Chili’s and Macaroni Grill

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I didn’t think that the rumors were true, but guess what: Great Falls will soon have a Chili’s restaurant and a Macaroni Grill restaurant.

Ever since I arrived here in 2002, it has annoyed me when people complain that we don’t have any good restaurants – by which they mean national chain restaurants (the ones most commonly cited are Olive Garden and Chili’s). Too many people – often out-of-staters, such as my fellow Airmen – somehow seem to think that not having an Olive Garden means that Great Falls is a backwater hole not worthy of being called a city (or town, or community); as if the lack of a Chili’s somehow relegates Great Falls to second-class status.

I call “bull” on that: Great Falls has some wonderful places to eat – restaurants, cafes, diners – so it simply isn’t true that there are no decent restaurants. Just a few examples based on my recent dining history: baked potatoes at Jaker’s; French Dip and clam chowder at the Halftime Sports Bar; steak-n-eggs breakfast at Good Time Charlie’s (best value in town, too!); apple pie at Tracy’s Diner; prime rib at the Bar S; bison-burger at Bert & Ernie’s.

But having said that, I’m glad to hear that Chili’s is coming – it was my favorite place to eat back in my previous life in another state. 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!



  1. I’m reserving my enthusiasm until they get city approval. Personally i think it will make the market place even more congested- I’ll be less likely to go then.

  2. Has any one been to Family Affair? Its in the stripmall where Vans IGA is on 26th street. They have great food at great prices!!

  3. I agree Dave. When my family comes they can’t wait to eat at all the local resturants in town. They have the Olive Garden’s and Red Lobsters but only Great Falls has Clark and Lewis’s in the O’Hare Motor Inn’s Cajin Chicken Wrap and Pan fried Chicken with all the fixins!

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