Fred and Jim Parker know chili. Their grandfather learned how to to cook it in a chuck wagon in Oklahoma in the early 1900s, and passed his recipe down though the generations. The Parkers opened Hard Times Cafe in 1980, serving the chili they love, and before long, others fell in love with it, too; USA Today named Hard Times Cafe one of the 10 best places for a bowl of chili in the country.
The restaurant's chili mac has a loyal following. The most popular way to eat chili mac is the four-way style, which includes chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions. When it comes to the varieties of chili, regulars recommend the Terlingua Red, which has a spicy kick, and the Cincinnati, which has a sweetly spicy flavor and includes cinnamon.
Hard Times has more than chili. Also on the menu are grilled wings, Frito pies, house-made onion rings, and barbecue ribs.
Hard Times Cafe
3028 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22201
Read the reviews on Yelp.