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Lunch at Chili's -- what do you recommend?

It pains me to realize that this is going to be the first post using my brand new username, but what the hey.

One day this week, I will be lunching at a Chili's restaurant. I have never been there, ever, and can't say I enjoy those type of restaurants (TGI Friday's, etc.) on the rare times I go.

What can I order from the Chili's menu that I may actually like?

I do like burgers, hot sandwiches, steaks, chicken, etc....
but I'm really looking for an item that may taste 'homemade' and not the previously-frozen, mass-produced concoction it will probably be. Or at least something unique.

One thing, I would prefer not to order any Mexican or Italian items since I know that no chain can ever satisfy me with anything in that regard.

But I'm open to everyone's burger, sandwich or platter suggestions.....
thanks in advance!!

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  1. I don't know if you'll LIKE these, but they are pretty inoffensive.

    Grilled Carribean Salad - chicken/canned pineapple/mandarin oranges and tortilla strips

    Guiltless Grill Pita - grilled chicken and pico de gallo in a pita with black beans on the side

    Southwestern Egg Rolls - smokey chicken and corn salsa with an avacadoy ranchy dip

    My husband always gets mashed potatoes there, sometimes they are really good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LisaAZ

      My husband and I ate at Chili's on Christmas Eve because it was the only place open, and we literally almost got in a fight over the Southwestern Egg Rolls. For the sake of my marriage, next time we get two orders! :-P

    2. We get the queso and chips to start and I usually get the chicken ceaser salad.

      1. I like two things at Chili's:

        1. Peppercorn (Ranch?) Burger.
        This is a burger covered in cracked peppercorns that has onion rings and (I think) ranch dressing on it., although it might be bleu cheese. I can't recall right now.

        2. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.
        This is a deep fried chicken breast that is usually quite good that has buffalo wing sauce and ranch on the sandwich.

        Also, order a small side (1.29 or so) of the queso dipping sauce for your fries.

        1. I agree that the peppercorn ranch burger is pretty tasty and the queso dipping sauce is pretty good too.

          1. I usually get the Buffalo Chicken Salad or the Southwestern Egg Rolls.

            1. I ordered the crispy buffalo chicken strip salad the other day and it was pretty good. It was gigantic, had lots of crumbled blue cheese that positively complemented their so so ranch dressing. The bacon was not crispy, so you may want to get it on the side before putting it all over the salad. It's topped with crispy tortilla strips.
              Surprisingly, their kid burger is pretty tasty, it's small but tasty in the way a White Castle hamburger is tasty, not like atraditional beefy steak flavor. It's much tastier then the adult’s burger. I just know this from eating my daughter’s leftovers. I don't think an adult can even order it...

              1 Reply
              1. re: michele cindy

                I havve gotten this kid burger also and order it to-go and that way the age thing doesn't become an issue

              2. The Old Timer, extra pickles, side of chips and salsa, and a frozen margarita.

                1. I will add my voice to the Peppercorn Burger. I think they do a good job on that and have that when I have to go to Chili's.

                  1. The lettuce chicken wraps are pretty good... you can't really go wrong with peanut sauce!

                    1. Well, here in SoCal, whenever I am stuck at a Chili's I opt for the BLACK PEPPERCORN BURGER, and ask them to hold the bleu cheese and instead add guacamole and bacon.

                      Not a bad combo, not good for your LDL/HDL ratio, but goes down pretty damn good ...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        The Chili's around here (maybe everywhere) now have a build-your-own-burger option where you can check off what you want on your burger. You can start with the regular burger or the peppercorn one and add whatever toppings you want from their list (some at an additional charge). They are advertising it non-stop on the radio here.

                        FWIW, the Grilled Carribean Salad is my "stuck at Chilis" standby.

                        1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                          I'm sure the OP doesn't have any choice, but I agree. Chili's is one chain where I've never been able to find anything I like. I'd rather go to pretty much anyplace else. Even Coco's. And there are some chains that I like ok, like Cheesecake Factory.

                        2. Hello everyone...I am the OP.
                          I want to thank everyone for the chorus of useful intelligence.

                          I had been eyeing the Ground Peppercorn Burger when I checked out the menu on the Chili's Web site, and the positive comments here clinched it as my choice. I found it to be tasty and eminently edible [though the bland, dry, not-very-green shredded lettuce almost ruined it]. Seeking maximum protein, I started with the Boneless Buffalo Wings (which as you might guess were more like large chicken 'poppers'). Not bad...the wing sauce they had been dunked in was only mildly spicy and not very exciting, but that was o.k.

                          I usually skip dessert, but due to protocol at this luncheon, I ordered the Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie. I'm glad I did...it was a real treat. A warm, soft chocolate chip bar with a gigantic mountain of vanilla ice cream on top, and drizzles of hot fudge and caramel. Check it out next time you're there...I know chocolate lovers will probably prefer that Molten Cake thing, but I give a big thumbs up to the CCPP, and I'm not wild about sweets.

                          In sum...Chili's was adequate, and way better than T.G.I. Friday's IMHO. The most impressive thing to me was the portions were very fair, across the board. Definitely a good choice if you're hungry. Now that I think about it, after I departed just before 3:00 p.m., I didn't eat again the rest of the day, and wasn't hungry either.

                          1. Ok, a little late, but I find Chili's to be one of the more tolerable casual dining chains. In particular, I have always enjoyed the Chicken Crispers...strips of chicken fied with a lighter coating than anywhere I've had similar things from before. Burgers are good as well.