JD’s was born out of a true love for each other and chili! On Diana and John Anderson’s first date over 10 years ago, he made her a pot of chili. As it was far too spicy for her to eat, he made her a milder batch on the spot and the rest is history! Well, not quite. In truth, it was thanks to their son, Wade, who wanted to start a business and share his family’s amazing chili with the world.
Since then, chili has become a great passion of ours, inspiring us to explore the origin and evolution of chili, which just so happen to have started right here in San Antonio, Texas. We began by serving chili to the public through the New Braunfels Farmers Market and quickly developed a following of loyal chili heads. From there, we expanded into other markets and special events, such as the Folklife Festival and Fiesta.
Soon, we needed our own commercial kitchen, so we became a part of the Local Sprout Food Hub family, a group of independent local food companies with a shared vision of sustainability and creating the highest quality artisan products for our community.
It wasn’t long before our customers asked how they could make our chili at home, which is why we created our Chili Fixin’s, so that everyone could easily make a gourmet pot of our Americana fusions on their own. As you might have guessed, the Chili Queen & King of Texas have spent many late nights sitting around the campfire dreaming up other delicious ways to chilify your world, and we’re just getting started!
Historic Chili Queens
It wasn’t long before cowboys traveling to and from San Antonio begged the Chili Queens for their secret ingredients and started planting the spices they used along the cattle trail, so they could make their own pot of chili on cold, dark nights under the Texas sky.
We owe our thanks to the evolution of chili in the United States largely to the Chile Queens, a group of women who served chili con carne to the community in the plazas of San Antonio from the 1860s until the late 1930s. Big pots of chili were cooked over flaming mesquite fires and people from all over the city, even the country, flocked to the plazas to get a steaming hot bowl of red, which only cost 10 cents a bowl at the time.
These lovely ladies become the inspiration for wild west foodies and famous writers alike. O. Henry wrote about them in his short story, The Enchanted Kiss. He said, “Drawn by the coquettish senoritas, the music of the weird Spanish minstrels, and the strange piquant Mexican dishes served at a hundred competing tables, crowds thronged the Alamo Plaza all night.”
Although chili has come a long way since then – with so many different variations – we tip our hats off to these outstanding ladies and pay homage to them with one of our core chilis called Texas Red, as close to the Chili Queens’ original recipe as you can get!