Allee Willis’ Kitsch ‘O The Day – Chili-ing At Chili John’s

Submitted by Allee Willis February 7th, 2012
Certifikitsch Winner

It’s rare I have a weekday that’s not stuffed with work, a mish-mash of songwriting, blogging, curating, working on my next live Super Ball Bounce Back show, etc., etc., etc.  But last Friday was one such day and I spent most of it at one of my favorite still-standing places in Burbank, Chili John’s. This is such a serious chili pad I even took the Wienermobile there a few weeks ago:

Chili John’s started in 1900 and is still going strong in Green Bay, Wis.

Chili John’s Burbank, the only offspring, was erected in 1946. All they serve are dishes topped with SERIOUS chili.

The prices are a little different than back in the ’60’s:

As usual, Mark Blackwell documented my culinary experience:

I spent a lot of time documenting the decor:

The entire restaurant is a U-shaped array of formica and bright orange vinyl:

Even the light switches go way back:

In the center of the counter there are vats of different strength chili:

The neon clock over the entrance to the kitchen is classic:

LOVE the fake flower pots and the ‘Chili John’s’ that rim the walls as they meet the ceiling all the way around the restaurant:

But nothing kills me more than the wall mural that runs along the entire east side of the restaurant:

As photogenic as the decor is, I spent most of my time photographing the food:

And what food it is! The chili dogs, with varying-degrees-of -spiciness-chili are INSANE…::

…as are the Sloppy Johns:

The chopped onions add a crispiness to make for a cornucopia of textural wonderness.

You can get a glimpse  of other dishes here. All the foodstuffs are definitely a two-fisted job:

Mark and I started with the excessively wonderful and creamy lemon pie, pictured below but solo-photo-of-which I forgot to take, and then dove backwards into the main course. As you can see, the take home cartons were already poised to be loaded:

Here I am in the kitchen to check out how the secret seasonings are brewed:

Owner Alec  Loguercio pours the fixin’s into a giant grinder:

Then it’s all tossed into a pot that’s so big it’s stirred with an oar:

Chili John’s is a family run joint. Alec…,

…and his mom, Debbie,…

…who was there the day we pulled up in the Wienermobile.:

Sue Mell, family friend, also pitches in:

It’s no secret that I love hot dogs. I don’t care what’s in them (though Chili John’s offers a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian dogs).  They’re health food for the soul.

Put that hot dog under a bed of homemade chili and then put that chili dog in a setting like Chili John’s with a seriously friendly staff and the smell of simmering garlic tickling your membranes and you’ve got one happy chilin’ Allee Willis!

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