While this post could be considered more of a rant than a review, I thought it was only fair that I shared my experience of dining at Chili's in the Grove last night. Although I am normally not even a fan of Chili's to begin with, I was open to the idea of having some cheap food and drinks in a fun atmosphere, where Jacques could catch some (more) Sunday football.
The football game was pretty much the only thing that the restaurant did deliver. First, it took about 15 minutes before we got noticed by a server. Upon ordering our drinks, we were pretty much guilted in to making a donation to St. Jude's by purchasing a coloring project. Of course, I have no problem giving to St. Jude's - or most any charity for that matter - (after all, I am in the business), but before we have even ordered our food? I found it to be pretty invasive, not to mention tacky.
The menu is of course, a standard chain restaurant menu, offering fajitas, dips, ribs etc., with a little bit of southwest "flair". I actually looked forward to my tequila chicken and shrimp fajitas. Jacques was excited for his original and habanero baby backs. We were excited...and excited...and excited...and finally, our food arrived at the table. However, they had run out of shrimp, so I was given plain chicken fajitas (no tequila & lime flavor) and Jacques was given a rack of cold ribs and a lukewarm mound of potatoes. We had waited so long at this point, we dared not complain - let alone ask a third time for a side of sour cream.
Besides the food and service being completely disappointing, the ambiance was a let down as well. I mean I don't mind listening to Lil' Wayne at a club or a bar, but for it to be blaring throughout the entirety of my meal? It was rude. And if I was one of the parents that was there with their family, I would have found the explicit lyrics enough to pack up my kids and leave.
As if that weren't enough, it took about 45 minutes for us to get our check and have it processed. We waited so long, that I had to give the check to the bartender myself, which I think just made the whole situation worse. When our server did come back from what seemed like an hour, he explained that he was in the back having a fight with the chef. Lovely. Just to top it off, they charged us in full for the chicken and shrimp (there was no shrimp), two St. Jude's donations instead of one, and even a spoonful of guacamole. Yes, all very trivial things, but when the entire experience has been trivial at best, those little things can push you over the edge.
Maybe their management will snap out of it, maybe they will get more staff (and hopefully better staff) and maybe they will get the whole system working properly, but as of right now -- I wouldn't go to Chili's. If it's cheap food and laid back fun you are after, at least you know there's a Cheesecake Factory right underneath. My suggestion - go to Flannigan's; it is just down the road and worlds better than what you'll get at either.