Comfort Zone: Texas Chili Parlor

Texas Chili Parlor
1409 Lavaca St. 512-472-2828,
Hours: 11am-2am daily, kitchen until midnight.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 03.24.13
Chili is a dish that can divide its followers the way sauce/no sauce divides barbecue people. Beans or no beans? The Chili Parlor votes “no” for its three signature bowls of red, graded X, XX and XXX according to their heat profiles. The XXX is cowboy-style chili: beef in big, slow-cooked pieces, no beans, in a mahogany swirl of thick chili broth that’s all smoky heat and no tomato-sweetened tang. Dry heat, like a Texas Hill Country summer. It’s dark in here, illuminated mostly by vintage neon beer signs and Christmas lights on the horns of a mounted deer’s head. Dark enough to savor a $2 Miller High Life without shame, to scratch initials into the beat-down tabletops, dark enough for Texas lawmakers to make policy decisions over a bowl of red with cheese and onions.
(TOP: A bowl of XXX chili. ABOVE: The interior is pure Texicana; the Chili Parlor is a hub for UT fans. Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)