Chili Willi’s - is one of those places that I truly associate with West Virginia’s second largest city and probably first that will be placed in recievership, also home of the Greater Huntington Area Community College.
( YES – I’m like Butter!!! …. on a Roll )
Chili Willi’s to me is a neat little place that used to reside in the true downtown section near 9th and 8th streets. But since has moved to a less cramped place down the road near 14th street. But still serving up the same Tex Mex fare.
What the hell is Tex Mex? Mexican American? What? Neverthess they do have some decent dishes and even if you get a hamburger it’s going to have a south of the border twist to it. Note the hamburger reference :-( I’ve always liked Chili Willi’s, but I never really went there a lot, in the old place it was always packed and cramped, and well I’m a a messy drunk and tend to spill a lot. So if it was crowded I went someplace else.
But now that it’s down the road in a larger building, I can spread my elbows and enjoy my Dose Ekee brewski.
Well this Friday eve Susan and I find ourselves in Huntington, having to make some last minute errand running prior to heading to Morgantown and the TRUE University in this great state, to watch the Mountaineers beat up on their first Conference USA foe of the season. Can’t wait till the second one… HAH – but this is a food blog and not a College Football Blog.
So we decided to eat here, plus it will give us some content. Plus maybe give us some exposure in the greater Barboursville area. ( come on would anyone be surprised if Barboursville was to annex Huntington in the future – asuming of course they would want it? )
Well first I order a beer, a “Dose Ekees” draft for $3.50. But it was a decent size draft, I forget the size but I wasn’t truly offended, and it was Friday, and this is Huntington home of the Original User Fee ( yes people it was Huntington that came up with this rape of your income )
Susan orders some chips and salsas. The chips are homemade, I don’t know about the Salsas but I assume they are too. Both are pretty good (the two Salsas that is), the chips are excellent - ours came out warm even, and of course very crispy.
Well having enough of the Dose Ekees, I move on to Bud Light for $2.75 bottle – yes we’re approaching rape zone here, but in my old age I’ve mellowed somewhat. Perusing the menu I decide on the Burger. After all, I had been wanting to go to one of those non-dining destination big mouth burger joints all week, and have never made it.
That decided, I begin to enjoy my upper income level priced beer, and listen to Susan describe what she’s going to have. She can tell you later.
Our server comes by to ask what we would like (BTW, the server was usually pretty quick and friendly so no complaints there) I say the Burger, and she says ….
wait for it….
“We are no longer carrying that. Took it off the menu about a week ago.”
Think about that for a bit…
Focus on the portion about “the menu”. You see maybe it’s just me being a dork Engineer and looking at things in a more thought out manner, but wouldn’t “taking it off the menu” imply actually “taking it off the menu” ? On my menu it was clearly still on there, same with Susan’s. (Editor’s Note: the burger still appears on the on-line menu, too.)
When one decides to take something off the menu why is the menu the last thing that gets changed? Seems this happens a lot. Keep in mind I understand about running out of a supply of something that can’t be helped. I understand those unforeseen issues. No, I’m talking about when someone is having an “it’s not broke, so let’s fix it” moment and consciously decides to take something off the menu for whatever reason on a certain premeditated date. Would it make too much sense to first fix the menu?
I think it does.
But wait, let’s say you did fix the menu and the new menus have not arrived in time. Well hmmmm, my secretary makes these things called “LABELS”, and prints them out for me. It’s truly amazing as they’re like little stickers too, you can stick them on things that you intend to draw attention to.
For example, one could have been printed and pasted on the menu and said something like:
“Sorry valued customer, due to customer surveys and input, Chili Willi’s has decided to no longer serve the old favorite HAMBURGER, as it was felt it had too much Tex, and not enough Mex for your fine dining establishment, so as of 09/05/09 we will no longer be serving this beast of a burger for this valued price, instead for a more meatier product we suggest you try our overly cheezy steak quesadilla, and yes if you don’t like cheese and even if you say you don’t want much cheese, we’ll gladly throw a little bit more on it for you“
Ok, I went a little long with my suggested note, consider it foreshadowing of what’s to come. But you get the idea.
So once informed our server suggested I try the quesadilla for $10, and I do.
It is big, the steak was tender, but it was too cheesy for me, and I did mention I didn’t want much cheese. I’ll take the blame for the quesadilla fail, but for the menu fail I’m blaming that on Huntington and the local mentality.
I didn’t like my quesadilla. Period. Most of the time the food I get at Chili Willi’s is pretty good. I was just flustered and rushed into making this decision based on outdated information, and ordered an item that in hindsight knew I would not like. My fault.
THREE FORKS - Service was good, food was, well there was a lot of it. The chips were good. I would eat here again, I’m just usually the one that doesn’t suggest eating here. It’s a cool place, could use some better beer prices, maybe they have a Happy Hour, maybe not. Go try it out and comment below on what you think… (btw, try to come up with something more original than the “Heather Bresch” and “bought my degree” jokes that have been run in the ground over the last year )
First of all, I couldn’t believe Ron was even suggesting this place. I want to go to East Tenampa in Milton all the time and he vetoes me because in his messed-up mind, he thinks we eat Mexican too often. I have tried explaining, on numerous occasions, that “Mexican twice a week” does not equal “too often”. I figured he was ok with Chili Willi’s because it wasn’t “real” Mexican, it was Tex Mex. (I know there will be comments about how our local Mexican joints don’t serve true Mexican food…that’s why I used quotation marks around the word “real”.)
I had been to this establishment only once before and it did not leave a memorable impression on me or my tummy. I remembered thinking we had paid too much for what we got. But all that aside, I’d much rather have Mexican or Asian food than a burger joint, so I accepted his suggestion quickly.
The chips were crispy, hot and lightly salted. The spicier of the two salsas was tasty, but the mild one was too sweet for my liking.
I chose the chicken enchiladas and asked to substitute tomatillo sauce for whatever sauce was listed in the menu and they accommodated my request for no additional charge.
When I received the steaming hot enchiladas, I instantly noticed the dark blue corn tortillas and thought they added a cool novelty touch to the dish. The two blue tortillas were filled with shredded white-meat chicken. Melted cheese and tomatillo sauce surrounded the rolled bundles. Taste was good, and they had a decent heat level but the price was steep at $9.95 – with no accompaniment. That’s right – no rice, no beans, no nothin’. Unless you count the green onion garnish. I don’t. This might be why I only remembered we paid too much last time…
Take a look at that photo. These weren’t giant-sized enchiladas. Does that look like a $10 plate of food to you? I just don’t believe that the blue color doubles the price. How much can rice and beans cost that you can’t slap some on the plate? A handful of cold, crisp lettuce would have been nice, too.
The service, as Ron mentioned, was friendly and prompt. She even joked around with us as Ron was giving her hard time about the menu blunder with the non-existent burger.
The bottom line for me is that I really didn’t note anything special about Chili Willi’s that was worth the additional cost and I wouldn’t drive past East Tenampa for food only half as good. Even though Dan doesn’t like it when I compare places like that, I can’t help but do it. I usually have an appetite for a certain TYPE of food, not a particular restaurant, and then I pick the best place for that type of food within a reasonable distance. If I want a turkey sandwich, I go to Deli Fresh. If I want chicken with garlic sauce, I go to Taste of Asia. If I want an enchilada with tomatillo sauce, I won’t go to Chili Willi’s. TWO FORKS.
Check out what the folks at WV Gourmet thought about Chili Willi’s for a second opinion by reading their review here.Chili Willi’s 1315 Fourth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-529-4857