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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chili at the Ramova Grill: A savory treat soon to become history.

In 1929, the Ramova Theater opened on S. Halsted in the Bridgeport neighborhood. That same year the Ramova Grill set up shop a few doors south.

The theater enjoyed success with first-run features for a few decades, then declined into second-run flicks, and finished its remaining years as an active movie house with Spanish-language films until shuttering its doors in 1986.

In contrast the Ramova Grill lived on, serving up breakfast all day, liver and onions, pork chops, sandwiches, but most notably it's famous homemade chili.

This little neighborhood diner is a true greasy spoon, with red vinyl counter stools, stark wooden booths and hand-painted menu boards plastered on the wall behind the counter.

The soupy ground beef chili is quite flavorful, much akin to Cincinnati-style. Eaten straight it packs a bit of zest. Crispy oyster crackers are a good compliment. On a lark I spooned it over fried eggs and hash browns: a divine combination. And the chili mac made with thick spaghetti is a challenge to eat with a spoon without making a mess on oneself.

Sadly, like the theater it's named after, the Ramova Grill's years are finite. The building where it resides has been purchased for redevelopment, with the last bowls of chili being served up on April 14.

Ramova Grill on Urbanspoon

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