Pepper In Some Mediocrity – Only at Chili’s!

Chili’s – Visited September 30, 2009

5055 Marsh Rd
Okemos, MI 48864-1103
(517) 347-7188

Food Rating: ★★★☆☆ – The food is good. Not great, but Chili’s has become pretty popular and all of the marketing in the world can’t cover up awful food.

Service Rating: ★½☆☆☆ – This is generally where my distaste from Chili’s comes from. The orders are wrong, nobody seems to give a crap, and nobody seems concerned about our dining experience.

Atmosphere Rating: ★★½☆☆ – Gaudy. Not for me, but there isn’t anything really wrong with it.

Price Rating: ★★★☆☆ – The food is slightly more expensive than I feel it should be, and the beer is considerably more expensive than it should be. But I did get a pretty big margarita for pretty cheap.

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆ – I’m neither here nor there on Chili’s. I probably will continue to avoid them, but I’m not adverse to eating there if that is what other people want to do.

Well, I picked Chili’s because they had been pretty awful the past two times I went there. I decided to give Chili’s a third chance hoping to get a funny story out of the deal. Well, unfortunately for me and fortunately for them the third time was a “charm”.

The first two times visiting this Chili’s were dismal at best. The queso dip was cold with a nice micro-waved film on top, and several orders were wrong. We had to send the server back at least twice per visit because of missing dishes, and on a fairly regular occasion people had to ask for drink refills instead of being asked if they would like more (or, bonus, the server just brings it). The restaurant was slow during these visits, which explains, but does NOT excuse why the food wasn’t fresh, and definitely makes me wonder how the server messed up so much. Both dining experiences were pretty bad.

However, on our third venture to Chili’s they did much better. Our server still seemed like she would have preferred it if we hadn’t come in to dine, and she messed up an order, but once we pointed it out she had it fixed in a jiff.

One thing I was impressed with was a margarita I ordered. The el Presidente or some jazz. I was expecting a regular margarita with a double margarita price. What I got was a decent sized margarita, the shaker with at least another 1.5 refills in it, and a price of like $7. That is OK in my book. Super OK.

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As for the food, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. Kind of generic. People ate up with no complaints.

I ordered some steak and ribs. My steak was ordered rare, and came out pretty close to what I wanted, so I can’t complain. Wasn’t a great cut of meat, but at least they cooked it how I wanted it. The ribs were dry and tasted like generic bbq sauce. As it turns out, I don’t want my Chili’s baby back ribs.

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The only weird thing going on was the chips that came as an appetizer. Maybe this is how Chili’s does chips, but I wasn’t a fan. They were thin and kind of soft. Kind of like some fried tissue paper.

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Also, the saltines were soggy in the packaging. Weird.

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Anyway, I won’t choose to go to Chili’s again despite this not-so-terrible experience. I will sigh and groan if people want to go there, but I’ll probably go if I can’t talk them out of it. Maybe Chili’s are better somewhere else, but it was my understanding that part of being a franchise is to offer the same service no matter where it is. So, either Chili’s of Okemos shouldn’t be part of the franchise, or all Chili’s should be avoided if possible as you run a one-in-three chance of having a mediocre dining experience, and a two-in-three chance of being pissed off. We shall see!

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