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Chili My SoAK US DRY!

Hit Chili My Soul today where I found that they just raised all of their prices -- significantly.

A basic bowl jumped from $9.95 to $12.95. That's a full 30% increase. Add one small soda and tax and my bill was $16.45.

Maybe that'd be reasonable at a sit-down restaurant, but CMS is basically a take-out joint, with a tip jar on the counter and self-serve soda in paper cups.

The Chili is good, yes. But I always thought the servings were kinda miserly, making it a bit overpriced at $9.95 a bowl. Now, with these new prices, it's just way outta line.

Don't think I'll ever go back.

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  1. That sucks. I love the Mindy Remix but I'm not paying over $15 for it. Harrumph.

    1. unfortunate. thanks for the heads up. I remember their diablo 10 chili being the only chili i couldn't eat. i couldn't even finish the sample cup.

      1. I agree. I like the chili but don't go very often because it is more than I want to spend for lunch.And when I go my son usually wants to go too.I usually only go when I have discount coupons.

        8 Replies
        1. re: chuck

          Other places serve Chili My Soul... try Jinky's, as they usually have at least 5-6 varieties a day.

          1. re: Emme

            Emme, I thought I saw another thread a while back in which it was determined that Jinky's doesn't serve chili from CMS. Anyone know which is correct, (or if my mind is playing tricks on me again and I didn't see something about Jinky's not serving CMS chili)?

            1. re: Servorg

              Found the post I recalled (and which confirms that Jinky's no longer serves chili from CMS): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45908...

              1. re: Servorg

                how strange! i was just there a couple of months back and my mama ate it over a baked potato... weird.

                1. re: Emme

                  Jinky's hasn't had "actual" Chili My Soul chili for years. They had a contract with Chlii my Soul for about ten years, in which they produced the Chili My Soul flavors using Chili My Soul recipes, in their own kitchen. Then the two owners had some sort of falling out.

                  Jinky's, rather than giving up on their popular Chilis slightly modified all of the recipes, took the Chili my Soul name off their menu, and changed the spellings or wordsings if the names of the flavors very slightly.

                  As such, Jinky's "Spicy Mango Chicken chili" is superior in quality, flavor, and portion size (and three bucks cheaper) than the "Habanero Mango Chicken chili" at Chili my Soul, where the flavor was developed.

                  The only downside at Jinky's is that you don't get the Chili my Soul sides... which in my experience is no major loss.

                  1. re: Moomin

                    Thanks Moomin for clearing that up.

                    1. re: wutzizname

                      Had lunch at Jinky's yesterday. Didn't get the chili but confirmed that they're still serving their own versions, and still $9.50 a bowl.

          2. re: chuck

            Where can we get the coupons? Looks like we'll need them.

          3. $13 for chili at basically a self-serve/take-out? Bummers ... I still find some of their varieties irresistible but looks like I'll be going to that place less frequently. :(


            1. Oh well. Chili my Soul has never really knocked my socks off, and definately not to the tune of 13 bucks. Anyone know of any other places that have a good chili?

              1. Wow that sucks. I'm literally walking distance from the place and have been meaning to go back for some time having only been there once or twice in the past. Looks like I'll never be returning... until I get those mail coupons. Damn.

                1. Excuse me, because I don't know the place but I have a couple of comments:
                  1. is the place really, really busy? I've seen restaurants that raise their prices when they get overwhelmed and cannot keep up with demand on current equipment,
                  2. a part of that can be explained no doubt by the mandatory raise in minimum wage, twice in a year's time. It may seem small to most of us, but It affects them not only in terms of their own labor cost which in restaurants tends to be a whole lot, but also in the cost of everything they buy from someone else who pays payroll, etc.

                  I know that the cost of goods has gone up a great deal in the last year. Maybe they were waiting as long as possible to make the change?

                  Not trying to defend them; I don't even know them. Just commenting.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: NeNePie

                    I've always wanted to try this place, but at those prices I think I will pass. I can't fathom how they think people are going to pay close to $15 for a bowl of chili, espeically at a place with no table service.

                    The only way such an increase makes sense is if they are indeed so busy that they can withstand the inevitable loss of business that will follow. That, or if they are off-setting an ingredient improvement such as going all-organic/free range with their meats and produce. Or maybe they simply had to make the increase due to the factors NeNePie mentions -- however, if the cost of business has increased that significantly, it doesn't sound like a counter-service fast food place is the right establishment for that location.

                    1. re: NeNePie

                      Thanks for saying this, NeNePie. Exactly what I was thinking. Food costs are going up everywhere. Minimum wage increase. It ain't pretty, but it's affecting every restaurant. Also never having been but always wanting to go, is CMS known for using quality ingredients? Could be another factor. If they're being charged more, we're going to get charged more.

                      1. re: diningdivala

                        Please....labor and ingredient costs certainly have gone up but there's no way a bowl of chili needs to be $13 to post a profit. If it does, they are in the wrong business and may well figure that out soon enough.

                        1. re: soccerandlost

                          I always felt that CMS was like Tommies or Pink's...Food that wasn't really that good but more of an institution or a fad so everyone went. At these prices and with no coupons from the entertainment book this year I won't be going. Too bad!

                          1. re: SIMIHOUND

                            Personally, I think CMS's quality definitely raises it above the Tommies/Pink's realm, but that still doesn't merit tablecloth prices.

                            And to answer an earlier question, maybe I've only been there during off-hours, but I've never seen more than a handful of customers at a time. So I don't think excessive demand and an ability to sustain an inevitable loss of business is the culprit. My guess is they've just miscalculated the net effect...and the writing is on the wall.

                            1. re: wutzizname

                              Oh.. Sorry..I said it wrong. I was referring to the place being an icon of sorts just like Pinks and Tommies but NOT the quality which is of course above those places.

                    2. Overrated at last year's prices. Chili John's SOOOO much better. Chili My Soul takes too much of the fat (soul) outa the meat!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: la tache burger

                        The prices are ridiculous at CMS and were I still in the area I wouldn't go anymore, but I wouldn't feed Chili John's to a cockroach if they were giving it away.

                      2. Griddle Cafe at Sunset and Fairfax was serving CMS chili the last time I was there, but I haven't been in the mood to wait forty minutes for breakfast lately so I have no idea if they've hiked their prices.

                        I too am a Chili John's fan, but it does seem to be one of those love-it-or-hate-it experiences. It's *very* different from CMS's huge variety. CJohn's has beef, chicken or vegetarian, plain or on beans, spaghetti, hot dogs or tamales.

                        Bottom line, for a regular bowl: Chili John's, $6.10 -- CMS, $12.95. CJohn's menu:


                        1. I could be wrong, but I smell a greedy landlord or a bad business decision (like the expansion). Even in that uninspiring strip mall Ventura Blvd rents are bound to be especially steep.
                          My recommendation - MOVE!

                          Chili John's
                          2018 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

                          Chili My Soul
                          4928 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: DiveFan

                            Randy has been trying to move for nearly 5 years, and in that time the rents have constantly been rising, and they have not flattened out or declined yet, regardless of what you might think of the real estate market at the moment.
                            But nenepie hit it on the head - go to any restaurant whose prices you are familiar with, and tell me they have not increased. The cost of product, in its raw state as well as the costs associated with getting it to the restaurant (read: gas prices and wages), have all increased significantly, and have and will continue to be passed along to the consumer.
                            Get used to it - it is a fact of life, like it or not.

                            1. re: carter

                              Yes, but a thirty-percent jump is extreme even in the current economic climate.

                              1. re: carter

                                > go to any restaurant whose prices you are familiar with, and tell me they have not increased.

                                I just did today for lunch - at one of my favorite haunts - Hong Yei on San Gabriel Road. Same prices as in the last 2 months (I was traveling to middle east, so had not been there for at least 2 months).

                                1. re: suvro

                                  One more place I remembered - Jitlada - went there last Monday (4/21). Same prices.

                            2. CMS did a huge business in movie-set catering, and like the rest of the support industry they must have taken a huge loss during the strike.

                              But if I'm right as to the cause, it doesn't seem like a good business decision to try to make it up on the retail profits.

                              1. What is funny is that this place is featured in this month's Westways magazine as a "bargain" eatery.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: monkuboy

                                  I saw that. I swear sometimes I read those sections and I think, "That sounds an AWFUL LOT like something I read on Chowhound."

                                2. Hit The Griddle today and confirmed that they're still serving Chili My Soul, for now, and still charging $9.95 per bowl, for now. Portion's no bigger than CMS but the chips are better.

                                  1. Something I haven't seen mentioned in this thread... On my first visit, I spoke to the owner and he explained that many of his recipes take up to 36 hours to make. Something about a special de-fatting process and flavor simmering.

                                    Much like true smokehouse BBQ joints, it's probably expensive because it's labor intensive.

                                    That being said, I thought it was just OK. At the time, I thought the $10 bowl was $3 too much. $13 is just nuts for what it is.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: macnut

                                      I agree that $27 is pretty steep for two bowls of chili. But, and this is a big but, it is my favorite chili joint and I will probably continue to eat there, but much less often.
                                      I doubt Randy is just trying to maximize profits. Keeping ten varieties of handmade chili ready to serve daily must be very costly.
                                      Consider CMS may be the first of a tidal wave of restaurants having to raise prices by 30% due to all the increases especialy in transportation and ingredient foodstuffs.

                                    2. Looks like one more reason for this place to go out of business.

                                      I tried a half-dozen versions of their chili -- from mild to very spicy -- over a couple of visits last year and thought all of it was a mess of unintegrated, non-complementary, and largely uninteresting flavors. Somebody's idea for calling himself a serious cook without having to show the skill and knowledge required in real cooking.

                                      Let's see, do I want to add anything else? I hope it's coming through that I don't like this joint!

                                      1. Honestly it's just not that good to begin with. Maybe I just don't appreciate chili but I thought my meal there recently was a "whatever' experience. I tried it once now I can move on, regardless of the price.