(Dec. 7, 2012) More than 500 people filtered in and out of the West Ocean City Greene Turtle on Sunday, Dec. 2, for the chance to sample chili recipes from 13 restaurants and to cast a vote for their favorite concoction during the Ocean City Parrothead Club’s 14th annual Hots for Tots Chili Cookoff.
“It gets better year after year. It was a great day, especially for the Needy Program for the Ocean City Police Department and for Worcester G.O.L.D. and their families in need,” said OCPHC President India Bandorick. “I couldn’t be happier. We love working with Chad and Kelly Rogers from the WOC Greene Turtle. Their enthusiasm makes the event fun for everyone involved.”
The chili blends had a variety of flavors and tastes–from mild to spicy and everything in between. They were served to guests in small portions during the contest, which has become one of the coastal area’s favorite pastime events, according to Bandorick.
When judges counted the ballots, Station 7 Restaurant, which opened last week on Route 707 in West Ocean City, took top honors with its “Firehouse Chili.”
The chili is served at the West Ocean City restaurant as well as at the Pittsville and Laurel, Del. establishments. The blend took first place in the contest in 2008 and second in 2009 and 2010.
“We go for a well-balanced, flavorful chili,” said owner Todd Wampler. “It’s nice to have a new restaurant in the area and then win a local competition.”
Mother’s Cantina, located on 28th Street in Ocean City, had won the competition each of the past three years, but in 2012, its “Chili Con Cafe” earned second place.
“Ryan and I are both disappointed because we live and breathe food. Our restaurant and our food don’t just provide our living, they are our passion,” said Neely James, owner of Mother’s Cantina with her husband, Ryan. “So yes, we’re disappointed that our best efforts didn’t give us the result we wanted. However, the Parrotheads said Sunday was their second best turnout ever, which is awesome, and thinking about that really eases our disappointment. Station 7’s opening in West Ocean City will also benefit from their title, and we are definitely happy for them.”
Tern Grille in Ocean Pines earned third-place honors with “Chuck’s Chili.”
The Greene Turtle West captured the “Best of Show” award for the crowd favorite chili station decor. Don Pielert and Mollie Wyatt donned Alice in Wonderland-themed attire while serving the restaurant’s “Mad Hatter’s Brew.”
Other participating restaurants were Oasis Bar & Grill, Liquid Assets, Harborside, BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar, Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon, Coins Pub, The Globe, Seaside Deli and The Woodlands of Ocean Pines.
“Everyone had a great time tasting chili, and as always, there were votes for everyone across the board,” Bandorick said.
Visitors were asked to make a $10 donation at the door or donate a new, unwrapped toy for the Ocean City Police Department’s annual toy drive. Several hundred toys were collected.
More than $1,800 was also donated Sunday. Monetary donations will benefit the 10 families, which consist of 25 children and 12 adults, adopted by the OCPHC for Thanksgiving and Christmas as part of Worcester County G.O.L.D. (Giving Other Lives Dignity), a countywide program that works to improve lives of people throughout the community. One family lives in Bishopville and one resides in Ocean City. Three are from Berlin and five live in Snow Hill.
“Next year marks our 15th year and we are planning a huge event for the first Sunday in December,” Bandorick said. “I hope everyone will come and experience one of Ocean City’s favorite winter pastimes, the Hots for Tots Chili Cookoff.”