Chili’s Grill & Bar- Okemos

1 01 2009
  • 5055 Marsh Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 347-7188
  • Website
  • Menu
Chilis Southwestern Bar & Grill on Marsh Road in Okemos

Chili's Grill & Bar on Marsh Road in Okemos

Hey, why not start of the 2009 with a review of a chain restaurant?  J’s mom picked up a gift card for Chili’s for me for Christmas.  Just like Applebees (review HERE), I have never been to a Chili’s.  Growing up in the Kankakee (IL) area, there was no Chili’s and by the time I moved to Peoria, I was already on my “hunt out the local joints” kick, so I never took the time to actually eat at Chili’s.  J said she used to eat there all the time when she lived in Idaho Falls (ID) because they had great drinks and appetizers, so when I opened up the gift from her mom on Christmas and found a Chili’s gift card, J got excited that she was going to get to take me to what could maybe be called her favorite chain.

The Chili’s Grill & Bar in the Lansing metro is in Okemos adjacent to the Meridian Mall.  It sort of shares a parking lot with the Olive Garden. Our plan was to hit up Younkers at Meridian Mall then go to dinner, but we were too late for shopping as the mall must have closed at 6:00 and we arrived closer to 6:30.  Since we couldn’t go shopping, we just headed over to Chili’s for dinner. 

We were met inside by a hostess who I’m pretty sure punished us for picking non-smoking over smoking.  I was hoping to be seated where I could see the Rose Bowl game, but the only TV’s must have been in the smoking section which is basically the bar area.  Instead, she took us into a cramped dining room around the corner and sat us in a booth right next to the Chili’s To Go entrance.  The restaurant was not packed by any means so there was really no reason to put us at this table.  The table was fine, but it was right next to an outside door so every time someone came in or went out, we were also treated to the 20 degree weather outside.   Kind of ruins dinner when you have to eat with a coat on.

Our waitress came over to take drink and appetizer orders.  I got a Coke and J ordered a strawberry lemonade.  Appetizers are the big reason J likes eating at Chili’s.  She was extremely excited about the Southwestern Egg rolls.  She said she and her mom used to order them and drinks and call that a night out.  I, on the other hand, would have ordered just about any other thing on the appetizer menu.  They just didn’t sound good to me.  The egg rolls were filled with smoked chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeno jack cheese, red peppers and spinach.  A cup of avocado-ranch dipping sauce was served on the side.  When the plate was set down, J said it looked like they cut back on the portion size, but then realized they may just be prepared differently.  I was hesitant at first, but I picked one up to give it a shot.  They weren’t horrible.  I didn’t say they were good either.  I ate three of them.  Any sane person would say I probably liked them.  I would say I was just hungry.  I wouldn’t argue against ordering them in the future, but I wouldn’t order them myself either.

When the waitress took drink and appetizer orders, she asked if we needed more time.  Instead of letting her get away, we opted to just put our order in right away.  I didn’t really get past the burger section of the menu.  I ordered the Southern Smokehouse Bacon Big Mouth Burger.  What set this burger out was the extra thick cut brown sugar and chile rubbed bacon.  It also came topped with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy onion strings, mayo, lettuce, pickle, and tomato.  I asked to keep the mayo off then picked off most of the fixings.  The burger really was big.  I couldn’t have gotten it in my mouth, so I left the really good stuff on and sacrificed the other stuff.  The sandwich also came with a cup of ancho-chile BBQ sauce.  I love ancho chile’s and this sauce was delicious.  I tried it out with the fries then poured it on the burger.  The burger was good and really filling.  The bacon was a little tough like it had been sitting in a warmer for a while, but it still had a pretty good flavor.  It tasted like a chain burger, but the BBQ sauce and bacon were a unique idea and I really liked it.  Like I already mentioned, the sandwich came with fries that still had the skin on.  They were a little too salty for me, but I was dipping them in my left over BBQ sauce so that took the saltiness down a little.

J ordered the Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad.  She scanned the menu looking for tomatoes, but didn’t seem them.  She was a little surprised when she got her salad and there were tomatos on top.  She forgot that pico de gallo was mostly tomato.  Other than the pico, the salad came with some rather large buffalo chicken strips, bleu cheese, applewood smoked bacon, carrots, and tortilla strips.   The dressing was an ancho-chile ranch which she loved.  The salad was way too big for her.  She ate most of it and even passed a couple of the chicken strips over to me, but when it was all over, there was still quite a bit on the plate.

The bill with the appetizer was $32.  My gift card was for $25 so I by the time I left tip, I was out $11.  We both left stuffed and ready for a nap…not bad for eleven dollars.  Chile’s still felt like a chain.  The food was really good, but not that fabulous, must have, can’t live without food that you can’t get anywhere else.  Dinner was kind of ruined by the table we were put at, but other than that, we were both pretty happy with the food.  J got the appetizer she loved and I got a full belly.  Not a bad deal.

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