Chili’s… Been There Done That

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The new Chili's in Franklin, Tennessee - grand opening day. I’ve never been to a restaurant on its “opening night” before… until now.

One of the exciting new developments here in Franklin, Tennessee is the addition of a huge new shopping/dining area called Parkway Commons — including a Target (opens in March), a Kroger (opens a few months after Target), and a Chili’s (opening night: January 27, 2005).

We decided to take a chance on the crowds and check out the new Chili’s off Columbia Avenue in Franklin.

A Review of Chili’s In Franklin, Tennessee
Upon arrival (at 6pm on a Thursday), the first thing we noticed: not a parking space to be found. We figured many of cars, in fact belonged to staff — and we figured they probably brought in EXTRA staff just for this occasion. Not to mention that this is a relatively tiny Chili’s establishment. This is the tiny town of Franklin, after all. But nope, these were all legit customers eager to try out the hottest new restaurant in town!

So, I hopped out of the car to get an ETA on the next available table — while Jim circled the building a few times in search of a patron who was leaving.

I was promptly greeted at the double doors by two cheery new employees — both wearing Britney Spears-like headsets. One held an armful of menus for people to peruse while they waited. The other held a basket full of beepers to notify you when your table became available. And the best news: Despite the mass of people — inside and out — only a 10 minute wait!

Inside the bar at the Chili's in Franklin, Tennessee grand opening night. Of course we had to check out the bar, as this could POSSIBLY become a fun little neighborhood pub for us to frequent… (though not likely). It’s your basic quick-serve restaurant bar. VERY open. Limited TV screens. And no NTN, but that was no big deal… MOST places don’t carry it. Overall, the bar was nice, but not all that “warm and cozy” like you’d want to hang out there for long.

Side note: “Happy Hour” priced 10oz drafts were 2-for-1 at $3.00 apiece! Though we rang up quite a beer tab on this night (Jim was drinking beer for a change), it wasn’t all that great of a deal, cuz the beers were so darned tiny… though they were also VERY cold (a huge plus).

We were seated in no time — hadn’t even finished our first beer! And our waitress was really sweet, really overworked, and really friendly from the nearby town of Spring Hill. She did great for her first day on the job!

While we were reading over the menu, we noticed some friends of ours sitting at a table nearby. After a quick hello to Woody and his wife, Dot (we also spotted a handful of other people we knew), we ordered our appetizer — a long-time Chili’s favorite: “skillet of queso”. It has little chunks of spicy sausage in it and comes with with the corresponding nacho chips (that happen to come with their own VERY tasty bowl of spicy salsa).

We really could’ve done fine with just our beers and the chips & dip — it was oh, so good, and oh so filling. (And they kept bringing us all the chips we wanted every time we ran out.)

Then for the main course: I got the quesadillas, while Jim went with the build-a-burger. Jim’s burger was thick, juicy, and one of the tastiest he’s had. Said he’d get it again.

My quesadillas rated an A+ on appearance and mouth-watering appeal. But they (and the accompanying sides of black beans and rice) only scored a C on taste. I feel bad being so picky, but here’s a rundown of the reasons for the low score:

  • loaded with onions (and I love onions) — they were really thick and juicy, but didn’t seem to add much flavor
  • loaded with chicken — fine, but tatesless, no spices or flavor to speak of
  • loaded with cheese — excellent, though perhaps there IS too much of a good thing
  • …that’s it. Period.

Now, while those ARE the main ingredients of your basic quesadilla, this one was lacking a bit in the flavor department. (I found myself wishing I’d brought along a Zip-Loc bag of hot peppers or something just to perk it up a bit!)

So, overall I’d say that our experience was a good one. Everyone was VERY friendly, VERY helpful. The food was VERY fresh, and VERY hot. I’m just not so sure about the quesadillas…

Chili's To Go parking sign - all others will be crushed and melted'. If you’re short on time, or looking for a light bite to eat, go for the skillet of queso and light, crisp (with just the right amount of salt!) nacho chips — and a tall cold one.

I’m sure we’ll be back… Perhaps we’ll try some “Chili’s To Go”.


We moved from Florida to Tennessee in 2001. All signs point to the fact that we will probably retire here -- by choice. We L O V E Nashville! Our favorite places to live are just south of the City -- we've had houses in Brentwood, Franklin, and Spring Hill. And we have properties in Leipers Fork, Cookeville, and Lewisburg. This site is where I share my best tips for moving your family to Nashville and/or visiting Nashville for the first time -- with the ultimate goal of helping you find fun things to do in Williamson County and Davidson County. When I'm not out & about enjoying the Nashville area, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I’ve written over 500 articles on this site! Many of them have upwards of 100K shares.

2 thoughts on “Chili’s… Been There Done That

  1. I know it’s way after the fact, but as a former employ of that location we actually had to park down in the target parking lot…I remember the walks!!!

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