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Chili at Petunia’s Pies
Petunia’s Pies/Official

Where to Find Bowls of Captivating Chili in Portland and Beyond

From versions made with wild boar to ones loaded with smoked brisket

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Chili at Petunia’s Pies
| Petunia’s Pies/Official

During difficult times — this past year qualifies — one generally gravitates towards comfort food. Although the exact origin of chili is disputed (there are origin stories involving an astral-projecting Spanish nun), most historians agree that the earliest description of chili came from San Antonio. Chili also has its various regional influences — there is the standard Texas red, made without beans, or the Cincinnati version, reliant on baking spices. Portland, a city populated with expats from other states, as packed with barbecue aficionados as it is vegans, offers a number of different variations on the dish, ranging from vegan versions to hearty renditions with wild boar or grass-fed beef. While many restaurants and carts offer one-off chili specials, like Holy Trinity BBQ or Bullard, this map generally specializes in reliably available chilis served out of carts, restaurants, and bars around town. For more soup content, there are countless alternatives via Eater PDX, ranging from pho to ramen to vegan soups.

A number of Portland restaurants have resumed onsite service. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID update page. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Slow Fox Chili

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108 E 7th St Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 721-0634
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Located in the Columbia Food Park, Slow Fox Chili, as the name implies, specializes in chili. The cart generally offers three staple chilis — a beef rendition bolstered by tomatoes and onions, a pork version with ham hocks and tomatillos, and a lentil version yam and kale — as well as an additional ‘bonus’ chili. Each chili can be served in a variety of ways: over mac and cheese, on a chili dog. Nonetheless, a bowl all on its own is all that’s needed to make for a robust meal, with a slice of cornbread and choice of one topping. Outside seating and takeout are available.

2. The Meating Place

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6585 NW Cornelius Pass Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 533-0624
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This Hillsboro butcher uses a grind of flavorful elk for its chili, which gets its gaminess tempered with the help of fire-roasted tomatoes. It arrives resembling something like a tomato sauce, but its depth of flavor — mostly thanks to the elk — makes it unlike any other version in the Portland area. Order it for takeout.

3. Podnah's BBQ

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1625 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 281-3700
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Podnah’s is known for its Texas- and Carolina-style barbecue, which is why the prominent ingredient in Podnah’s Texas red chili, available on Wednesdays, is its 10-hour smoked brisket. The chunks of tender, smoky beef and hearty base are well complemented by a slice of the restaurant’s stellar skillet-cooked cornbread. Podnah offers outdoor, takeout, and delivery.

4. Donnie Vegas

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1203 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211
(503) 477-7244
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Donnie Vegas is a laid-back hot dog spot run by two Ned Ludd veterans, Chef Benjamin Artaiz and bartender Jeremy Wilson. While the chili is most popular when consumed on the chili cheese dog, you can order it as a side, as well. The beef chili includes a mix of pinto, kidney, and black beans, which give it some substance, while the cumin, coriander, and chipotle guarantee it doesn’t need the dog to be tasty. The chili is topped with sour cream, green onion, and jalapeno; the restaurant is open for takeout and delivery, with service on the patio as well.

5. Interurban

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4057 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97227
(503) 284-6669
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This rustic Mississippi Ave bar not only offers strong cocktails and extensive beer and whiskey lists, it also serves an outstanding wild boar chili. While the wild boar makes it a stand out from traditional chili, the stock is the real star of the dish. The pork jus — braised pork shoulder and cola — and reduced roasted tomato salsa add a nuanced richness to the chili without overpowering the flavor of the boar. Interurban is open for indoor, outdoor, takeout, and delivery. 

6. Petunia's Pies & Pastries

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610 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 841-5961
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Though most think of Petunia’s as a go-to spot for vegan and gluten-free desserts, Petunia’s food menu also includes bowls of its vegan chili, which blends pinto and black beans with a combination of vegetables like tomato, corn, and kale; the chili gets its smokiness and kick from things like cayenne, paprika, and chili powder. It comes with a little side of sticky molasses cornbread, which almost steals the show. Petunia’s is open for delivery and takeout.

7. Portland Kettle

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1344 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 227-1344
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Known for its wide array of soups, low-key Portland Kettle was a go-to for downtown’s office workers. The chili is a savory mix of beef, pinto, and kidney beans, complemented by onions and tomatoes. The blend of green, yellow, and red peppers give the chili an added crunch and sweetness, grounded by chili and cumin. Get it in a bread bowl for an additional $1. The chili comes with a slice of sweet cornbread. Available for indoor, outdoor, takeout and delivery. 

8. Dots Cafe

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2521 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 235-0203
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A quintessential SE Clinton haunt, Dots is known for its vegan and meaty chili variations, which — in the old days — often came smothering fries. Now, the chili stands alone, either a beefy chili con carne or a five-bean vegan version, with optional add-ons like cheese, sour cream, onions, and cornbread. Dots is open for takeout, delivery, and outside service, where you can eat your chili alongside a hot toddy.

9. Dick's Primal Burger

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4905 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97206
(971) 229-0786
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Richard Satnick founded local chain Dick’s Primal Burger to provide accessible paleo meals using Oregon-raised beef and Portland-made ingredients. The chili is made with big chunks of 100-percent grass-fed beef and organic red beans from Idaho. It has a kick to it, but the primary favors come from the beef itself and a blend of spices like cumin and smoked paprika. The chili is a bit thinner, more soup-like, but the spices, red beans, and the chunks of beef make for a filling meal. Dick’s is open for indoor and outdoor seating as well as for takeout and delivery.

10. Old Market Pub & Brewery

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6959 SW Multnomah Blvd
Portland, OR 97223
(503) 244-2337
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This 25-year old Portland brewery is generally known for its pizza and beer. However, Andy’s Spicy Chili is worth an order, a combination of beef, pinto beans, and cheddar cheese with the foundational spice of cumin, cayenne, and garlic. Topped with a sprinkle of raw onions, this chili is best enjoyed in an organic pizza bread bowl, ideal for dipping. Old Market Pub and Brewery is open for indoor, outdoor, takeout, and delivery. 

11. Cruise In Country Diner

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9785 SW River Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97123
(503) 628-0500
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This cozy midcentury-style diner in Hillsboro is known for its burger and shakes, as well as a not-to-be-missed chili. Cruise In Country Diner does not skimp on the beef, which is grass-fed, and the sauce has a thick gravy-like consistency that will fill you up. The chili is also simmered with grilled onions, which balance out the acidity from the tomato-based sauce. The chili comes with crackers, and raw onions and cheese can be added for an additional charge. Available for indoor dining and takeout.  

1. Slow Fox Chili

108 E 7th St Suite B, Vancouver, WA 98660

Located in the Columbia Food Park, Slow Fox Chili, as the name implies, specializes in chili. The cart generally offers three staple chilis — a beef rendition bolstered by tomatoes and onions, a pork version with ham hocks and tomatillos, and a lentil version yam and kale — as well as an additional ‘bonus’ chili. Each chili can be served in a variety of ways: over mac and cheese, on a chili dog. Nonetheless, a bowl all on its own is all that’s needed to make for a robust meal, with a slice of cornbread and choice of one topping. Outside seating and takeout are available.

108 E 7th St Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98660

2. The Meating Place

6585 NW Cornelius Pass Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97124

This Hillsboro butcher uses a grind of flavorful elk for its chili, which gets its gaminess tempered with the help of fire-roasted tomatoes. It arrives resembling something like a tomato sauce, but its depth of flavor — mostly thanks to the elk — makes it unlike any other version in the Portland area. Order it for takeout.

6585 NW Cornelius Pass Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97124

3. Podnah's BBQ

1625 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97211

Podnah’s is known for its Texas- and Carolina-style barbecue, which is why the prominent ingredient in Podnah’s Texas red chili, available on Wednesdays, is its 10-hour smoked brisket. The chunks of tender, smoky beef and hearty base are well complemented by a slice of the restaurant’s stellar skillet-cooked cornbread. Podnah offers outdoor, takeout, and delivery.

1625 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211

4. Donnie Vegas

1203 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Donnie Vegas is a laid-back hot dog spot run by two Ned Ludd veterans, Chef Benjamin Artaiz and bartender Jeremy Wilson. While the chili is most popular when consumed on the chili cheese dog, you can order it as a side, as well. The beef chili includes a mix of pinto, kidney, and black beans, which give it some substance, while the cumin, coriander, and chipotle guarantee it doesn’t need the dog to be tasty. The chili is topped with sour cream, green onion, and jalapeno; the restaurant is open for takeout and delivery, with service on the patio as well.

1203 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

5. Interurban

4057 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

This rustic Mississippi Ave bar not only offers strong cocktails and extensive beer and whiskey lists, it also serves an outstanding wild boar chili. While the wild boar makes it a stand out from traditional chili, the stock is the real star of the dish. The pork jus — braised pork shoulder and cola — and reduced roasted tomato salsa add a nuanced richness to the chili without overpowering the flavor of the boar. Interurban is open for indoor, outdoor, takeout, and delivery. 

4057 N Mississippi Ave
Portland, OR 97227

6. Petunia's Pies & Pastries

610 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

Though most think of Petunia’s as a go-to spot for vegan and gluten-free desserts, Petunia’s food menu also includes bowls of its vegan chili, which blends pinto and black beans with a combination of vegetables like tomato, corn, and kale; the chili gets its smokiness and kick from things like cayenne, paprika, and chili powder. It comes with a little side of sticky molasses cornbread, which almost steals the show. Petunia’s is open for delivery and takeout.

610 SW 12th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

7. Portland Kettle

1344 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97201

Known for its wide array of soups, low-key Portland Kettle was a go-to for downtown’s office workers. The chili is a savory mix of beef, pinto, and kidney beans, complemented by onions and tomatoes. The blend of green, yellow, and red peppers give the chili an added crunch and sweetness, grounded by chili and cumin. Get it in a bread bowl for an additional $1. The chili comes with a slice of sweet cornbread. Available for indoor, outdoor, takeout and delivery. 

1344 SW 3rd Ave
Portland, OR 97201

8. Dots Cafe

2521 SE Clinton St, Portland, OR 97202

A quintessential SE Clinton haunt, Dots is known for its vegan and meaty chili variations, which — in the old days — often came smothering fries. Now, the chili stands alone, either a beefy chili con carne or a five-bean vegan version, with optional add-ons like cheese, sour cream, onions, and cornbread. Dots is open for takeout, delivery, and outside service, where you can eat your chili alongside a hot toddy.

2521 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202

9. Dick's Primal Burger

4905 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97206

Richard Satnick founded local chain Dick’s Primal Burger to provide accessible paleo meals using Oregon-raised beef and Portland-made ingredients. The chili is made with big chunks of 100-percent grass-fed beef and organic red beans from Idaho. It has a kick to it, but the primary favors come from the beef itself and a blend of spices like cumin and smoked paprika. The chili is a bit thinner, more soup-like, but the spices, red beans, and the chunks of beef make for a filling meal. Dick’s is open for indoor and outdoor seating as well as for takeout and delivery.

4905 SE Woodstock Blvd
Portland, OR 97206

10. Old Market Pub & Brewery

6959 SW Multnomah Blvd, Portland, OR 97223

This 25-year old Portland brewery is generally known for its pizza and beer. However, Andy’s Spicy Chili is worth an order, a combination of beef, pinto beans, and cheddar cheese with the foundational spice of cumin, cayenne, and garlic. Topped with a sprinkle of raw onions, this chili is best enjoyed in an organic pizza bread bowl, ideal for dipping. Old Market Pub and Brewery is open for indoor, outdoor, takeout, and delivery. 

6959 SW Multnomah Blvd
Portland, OR 97223

11. Cruise In Country Diner

9785 SW River Rd, Hillsboro, OR 97123

This cozy midcentury-style diner in Hillsboro is known for its burger and shakes, as well as a not-to-be-missed chili. Cruise In Country Diner does not skimp on the beef, which is grass-fed, and the sauce has a thick gravy-like consistency that will fill you up. The chili is also simmered with grilled onions, which balance out the acidity from the tomato-based sauce. The chili comes with crackers, and raw onions and cheese can be added for an additional charge. Available for indoor dining and takeout.  

9785 SW River Rd
Hillsboro, OR 97123

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