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In 2020, Covington's Dixie Chili to Get Makeover

The perpetual rivalry between Cincinnati-style chili establishments Skyline and Gold Star continues to rage, year in and year out, on the north side of the Ohio River.

But on the south side, in Northern Kentucky, that debate is long settled.

Dixie Chili is a staple of NKY diets and elicits nostalgic glee from generations.

The Covington location of the 91-year old local chain is freshening up for the new decade.

The City of Covington announced its latest round of business-supporting grants, and Dixie's Madison Avenue location was among the recipients.

“Once again, our small business program is doing what we designed it to do: Give tangible help to an eclectic array of businesses in different parts of the city,” said Ross Patten, Covington’s economic development project manager.

Patten's remark suggests the city's economic infusions are extending beyond the downtown corridor. “And you don’t have to be located downtown,” Patton added. “In fact, we want to continue using the Small Business program to encourage investment outside the urban core in our neighborhood commercial districts.”

Applications are open now.

“Based on past years, we expect many more applications once the weather improves, so we encourage applicants to start planning early for their Spring and Summer projects,” he said.

The four newest awards were approved by the Covington city commission in December.

  • Dixie Chili, which has served its unique brand of Cincinnati-style chili with a Greek influence at 2421 Madison Ave. since 1971, will receive a $3,546 forgivable façade improvement loan to help install a new custom electric sign and paint accent trim on its building. 
  • COR Freight LLC will receive a $6,000 rent subsidy over a one-year period. The freight brokerage firm moved two jobs to 525 W. Fifth St. last summer and will add two more employees. This represents a target industry as outlined in the City’s recently adopted economic development action plan. 
  • Haven Café LLC will receive a $5,298 rent subsidy over a one-year period. The café, which will be opening on the ground floor of The Bradford Building at 332 Scott Blvd., will focus on healthy, sustainable and grab & go foods. 
  • Lewisburg Gateway LLC will receive a $5,634 forgivable façade improvement loan to help replace storefront windows, add transoms, and install maintenance-free flowerboxes to the front of the building. The two-story commercial building - recently bought and renovated as part of the City’s public-private initiative called The Ripple Effect - will house Salon Jade. 

Spiros Sarakatsanis, owner of Dixie Chili, told WCPO recently that the nearly 50-year old location needs some aesthetic attention. The plans call for new paint, a new sign, and new trim.

“What we do as far as the facade is concerned is very important for drawing people in,” Sarakatsanis told WCPO. “We’re trying to keep this section of Covington alive.”

Over the last three years, the City has invested $297,185 in businesses through the small business program.

The rent subsidy program offers a grant of up to $500 a month for first-year rent. The façade program is a forgivable loan of up to $6,000 to match investment dollar-for-dollar in exterior improvements to a commercial building.

Businesses who are interested in applying for either should contact Patten at 859.292.2144 or [email protected]. The applications themselves and information about the programs can be found on the city’s website here.

-Staff report

Photo provided