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How come it's so hard to find a chili cheeseburger that's the "bomb.com"

Call me dumb because for some stupid reason I thought I'd have luck at the Red Robin in Fort Myers Florida just now.

No go! Giant disappointment both the burger- the fries- the half brained waiter. (our kids have all waited tables so not putting that down just the dude I got today.

On a quest for a wonderful chili cheeseburger. I have one In mind from 20 years ago that I'd love to be able to duplicate. The place, although still in business, changed hands years ago and hasn't done burgers since. Whaaaaaah. So my dilemma is (around this great nation of ours) where can a soul get one that you'd call the bomb.com?

So pretend you could get pretty much anywhere in the country.
Where would you go for the ultimate chili cheeseburger?

Ease consider this tho...Chili's=awful, in&out=they don't offer chili, Fridays=no thank you, Applebees=nope.

Are there home town favorites?
Where will I find the BEST chili cheeseburger in the country?
TIA :)

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  1. Famous Sam's (I know they're in AZ) serves a super - de - duper chili cheese burger. Served open face w/ a knife and fork. So big that I can't finish it and oddly enough, served with a pickle.

    I don't often make them at home, but when I do it's usually veggie chili and turkey burgers. Not as good as the full fat / flavor ones.

    1. Our local tavern in Upper Michigan has the "bomb" of a chili cheeseburger! Called the FAT BOYZ BURGER , named after the bar...it promises "This one will clog up your pipes but it is well worth it! Our 1/3lb. Angus burger, piled with chili, bacon, and cheese! And it does indeed satisfy! Delish!!

      1. Lottaburger, a New Mexico chain makes a damn good cheese burger w/ Hatch green chile; I always ask for double green chile. Yum.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Passadumkeg

          oh now that sounds good. New Mexico huh? I know they're known for that Hatch chili festival or whatever it's called, maybe cookoff?

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              Agreed on Lottaburger! They make one of the best green chile cheeseburgers I've ever had...dang, now I want one!

            2. About a year ago when I was in your neck of the woods (Fort Myers) for business, I had a pretty good chili cheeseburger at a place called Talk of the Town.

              In my neck of the woods (Los Angeles), I go The Hat for a great chili cheeseburger. It's a total greasebomb and when the burger cools a bit, the chili takes on a nice flourescent orange glow to it that would make a nuclear physicists want to rewrite their Ph.D. thesis. www.thehat.com

              Similarly, in Pasadena, CA, a local joint called Pie N Burger makes a fine cheeseburger and a great bowl of chili, but alas no "chili cheeseburger" per se. But you know what they say ... "hunger is the mother of invention" :-) www.pienburger.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                ip, thanks for the heads up about hat I've never heard of it.
                Fort Myers is not my neck of the woods. was just there over night and was hungry.
                if you're letting me know about The Hat, there is one in "SLimi "Valley and I'll give it a try. If you are ever in Simi Valley, don't miss Tico's Taco's. That's my hint to you....

              2. Alas, it's gone now, what with progress and all. But the absolute best chili cheeseburger I've ever had was at the coffee shop in the old Tyler, Texas Air Terminal (the airport had 1 gate, and it was actually a gate). A half pound, but thick, not flattened out to be thin like a Whopper would be. All the better to cook it rare. The chili had no beans but also was not atomic greasy either. It was great but a little far to travel so I guess its good that the temptation is gone.

                4 Replies
                1. re: TomSwift

                  Dang let's bring that place back.
                  Figures huh, the great places always go away, ie. Chasens..........talk about Chili

                  1. re: iL Divo

                    You can get frozen Chasen's chili from Bristol Farms here in SoCal, I believe, and the Chasen's Cookbook has a recipe. The LA Times also published a knockoff some years ago.

                    1. re: TomSwift

                      Have you ever made it Tom S? I have and my mom used to do it every year for her NY Eve party. Always a huge hit.

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        I have as well and find that the fun (Not to mention the lower cost) puts making it yourseld at the top f the heap.

                2. For those of us who somehow have managed to avoid the chili cheese burgers at Chili's, Friday's and Applebees, can you be a little more helpful about just what you're looking for? and what doesn't cut it? I don't have a clue what you consider the.bomb.

                  Can you pick it up and eat it or does it require knife and fork, perhaps a spoon? Is it open faced? What other fixings? Is it a one or two napkin affair or does it require a roll of Bounty?

                  My own favorite is from a broiler burger place that's been around since the 50s. A 4" bun, pre-made patty but not too lean; charbroiled, shredded sharp cheddar ringed around the top of the finished patty and just a couple of teaspoons of chili (which happens to be a canned product) in the middle so it doesn't all ooze out. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You can pick it up and eat it, requiring perhaps only one napkin more than a regular burger, which tend to be kind of greasy at this place anyway.

                  The worst I ever had was practically right next door and was called the road kill burger. I have no idea how big the bun was because by the time I found it under all the chili it was a soggy blob. The patty, another pre-made affair, had been stamped out months before at some factory and was grey, dry and rubbery. The presentation involved perhaps just overturning a bowl of chili or maybe two on top of an open faced burger. It came with a knife and fork but a tablespoon was needed because the chili was too soupy There weren't enough napkins in the dispenser on the table to handle the mess.

                  Some people might think that sounds awesome but I thought it was awful and I never went back to the place (it's changed hands and I don't know if they even serve burgers anymore).

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: dexmat

                    The former is infinitely preferable to the latter, dex.

                    Inspired by this thread, I ordered a double-meat jumbo chili-cheeseburger from Bonus Burgers of Lubbock, Texas last night. Pretty good, although--horribile dictu!--I couldn't eat it all. It was a typical chili-cheeseburger affair: two fairly slender, well cooked beef patties (a bit on the greezy side), a small amount of mustard, a fairly small portion of chili (probably canned), dill pickle slices and onions between a couple of buttered buns. It was a meal unto itself. Next time, though, I'll skip the extra patty. It tends to drown out the tast of the chili.

                    1. re: dexmat

                      Sorry I'm late in finding this and remembering to come back in here to read. You know Dex, I really giggled at your post. Sometimes the most fun "reads" are poking fun at the originator ie. > me. Seriously, pretty humorous. Of course you don't know what my idea of the Bomb.com is. So here's what I remember from Sabrosa'' Mission Inn or whatever the heck that place is called....now mind you, I haven't had one since it [with a carton of milk] was $2.67 total.
                      It required many many napkins and something to cover my outfit from spillage.
                      It was slopping over with probably something like canned Dennisons chili con carne.
                      It was larger sized bun, probably 1/3 lb patty and came not opened faced with slices of tomatoes/lots of lettuce/onions/pickles/cheddar cheese slices and 1000 Island dressing on the bun. I know, sounds blech, steaming hot, messier than Samuel, a true delight in my ever waiting frontal face opening. :)

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        Thanks for the clarification iL Divo; that's what I was looking for. Obviously you and I have very different ideas about what constitutes bombness in a chili cheese burger. Lettuce and tomato - no thanks. Onions - definitely. Pickles - maybe. 1000 Island - wow, never had that, I'm sure. To each his own.

                        1. re: dexmat

                          well Dex, the deal is, that's how it (the bomb.com of a chili cheeseburger at that place) was made. you wouldn't think any of that stuff belongs and I agree but it was there and it was gooey and it was a sloppy mess and I did love it....*)

                        2. re: iL Divo

                          Your bomb.com sounds like a Big Boy plus chili, could be worth a try. Also Fudruckers is near you and you can add the salady stuff to your hearts content. Personally I dislike Tommy's as it all tastes of season salt to me. There once was a place in Lancaster, CA called the Dawg or was it the Dog house that offered several kinds of chili and buns to top your burger, they were amazing but you would have had to ask for the salady stuff. Maybe your mission should you choose to accept it is to order the burger specially and show people what can be. You know someone in the kitchen will have to try it and then maybe the deliciousness will spread like a virus :-}

                          As an aside I grew up in Simi till high school then moved to Palmdale/Lancaster. My HS sweetheart and I use to make pilgrimages back just for Tico's Tacos among a few others it's nice to know they're still around.

                          1. re: just_M

                            Panama Jacks, in Marina del Rey had a great one in the 80's.

                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              The 80's were great, ah glory days!

                            2. re: just_M

                              well "Just"...........Tico's used to have 5 'places' now they only have 1, must be a sign of the times. I did Beauty school there for a couple of years at 1st and LA Ave in that Mall. Someone told me once when I was hungry for lunch, "oh, just walk to Tico's and get a taco."I didn't get a taco, I got a bean burrito and hated the salsa. But the next day I went for another HUGE burrito and the next and the next and the next. I ended up calling them to ask them how they made their salsa, it had grown on me, still love it there. Their beans are the bomb. They won't tell me how they do those either...

                              I looked up the Dawg or the Dog House, no go any longer. Dang.
                              Bob Big Boy no longer exists. Big Boys are back but no where the same since I grew up on Bobs I know the difference. They're small, nothing about them is impressive at all and my husband and I don't even bother going in when we see them any longer.

                              Here's a test, name two very famous people that grew up in Lancaster Ca.

                              We don't have Fudruckers any longer either, haven't for years. Used to take the kids to Ventura all the time to the Fudruckers up there, but they always gave my little guy a very upset stomach as did In&Out in Camarillo. I just looked up Fuddruckers and they do have chili, who knew? Not me, I do see them from time to time, but haven't ever considered them a contender for the ultimate CCB.

                              I'll find it and when I do, I'll be in ultimate CCB heaven :)

                              1. re: iL Divo

                                Lots of us make our own. But it seems that your quest is to travel geographically to find the best twixt Tulsa and Tico's, and I humbly offer this link that will googley aid your global search.

                                I used it last year to up my own approach to the ultimate CCB.


                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                  Oh you're funny FoodFuser....
                                  Yep, global, let's go global. ;)

                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    oh my heavens to pants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                    I am in heaven looking at those images.......
                                    sheeesh, I just gained 97 lbs :(

                                  2. re: iL Divo

                                    Sounds like the original Tico's. I do remember the beauty school. I kept trying to get my mom to let me go there and let someone experiment on my hair. Honestly it could not have been worse than my first perm. I started with waist length hair and ended up looking like a poodle! I still; 25+ years later, have a faint scar across my forehead from the chemical burn.

                                    Too bad about Bob's and the Dog House, I really loved both of them. But Abe's deli in Northridge (across from Fudruckers) proved to me you can't go back, and I'm thinking now maybe I shouldn't try :-/ Although I suppose like Tico's there might be a few.

                                    I now live in the wilds of Oregon and although I have yet to find a decent burger never mind chili, you have inspired me to try again. I'll let you know what I come up with. Good luck on your search. M

                                    1. re: just_M

                                      Johnny's in Grants Pass has a pretty good one.

                                      1. re: bbqboy

                                        Thanks for the link. I really need to start keeping a list. Looks good but hows the bbq pork? Just another hard to find.

                                    2. re: iL Divo

                                      The Bob's Big Boy in Burbank (the famous one) went under? Oh no! That place was great.

                                      1. re: aynrandgirl

                                        No, Bob's in Burbank is alive and well. Maybe some of the franchises have let it slide. They use to have one of the originals in Simi, maybe they're not there anymore? I remember the Bob's brand expanding like mad in the late 80's and then they were gone as quick as they came, but they wern't really the same so no real loss.

                                        1. re: just_M

                                          being born and raised in los angeles and having kids, BBB was super and dependable. we must have met there for dinner lunch and breakfast at least a few times during a busy week. why is it that so many great places fall apart? the good restaurants/eateries go south..........dang

                              2. You may find your chiliburger listed under the old name "chili size" (how it came by that name, I don't know). A chili size comes on a plate, with the bottom half on the bun in the center, topped by the burger patty. The other half of the bun is toasted, cut in half and sits on both sides of the patty. Over all this is ladled a generous pour of chili -- beanless is best -- which is then topped with shredded cheese and, if you wish, chopped onion.


                                You can get this at the Black Bear Diner in Sonoma. Their chili has beans.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: Sharuf

                                  "Chili size" came from a place called Tommy's (now original Tommy's) in LA. The owner had two ladles, a large and a small - one he used for bowls of chili (chili size - 20 cents) the other for chili burgers (hamburger size - 15 cents).

                                  You can mail order their chili here:

                                  1. re: CDouglas

                                    I have to admit that when I think "chili cheeseburger", Tommy's is what comes to mind. I've tried CCBs at a few different restaurants, but Tommy's is what hits the spot. For those people not in SoCal, a Tommy's chiliburgerr comes with mustard, pickles, tomato, onion, and chili. Cheese is extra. It's one of those things you can only eat a couple times a year, but it's so good when you do!

                                    1. re: boogiebaby

                                      Here is a link to their website that shows a pic of the chili cheeseburger. It looks pretty good:


                                      1. re: CDouglas

                                        been to many a Tommy's in my life. Had the chili burgers, they're good but not the bomb

                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                          Yea........ maybe.............. but where else do the chili fries slide around on your table because of the oil seeping out of the chili.

                                          I LOVE Tommy's CCBs! Unfortunately my digestive system doesn't seem to share that love.

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            there's a new one, relatively new anyway about 2 years, that I'll never drive in to. I'm not saying they're awful or even not good, they are, but not du bom dot com to me:(

                                        2. re: CDouglas

                                          Thanks for the explanation of that term. A few years ago a poster on another board had alleged the term was common in Texas; The poster wasn't from here; I've lived here much of my life and I don't think I've ever seen it on a menu and had no idea what it was or where it came from.

                                          1. re: CDouglas

                                            another vote for Tommy's.
                                            And I love The Hat, but have never had their chili cheeseburger. Chili fries, yes.

                                          2. re: Sharuf

                                            My preference is with beans. I love chili with beans. I've had a chili size, um was it at Marie Callender or Paiges in Woodland Hills Ca a hundred years ago? Paiges or Pages, was known for their chili which had cinnamon or cloves or something in there I never could figure out but never particularly cared for.

                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                              To me, this is part of the problem. How can you describe the perfect chili burger, when so many people argue about what chili is itself? Beans/no beans, tomatoes/not, chunk beef vs ground beef, onions/no, and all the variations of these?

                                              I've had ccb's all over, and to me, so long as the chili has some kick, and it's not too sloppy (i.e. watery sauce that won't cling to a fork), I'm pretty much happy. I look at them like other people look at different wines - each one is different, and must be enjoyed (or not) on its own terms. I mean, how would you describe the "perfect" wine?

                                              1. re: FrankD

                                                Frank I know what you mean about a loose sauced chili, ie. > Skyline chili over the spaghetti, which by the way, alone or as is, I adore Skyline chili but wouldn't want it on my CCB for sure.....

                                              2. re: Sharuf

                                                You can also get this at Beep's. Sherman way and Woodley, in the S Fernando Valley, Los Angeles (van nuys area) CA.

                                                1. re: Jerome

                                                  I can see Beeps in my minds' eye but never stopped there.
                                                  do they have duh bom CCB's?

                                              3. If you're in the Midwest, the place to go is Ron's Hamburgers and Chili. This is a Tulsa tradition which has turned into a small franchise. Their sausage burger (half sausage/half hamburger) smothered in their chili is great. Here's a link to their site with a menu as well as various press items.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                  Also wanted to mention that at Ron's you can get their award-winning chili either with or without beans. I personally like an all-meat chili, so that's my option. If you do go there, expect to smell like it the rest of the day.

                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                    Beans - WTF??? I knew Ron, and he must be spinning in his grave.

                                                    IL Divo - I can't vouch for the quality of the chili cheeseburger these days, but I will say that nothing else I've had in the last 30 years has compared to the best chili cheeseburgers I've eaten in my life - at Ron's.

                                                    The whole sausage and/or ham thing has always been a bit of a novelty. There may be something going on there, but when you're looking for the fundamentals, just go for the burger. Cheese. Bean-free chili ladled over the top of everything. And Spanish fries (potatoes deep-fried with jalapeno slices) on the side. Bring your own antacid.

                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                      thankfully I don't need antacid..........................yet! *)

                                                  2. re: Firegoat

                                                    BION (believe it or not) Tulsa is doable. Can you get the burger sans the sausage? I'm asking because although my husband adores anything sausage, I don't. Well heck, I'll call and ask them. its too early they're not answering the phone yet. it's only 9:56 there.
                                                    I'll try later, thanks for tip.

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      Yes you can get the burger as a burger or the 1/2 sausage burger.

                                                    2. re: Firegoat

                                                      Ok, firegoat, I called them. I can get the burger with or without the sausage. The guy that answered thought I was kidding when I called to tell him where I live and tell him I hear I want one of his chili cheeseburgers. I assured him, I'm not kidding

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        Firegoat, guess where I'll be tomorrow night? I'm going to Ron's Hamburgers and Chili. I'll report back, promise, and if it's not du bom, I'll let you know that too. Half of why I do this is the adventure and the mission I put myself on. If the food isn't du bom, and often times it isn't, the fun I have getting there is worth the effort.

                                                        Thanks again, knowing I was coming in to Tulsa made me think, "wait, I think there's a post about chili cheeseburgers there.........."and smelling like chili the rest of the day is fine with me too...........I love the stuff

                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          damn I just now saw this... of course i was out of state when you were here too.... dang it

                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                            it's ok, I'll be back but only for Rons not spaghetti warehouse

                                                      2. Opie Taylor's, an indie restaurant here in Bloomington, IN, makes a knock-out chili-cheeseburger. Great burger, topped with their house-made chili and good cheese. (You can also get the chili and cheese over a serving of their excellent fries.)

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                          another doable one, it's 58.6 miles from Indy to Bloomington. if I'm there long enough, I could fit it in, thx

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            If you plan to visit, give me a heads-up and I'll join you.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                              now that'd be fun, we can be a total mess of chili together

                                                        2. Anyone remember a place called "Farrells" from the late 70's 80's? they had the best chili cheeseburger!

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: FISHINC

                                                            You can't mean the old Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants, can you?

                                                            1. re: TomSwift

                                                              Yes! the best chili burger ever. the ice cream wasn't bad either

                                                            2. re: FISHINC

                                                              yea, down the street from Gemco in Woodland hills. Their zoo ice cream bonanza was fun. I don't remember eating a burger there ever tho. They changed their name is Barrels then went out all together.

                                                              which points me to another question. why is so hard to find ice cream places like Leatherby's or Swensen's? 31 flavors doesn't count or does Cold Stone or Stone Cold, always get those confused.

                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                Chili cheese steak, Sak's in EP, RI...THE BOMB

                                                                1. re: Sean

                                                                  Saks in El Paso or Rhode Island?

                                                            3. one of the best I have found that I've reported on before is the Vera burger that is opened faced, again, not my favorite for a CCB. I had one this past Thursday at the Davies Street while at the Olympics in Vancouver. It, along with their poutine, OML..................really really good, but I'm not stopping there, I'm still and forever on a quest.....

                                                              1. Besides Blake's (3 times the last week), we have also had the Laguna green chile cheeseburger. A hlf pound burger, loaded w/ green chile for $3.99 at the Laguna Pueblo, off I-40 west of Albuquerque. For a buck more a huge pile of fresh cut Maine potato French fries and a 22 oz. soft drink (Ugh.). Up the road in Bibo, NM is the Bibo Green chile cheeseburger at the Bibo Bar. A fine burger & chile and washed down w/ a cold draft beer. Burger & Brew at it's best. continue up the road ton Ceboletta, a quaint, ols Spanish village that predates the Pilgrams, and hike Mt. Taylor, before or after the burger.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                  If after, you might wind up bugueing into the crater.

                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                    PK, you are just jealous that there are no mountains in West Texas. We did climb 11k Mt. Taylor yesterday, picked bolete mushrooms, saw 30+ turkeys and heard elk whistling mating calls.
                                                                    Green chile stew at a fiesta at the Acoma village of McCartys today. It's held at a vey old adobe church.

                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      You've obviously never seen the mighty Caprock escarpment!

                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                        Is it in West Texas or down in Big Bend? Email me at my profile address. We might be going to the Hatch chile Festival; Labor Day Weekend.
                                                                        "If God had wanted Texans to ski, He would have given them mountains."

                                                                2. huh, where's my post about it not being open on Sunday?
                                                                  well, it isn't and I'm here, and somewhat annoyed and disappointed

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    ....also I'll add not to bother going to the Spaghetti Warehouse in Tulsa if you happen to be in town. < Not good

                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                        you know what? it's all about the adventure when I go to these places, think of it this way, it could have turned out really good, just unfortunately for me this time, it wasn't good.
                                                                        but my server, jerrell, was adorable..........................got good tip, very cute.................

                                                                    1. my quest has ended today with:
                                                                      The Mt. Whitney Restaurant in Lone Pine Calif.
                                                                      the town is an old west western movie time capsule.
                                                                      hubby and I driving on Sunday to wherever our vehicle ended up < twas there.
                                                                      fantastic restaurant with a sign when you walk in that says:
                                                                      hot beer
                                                                      lousy food
                                                                      terrible service

                                                                      old old old autographed photos of yesterdays' cowboys and movie legends all over the
                                                                      place. true treasures.
                                                                      but that's only half of why it was so amazing...the #3 chili cheeseburger.
                                                                      I finally found my ultimate burger with all I remembered about the taste of the one I'd been hunting for years and years hoping to find. I found it. the end of my ultimate search.
                                                                      #1 is The Mt. Whitney Restaurants' Colorado cheeseburger with gobs of shredded melted mild cheddar, chopped red onions, 1000 island dressing on the side for me to slather on, crisp cold iceberg lettuce, 5 pickle slices, fresh round of sliced red tomato, chili con carne, yummy smothered ultra soft buns, prime huge succulent juicy beef patty.
                                                                      #2 is now Doug's special, Vera's burgers, Vancouver BC

                                                                      1. There used to be a restaurant next to Hayes River City truck plaza on the southside of Sacremento that had a good chili cheeseburger. At least they did in the early 90's

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: atomicdogs

                                                                          Took me awhile to find it on Google Maps, but the name is Original Perry's 7895 Stockton Blvd Sacremento Ca, Mack Rd exit off 99.

                                                                          1. re: atomicdogs

                                                                            love Sacramento.
                                                                            loved living there many moons ago.

                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                              Since this thread has been resurrected, thought I'd better warn you that the place in Bloomington that I recommended has changed hands, and I wouldn't eat there now on a bet.

                                                                            2. re: atomicdogs

                                                                              On the other side of 99 just off Mack Rd. is Mr. Perry's, a non-chain restaurant that does great breakfasts. Run by the same folks that run Original Perry's. My stepmother lives near there and she always hangs out there; and takes us there when we visit.

                                                                          2. Best "Hatch" burgers I've ever had (and I'm from Hatch so I might be somewhat of an expert) are from Sparky's burgers and barbeque here in Hatch. Swing by sometime, their burgers are definitely BOMB.

                                                                            Check them out online at http://sparkysburgers.com

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ptmitch2009

                                                                              I've long wanted to snag a Sparky's GCCB. I've heard great things about them.

                                                                              The best GCCB that I've had so far is at the Caliente Grill in Ruidoso. Xanadu on a bun.

                                                                              1. re: ptmitch2009

                                                                                sounds like worth a drive to me. we'll be in NM for the Hot Air Balloon festival in October. I'll have to figure out where this place is on our drive there. thanks so much for the info.