Chili is one of those items that everyone loves. Spicy or mild, meaty or vegan, on a bun or out of a bowl, it’s just impossible not to love a hearty bowl of chili.
So, when I was invited to try Lucky 777 Chili, I figured I would like it.
I did not know that I would go absolutely gaga for it.
This tiny shop on MacDougal Street has a couple of counter seats, an open section that lets you see your chili being prepared, and on the day I visited, the air conditioning was on the fritz. This isn’t the kind of place that you come on a hot summer day with the intentions of sticking around for a leisurely lunch. Luckily, service is fast and you are near several lovely outdoor parks. My suggestion is to order delivery or get your order to go.
Lucky 777 makes 3 kinds of chili – pork, vegetarian, and turkey. All the ingredients are locally sourced when available, and the batches are made each day. One of the most fun parts of the restaurant is how you can get the chili – in a sourdough bread bowl, on a hot dog, in a taco, or on nachos. Also, get a load of the complimentary toppings: cheese, vegetables, sour cream, even freshly made habanero relish all come free with your order. It’s really refreshing to see a place that doesn’t nickle and dime you to death. You can EASILY get out of here for under $10.
This chili is what I had hoped it would be. Zesty and well-rounded with tender beans, sweet tomatoes, and hunks of juicy pork. It would be ideal with cool sour cream and some raw onions. This chili is hearty, thick, and is more of a meal than as a topping for a burger or hot dog. The blend of 7 cuts of pork and 7 spices results in a bright, zippy sauce that has of citrusy cayenne heat, sweet undertones from honey or molasses, and the savory scent of cumin. It is decidedly traditional, and totally delicious. However…
This is the chili that won my heart. I am an out-and-out carnivore, but this chili was so special that it totally won me over. Using 7 beans (yeah, they really take the name to heart here) and a plethora of spices, this chili is incredibly complex and satisfying. It manages to avoid standard boring vegetarian chili by using different beans – toothsome, creamy, and meaty all collide here with smoky chipotle and fragrant coriander. This chili is so tasty that you don’t realize that you don’t feel over-greased and over-salted until you are done inhaling it.
Served over thinly baked sweet potato wedges, this was one of my favorite ways to eat the vegetarian chili. The wedges were crisp and baked to order in a special convection oven-like device. Ladles of vegetarian chili rendered the fries saucy in spots while remaining crisp in others. Mozzarella cheese melted into luxurious strings, laving around crisp lettuce and tomatoes. The final touch was that fruity, spicy habanero relish. Don’t get the relish unless you like the heat, because it delivers!
The whole restaurant delivers. Is it even a restaurant? It is more of a shop, run by the affable Lou and his extremely enthusiastic and helpful employees. It only dishes out one thing, served in several variations. It just happens to do it perfectly. The price is right, the location is great for a night after the bars, and the food is really tasty.
Score another point for chili.
*Disclaimer: My meal was paid for by the restaurant. I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own.*