Live from Peoria, Illinois it’s Saturday Night starring multiple hosts as we present our Second Not Quite Annual Beanless Chili Tour Of Peoria featuring special guest star Cassie Fox Zell and Yours Fooly, Marty Wombacher as the judges of this beanless tour. Now, please welcome our first host of the evening, The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern!
But Before We Begin, A Brief Explanation Of This Beanless Chili Tour
I’m a firm believer that beans do not belong in chili. This has been a debate for decades but I think this informative essay says it all. Back in October of 2015, Cassie Fox Zell invited me to a chili cook off at Sherman Avenue in West Peoria. I went and it was a lot of fun and lo and behold, Cassie was the only one who cooked her chili beanless and so she won the coveted MBIP Beanless Chili Award that day as you can see from the pictures from that festive day posted below.
After that cook off, Cassie, her husband Tim and I decided to take a tour of four places in Peoria that serve chili the right way: Beanless.! It was a lot of fun and you can see that post by clicking right here. We decided to make this an annual event here on MBIP, but we’ve all been busy and all of a sudden we realized that over two years has lapsed since the inaugural MBIP Beanless Chili Tour of Peoria. So that can only mean one thing...time for The Second Not Quite Annual Beanless Chili Tour Of Peoria and that tour begins right here and right now!
Stop Number One: The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern
Cassie Arrives and Annie’s Behind The Bar
Here’s Cassie and there’s Annie behind the bar. Cassie’s husband, Tim was a little under the weather and stayed home, so it’s just the two of us on this 2018 beanless chili tour. This year we decided to judge each place and choose the best beanless chili in Peoria! And so the 2018 tour begins! Oh and it’s always great to see Annie behind the Blue Duck bar, she’s one of the friendliest bartenders in town and it's always a treat to visit with her!
The First Beanless Bowl Of Chili!
Here’s the first bowl of beanless chili and it looks delicious! This is the Blue Duck Barbecue’s version of Chili Con Carne and it’s made with their tender brisket and garnished with diced white onion, cilantro and topped with queso fresco. And they bill it as "containing no icky beans or veggies." I love that!
Special Post Chili Guest Star
Here’s Kavan Shay, the owner of Blue Duck Barbecue and it’s always a pleasure to chat with him. He said business has been great and we discussed Peoria, beanless chili, the blog and then Kavan had to get back to work, it was a busy Saturday night in Blue Duck and it was nice of him to stop by and say hello!
The rating system is one to four Mr. Beans, one being the worst and four the best. We had notebooks to write down observations and we’ll post those and then the final combined rating that the two of us gave the beanless chili.
Cassie: On the plus side I loved the brisket and the presentation. On the minus side it could be a little spicier and there was a little too much onion.
Marty: I loved it but I agree that they could kick the heat up a touch. Of course you could always add some hot sauce, but for the contest we decided not to add anything to the dish. Overall I loved this chili!
Seven and Three Quarters Mr. Beans.
The Rubble Formerly Known As New Amsterdam
Last year the second stop was New Amsterdam, but that’s being torn down as the city is reconstructing the riverfront. It’s kind of sad, but at least a giant can of Hormel’s beanless chili is rising from the ashes of what used to be New Amsterdam. Hmmm...did someone put something in our beers? Oh well, we have to keep moving along here!
Stop Number Two: Shelton’s Bar
Shelton’s Bar • 2016 W Farmington Road • 309-981-5635 • facecrack page
Four Random Obligatory Photos Of Shelton’s Bar
Mish Is Behind The Bar
Mish is the bartender for the evening and she took our beanless chili order. In addition to being a top-notch and friendly bartender, Mish is also a hair stylist at Studio B in Junction City.
The Second Beanless Bowls Of Chili!
Shelton’s is the only place in Peoria to get true Cincinnati Chili and you can get it with beans or without, although why anyone would order it with beans is something I’ll never be able to comprehend. You can get it as is or you can get it “supreme” which comes topped with shredded cheese and onion. Cassie got the supreme and I got a cup of the regular Cincinnati Chili.
Special Post Chili Guest Stars
After we ate our chili we met this couple who were seated close by and perked up when they heard me explaining my blog to Mish and they introduced themselves. This is Joe and Robin Chambers and Joe’s parents, Terry and Kathy have been friends of mine for decades and his sister Kristen is my doctor! We're almost related! We had a nice conversation about their family and the food in Peoria and Chicago. It was great to meet both of them!
Cassie: Not a fan of the texture but I did like the hint of cinnamon. It was okay with crackers and I liked the little crocks they serve it in.
Marty: I like the fact that this is such unique chili, you won’t find any chili like this anywhere in town. Like Blue Duck, this lacks the heat I like so when I have it again, I’ll definitely add hot sauce.
Five and a quarter Mr. Beans.
Stop Number Three: Chili’s
Chili’s • 4825 N. University Street • 309-692-0468 • Website
Four Random Obligatory Photos Of Chili’s
Once Again Kleshia Is Our Server!
I thought our server looked familiar and she served us here on the first beanless tour! This is Kleshia and she remembered us and it was great to see her again! After catching up a little she took our beanless chili order.
The Third Beanless Bowl Of Chili!
On the first tour we all agreed that the chili here was a little on the bland side. Klehsia told us that they’ve changed the recipe a little and it was a great improvement from the first tour.
Cassie: Loved the flavor, it was nice and spicy! The toasted tortilla strips are a good touch for texture!
Marty: This is so much better than what we had a couple years ago! It has a nice spicy flavor and nice chunks of beef. The tortilla strips and cheese on top are a nice touch!
Seven Mr. Beans.
Stop Number Four: Steak ‘n Shake
Steak ‘n Shake • 7715 N University Street • 309-692-5577 • website
Four Random Obligatory Photos Of Steak ‘n Shake
The Spiked Milkshake
The milkshakes are good here, but as we noticed on the first tour, they’re missing a little something. We ordered one...
And here it is served up by our friendly waitress, Jennifer. Just like last time, the missing ingredient is found in this half pint bottle of vodka. I added it in and Jennifer took a photo of Cassie and I enjoying this 80 proof milkshake! Cheers!
The Fourth Beanless Bowl Of Chili!
Okay, this isn’t really a bowl of chili, it’s their Chili Mac, which I call Chili Crack because it’s so addicting! It’s got beanless chili on top, so that’s close enough!
Cassie: Always love the flavor, it was a huge serving! Noodles make everything better!
Marty: I love Chili Mac and it tastes the best after drinking a milkshake that’s half vodka!
Six and a half Mr. Beans.
The winner of this year’s MBIP Beanless Chili Tour is The Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern with an almost perfect combined rating of seven and three quarters Mr. Beans! Congratulations to Kavan and everyone at Blue Duck for winning! Every bowl of chili was tasty and best of all beanless and I suggest you try all four in your travels.
Thanks to everyone for playing along and thanks to Cassie for joining me on the tour and being my co-judge for the evening! And I hope Tim is feeling better and can make the next beanless tour! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
Related Posts: The First Annual MBIP Holiday Beanless Chili Tour and Saturday Afternoon @ The Sherman Avenue Block Party Chili Cook Off And Then Saturday Night @ Time and Jeanette’s Wedding Reception...Sheesh!