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Chili’s Grill & Bar – Portage

February 22, 2010

  • 6195 S. Westnedge Avenue
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 324-0560
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s not very often that we get visitors here in Kalamazoo other than family.  Today, one of my friends from Peoria was driving through on his way to Ann Arbor for work tomorrow.  Since we didn’t get hit by as much snow as we thought we were going to, he decided to tak I-94 instead of the long route (I-80).  He was coming through about dinner time, so we decided to get together for dinner.

My buddy is not the adventurous eater than I am, so when we meet up, it’s better if we just go to a chain.  I threw a couple suggestions out there near I-94 and Westnedge, but J thought Chili’s would be the best option.

The Portage Chili’s is on Westnedge just south of Milham Road in front of Toys R Us.  Somehow, it’s almost hidden.  We drive by there all the time and when I brought up Chili’s to J, she had no idea where it was at and couldn’t picture it.  It’s a typical Chili’s building, but parking is pretty tight.  There’s one row in front of the building then a row along the south side.  Between Chili’s and Dashworks is another couple rows, but it’s not a huge parking lot.  If it was full, you could always go behind the building.

My buddy was already sitting down when we got there.  He was shown to a booth back near the kitchen.  When J and I showed up, there were already menus on the table waiting for us.  We squeezed into the booth which felt really tight. 

The waitress came back to the table when she saw J and I sit down.  We put in drinks orderes.  I got a Coke.  J got a Strawberry Lemonade.  We also ready to order, so we put that in right away too. 

My buddy started things off.  He went with a Turkey Burger with just cheese and lettuce.  The burger on the menu comes with honey mustard dressing, applewood smoked bacon, jalapeño jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.  He left everything but the cheese and lettuce off.  Instead of fries, he opted for mashed potatoes with no gravy. 

I went a completely different route and ordered a great big burger.  The one that jumped out at me was Jalapeno Smokehouse Bacon Burger.  The burgers are actually fresh ground beef and this one is topped with applewood smoked bacon, smoked cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, jalapenos, mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato, and onion.  It’s then served with a jalapeño ranch dressing on the side.  I kept the mayo off and pulled off the lettuce, tomato, and onion before digging in.  Before doing that, the burger was almost too big to put in my mouth.  I nibbled around the edges to get some of the thick cut bacon then just went for it.  I opened as wide as I could and got as much in my mouth as I could.  The effort was totally worth it.  It wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be.  There were quite a few jalapeno’s, but they seemed to be cooled down by the rest of the sandwich.  The burger was better than could be expected for a chain restaurant.  It was cooked to a perfect medium with just a hint of pink in the middle and still very juicy.  The bacon was delicious.  It was cooked crispy.  No soggy bacon on this sandwich. 

For the side, I got homestyle fries.  They were a little salty, but still pretty good.  This was my first meal of the day, so I was really just happy to have as much food as I did. 

J ordered the Triple Dipper appetizer.  I knew when she said she wanted to go to Chili’s that this was the reason.  You get to pick three of eight appetizers.  She went with the Southwestern Eggrolls, Chicken Crispers, and Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip.  She loves the eggrolls and it’s usually the reason she asks me if we can go to Chili’s.  She got three on her plate, but only ate one with the intention of bringing them home.  Out of everything on her plate, the eggrolls will re-heat the best.  She really did a number on the spinach and artichoke dip.  They give a basket of tortilla chips to go along with that app.  The chicken crispers are beer battered chicken strips, not breaded which made them really tasty.  I got one, but she also took a couple of those home for later. 

The bill for the three of us was right around $35.  J’s appetizer is pretty expensive, but she will easily get two meals out of it.  My burger is actually a pretty good value at nine bucks.  You really get a lot of food. 

I always give chains a hard time on this blog, but that’s not to say they’re all bad.  The thing about chain restaurants is you know you’re probably not going to leave hungry.  Like my brother always says, “you always know what you’re going to get.”  That can be a good thing and a bad thing, but in this situation, it’s a good thing. 

Jalapeno Smokehouse Bacon Burger

Southwestern Eggrolls

Chicken Crispers & Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Chili's Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

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