TNT Diner

Tacoma’s first Cincinnati chili parlor is closing its doors

Cincinnati Chili served four-way comes with pasta, sauce, cheddar cheese and diced onions at The Chili Parlor, newly opened in Tacoma.
Cincinnati Chili served four-way comes with pasta, sauce, cheddar cheese and diced onions at The Chili Parlor, newly opened in Tacoma. Staff file, 2016

The Chili Parlor has announced it will close. Its owners cited financial trouble as the cause. The final day of business will be Sept. 16.

The Chili Parlor opened in February 2016 on South Tacoma Way in the Edison City neighborhood. Partners in business and life, Wayne Whalen and Kathy Rarin, operated the restaurant.

Whalen grew up in Ohio and was the cook behind the chili pot.

The restaurant specializes in Cincinnati chili, chili dogs, breakfast served all day and a short menu of sandwiches, salads and diner classics.

Although called a chili and served over spaghetti, Cincinnati chili’s roots are as a hot dog sauce, which is why chili parlors such as this one serve hot dogs with a ladle of the chili. The distinctive chili is made from boiled beef that is simmered with tomatoes, onions and an array of warm spices including cumin, chile powder, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. The flavor profile leans toward the Greek palate because it was created by Greek immigrants.

It’s much closer to a spaghetti sauce in texture, which is why it’s served over spaghetti.

You have until Sept. 16 to get a plate.

Here’s the closing announcement posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“Good day Chili Parlor friends and family. This is going to be the hardest post I've ever posted. It is with such sadness that we will be closing our doors the 16th of September at 8 p.m. for the last time. We have given it our all, but we just do not have the financial resources to keep it going to hit that break even point. We really appreciate all of your support for the last 17 months. We have made a lot of friends and great loyal customers that we will always remember.”

The Chili Parlor

Where: 5640 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma; 253-472-6829; facebook.com/TheChiliParlorTacoma.

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