I arrive at Biddle’s Escape in Regent Square for their last “Food Truck Wednesday” of the season feeling hungry and hopeful. The dreary weather has me in the mood for something warm and comforting—a craving that Revival Chili should be equipped to satisfy.
Revival offers four different “Gourmet Chili Entrees,” each with their own unique flavors and toppings available in two different portion sizes: a cup or a bowl. Chili purests will be glad to know that the only Revival recipe that includes any beans is their vegan chili, which is served over rice and topped with lime, jalapeno, cilantro and tortilla chips. Their classic beef chili is served over cornbread with cheese, chips, and a healthy dollop of sour cream. Revival also has a chili con pollo, as well as a spicy beef and pork chili called the “Godfather.”
If you prefer your chili as more of a condiment than a main dish, Revival has some other options that should fit the bill. You can get chili nachos, a chili burrito, a chili hot dog or a chili burger. There’s also a Revival spin on a ‘walking taco’ that puts chili and toppings in a bag of crushed-up Fritos.
When I’m trying to gauge quality, I usually go for a classic. So I order the beef chili with the aforementioned cheese, chips, and sour cream on top, all tucked in on a cornbread bed. With all of it carefully arranged in the bowl, it looks a bit like a chili sundae. I dive in with my spoon to create the perfect bite, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a meaty, sweet and smoky stew. All the right spices come through, and there are no bland beans to dilute their flavors.
The toppings aren’t fancy. It’s just your everyday supermarket style shredded cheese, tortilla chips and sour cream—but that’s what you want when you want a bowl of classic chili. You want that homemade feeling that reminds you of every other bowl of chili you’ve ever eaten. Or, at least, that’s what I want.
If I could improve one thing at Revival, I would want a cornier cornbread. As it is right now, it’s a fairly standard version that does a great job of soaking up the beefy liquid and adding another textural component. But, it could bring a bigger punch of some sweet, sweet corn.
If you do visit Revival Chili’s truck, which is very easy to locate through the calendar on their website, the good feeling you’ll get won’t just be from the warm bowl of comfort you consume, but because you’ll be supporting a good business. Revival hires people who face barriers to employment, like an arrest record or homelessness. That mission is personal to Revival founder Jordan Robarge, who found that an underage drinking charge stuck with him when he tried to find work—a lot more than he thought a misdemeanor would.
Revival gives people a chance to gain skills and experience without judgement. And those people certainly know how to make some good chili.