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Do you ever pull your SoNo Fest SDCC ceramic chili bowl from your cupboard and feel transported back to last year’s event? Can you still taste your favorite recipe when you close your eyes? Yes, us too.

We are feeling all the feels about how many talented Chefs have signed on to return to the #ChiliSmackDown competition this December. Without the generosity (and mad ladle skills) of these local culinary artists, the SoNo Fest would be no more. All hard labor and chili is graciously donated by the 40 participating restaurants! What they get in return (besides our lifetime adoration and praise) is a chance to reign supreme in the SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off Hall of Champions. Professional judges and “the people” will honor their favorite dishes with awards like Most Unique and Best Overall, and the restaurants will have bragging rights for years to come.

2014 winners Small Bar (best overall), Kensington Cafe (best vegetarian), Waypoint Public (most unique) and Carnitas Snack Shack (people’s choice) are all rolling back in this year to defend their titles! Winners of years past Urban Solace (most unique 2012), Ritual Tavern & Blind Lady Alehouse (tie for best overall 2012), Sipz (best vegetarian 2013) and Rebecca’s Coffee House (best overall in 2009- our first year of competition!) will be at this year’s event, dishing up their best chili yet.

Newbies Streetcar Merchants, Hope 46, Kindred (in Alchemy’s former space in South Park), Cafe Madeline and Panchitas Bakery will be bringing the heat with some tough new competition. South and North Park has blossomed with new restaurants recently and these Chefs are in it to win it.

What’s your restaurant dream team for the upcoming smack-down? Make your predictions for who will be victorious in each of the 4 categories: Best Overall, Best Vegetarian, Most Unique and People’s Choice (hey, you have a say in that one!). We’ll meet you on 32nd street and Thorn on December 6th and see who comes out on top!

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