Two St. Lawrence County diners fare well at Chili Cook-Off
Silver Leaf Diner, DeKalb Junction, took home the People’s Choice Award for receiving the most votes in the restaurant-to-restaurant portion of this year’s North Country Chili Cook-Off. Seen here are owner Traci Kirker, right, and “Grandma” Loretta Thayer. Volunteer Transportation Center photo.Two St. Lawrence County eateries took home honors during the Annual North Country Chili Cook-Off organized by the Volunteer Transportation Center held Feb. 25 at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown.
This marked the competition’s first year back to its traditional in-person format since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the event drew hundreds.
The event — which raises money for the Volunteer Transportation Center to fund crucial transportation to medical appointments and grocery shopping trips for local veterans and their families — is estimated to have raised more than $30,000, returning to pre-pandemic fundraising levels.
Silver Leaf Diner, DeKalb Junction, took home the People’s Choice Award for receiving the most votes from people in the community in the restaurant-to-restaurant portion of this year’s North Country Chili Cook-Off.
In addition, the team from L.E.A.’S Diner from Heuvelton, led by Steven Bogardus, took third place in the Professional Category.
Other St. Lawrence County eateries which participated in the restaurant-to-restaurant format included:
• The Blue House, 3736 County Route 14, Madrid;
• Route 68 Deli, 4962 State Route 68, Ogdensburg;
• Smuggler’s Café, 54 East River Street, Ogdensburg;
• Hoof & Horn Butcher and Eatery, 32 Market Street, Potsdam;
• Plum Brook Café, 756 County Route 17, Russell; and
• Black Waters Café and Trading Post, 68 Ranger School Road, Wanakena.
This year’s in-person event saw 17 teams participate, with a mix of professional and amateur teams. Attendees were able to taste chili from each team, sampling traditional styles and ones with different takes like white bean chicken chili, vegetarian chili and others. Entries were evaluated by a panel of judges and the special category awards were given by another panel of judges.
L.E.A.’S Diner from Heuvelton, led Steven Bogardus, took third place in the Professional Category. Volunteer Transportation Center photo.