Chi-Chi’s Corn Chips Review

zantigoFor a time, back in the day, Minneapolis (of all places) was a hot bed of Americanized Mexican restaurants.

A local restaurateur, Marno McDermott, founded a fast food chain called Zapata (later Zantigo) which gave Taco Bell a pretty good run for the money,and was eventually assimilated by various Taco Bell parent companies and vanished. There are a half dozen “new” Zantigo’s in the Twin Cities these, started by former employees.

TV Ad for the “New” Zantigo

Amping it up to fast casual, McDermot started Chi-Chi’s in Minneapolis, which grew to over 200 locations. A few bankruptcies, and a nasty outbreak of Hep A did them in. Hormel bought the rights to the name for restaurant products, and a Belgium company now holds the rights to own and operate restaurants by that name, and they are fairly evident in Europe and Asia.

TV Ad for Chi-Chi’s Buffet

There was briefly a start-up competitor to Chi Chi’s in the Twin Cities, called “Estebans,” which developed multiple locations and was eventually purchased by Chi Chi’s.

Our hang out was the local outlet of the California chain “El Torito,” on Highway 12 in Golden Valley. We hit the happy hour quite often,cheap drinks and a free buffet were the perfect combination for youngsters in the local media biz.

Point is, I purchased some Chi Chi’s corn chips the other day, hadn’t had them before, and I quite like them. They are a little easier on the salt than many brands, and have a ‘lighter’ taste. They could become a regular entrant to the “Ameri-Mexican” foods in the pantry here – usually I make my own corn chips, but these are A-OK.

Chi-Chi’s also sells salsa and other goodies. Here’s where to find them.











Chi-Chi’s Corn Chips Review

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