Chili Cook-Off to Heat Up Downtown Traverse City


Warm up your winter at the 16th Annual Downtown Chili Cook-Off on January 16. Participants can sample the mild to the wild as the area’s top restaurants vie for awards in various categories.  Northern Michigan’s ultimate chili challenge takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Park Place Dome in Downtown Traverse City.

Area restaurants will be cooking up their special recipes as they compete in eight different categories – 1, 2 and 3-alarm, white, vegetarian, no bean, seafood and ethnic as well as the coveted “people’s choice” award.  The event will also be feature two organic chilies!

Chili lovers can choose a sampler of eight chilies for $8 or single bowls of their favorites for $4.  Pepsi products will also be available.  All proceeds from the event help support such Downtown community activities as Friday Night Live, the Halloween walk, the Downtown Art Walk, holiday activities and many other free downtown events throughout the year.

In an effort to reduce waste at community events, in 2009 the DTCA made an investment into trays for the Downtown Chili Cook-Off, eliminating cardboard pizza boxes. Previously, over 1,100 pizza boxes were disposed of and recycled when possible at the event. The plastic trays make for very little waste to be created at such a large event. All plastic bottles and soda cans are also recycled.


Here’s a peek at who will be competing:

Blue Tractor Cook Shop                                Oryana
Catch Island Grill                                           Red Ginger
Cherry Republic                                             Scalawags
Freshwater Lodge                                         Schelde’s Grille & Spirits
Lil Bo Pub & Grille                                         Serenity Tea Bar & Cafe
Minervas                                                        Slabtown Burgers & Cafe
Mt. Holiday                                                    Travino Wine & Grille
Omelette Shoppe

Morsels Bite Sized Bakery & Gourmet Coffee will be serving cornbread morsels to compliment the competing chilies.

The Annual Chili Cook-off is hosted by the over 200 merchants, restaurants and businesses who are members of the Downtown Traverse City Association.  For more information or to volunteer, call the DTCA office at (231) 922-2050 or email