ITHACA, N.Y. — Thousands of people visited the Ithaca Commons this weekend to sample more than 40 types of chili, featuring a range of styles, from spaghetti-filled Cincinnati chili from the new Pasta Vitto to Kerala-inspired chicken and chickpea chili from Mia. On Monday, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance announced it has counted the ballots and declared the winners of the 21st Annual Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-Off.

The winner of the best meat chili was McCormick’s at Moakley House, of Cornell Dining, which offered samples of smoked duck, chorizo and bourbon chili, topped with Crown Royal creme fraiche, crispy duck skin and chives. Moosewood claimed the best vegetarian chili title after offering a chipotle cherry chocolate chili. The best beverages were also considered and Wagner Valley Brewing Co. took first place for their Fassen Bock Bourbon brew.

At the same time as the chili competition, there was a fierce beard and mustache competition hosted by the Ithaca Beard & Mustache Club. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance said they will be posting pictures soon on their Facebook page.

The full winners are as follows:

People’s Choice Best Chili
Winner: Ithaca Beer
Runner Up: Mia Restaurant
3rd Place: Cayuga Medical Center

Best Presentation:
Winner: Simeon’s American Bistro
Runner Up: Luna Inspired Street Food
3rd Place: Mia Restaurant

Best Meat Chili:
Winner: McCormick’s at Moakley House (Cornell Dining)
Runner Up: Gorgers
3rd Place: Mia Restaurant

Best Veggie Chili:
Winner: Moosewood
Runner Up: Ithaca Soy
3rd Place: Gorgers

Best Beverage:
Winner: Wagner Valley Brewing Co.
Runner Up: Ithaca Beer
3rd Place: Grist Iron

Featured image: The chili champions of 2019. (Photo by the Downtown Ithaca Alliance)

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.