Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition for most Americans, but in Kirkwood, Thanksgiving week would not be the same without football, chili and turkey.
For over 100 years Kirkwood High School has played football against their rival Webster Groves High School on Thanksgiving Day. Known far and wide as the Turkey Day Game, many other traditions now coincide with the big game, including the Kirkwood School District Foundation Turkey Day Chili Bowl.
This year’s chili cookoff was an overflowing success. Sponsored by Mike Duffy’s Pub & Grill and Great Harvest Bread Co., the Chili Bowl attracted a big crowd. Perhaps it was the weather? Perhaps it was the state championship bound football team? Perhaps people were just hungry? Whatever the reasons, Kirkwood High School’s Denver Miller gym was packed.
“We went through over 8,000 tasting cups, we’ve never used that many,” Amy Winget, a volunteer working with supplies, said.
Jennifer Hopkins, a volunteer chili server, said, “That place was rockin' with people tonight! It was a great, friendly crowd. I heard lots of positive comments about how fun it was and how yummy all the chilis were. Even when we ran out of cups to serve it in, the crowd was good natured.”
Nine local restaurants participated in the cookoff. Some, like Café Provencal, do not normally serve chili. Others, such as Kirkwood Station Restaurant & Brewing Co., served the same recipe they have on the menu. “We are having a great time,” said Jack MacMurray, Executive Chef for Kirkwood Station and first time participant, said.
Hallie Huber, another first timer, summed it up best, “Went for the first time tonight. It was fun. We went through each line with the kids and critiqued each Chili. Chuck's was my favorite. Saw lots of school folks and neighbors. A nice way to start the holiday season.”
A nice win for Chuck’s Bar & Grill, too. This was Chuck’s first time entering the Chili Bowl and they brought home the big win: First Place, Best Chili in Town.
A great start to the holidays, a great tradition and a great event. Happy Thanksgiving and Go Kirkwood!