Larry Lavine loved burger joints growing up and always dreamed of having one, but it was a chili cook-off that really grabbed his attention. He took creativity in opening the very first location in a former post office in Dallas Texas and the restaurant and chain have never looked back. As for Larry, he created one of the most notable casual dining restaurants in America today before selling it and beginning a new restaurant.
General Restaurant Information
Food Type: American
Restaurant Type: Casual Dining
U.S. Locations: 1,259
States: 49 states, Chili’s Locations
Fresh Is Now.
Like no place else.
Chili’s Wants You to Know It’s Back (Baby Back, Baby Back)!
Questions: Contact Information
Phone number: 800-983-4637
Email: Contact Form Only
Blog: Blog Site
FAQ Page: Frequently Asked Questions
Who Owns Chili’s? Brinker International
Headquartered: Dallas, Texas
Email/contact page: Brinker Contact Information
Address: 6820 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75240
Do They Franchise? Franchise Information
What Is It Like To Work At Chili’s?
3.8/5 or 76%; 118 Reviews (indeed.com)
3.4/5, or 68%; 2,500 Reviews (glassdoor.com)
The History of Chili’s
Original Location: The very first location was converted post office but then located down the street to what the company considers the “first location” (pictured here) at 7567 Greenville Ave at Meadow Road, Dallas, Texas. (The post office was just down the road but I’ve not found the address yet.)
Founded: March 13, 1975
Founded By: Larry Lavine
Once Upon A Time (brinker.com)
Our Story (chilisjobs.com)
Founder Lavine to ‘customize’ a chain (nrn.com)
Larry Lavine & French Cowboy Chef Philipe Schmidt (restaurantownerradio.com)
Founder Obituary: Still Living
Name Origin: Larry Lavine was inspired by the Terlingua Chili cook-off he attended in 1967
History Page: Company History Page
Current View of Original Location: 7567 Greenville Ave as it is today (link may not work on mobile devices without Google Maps)
Our Story (brinker.com)
Chili’s Serves Its First Burger (dmagazine.com)
Charity Focus: Community Support
Green | Eco-Friendly: No resources found
Switching to 100% gestation crate-free pork (cagefreefuture.com)
Discounts At Chili’s
Rewards Program: Reward Program
Do Kids Eat Free at Chili’s?
What day do kids eat free? Most locations offer a kids eat free night, normally Monday or Tuesday
Summary: As always, call and check with your location. Most offer a free kids meal with an adult entree.
Does Chili’s Offer Military Discounts?
Summary: The chain offers a free meal on Veteran’s Day. You can also ask your local establishment if they offer an additional discount throughout the year.
What Does Chili’s offer for My Birthday!?
Summary: A free dessert on your birthday if you are a part of their rewards program.
Does the restaurant Offer First Responder Discounts?
Summary: No resources found
Does Chili’s Offer Senior Citizen | AARP Discounts?
Summary: Most locations offer a 10% discount for seniors over the age of 55 (as always, check your local restaurant for details)
Are There Any Other Discounts or Benefits?
Summary: When you join the Rewards program, they currently offer the following benefits
Personalized Rewards just for you – free kids meals, appetizers, desserts and more!
Free dessert on your birthday
1-Tap reorder of your favorites in the mobile app
Order Online: Online Order
WiFi Available: Yes
Use Apple Pay: Most location
Catering: Catering Menu
Open 24 Hours: No
Yelp: 2.6/5 or 52%, 2,583 reviews sampled
Tripadvisor: 3.79/5 or 79%, 3,351 reviews sampled
Overall (weighted) Average: 3.36/5 or 67%, 5,934 reviews sampled
Chili's & Related Items on Amazon
Food & Nutrition
Menu: Chili’s Menu
Kids Menu: Kids Menu
Secret Menu: Chili (couponsherpa.com)
Most Popular Menu Item: Old Timer with Cheese
Coke or Pepsi: Coke
Serve Alcohol: Yes
Nutritional Information: Chili’s Nutrition Guide
Vegetarian | Vegan Options:
145 Vegan Chain Restaurant Menus Every Vegan Needs to Know (urbantastebud.com)
Eating Vegan at National Restaurant Chains (insteading.com)
Farm to Table | Organic Options | Clean | Non-GMO: No resources found
Miscellaneous Nutrition Resources:
The Most Popular Chain Restaurants Ranked! (eatthis.com)
Nutritional Information (fatsecret.com) (nutrition-charts.com) (healthydiningfinder.com)
The 50 Unhealthiest Meals of 2017 (eatthis.com)
The 7 Best Things To Order At Chili’s, According To Nutritionists (womenshealthmag.com)
Allergen Information: Chili’s Allergen Guide
Gluten Free Options:
Chili’s Gluten Free Menu (urbantastebud.com)
Dairy Free Options:
Dairy Free Options (godairyfree.org)
Restaurant Guide For Dairy-Free Dining (godairyfree.org)
Peanut Free Options:
Chili’s Peanut & Allergy Information (chilis.com)
Food Allergy Guides For Many Chain Restaurants (verywellhealth.com)
Ways to Eliminate Risks of Peanut Allergy When Dining Out (healthguidance.org)
Does Chili’s Have Any Secret Recipes?
Chili’s 33 Recipes! (topsecretrecipes.com)
Chicken Enchilada Soup (tasteofhome.com) (sixsistersstuff.com)
Cajun Chicken Pasta (delish.com) (sixsistersstuff.com)
Skillet Queso (cupcakediariesblog.com) (sixsistersstuff.com) (copykat.com)
Grilled Baby Back Ribs (geniuskitchen.com)
Southwestern Egg Rolls (allrecipes.com)
Miscellaneous Recipes (allrestaurantrecipes.com)
Steak Fajitas (sixsistersstuff.com)
Hot Fudge Molten Lava Cake (sixsistersstuff.com)
Honey Chipotle Chicken Crispers (delish.com) (spicysouthernkitchen.com)
Did You Know?
Lavine credits Burger House and Goff’s Hamburgers for the initial concept of Chilis (interactive.dmagazine.com)
The original restaurant began as a burger joint but it was attending a chili cook-off that inspired Larry to branch out his menu.
Many locations use a robot waitstaff (wsj.com)
Larry Lavine has since gone on to open a new restaurant called Ten50 BBQ
After the backlash they received, the chain discontinued supporting Planned Parenthood (theblaze.com)
The famous Baby Back Ribs jingle came out in 1986 (see video below)
They had close ties with the band N Sync as the group did a commercial for them (see below) and they sponsored what would be N Sync’s last tour.
They were the first chain to open on an Air Force Base which was in Japan (thedailymeal.com)
The original Terlingua Chili may not be the healthiest menu item, but it will be the same recipe used by Lavine when the restaurant started in 1975
Inside the Church of Chili’s (gq.com)
Reduce menu items, speedy service (nrn.com)
Chili’s to slash 40% of the menu (nrn.com)
15 Things You Didn’t Know (thedailymeal.com)
10 Things You Didn’t Know (huffpost.com) (thrillist.com)
What You Need to Know About Chili’s Turnaround Plan (foodnewsfeed.com)
Chili's & Related Items on Amazon
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Followers (as of September 2018) –
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Food Type: Applebee’s, O’Charley’s, TGI Fridays
Restaurant Type: Abuelo’s, Applebee’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chili’s, Chuy’s, Famous Dave’s, O’Charley’s, Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, TGI Fridays
For an alphabetical listing of all our restaurants, simply go to our Restaurants Page.
Some restaurants have little personality, like Village Inn, but others carry an interesting story and facts surrounding it. Chili’s may not be the most significant family restaurant available in your town, but they are (or were) interesting at least. I enjoy learning about restaurants that were born or inspired by other restaurants, and this chain has that. They also have an interesting first location story where they initially set-up shop in a Post Office before moving to their first location. Their food is very popular with their fans but is lacking in healthy menu options. You have to be careful, or you’ll eat a day’s worth of sodium in one meal. If you fall into the category of a fan, you probably don’t care as much about the health as your love for their baby back ribs or burgers. If health is a primary focus for you or your family, enjoy their story and fun facts, but keep looking elsewhere for your next meal.