Chi Chi's Mexican restaurants has a sordid past. It is an understatement to say that they are no longer the warm and inviting casual dining experience we have come to know this MoFo. In fact, they are no longer even an operational restaurant in the U.S., having been relegated to the grocery store aisles of salsa. The brand is now owned by Hormel, making a line of salsas, microwave meals and chips. That is a long way from operating 210 restaurants internationally.
Chi Chi's (whose name is equivalent to "Hooters," yes, it is named for breasts) was plagued by a string of bankruptcies, spanning from 1993 through 2003, when they filed for their final Chapter 11. As if that wasn't enough to put them under, a mere month after this, they were hit by the biggest, most devastating Hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. One of the restaurants was found responsible for contaminating food, via green onions, and sickening over 600 people, including 4 deaths. After a few months, Chi Chi's settled with the victims and by 2004 had sold their remaining few stores to Outback and eventually closed all their US locations.
Let's get into the food.
Chi Chi's was popular (or was it?) for making Mexican food with an unusual twist. Take for instance the dish below. It is a Twice Grilled Barbecue Burrito. Twice grilled because the beef is grilled and then the burrito is grilled. Before being served, it is brushed with barbecue sauce. Believe it or not, this is really good! The barbecue sauce really adds a great flavor to the burrito. It is filled with grilled seitan, grilled peppers and onions and cheese. You can easily omit the seitan and make it all fajita vegetables, even adding the avocado into the burrito itself before grilling it. But if you bake it, I would add the avocado on top, as in the picture.
There is no cost comparison for this meal, since there is none possible.
tortilla, lime, oil: $1.25
cheese, avocado: $3
peppers, onions, garlic: $3
BBQ sauce: $.75
Total to make 4 burritos: