Bishop's calls its chili famous, but you wouldn't know it from the typically empty seats at the Westmont bar and restaurant. The place has been in business for decades and the chili is shipped coast to coast through its website, but you'd still expect a renowned product to draw a steady crowd. The history section of its menu explains this mystery by saying "we're not quite sure where the famous part came in, but since [restaurant founder Mary Bishop] buried four husbands, no one was very quick to offer criticism."
Located in downtown Westmont, Bishop's Famous Chili is a pretty simple place that serves up cheap beers and, you guessed it, chili. Visitors (mostly old guys from the neighborhood) can get a bowl of chili or chili mac (with spaghetti) for $3.25. Add-ons like cheese, sour cream, onion, hot giardinera and diced jalapenos are an extra 40 cents each. Oyster crackers and hot sauces are supplied at no extra cost. Bishop's also has chili meals ($5-$7) that come with a hot dog, bratwurst, polish sausage or tamale.
The chili is a little watery, but it's still really tasty. I didn't hesitate to order up a second bowl, which is always $1 less than the first (two bowls + two beers = overly full). Bishop's also does carry-out by the pint ($5), quart ($8), six-quart bucket ($36) and, for parties, the five-gallon Bucket 'O' Bishop's ($110), which will feed 40 to 50 people.
Bishop's must be doing something right. Though it has moved locations a few times, the family business has been kicking since Mary Bishop first opened a West Side Chicago store in 1925. The sister store in North Riverside closed in 2003, but the Westmont store has been operating on Cass Avenue since 1973.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jim Collins