This white brick retro building on the corner of Burbank Boulevard and Keystone has always caught my eye. I’ve noticed it for years, even when we were just in LA on vacation. I would always ask people if they’d been there. I always heard “no, but I’ve always thought about trying it…until I asked Teri. “I’ve been going there for years!” I’ll let her tell you about that.
After running across the video of this vintage 1946 establishment on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives I asked the question again to another group of people and they said “let’s go!” All set. We had a lunch plan. With Teri, the Chili John’s veteran and a couple of willing friends we found our place at the horse shoe shaped counter with the bright orange stools.
Bibs and history are provided upon request. We were taught all about the history of this NEVER changing menu by the bright eyed owner herself. So sweet you just want to stop in there again soon for coffee and more conversation and maybe a piece of their famous lemon pie (that they happened to be out of that day) so we tried the “other” flavor, pineapple.
I ordered the regular (hot version) bowl of chili with beans and piled on the chopped onions provided and a cup of the shredded cheddar with an extra splash of hot sauce. My husband ordered it his favorite way, on a bed of spaghetti. The recipe has never changed. The current owners bought the recipe with the restaurant and have kept EVERYTHING intact, even opting to keep the 1946 stove!
So, I will be going back again soon for more stories and chili. I hear celebrities love this Texas chili recipe originally made by Lithuanian immigrants from Green Bay Wisconsin, transplanted here in Burbank. What’s not to love? I wouldn’t change a thing.
Top 5 Reasons To Go
1. the pie
2. the chili
3. the pie
4. the decor
5. the pie
Discussing Chli John’s for me, is kind of like discussing my left foot. It’s just such a part of who I am and always has been! It’s my ultimate comfort food as I started coming here as a little kid with my parents. My dad was a Burbank cop, so he knew all the good eats around town. Walking into the brick building on the corner of Keystone and Burbank Blvd feels like walking into my childhood.
The beauty of the place is that not much has changed since I was that little girl, ordering my usual; small bowl of medium chili and beans, topped with onions and cheese followed by the sublime lemon merengue pie. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that in all the years of coming here I have have never varied my order. Why fix what isn’t broke?!!
Did I mention the pie? Oh yes! The pie can only be described as orgasmic! It’s like a cool shot of heaven in your mouth and it’s the perfect compliment to the chili.
When our group visited a few days ago, for the very first time I had the pineapple merengue pie. It was good and since I have always been curious about it I’m glad I tried it. However, I’m pretty confident that my old mainstay menu has been a good choice for the last forty odd years and since I was deprived of my beloved pie on our visit I think another round of chili is in order very soon!
You might just see me there on the other side of the horseshoe counter savoring my last bite of pie.