There’s a reason why we stay away from corporate establishments and Chili’s on Mooney Blvd. in Visalia proved our point. Not once or twice but THREE times. We understand that every seat in your restaurant is viewed as $ and it’s important to move customers in and out as fast as possible so your seats are always making money. We also understand the importance of keeping labor cost low in order to increase your profit. We get it, trust me… we do. This is why we prefer to support locally owned businesses.
The Locals Review Crew has recently been in search of an amazing cocktail that features fresh fruit purée, such as watermelon or other seasonal fruit. Stan has always got his ear to the ground and rumor has it that Chili’s has recently added some new cocktails to their menu, one being a watermelon margarita and another being their watermelon cooler. So, Stan sent his usual text for the crew to meet him there and after this experience..Stan didn’t have much to say and lets leave it at that.
As we walk in, we are greeted by the Host and we are seated at the bar. We thumb through the menu and there they are, the watermelon margarita and the watermelon cooler! Now, where is the bartender? This place wasn’t very packed and service should have been better but it sucked. We finally order our drinks and attempt to ask the bartender how they are made and ask if they use fresh fruit. She was obviously too busy with other customers to have time to answer our questions. Turns out she was waiting on the tables in the bar area, taking orders, serving food and pouring drinks. Anyhow, I will have to say when our drinks finally arrived they were pretty amazing! We finished our drinks and thought about ordering another but we felt almost like we were bothering the bartender. Plus, who knows how long it would have taken us to get them. So, we gracefully bowed out and called it a night.
A few days later we rallied some of the crew and thought we would share our watermelon findings, not the experience. So, we venture to Chili’s for round two. We are seated in a booth in the bar area and order the same drinks this time with no salt on the margarita but rather sugar on the side. When our drinks arrived there was no salt on the margarita and sugar on the watermelon cooler. Hmmm… simple mistake we thought to ourselves so we mentioned it to our server. His response was, “I believe that’s the way we make them.” So I open the menu and show it to him. His response was, “okay.” Now we are thinking shouldn’t he have offered to correct the order? Rather than attempting to order another round of drinks or food we decided to bow out yet again.
The LR4U crew heads back to Chilis yet again. I’m thinking why? Were the drinks that good that we would sacrifice putting up with poor customer service? We are seated in the main restaurant area this time. Our server takes our order and we wait. I watch the bartender make our drinks and place them on the bar. I patiently watch them sit there for about 5 minutes when I finally get her attention. She brings us our drinks which are pretty damn good so we decide to order food. We had the ribs, cheddar sausage, chicken strips with corn on the cob and a side salad. The food was just ok, the corn was cold and soggy and the lettuce on the salad was frozen. We mentioned it our server who was apologetic and adjusted our bill accordingly.
I’m over this review if you haven’t noticed. So as we are sitting there waiting for our bill we overhear the table next to us complaining about their food. Yeah let’s be done with this mess.
In the end, an amazing drink was overshadowed by the rest of the experience. Looks like we will be googling a recipe for a watermelon margarita and making them at home from now on. Hint- when creating your own purée add a small piece of the rind to enhance the taste of watermelon. You’re welcome.
Let’s go to the score card-