All The "Ways"

Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili Comes to Lakewood Ranch

Skyline is a revered Cincinnati institution dating back to 1949.

By Cooper Levey-Baker July 1, 2019 Published in the July 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15,106 people moved to Manatee County between 2012 and 2016, 1,087 of them from the same state: Ohio. That makes the Buckeye State one of the top migration feeders to Manatee. It also helps explain why Amy Groene, Joan Zai and Susan Wiegele opened a Skyline Chili franchise in Lakewood Ranch earlier this year.

Skyline is a revered Cincinnati institution dating back to 1949, when Greek native Nicholas Lambrinides opened the original location in a spot overlooking the Queen City’s downtown. Made from a closely guarded recipe, Skyline’s chili is creamy rather than chunky, with a subtle spice, and it’s the key ingredient in almost everything the restaurant offers.

You can order a cheese coney ($2.49), a hot dog in a steamed bun slathered with mustard, diced onions, cheddar cheese and a helping of chili. Or you can order one of the restaurant’s “ways,” pasta dishes that run from $5.99 to $8.99. A three-way features spaghetti covered with chili and cheddar. A four-way adds either beans or onions and a five-way includes beans and onions. A regular-size five-way looks small on the plate, but it will fill you up in a hurry, with a mound of noodles and an avalanche of cheddar shredded into fine strands.

Skyline qualifies as fast food thanks to the kitchen’s quick work and the drive-through, but eating inside offers affable, speedy table service, plus a glimpse at the afternoon ballgame on three televisions. Who’s playing? The Reds, of course.

SKYLINE CHILI | 4112 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, (941) 242-2603,

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