As part of the Macon Food Story, we’re taking a closer look at some of the famous comfort foods that help feed our spirits and our stomachs on a cold winter’s day. 

Through our partnership with Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, Amyre Makupson went to a Macon restaurant known for warming people up with a hearty bowl of chili.

It takes a day in advance to make and gallons of it are often gone after the lunch rush.

“If I run out of chili, I’m in trouble," said Joe Mullendore, the owner and chef at Joe D's on Ingleside in Macon.

He makes A LOT of chili.

“We go through about 20 something gallons of chili a week here at Joe D’s," he said.

As owner and chef, he knows the winter months mean one thing.

“There’s always someone in the mood for a good, hot bowl of chili -- you know a comforting bowl of chili," said Mullendore.

“Cold [weather] is very good for chili," said customer Steve Kruger.

Kruger is a long time fan of the chili at Joe D’s.

"It’s the best in town. Just the flavoring and the way they make it," he said.

It’s a recipe that takes time.

“The good seasonings I put in... salt and pepper, cumin, garlic powder and I always like to just let it simmer a day ahead," said Mullendore.

And like all good comfort food, it feeds the soul as much as it does the body.

“Comfort food is all about what you did in the kitchen as a kid with your grandparents or your parents. I think people have recipes for comfort food that remind them of their grandmother or mother or father or grandfather," said Mullendore. "A lot of what I do here reminds me of my grandfather, I think he would be proud of his grandson."

The soup selection changes daily at Joe D’s, but chili is always on the menu.