I recently learned that fast food favorite Church's Chicken was launched in San Antonio just outside of the Alamo and since then I've been wondering about what other big national brands and chains got their roots here in the Lone Star State. Little did I know that a popular restaurant here in Tyler also was born in Texas.

Did you know Chili's Was Started in Dallas?

Google Maps
Google Maps

According to a story from WFAA, Chili's has come a long way since it opened on Greenville Avenue in Dallas in 1975. In 2021, the burger restaurant with a distinctive chili pepper for a logo raked in more than $3.5 billion in sales but when they launched in the 70's they were just hoping to make $100 a day.

The First Location Was a  Converted Post Office

Chili's first location was a converted postal station on Dallas' Greenville Avenue. When they started they passed out hand written menus and served grub in baskets rather than plates. Their concept of being an in-between (you could either go FINE DINING of FAST FOOD back in the 70's) casual dining restaurant was a relatively new one, 
according to a story from Lake Highlands Advocate.

In Less Than a Decade, They Would Go Nationwide

The chain that would become famous for baby back ribs kept it simple in the beginning: chili, burgers, fries, tacos, seventy-five-cent beers, and dollar-fifty margaritas. They later added fajitas and nachos, adding to the Mexican flair. When folks from miles around would line up outside to get a seat, they knew it was time to expand. They soon opened a second location in Houston in the early 1980s. The company was purchased by the restaurant group Brinker International and taken around the country.

Is the First Location Still There?

Google Maps
Google Maps

The original Chili's location on Greenville in Meadow eventually closed, and about a decade ago was replaced by a 7-eleven -- another Dallas-founded company ironically. So if you ever wonder where those "baby back, baby back ribs" found their origin story, just know it started in Texas.

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