With chain restaurants popping up in the Bangor area like pimples on a dirty teenager, it was only a matter of time before Chili’s showed its face. Formerly, you had to travel to the more civilized south of Maine if you wanted to eat at Chili’s, but now it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the glorious Bangor Mall.
While local chain restaurants like Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday and Ninety Nine have more or less the same menu, Chili’s offers something a little different. Its menu does have the expected hamburgers and turkey wraps, but it also offers food with a southwestern flair.
The Margarita Grilled Chicken is marinated in margarita mix and served with rice, black bean and tortilla strips. It actually tastes like something you might find in Texas – I’ve never actually been to Texas, but I can just imagine.
Over break I frequented Chili’s a few more times than I should have, and each time I had a solid experience, whether I was there for dinner or just for drinks. Only once did I have to wait for a table, which is very impressive considering that when a new restaurant opens in the area, people flock to it like religious fanatics flock to see weeping statues.
The wait staff who served me were always very nice and patient, regardless of how long it took me to make up my mind on my order and no matter how many Dr. Peppers they had to refill.
The Turkey Combo, comprised of half of a turkey sandwich with french fries and your choice of soup or salad, is my Chili’s meal of choice. While this sandwich can easily be found at other chain restaurants, both times I ordered it, I was pleased. For $6.49 it’s quite a bit of food for a good price.
The bar area is fairly stylish. It has a calming blue tone and the lack of televisions help make it pretty relaxing. It’s not the kind of bar you would go to if you wanted to get wildly drunk, but it’s a nice place to have a couple of drinks before or after a movie or dinner. There are no drink specials, most beers are in the $3.50 and up range, and the mixed drinks can be pricey, but that’s to be expected at bars in chain restaurants – If you really want to drink a lot, rock Uno’s $2 Killian’s deal.
If you’re looking for something a little different than the usual chain restaurant, then you should give Chili’s a try. The food is good, the service is excellent and the prices are very fair.