Photo provided by Patrick Kaple
Patrick Kaple really likes Skyline Chili. So much so that he’s challenged himself to eat 1,000 cheese coneys in one year.
Kaple, a recent graduate of Xavier University, may not be a native Cincinnatian, but his love for our controversial chili is one that was instilled in him from childhood.
“I wouldn't be as big of a Skyline guy if it wasn't for my father," he says. "I had Skyline at least once a week growing up and most of the time it was the frozen stuff. He would load up our plates full of spaghetti, chili and cheese; on his plate he would put almost an entire diced onion on top of his mound of chili and spaghetti."
Kaple grew up in Norwalk, Ohio — between Cleveland and Toledo — and says Skyline dip was a must at any family gathering and the "culture of Cincinnati, Xavier basketball, Graeter's, Skyline and Sugar 'n Spice were always part of me."
Kaple started a Twitter profile with the handle @1kconey
where followers can keep up with his journey. As of today, he has consumed 382 coneys.
We chatted with Kaple over email to find out what inspired him to take on this challenge and about the process along the way.
Why did you decide to embark on this challenge?
Patrick Kaple: I decided to embark on this challenge mainly because I thought that I could do it. My friends and I stumbled across an article written by Cleveland Scene
titled: "An Ohio Man ate 400 Skyline Chili Cheese Coneys this year and is still somehow alive."
I have some friends who eat three coneys every day for lunch at work and we're like, "Why is that something newsworthy?" I said, "I'm going to go for 1,000 and see what happens." If you love Skyline that much, 400 coneys is like second nature to you. In the article he says, "I'm sure the 1,000th coney would taste the same as the first." So that's the origin of the number we decided.
When did the challenge begin?
This challenge began on a whim Dec. 31, 2018. I ate four coneys for lunch and then my friends brought me five later that day at work, so I got off to a great start.
What is your typical order?
My typical order before the challenge started was a 4-way and two or three cheese coneys, depending on how hungry I was. My typical order throughout the challenge has been four coneys and a side of fries with a Dr. Pepper. If I'm anywhere but the Kenwood Skyline I will get Extreme cheese, but they do not mix the Extreme cheese and the regular cheese, so it's just hot.
Why Skyline? Any other favorite chili spots around town?
PK: We chose Skyline because, well, there really isn't anywhere else that is open late with multiple locations. There's a Skyline by both my jobs, near my house and plenty others that are open late. Other than Skyline, my favorite chili spots around town are Blue Ash Chili, Pleasant Ridge Chili and when I used to live in Clifton, Chili Time.
Do you have a favorite Ohio Skyline location?
My favorite Skyline location is easily the Clifton Skyline on Ludlow [Ave. in Cincinnati]. They are extremely friendly and the service there is always second to none.
Have you noticed any changes in your physical and mental well-being since starting the challenge?
I have not noticed anything different with my well-being — I've put on maybe five pounds, but that can fluctuate daily. Mentally I haven't noticed much, other than thinking about chili dogs way more often than I used to. This challenge has stopped me from going to McDonald's, White Castle or Steak 'n Shake late-night after work, so I feel like it's a pretty healthy substitute.
Any advice to others interested in taking on this challenge?
My advice to others interested in this challenge would be to save up for it and join a gym. Also, just because you're doing a coney challenge, don't forget about the other items on the menu. The chili cheese fries, ways, 3-way potato and the wraps are all great options to get a base layer.
Are you sick of it yet?
I am not sick of it yet. The only thing that has been difficult about it is finding the time to go to Skyline while also being able to still eat something that is not a coney dog that day.
A version of this article first appeared in our sister paper Cincinnati CityBeat.
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