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Bacon Hill tops in Oktoberfest chili competition

Despite the rain and wind, Bacon Hill Kitchen & Pub had a good day at Oktoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 3, in downtown Elkhart.

The Cowboy Chili from the menu of the relatively new Elkhart restaurant won the people’s choice award and finished second in the judge’s voting. The booth staffed by owners David and Zachary Lucchese also won the award for being best.

“It’s a pretty traditional chili,” Zach said. “Onions, garlic, pepper, tomatoes.”

He uses their burger blend of pork and beef. Near the end of its simmer, the chili gets smoked chicken, pulled pork and house barbecue sauce.

Lucchese competed in the contest previously with Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant, but never won award. He enjoys seeing the creativity of other chefs.

“It’s just fun to see what everyone else comes up with and the different styles,” he said.

This year, a record 15 restaurants and city departments competed in the contest at Elkhart Civic Plaza. There were white chilis with chicken and plenty of red chilis with pork, beef and even lamb.

Iechyd Da finished second in the people’s choice category and McCarthy’s third. Miles Lab finished second and 5 Star Dive Bar third in the competition for best booth.

Mayoral candidate Tim Neese and Mayor Dick Moore judged, along with yours truly. The three of us picked New Paradigm as the top chili, Bacon Hill as second and the FOP third. The officers from the Elkhart Police Department bested the Elkhart Fire Department in the battle of the badge.

Pillars of Elkhart hosts the annual event, which was hampered some by the weather, but still had a good turnout.

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