In search of ... chili

Colder weather, tailgating parties and cook-off competitions, such as the annual Chomp & Stomp festival, all conjure the season when we think about a big bowl of chili. Beef, bison or turkey? Beans or no beans? Check out five places where chili is a serious thing.

Rocco’s Pub, 1477 Roswell Road, Marietta, 770-971-8806,

Rocco’s is all about chili. Winner of numerous chili cook-off competitions, it's served up by the cup, bowl or super bowl, with or without beans, layered on corn chips for chili pie and ladled on pasta for chili mac. Rocco’s also sells quarts or gallons to go, chili mix, hot sauce and chili-head apparel.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers, 209 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta, 404-522-3444,

Grindhouse is the essence of retro cool — a hip burger joint situated among the old-school food stalls inside the historic Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Grindhouse’s meaty, smoky beef chili, with sour cream, scallions and cheese, was a big winner at the Chomp & Stomp chili cook-off.

The Highlander, 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta, 404-872-0060,

“Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” host Guy Fieri came to the Highlander for the Jamaican jerk chili. The chunky, fiery mix of ground beef and Italian sausage, jerk seasoning, tomatoes, hot peppers, and red and black beans is topped with shredded cheddar and served up with jalapeno corn fritters.

Ted’s Montana Grill, 1850 E. West Connector, S.W., Austell, 770-944-5800,

Sure, Ted’s Montana Grill is a chain. But Karen’s “Flying D” Bison Chili is made from scratch every day, and it shows. Loaded with lean, flavorful ground bison and spicy ranch-style beans in a tangy tomato sauce, it’s also served atop Ted’s crave-worthy chili cheese fries.

Souper Jenny, 56 E. Andrews Drive, Atlanta, 404-237-7687,

Actress-turned-cook Jenny “Souper Jenny” Levison is the mother of the funky soup shop in Atlanta. Her restaurant and takeaway spot serves dozens of different daily offerings by the cup, bowl or quart, but there’s always the hearty My Dad’s Turkey Chili, from Levison’s father’s recipe.