Isn't it funny how sometimes it's the little things that merge for a perfect lunch. I was walking across the Butler Plaza parking lot scratching my head about why they are tearing down all the buildings except the Bonefish Grill facing Archer Road. I looked to the South and there stood Chili's Grill & Bar like a beacon of sanity in a sea of bulldozers, dump trucks, giant tractor plowing, grading machinery. With a final look at the machinery digging up the parking lot, I thought of the Talking Heads singing 'Same as it ever was' as I hurriedly scampered into Chili's thinking, "It's just me, I think I will sit at the bar and watch some TV." Chili's makes a good hamburger that may not get enough credit on the GLOBer radar screen. Called Craft Burgers at Chili's, there are eight different hamburger types served with house-made garlic dill pickles and home-style fries. I think there must be some Latin American blood in me because Mexican, guacamole, or spicy on the menu always makes my decision-making easy. Today it was the Guacamole Burger with melted cheese, jalapenos, red and green bell peppers, caramelized onions, and cumin-lime sour cream. CARUMBA GLOBers! It might be a little thing to you, but this sounded like hamburger I could eat every day. It's been a while since I have had French fried anything much less a plate of glorious French fries and in that vein I was allowed to substitute broccoli for the spuds. My other request was to hold the hamburger bun. My server happily agreed to my requests, and I was presented with a very interesting platter of all the Chili's elements needed to create this fine hamburger. I happily heaped the jalapenos, bell peppers, onions and cumin lime sour cream on top of each other for my own Do it Yourself lunch time protein prize. The flavors were muy deliciousioso. The peppers were hot and piquant, the guac/lime cream delightful. My broccoli was cooked to perfection -- a beautiful crisp, green side that I enjoyed immensely. This was a fabulous lunch time burger because of all the little things adding up and this same mucho gigante protein experience and veggie lunch will be worth going back for again on another day.
Chili's: Good lunch on 'strip of franchises'
In all fairness you have to be objective about Chili's Bar & Grill: For a franchise restaurant, the food is pretty good.
Baby-back, baby-back, baby-back, baby-back, baby-back, baby-back, baby-back. I stil love that commercial jingle.
One of my lunch mates this trip did indeed opt for the baby-back ribs and was not disappointed. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being exceptional, she gave the tender, juicy, meaty ribs an 8. See, advertising works.
Another member of our lunch outing ordered the Chile and House Salad with a Caesar salad, and she was pleased as well. Not only that, but a very tasty order of chips and salsa came with the chili but was enough for all three of us.
I've always ordered the Chili's Bar & Grill bacon cheeseburger with good results. The plump burger was cooked to order and was served with a respectable amount of melted cheese, bacon, and all the flavorful ingredients that make my taste buds wake up and smell the protein.
But let me back up to mention that before we had our entrees, we ordered an appetizer – Crispy Onion String & Jalapeno Stack. The onion strings were very good – light and not too greasy, but the star of the show was the jalapenos. Fresh jalapeno had been cut up into ¼ to ½ inch slices that had been deep fried. They were probably fried with the onions and had probably also been battered, but the batter didn't really stick to the jalapenos. That was actually a good thing because it allowed us to enjoy unadulterated pepper. Having been fried, the slices of jalapeno had a perfect cooked pepper taste with just the right amount of heat. What a fantastic idea.
The minuses listed really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has read some of the other GLOB lunch feature stories.
I'll be honest here. I always try to be honest. I'm not a big fan of the whole franchise restaurant persona.
When you walk into this restaurant, the first thing you see is a cadre of staffers scurrying about with future-world-like headsets wrapped around their craniums. I never know if they are in constant contact with Chili's Bar & Grill Command Central or if they are talking to each other about peculiar customers.
Like a lot of the restaurants on Archer Road, Chili's is a busy place. The last two times I was there, I had one of two choices. I could wait up to 15 minutes for a table or choose to sit in the bar area where it is 'every customer for himself.' This time, we went to the bar and I cleaned off a booth table to make room for us. My lunch mates at the table laughed when I said. "Hello my name is Mike and I will be serving you today." The server wanted me to move out of her way so she could fulfills someone else's order.
You can also take my word for the fact that most of the Chili's Bar & Grill noise emanates from the bar area. We made the most of the situation and came up with a seating arrangement that worked for us – my two lunch mates hadn't seen each other in awhile so they sat together on one side of the table so they could catch up. I couldn't hear their conversation my side of ythe table, so I spent my lunch hour watching sports television on at least three different TVs.
I'm not being critical. I've accepted the fact that the restaurants on Archer Road are there for reasons other than casual atmosphere, good conversation, and a relaxed setting to while away a lunch hour.
That's the Archer Road reality for me. It's a trade off of lunch amenities. Are you looking for tasty food, friendly ambience, or frantic, fast paced get in and get out, for a fast lunch result?
As my mother said more than once, we're all different aren't we?"
But the Chili's staffer's really do need to lose the future world head sets . .
The Pluses and Minuses of Chili's Bar & Grill:
Chili's Bar & Grill + indicators: One of the best hamburgers in the GLOB!
Chili's Bar & Grill - indicators: The Archer Rd. restaurant triangle, traffic, out-ot-towners in town.
Be the first to offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about Chilis Grill & Bar. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 373-3010
- Address: 3530 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Archer Road
- Web Site: Chili's Grill & Bar
- Latitude: 29.6240797
- Longitude: -82.3763195
Dennis Brown Friday, 30 May 2014 10:09 Comment Link
The chicken tenders here are the best I've had anywhere. I always have a nice relaxed meal here. The only possible problem is that sometimes the restaurant is freezing cold. Take your coat just in case. Not making a joke about the name.
LIsa Renshaw Thursday, 29 May 2014 13:51 Comment Link
I love Chili's!
Jules Thursday, 09 February 2012 11:14 Comment Link
JEEZ, now the waiters wear headsets?
Getting a little too high tech there.
yet CHili's always aims to please.
I will continue to order my Salads & cheeseburgers there.