You can't get Cheli's chili in Chicago anymore -- the Cheli's Chili Bar there closed when Chris Chelios was traded to the Detroit Red Wings. You can get it in Michigan, of course; the hockey player has three Cheli's Chili Bar restaurants around Detroit.
And now you can get it in Denver: The Recovery Room, the classic dive at 819 Colorado Boulevard that was revived under new ownership on May 8, serves a great bowl of Cheli's chili with all the fixin's ($5). It's not the green chile that's so popular in Colorado, but it's a solid Midwestern version -- and the Recovery Room may be the only place you can get it in this state.
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And the bar is now also offering meatball sandwiches, hot dogs (best slathered with that chili) and other items it can make in a "kitchen the size of a closet," says co-owner Chris Campbell.
In addition to adding food, Campbell and Mark Lane, who've owned the Old Towne Tavern at 2410 West Main Street in Littleton for the past four years, also gave the place a good scrubbing, opening up the front window, restoring the back bar and cleaning up the booths whose tables are inlaid with old parlor games. And today, the Recovery Room is looking good.
The Recovery Room is now open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day. The closet, er, kitchen is serving from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; there are happy hours with a dollar off most drinks from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well nightly specials from 9 p.m. to close.