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When did Chili's Stop Giving Tortilla Chips and Salsa to Customers?

Last night the S/O and I went out to dinner..We had flooding in the dining room--the floor needs to be replaced, so we just decided to go out for a quick bite. We don't go out to dinner often--we like to save our dining out nights for special occasions at non-chain restaurants. That being said, we were having a nice time--but while waiting for our appetizers, the server didn't give us the chips and salsa that used to come with Chilis' gratis. Also--and I remember going to Chili's when my kids were young..and the food was much more of a Mexican/tex mex blend. Is it me--or has the menu gotten more bland?
Just wondering if anyone feels the same. Thanks for any response!

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  1. My first visit to a Chili's over 6 years ago, I never got any freebies like chip and salsa. Always had to order it.

    1. I used to go to Chilis back in my college days (15-18 years ago) and we never got we chips and salsa for free. And the menu was never tex-mex. Are you sure you're not thinking of Chevys? Chilis has always been standard American chain food - burgers, chicken fried steak, etc. Yes, they had a couple Mexican style options, like nachos but I would never classify them as a tex-mex place.

      1. I think maybe you're thinking of Chi-Chi's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rockandroller1

          This is what I think is happening here.

        2. I remember the chips and salsa, jarona! I haven't been to a Chili's in years so I don't know when they stopped the practice, but I do remember it. Regarding the menu, the last time was there I thought the same thing about the food. Wish I could provide more updated info but I didn't want you to think you were crazy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mollygus

            Thanks Mollygus...I WAS starting to think I was nuts and it has been a while since my last visit!,,

            1. re: jarona

              jarona, where do you live? Maybe it was a regional thing? I'm in southern NJ.

              1. re: mollygus

                Used to live in the Princeton, NJ area! That could explain it!

          2. my niece took me to chili's in may, and those chips were great and the salsa was *fantastic* (this was in ocala, florida.).

            they charged for the chips and salsa, but as i recall it wasn't much. (just looked..here in northern virginia it is $4) i hadn't been to a chili's in years and years, so did not remember when they gave it gratis.

            but i tell you what, that salsa was worth every penny they charged. i wanted to buy a large container to take away, but they don't sell it like that. our server did give us a fresh refill of chips and salsa "to go," after our lunch.

            i wonder if all the chili's have the exact same salsa. i'll have to go try one soon. i liked my salad and we learned you can sort of mix and match, with maybe a different dressing than the one it comes with. http://www.chilis.com/EN/Pages/menuit...

            1. Early 70's in Houston, Chili's main menu item were different styles of, wait for it........ chili. There were some burgers on the menu, but the draw was the chili. Then it started morphing into just another fern bar/restaurant like TGIF's, Mason Jar, Bennigans and the like. Each change of corporate ownership brought new menus and d├ęcor.

              1. I used to go to Chili's a lot back when I was in high school (10+ years ago) and I've also been more recently, and never have I received the chips and salsa complimentary every time. Without ordering them, I have on occasion been given them complimentary by my server (why? I don't know), but this has never been the case every visit. I sort of look at it as the same type of thing when a server doesn't charge me for a soda. The chips and salsa are something easy for them to give away if they chose to, since it's not an item that the kitchen actually has to cook. I'm sure it's all out there on the expo line, and they can just help themselves!

                1. My first experience (I was there with friends, not my choice) with Chili's was about 25 years ago in CT. I don't remember whether chips and Salsa were free, but the entire menu save the hamburgers was Tex-Mex, Since that was a cuisine I don't care for, I ordered a burger. After three attempts, they couldn't get it right. I never returned.
                  My next experience was about 2009 in Northern Massachusetts near the New Hamphire border. I went with a group after a law symposium. As soon as we were seated and drink orders taken, out came baskets of chips and salsa (no charge). It seems that this particular Chili's is a regular haunt of students/faculty at the nearby law school and they provide the free chips and salsa with the booze to their steady drinking trade. BTW>>>I didn't order anything to eat and don't know if the menu is less Tex-Mex, but the drinks were both good and large.

                  1. In our Florida town, chips and salsa are free in the bar area only. It's been this way for several years at least. It's a kids friendly atmosphere.

                    1. Chili's sends me a free coupon for chips and queso like every month. Also lots of the free coupons showing up as ads on every site. (must buy an entree)

                      1. I worked at a couple of Chilis in the 90s. Chips and Salsa weren't free at the tables; they definitely were a charged item. I would doubt if they had started giving them free since then.

                        There were definitely a good number of Mexican and/or Tex-Mex items: nachos, fajitas, quesadillas back then, but there were also a fair number of standard chain items--burgers, blooming onions, chicken caesars, etc.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nc213

                          This is what I remember, what nc213 says - TexMex flair with other chain fare like burgers and salads.

                        2. I lived in FL for awhile and we always got free Chips and Salsa. It was between 2001-2004 at least. Moved after that and don't remember experiencing that again. One of the main reasons I loved Chili's.