Who says it has to be cold outside to eat chili?
Anaheim Chili is a full-service restaurant in Jones Valley that specializes in spicy food, particularly chili. (Note that this specialization is not exclusive. There are many non-chili and non-spicy items available as well.) Expect friendly, prompt service in Anaheim Chili’s clean and pleasant dining room, with table seating for perhaps 50 and a small bar on the west wall.
There are ten different chilis available every day, including two vegetarian options. You’ll find familiar territory here, like home-style, black bean, and white with chicken and northern beans. You’ll also discover interesting things like Cuban stew, with shredded pork; pesole, with dark meat chicken and hominy; and even Anaheim Chili’s take on Cincinnati-style, with cloves and cinnamon. You’ll want to try them all, and an easy way to do that is ordering multiple cups at $3 each.
As tasty as the daily offerings are, the signature experience is the Texas chili plate, available only on Tuesday.
This is genuine Texas chili, without beans (or even any tomato ingredients). The bulk of it is slow-roasted chuck, with onions and serrano peppers rounding out the bulk. Garlic and oregano finish it. It’s relatively hot for a restaurant offering. You get a stripe of Texas, a stripe of green rice (with cilantro), and a stripe of marvelously flavorful pintos for $8.50.
Anaheim Kid’s Fare
As I said earlier, despite the restaurant’s name, it’s not chili or nothing, and it’s also not spicy or nothing. The menu is extensive, with burgers, chicken sandwiches, sausages, and wings. I’ve firmly gotten over any slight aversion I ever had to eating chili year-round, but if you still have it, rest assured you’ll still find something good for your tummy.
There is a kids’ menu with typical offerings, so if your son or daughter is in the chicken-fingers-or-nothing phase, you can scratch that itch just that way, and it’s all good.
Outside that phase, frankly, you don’t need the kids’ menu. There is plenty on the regular menu—hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and so forth—to appeal to a young person. Furthermore, everything is reasonably priced, so cost won’t drive you to the kids’ menu either. My son Nathan usually follows my lead with the spicier chilis, and Aaron gets the excellent chili cheese fries.
The macaroni and cheese gets special mention. Much of the time, restaurant macaroni and cheese is a baked, casserolish affair with a crust. Anaheim Chili macaroni and cheese is relentlessly creamy and uniform, which makes it perfect to mix with your chili. Sometimes when I go on a non-Tuesday, I make it my third cup.
Anaheim Chili accommodates smaller children as well. There are clean restrooms, and though they are single-seaters, there is a changing table in the women’s restroom. Highchairs are available.
Many restaurants you might consider for a family dinner skew markedly one way or the other, toward the children or the adults. It’s too easy for kids to feel dragged along, or for Mom and Dad to have to tolerate an experience that’s a bit juvenile for them. Anaheim Chili delivers a high-quality experience for everyone on a family night out to eat. For food, service, and value, Anaheim Chili gets my highest recommendation.
One other thing I really like about Anaheim Chili is its extensive offering of local draft beers, including brews from Straight to Ale, Yellowhammer, and Blue Pants. They are available day to day, but they’re also periodically featured during special “beer dinners.” These adult-only dinners usually contain four courses, and feature special dishes (each carefully designed for and paired with a different beer) that you won’t find on the regular menu. The reservation-only dinners are $35-40 per person, and you can hear about them on Anaheim Chili’s Facebook page or Twitter feed.