Back in May I said: “Not having a Chili’s in Great Falls was never a ‘negative’ for me, but having one here will be a ‘plus.’ I can’t wait to tear into one of their steaks and the chips-n-queso!” Chili’s has always been one of my favorite places to eat, whether I was living in Texas, Oklahoma, California, or visiting other places.
Aside: to those who criticize any chain restaurant and proclaim that only local diners are worthy – or to those who hate the local choices and would trade their first-born for an Olive Garden – take my word on it: there is room for BOTH in Great Falls! It does not have to be an “either/or” proposition – I enjoy 3D and Eddie’s and Good Time Charlie’s and Howard’s Pizza, AND I enjoy Tony Roma’s and Chili’s.
And so tonight, with the grand opening upon us, I snuck in between the lunch and dinner rushes – good timing, no waiting at all. Ordered some chips and queso dip, which didn’t seem to have quite the “kick” that I remember from years ago, but still better than just about any in town. Cheese sticks – delicious! And the seasoned ribeye steak, with corn on the cob and mashed potatoes (with cream gravy) was just perfect! The atmosphere was lively, but not too loud or overwhelming, and the service was good…not great, as I think that some of the staff were still experiencing some jitters, and it seemed that a few of them weren’t quite sure what to do with themselves…it looked like there were about five servers per table, and with only one server needed per table at a time, the others just hovered somewhat nervously around the bar and the kitchen entrance. Can’t blame Chili’s for preparing for an onslaught, so it was better to have too many wait staff on hand than not enough, on opening day.
And by the time we left – around 5:20 – the joint was indeed jumping, with empty tables becoming pretty scarce, pretty quickly.
Overall, I’d give the visit this evening a rating of A-. We’ll be back!
Chili’s, located at 1420 Marketplace Drive; 406-452-6700
Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 am until 10:00 pm
Open Friday & Saturday from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm.
UPDATE: Rob and his wife were arriving at Chili’s at just about the time that we were leaving. Sounds like they really enjoyed it!