The Ole County Store in Sulfur, Indiana just serendipitously appeared. I wasn't looking for it, I just needed some fuel. The "Donnie's Famous Chili" banner was hard to miss once I turned the corner. For a food writer with a newspaper column called "The Hungry Hoosier" this is the kind of thing I just have to explore, truly hungry or not. The Ole Country Store is not a tourist trap, far from it actually. This Crawford County establishment is the place to fuel up, grab some bait, and, I learned, enjoy some chili. Apparently Donnie makes a patch every few days and it is stored in Styrofoam containers in a refrigerator. Once someone wants some chili, the cashier steps out from behind the counter and puts one of the containers in the microwave and sets the timer for three minutes.
As it heated up, I began to smell it. The unmistakable perfume of chili spices. I had asked for mine to go and it was bagged for me along with a spoon and a few saltine crackers. Once in the car I took a look. The chili was a bit thinner than I make mine and it included spaghetti noodles. I sipped off some of the liquid on top and could immediately tell this was going to be good chili. After it cooled slightly, I took my first bite. Yep, good chili. All the components were there - rich meat, well-balanced tomato flavor, the harmony of chili spices, AL den ta beans, and the pasta added a nice additional texture and a starchy balance to all that protein. It was not too spicy but had enough heat to keep my entire tongue gently buzzing for 20 miles or so.
If you are driving I-64 in Southern Indiana, check out the Ole Country Inn. The address is 7 West SR 62 and the phone number is (812) 739-2614.