspot.com), referring to the jalapeno-infused sour cream. "I'll be coming back for more!"
Please visit The Slider Inn and sample its award-winning chili, as well as the tasty runners-up:
* BARDOG TAVERN, 73 MONROE AVE., DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS (http://bardog.com/, Twitter @BardogTavern). The New York-style tavern's rich, dark recipe with ground beef, crushed tomatoes, onion and garlic earned high marks for its flavor, consistency and presentation.
Garnished with tortilla chips, diced onions and chilled sour cream that counters the chili's subtle heat, Bardog Tavern's chili is the perfect appetizer partnered with an ice cold beer.
* FRONT STREET DELI, 77 S. Front St., DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, (901) 522-8943. 36 years in the same spot, and few people know Lee Busby sells a killer seasonal sweet chili.
"Just a good, basic Southern-style chili," said a modest Busby.
"It's rib-sticking chili," said foodie Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis (www.ediblememphis.com). "Nice. Thick. Meaty. Lots of beans."
"It seems like a hot dog chili," said Nayan.
* FUEL CAFE/FUEL FOOD TRUCK, 1761 MADISON AVE., MIDTOWN MEMPHIS, (http://fuelcafememphis.com/, Twitter @FuelFoodTruck). Scorecard fans nominated Fuel Cafe's Bison Chili as a finalist.
"It's a little leaner, so we do put a little chocolate in there to kind of give it the illusion of a fattier type of flavor," said Chef Erik Proveaux.
"Good, homemade-quality sauce," said Agranov.
* YOUNG AVENUE DELI, 2119 YOUNG AVE., COOPER-YOUNG/MIDTOWN MEMPHIS, (www.youngavenuedeli.com, Twitter @YoungAveDeli). Young Avenue Deli's Veggie Chili sure doesn't taste like a veggie chili, even though it's loaded with okra, green beans, corn and peppers.
The spicy sauce and its consistency give it a full body. "Great vegetables, but a good amount of spice," said Petersen.