Rest in Peace Chi Chis: The U.S.A will miss your celebration of food!

  For my birthday this year, I wanted to eat at Chi- Chis Mexican restaurant—for the first time ever. I wanted to be a part of the “Celebration of Food”. Since I never got that invite all my life.

Alas, this didn’t happen since I learned this year that all of the Chi-Chis restaurants in the United States closed down.  I was distraught and inconsolable on the day of my birthday party.

It would’ve been mature of me to have a stolid face but a part of me hoped this nugget of information was simply a canard.  A lie, a baseless falsehood. 

Nevertheless, my two sources of information couldn’t be false since it came from both my awesome boyfriend and my great friend Fahad ( who I silly stringed into a cacoon awhile back).

Several years back in 2003,  Chi-Chis was hit with the largest Hepatitus A outbreak in U.S history, with around 4 fatalities and 660 other victims who contracted the illness in the Pittsburgh area. If it weren’t for those green onions laced with hepatitus, maybe just maybe, Chi-Chis would still be around.

On the other hand, Chi-Chi’s was fighting bankruptcy for the last part of it’s fragile life.  Nevertheless, I wanted to eat there since I was 7-years-old. I would see the Chi-Chi’s sign highlight amidst the night sky, everytime my parents drove by it on the weekends.  I relished the day when I was big enough to eat ChiChi’s chimichangas, nachos, empanadas and tacos.

When that supposed day came,  in February 2012, little 7-year-old Sherryn was going to have her dream come true. She was finally going to be able to eat a whole meal at the one restaurant she wanted to be at.  The one place that she knew that accepted her as an adult, big enough to eat an entire entree by herself.

A few hours into the night, her moment of: “salsafication”; of having her life ” needing that extra salsa”; and of possibly being invited to that supposed “celebration of life”; dashed into irrevocable pieces.

It was that night in February where I finally matured into a full-fledged adult. I learned that sometimes the Rolling Stones are right, you can’t always get what you want. So you just have to bide the time and cogitate about what’s really important in life.

 I know that Hormel bought out ChiChis and sells their products online and I could always make it at home, but it’s really not the same. It never will be.

If  I ever want to eat at ChiChi’s, I would need to travel to Belguim or countries in the Middle East, Asia,  North Africa or Europe. I would have to shell out thousands of dollars of cash just to accomplish this feat and frankly, that’s too much for me to do.

  Moreover, I am not even sure if ChiChis would even taste good in a different country—the way I dreamed it would taste.

Comment below if you ever ate at Chi-Chis and miss it still. Maybe your comments will attenuate the pain inside of never knowing the real celebration of food.


  1. i hear you, my wife and i were discussing chi chis recently and discovered, as you did, that the franchise close almost 10 years ago, guess we werentr really loyal enough customers. lol..

    sincer then, ive been on aquest for all things chichis related, for a cool look check out

    ive been in contact with the former VP of Chi chis, the former biggest franchisee, former cooks, hormel (who bought the chi chis name, NOT the recipes) etc email me at to comiserate our loss of our chi chis fantasy, lol


  2. I worked at chichi’s all through high school and college. Loved it there and loved the food. I stumbled in one last year in Belgium and I must say it wasn’t the same. Best thing to do is find a copycat recipie on line and make the food yourself:)

    1. I missed out on a great experience, “Dougie”. Making the food at home is not the same not does it compensate. Quite frankly, your comment made me feel worse. You must be a D.C resident since you sure do act like on.

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