When the hot dog meister of Portland Domo Dog Guy tells me “you gotta try this place,” I’m always gonna endeavor to get to to the location he named, pronto-like. But there was no hurry in the case of Chili John’s, as it has been operating continuously since 1900. Guess they are around to stay.
I ambled in just past the noon hour, but the u-shaped counter was still nearly full of grinning chili-heads. We’re talking “Texas-style” chili here, not the kind that grow.
You can order your chili with meat, chicken, or veggie-style, add beans if you like, have it atop rice, pasta, a hot dog, or a bun. I went with the dog and the bun style.
The counter man graciously offered me the opportunity to sample before I bought, but I retorted, “Are you kidding? Domo Dog Budd recommended this place!’
And with that, he went about assembling and placing my order in front of me. Chili John’s doesn’t dilute their flavor experience by offering chips or fries, oh no, but there are complimentary bowls of oyster crackers on the counter, as well as a few condiments. A bowl of diced onion (your vegetables) is within reach, and, on occasion, sweet pickle slices, which, although I do not usually care for them, complimented the chili nicely.
No surprise, as usual, I over ordered, and ended up eating most of the chili, part of the dog, and a bite of each bun just for
The regular chili is thick with meat and not much else. It comes in mild, medium or hot, I chose medium, and it has a tolerable kick to it (I am a wimp about such things). The beef is the consistency of pulled pork, ample bits, tender as all get out, and flavorful past the point you’d think anyone could squeeze out of chili.
I loved it. All of it. The food, the decor, the servers.
I’ll be back!