SCHOOL HOUSE OF CHILI
Address: 102 N. Chauncey Avenue, Suite E, West Lafayette, IN 47906
I remember the first time that I heard about the School House of Chili was during our Homecoming Parade. The start of the parade was located right on the street corner outside of the restaurant, and after we had parked our float for the parade, we all had some time to kill before it started. My friend and I ventured into the School House of Chili to take a look at the interior and see what their menu was like, just to check things out. I had a pretty good first impression of the place, and decided to come back another time to taste the deciding factor: the food. Being the “new kid” on the restaurant block, it’s sometimes hard to pick up business in the first few weeks of opening. But to me, it never seemed like there was that initial customer hump for them to overcome; I have always seen this place consistently busy during lunch service, and well attended during dinner as well. The feedback that I had heard from some of my friends that have eaten there was really positive as well, fueling my eagerness to give this place a try.
One thing that definitely stuck out to me was the fact that they will let you sample any one of their chilis before you choose one for your meal. I know this firsthand, since I asked the employee if I could try all four of the chilis they had the first time I went in. The ones I had tried that day were the Cincinnati, White Chicken, Spicy, and a “guest chili” called Mitch’s. All four of them had some really deep flavors, and each one definitely stood out on its own. I was pretty impressed that they could serve four different types of chilis, each with its own distinct flavor profile. To my understanding, they do feature new chilis over various periods of time, regularly keeping things interesting for return patrons to the restaurant.
Another thing that I found pretty cool was the School House of Chili’s concept of a chili bowl. You first take a “bottom,” which could consist of mac & cheese, a baked potato, potato chips, or a bread bowl (for a little extra), then your “middle,” which is your choice of chili (or a mix of different chilis), and then your “top,” which could be sour cream, shredded cheese, onions, diced tomatoes, chopped jalapeños, or chopped habaneros to really kick it up a notch. The bowl also comes with a side, which could be their corn cake, a PB&J, or a ham & cheese sandwich. All of that, for the price of just $6. I find that to be a great deal, especially for the amount of food that they give you.
The School House of Chili is well worth the trip over to the Chauncey Hill area. Their food is great, the staff is very welcoming, and the value is phenomenal. I’ve already gone back multiple times with friends, and I’m really eager to try more combinations with the chili bowl, as well as the chili dog and the chili cheese nachos as well!
Here are my rankings for the School House of Chili:
Food: 4.5 / 5
The chili is great, and paired with the different “bottoms,” I’m really loving the different meal customization possibilities. The variety on the menu is something that I’m really a big fan of as well.
Atmosphere: 4.5 / 5
The interior of the restaurant is really nice, with several plasma TVs displaying various channels as well as nice, open windows to let in a lot of light. The tables and booths are cleaned regularly as customers leave. I really love the aroma that floats around the dining room from all the different chilis too.
Service: 4.5 / 5
The employees do a nice job of explaining the chili bowl concept, as well as what goes into the different types of chilis being served. Some employees will also come over to your table to ask how your food is, which is certainly a nice gesture.
Price: 5 / 5
The chili bowl pricing really is a great bargain, and I’m impressed with how much value you get from it. It’s also enough to be a meal, as I’m pretty full whenever I leave the restaurant.
Overall: 18.5 / 20 (93%)