About Us

Our chili bone fides consist of a family recipe passed down from our Texas trail drive cowboy grandfather whose eldest daughter, our Aunt Erma, used it in her roadhouse on route 281 in Gracemont, Oklahoma back in 1949. She always bragged about how folks would drive the 50 miles from Oklahoma City just for a taste of her chili. Before she died she wrote the recipe down on paper and gave it to us. It now resides in our safety deposit box.

In 1980 my brother Jim and I opened a chili parlor called the Hard Times Cafe at 1404 King Street in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to Aunt Erma’s traditional Texas chili recipe we also serve Cincinnati and Vegetarian chili.   It wasn’t long before customers wanting to make their own chili asked to buy our spice blend and the Hard Times Chili Spice Company was born.  Our most recent blend, called Terlingua Red, is our version of competition chili like you’d find at the world famous Terlingua International Chili cook-off.  We have mailed our spice blends, hot sauces and merchandise to every state in the union and quite a few APOs. Our office and warehouse is located at 308 Commerce Street Alexandria, Virginia 22314. For chili consultation contact fredp@hardtimes.com or jimp@hardtimes.com.

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Hard Times Chili Spice Co. © 2017