Independence, MO

It may be an outdated restaurant for some, but after 103 years, Dixon's Famous Chili is a tradition

CJ Coombs
Photo byFacebook/Dixon's Famous Chili.

Dixon's Famous Chili Parlor may not be your cup or plate of chili, but it's earned some applause for being around for over 100 years. It's also one of the longest-running family-owned restaurants in the Kansas City area. Dixon's is just five minutes from Kauffman Stadium and the GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.

It's true, that since the early 1900s, local residents liked this chili restaurant. Dixon's is located at 9105 E. US Highway 40, Independence, Missouri. This restaurant's story began with Texas native, Vergne Dixon when he opened a chili eatery at 15th and Olive in downtown Kansas City in the summer of 1919.

Dixon had a counter and six stools and as such, he didn't allow newspapers. Enjoy your chili so the next person can have a stool. Interestingly, too, he didn't allow ketchup in his parlor. No ketchup on the chili--it was considered an insult.

Even before President Harry S. Truman was in office, he was a fan of Dixon's. Aside from a takeout order after becoming President, reporters and photographers looked on when he personally visited Dixon's for some chili two days before Christmas in 1950.

It's said that after Vergne Dixon died in 1964, the parlor would send President Truman chili every year on his birthday.
Photo byFacebook/Dixon's Famous Chili.
In 1950, after LIFE Magazine published a spread with Truman enjoying lunch there, Dixon’s Chili became Dixon’s Famous Chili. The presidential favor gave Dixon’s notoriety. (Source.)

In 1969, the original parlor closed. In the 1970s, there were as many as 16 parlors, but by 1999, the one on 40 Highway and Blue Ridge Cutoff was the only remaining parlor.

Through the years, even though the menu expanded, that original chili recipe remained and a third generation and fourth generation are carrying the family oar.
Photo byFacebook/Dixon's Famous Chili.

Dixon's is open from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It's closed on Sundays. Visit here for Dixon's website for more information.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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