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15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chili’s

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chili’s


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It was all inspired by a big bowl of chili

iStockPhoto

The first Chili's opened in Dallas in 1975.

You might not realize it, but when Chili’s first opened for business, it was considered revolutionary. Today it’s one of America’s most popular casual dining chains, but we bet there’s a lot you didn’t realize about the restaurant that gave us one of the catchiest jingles in history.

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chili’s (Slideshow)

Chili’s was inspired by a chili cookoff held in Terlingua, Texas, in 1967. It was attended by a young entrepreneur named Larry Lavine, who was inspired to develop his own chili recipe and in 1975 opened the first Chili’s in Dallas. Focusing primarily on chili and burgers, it proved to be immensely popular thanks to its simple menu, low-key atmosphere, fun Southwest-themed décor, and awesome burgers. No other restaurant around was quite like it, and within a year a second location opened in Houston. By 1983, with 28 locations open, the corporate world began to take notice, and (soon-to-be) industry legend Norman Brinker swooped in to buy the chain from Lavine. He added new items to the menu, like fajitas, salads, Buffalo wings, and chicken sandwiches, and the company continued to quickly grow. Brinker’s company, called Brinker International, still owns the chain, along with Maggiano’s Little Italy.

Today, Chili’s has more than 1,600 locations worldwide, and a menu that still emphasizes burgers, wings, chicken sandwiches, Southwest-inspired fare, and (of course) baby back ribs. It’s experimenting with touchscreen tablets for tables, and is also regularly rolling out new menu items, most recently smoked barbecue chicken, smoked sausage, chicken and waffles, prime rib fajitas, and even Buffalo fried cauliflower. They’ve come long way from just offering burgers and chili! Click here for 15 things we bet you never knew about Chili’s.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.


10 Things You Need to Know Before Eating at Chili's

If you want your baby back, baby back, baby back&mdashthen you need to read this.

Chili's is different from the faux-talian Olive Garden and standard American Applebee's. It's got Southern roots, a strong Tex-Mex menu, and quirky dish innovations that keep customers coming back for refills on the crispy, world-colliding Southwestern egg rolls and sweeter than sweet mango iced tea. But there's so much more to the chain that you ever realized, which is why we're giving you all the dirt on your favorite place to eat.

1. Chili's was inspired by two Texas burger joints.

Founder Larry Lavine grew up visiting two patty spots, Burger Hour and Goff's Hamburgers in Dallas. So it only makes sense that his concept&mdashwith the goal of "giving guests a great burger and a margarita"&mdashwas influenced by his childhood haunts. The first location opened in 1975 in (where else?) Dallas.

2. The original menu was all chili and burgers.

And a couple tacos. You could choose from Texas Red chili or the house's chili pie and five burgers, plus soft tacos or tostadas. And, of course, there were traditional margaritas and sangria.

3. It was once related to On the Border.

Chili's is owned by Brinker International, which acquired On the Border Mexican Grill way back in 1994. But Brinker no longer owns the competing cantina chain, which means you can't cheat on Chili's and walk away guilt-free anymore. Sorry, folks.

4. Every year the brand celebrates St. ChiliHead Day.

This is a made-up holiday to mark the company's anniversary. Apparently it falls sometime around St. Patrick's Day, which is why Chili's came up with such an odd patron saint-like name for its special day. To mark another year in business, the company throws a huge outdoor bash at its original Dallas location a.k.a headquarters&mdashcomplete with cakes, chili, burgers, and (we assume) plenty of baby back ribs.

5. The rewards program is actually worth it.

Unlike some chains that make you spend hundreds before you can redeem a small drink, Chili's rewards program offers a bunch of freebies like complimentary dessert on your birthday. Rack up points with every purchase, then redeem them for free lunch combos, free entrees, and free appetizers. Plus, there aren't time windows you need to jump through. Sign up now and get 60 bonus points, which is enough to get a free menu item. Score!

6. It produced one of the catchiest commercial tunes of all time.

Chanting the name of its signature baby back ribs, the spot was definitely stuck in your head for weeks months after its premiere. "Chiliiiii's baby back riiiiiiiibs. barbecue sauce." It was so popular it was featured in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and episodes of The Office and Workaholics. N*SYNC even did their own rendition.

7. You can take Chili's home with you.

No, we're not talking about your leftovers. After receiving countless requests, the chain decided to share its fan-favorite dishes with the freezer aisle. So now you can pick up plates like the chicken fajitas rice bowl and nacho potatoes with beef and bacon to make in your own kitchen&mdashor, better yet, make your office mates jealous at lunch time.

8. There's a Chili's in Mexico!

Unlike Taco Bell, there's an iteration of this Tex-Mex chain in the land of real tacos and guac. And more in 30 other countries, including Brazil, Russia, Japan, India, Costa Rica, and Canada.

9. Those kids' coloring pages are for a good cause.

All the colored-outside-the-lines chilis you see posted on the walls? Those are benefitting St. Jude's through a charity partnership with the restaurant chain. After launching in 2004, the Create-A-Pepper program raises funds for research to find cures and help save children in need.

10. You can make the fancy "Platinum Presidente" marg at home.

Wash down your take-home Chili's meal with a DIY margarita with the brand's how-to video. All you need is some mid- to top-shelf tequila, Cointreau, and El Presidente brandy.