The James Beard Foundations Chooses Hard Times as Best Chili

(NEW YORK CITY) The popular Texas chili served up by the Washington areas’s Hard Times Cafe has been chosen as “Best Restaurant Chili” by a group of professional chefs and restaurant writers at an annual event sponsored by the James Beard Foundation in New York City. The foundation is named after the late culinary export and respected food author.

Hard Times founder Fred Parker commented, “The other chilis were excellent, but the judges were blown away by our authentic, back-to-basics approach to chili. On the family tree of chili, the other entries were new sprouts but we were the roots.”


“I only know what I read in the newspapers,” said the beloved cowboy philosopher Will Rogers. By that standard, Hard Times surely ranks as one of America’s most renowned chili parlors. The numerous favorable reviews the Hard Times Café has garnered since its founding amply attest to its sustained popularity. We attribute this support to Hard Times’ special combination of honest food with honest prices served in a friendly atmosphere that fondly recalls the best of the American Western experience.

Chicago Tribune
“…one of the country’s most lauded chili spots…”

Los Angeles Times
“…People come from miles around for the homemade chili…”

The Washington Post
“Good food, good spirit and great prices…”
“…true to chili parlor tradition…”
“…sort of a shrine to the Western spirit…”

“All chili parlors should be this versatile, attractive and plain good…”

Cincinnati Magazine
“…worth waiting in line for…”

Restaurant Business
“…an almost spiritual interest in the chili it serves…”

Enid Oklahoma News & Eagle
“…a popular eatery that serves what has been described as the best chili in the Washington area…”

The Journal Newspapers
“…informal and honest…a friendly, folksy place…”
“No nonsense stuff…the chili is the star.”

Washingtonian Magazine
“…superb chili…far better than any you are likely to find at any place in or out of town…”
“…in an age when many restaurants menus try to be all things to all people, it is good to find a single minded restaurant that does its job well…”

Zagat Restaurant Review
“Best chili in the cosmos…the king of value”

USA Today
“One of Washington, DC’s top five family restaurants”
“One of the country’s top ten places for a bowl of chili.”

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