Since moving here, I’ve been wanting to eat at Cheli’s Chili in downtown Detroit. I’ve always been a huge Chris Chelios fan and a #7 Blackhawks jersey still hangs in my closet. When I started looking at restaurants in Detroit, Cheli’s Chili on the corner of Michigan and Oakwood came up. I knew my parents would like a sports bar.
We made it to Dearborn just before noon. The building is on the corner, but the entrance is actually in the back. There’s a parking lot there with a few spaces, a public lot right next to it and street parking all along Oakwood. We parked the car and walked towards the door to find another couple standing there waiting. The restaurant didn’t open until noon. No big deal because it was 11:55. We ended up walking across the street to Westborn Market (review HERE) to kill time.
When we made it back, we walked in and saw a sign that the deck was open so we headed up there. Like the downtown location, the Dearborn location has a party deck on the roof. There’s an elevator right next to a staircase. If it’s not a nice day or you don’t like sun, there’s also a huge dining room in the bar. We didn’t really go in to far. We found a display case with autographed memorabilia and Chelios jersey’s, but that’s as far as we made it.
Upstairs on the party deck, there are a few plastic tables, some all weather picnic tables with the rubber coating and a small bar. It was a nice day and we all needed a little sun, so we didn’t ask for an umbrella. It was never offered either, but the other two tables up there both got one when they sat down.
There was only one waitress which was fine at the beginning, but we started running into some of the same problems that seem to be plaguing us lately. She brought over menus and took drink orders. Again, Coke products which my family isn’t wild about. My dad rolled his eyes when he figured out he’d be drinking Sprite again. J and my mom got Diet’s and I got a Coke.
We weren’t quite ready to order when the drinks came. My dad was still looking over the menu so she gave us a few minutes while she took orders from the other table that was up there.
A few minutes later, she came back. I ordered Cheli’s Burger. The sandwich was basted in BBQ sauce and topped with Velveeta cheese, a slice of ham, and grilled onions then served on a kaiser roll. I left the onions off. The sandwich was good, but again, sort of dry. There wasn’t much BBQ sauce on it and it wasn’t very juicy. The choice of Velveeta cheese seemed weird, but it was pretty good. I love ham on a hamburger. Not sure why, but it always tastes so good. The sandwich came with fries which were waffle fries with a cajun seasoning. I thought they were good, but my family loved them. Everyone was really impressed with the fries.
J ordered the Sammy off the deli sandwiches side of the menu. We were both confused by the phrase “whole wheat lawash.” I knew it was going to be either bread or a wrap. Turns out, it’s a wrap. It was a really large wrap actually and it was filled with turkey, ham, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, lettuce and tomato. There was a cup of honey Dijon served on the side and it also came with fries. She seemed to really enjoy it and used up all the mustard. At one point, she did pull a pretty large tomato, but that’s just because she isn’t a huge fan of raw tomatoes.
My dad went with Bulldog’s Mini Burgers. The menu says they’re not to be confused with Sliders, but that’s the easiest way to explain what they are. They’re mini burgers and he got three of them with grilled onions and cheese. He usually orders some kind of open faced sandwich, but he also really likes White Castles. These are not prepared like White Castle. They’re just mini hamburger prepared how you would normally prepare a burger. He said he liked them and he really liked the fries that came with his meal.
My mom chose the chicken salad sandwich which was served on a croissant with lettuce and tomato. Chicken salad never looks good to me, but she liked and of course, loved the fries. Again, I think she was more impressed with the fries than anything else, but she said the sandwich was good as well.
Guess what. Again, we sat there forever waiting on a check. By the time we got done, the deck was filling up and she was having to spend a lot of time explaining to the jackass behind us why he couldn’t have a glass mug of beer on the roof. In her defense, she wasn’t standing around doing nothing, but she also didn’t multi task very well either. It would have been very simple for her to print our check out and drop it off while she was getting drinks for another table, but it seemed like she could only do one thing at a time. We had been on the roof about an hour at this point and I was starting to get really warm. It wasn’t quite uncomfortable, but it was getting close. I just wanted the check so we could move on. It’s still incredibly annoying to sit there looking at empty plates and empty glasses.
Other than having to wait, Cheli’s was a good experience. It was too much “chain-like” for me, but the food was good and the atmosphere was great. I can only imagine what it’s like at night when the place is full and there’s a Wings game on. Our bill was just over $40 which is pretty good for the four of us. I still want to go to the Detroit location just so I can say I’ve been there.