HOUSTON – Welcome to Made in Texas, where we write about products made in the Lone Star State.
Today, we’re featuring the American dining chain with one of the catchiest jingles in history, Chili’s Grill & Bar.
The founder and the story behind Chili’s Grill & Bar
The founder of Chili’s Grill & Bar was a man named Larry Lavine.
In 1967, Lavine attended the inaugural Terlingua Chili Cook-off, hosted by the famous race car driver, automotive designer and his father-in-law Carrol Shelby, according to the restaurant’s website.
Lavine fell in love with the event and wanted to create a place you’d want to go and hang out with good friends over a burger and a beer, according to the restaurant’s website.
In 1975, Lavine opened the first Chili’s restaurant in Dallas. Its food menu only offered a few items including homemade chili, burgers, fries, tacos and margaritas.
A year later, he opened up the second Chili’s location in Houston.
In 1984, the company hit the TV airwaves to introduce its newest menu item, fajitas. Salads, chicken sandwiches and buffalo wings were also added to the menu.
Two years later, the popular baby back ribs were introduced along with the catchy jingle.
In 1991, the restaurant opened its first international location in Canada.
Today, the restaurant can be found in 32 different countries across the world.