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October 6, 2009

Chili's in downtown Walnut Creek closes suddenly. Oh well.

A reader e-mailed a few days ago with the news that Chili's on Locust is closed. Indeed, a sign posted in the door says as much, advising any Chili's fans out there to check out their locations in Concord and San Ramon.

That's okay. I never went to Chili's. Other places in downtown that have always appealed to us, as a family, more. Besides, I never forgave Chili's for taking over the property that was once occupied by this locally run, old-style Italian restaurant. Does anyone remember the name? I don't remember the food, but I remember the bar, with red-leather booths and bar stools.

It felt like it could have been in a Sinatra/Martin/Davis, Jr. Rat Pack movie, and that's why my newspaper friends and I liked to get drinks there.

I'm sure others are eyeing that property pretty closely, especially restaurateurs. Across the street from Crogan's Bar and Grill, and Pyramid Brewery--but also next door to Spin Ultra Lounge.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Really. Can't the white trash eat elsewhere?

We'll have NM cafe soon, and the Danville bitches that we love.

Anonymous said...

I say let NM move here.

Anonymous said...

We need a wide range of opportunities to shop and dine in Walnut Creek. Some of my best friends considered Chili's their favorite place for a special event.

Having a diversity of shopping and dining opportunities in our town lets everyone choose. Seem kinda American.

So, if Cili's closes I'm kinda sad. But, that creates a niche, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:38,

If your friends considered Chili's their favorite place for a special event, you must live in Concord, because you are the biggest piece of WHITE TRASH I have ever heard of.

Anonymous said...

So how is this congestion in downtown supposed to work if there are businesses closing left and right in the downtown area?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:41 I don't think there is any need to look down on people who like Chili's. In the almost 20 years I have been living in WC I have never been to it, but I still think it is sad when a business closes, for both the employees and the patrons of that particular business.

Soccer Mom said...

Readers,
Can we keep this discussion more civil than insulting someone else? Anon 9:38 was raising a good point about the need for downtown to have a diversity of dining options, including places that might be more casual, affordable or family-friendly.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Chili's was very good anyway. It has fallen to the class of a Dennys or Carrows.

And after they started publishing the nutrition info, I really stopped going there. Has anyone started looking at those things since they started posting them or leaving a brochure on the tables? It really opened my eyes to what I ordered!

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty big space. I wonder if their numbers started dropping after the old theater closed and then the cheese cake factory might have been the final straw.

Anonymous said...

I think 10:00am nailed it. The Cheesecake Factory combined with the economic slowdown probably did them in. I wonder if rising rents were a factor. Even though we never went to Chili's, there are fewer and fewer restaurants downtown that my family can afford.

We really need to develop an "alternate" downtown Walnut Creek for the town's residents.

Anonymous said...

Soccer Mom, I believe that Italian place was called Pastorino's Brittany Inn. I might be off a bit. And Spin used to be The Refectory before it was Abernathy's.

Anonymous said...

Abernathy's. That brings back memories of argyle and polo shirts.

Anonymous said...

they died because they insisted on only serving black beans instead of also serving a choice of pinto and/or refried beans... on this I would swear - that's why I also never go to Chipotle...

us "supertasters" can't stand black beans - taste like dirt to us, so that's 20% of the population they can't serve, and hey if you are only left serving 80%, then your chances of going under are higher...

bet I could get a govt grant to study that!

Anonymous said...

Hey "superdorkster" black beans really? Chili's wasn't just a mexican restaurant and chipotle has pinto and black beans.

But ya I guess they closed because the supertaster crowd was displeased with the beans on maybe 5% of their menu. I think your classification "supertaster" is overlapped on your venn diagram with the "shitforbrainers"

Anonymous said...

My daughters friend was a manager there. They closed because the lease was up and the landlord wanted more rent then they were willing/able to pay.

Anonymous said...

I really avoid downtown these days because it's such a downer to see all that empty retail space. I wish they would just turn it into housing if businesses are no longer interested in coming to Walnut Creek. Besides, I would hate to see yet more skanky bars open up in town. Another big downer. I remember when Walnut Creek was a lovely city, something to be proud of. A joy to walk around it's lovely, clean streets and observe the truly beautiful, well-healed people that at one time adorned its streets.

Anonymous said...

they closed down because the new landlord was going to increase the per sq foot rate of about $3 to $4.

Anonymous said...

10:33pm, those memories were from last year. Stop with the sky is falling stuff. It's a cycle.

More skanky bars? I remember back in 1992ish days the old downtown was basically empty on Sunday. Today it's great to walk around. How about the adult book store that was on Locust were the farmers market is today, remember that. And a bar was on the corner down by target which was the definition of skanky! Looking back it's sure changed for the better in my mind.

Have a good day!

Anonymous said...

I liked Chilis. Good, inexpensive food, nice atmosphere
Cheesecake factory is incredibly expensive - no kids menu, huge menu - paid $80 for a family of four for lunch - ouch!
Soccer Mom - while I realize your biases, there are now several waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and cooks who have lost their job, and the best you can do is "I don't like Chilis because they took over a restaurant that I love"
give me a break.
sucks to see a business go out because a landlord is too greedy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe another marijuana dispensary will open in that location.

uh1vce160 said...

Anyone remember cruisin' the Creek in the 60's and 70's? How about the Army Navy surplus store? Downtown has come along way since then.

I'm The Urban Spaceman said...

Pastorino's is correct.

Anonymous said...

A Chili's WC ex-employee commented on the Claycord blog that an older couple "bought" the building. Dudums? Hope not. I'd love La Pinata to go in there.

Anonymous said...

Chili's food was very good. Far better than Applebees or their other competitors. Chili's also had exceedingly cold beer. I don't know why it was so much colder than other places, but I will miss it.

Sure it wasn't your typical WC faire, but the hamburgers were hard to beat.

Anonymous said...

The family owned Pastorini's Brittany Inn closed because the family decided to retire from the resaurant business. They sold the property for a pretty penny. Chili's didn't make them leave!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The building was sold to a new investor last may of 09. The new property owner obviously is greedy or paid too much aprox 2.3 ml. Anyway I am thinking of opening something there in its place any sugestion on what WC patrons are looking for?

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason to keep Nieman Marcus out of Walnut Creek. The downtown landlords will use that as just another reason to raise the rent. It seems every time you look, the affordable places are gone replaced by fancy overpriced business' that don't mind paying high rents.

How are you going to feel when another Asian place opens there. Give me the choice of a reasonable place to eat over the choice of one more Asian place or some other overpriced place.

Anonymous said...

having been raised in walnut creek i spent a lot of time in "Brittany Bobs place" I need the name of the cookies that were on the table in the bar an old patron

Anonymous said...

I have not been to WC for along time it must be a lot different than it used to be whenwe shot pool next to russ,s barber shop, ate chicken at chick,s or a milk shake at lommel.s, before our mother drug us to oakland on greyhound to shop at capwells on saturday. The school bus would us up to go to Acalanes at the kitty milk bar Mt. diablo did not go past main street. no los lomas It seemed to be a great town,and all our mother,s seemedto be able and willing to cook. the old guy

muebles caceres said...

This won't succeed in reality, that is exactly what I think.

Greg Sweet said...

I remember the Italian restaurant that stood where that Chili's was installed. I don't remember the name, but it seems that it was a family name starting with a "D" - like D'... or Del...

I was the chief cook and bottle washer at Abernathy's, next door, when the Italian joint closed. They had a liquidation sale and Nick Gryfakis, owner of Abernathy's, took me next door to look for any kitchen equipment we might need. I don't recall him buying anything that would have helped our kitchen, just bar/service wares. I don't know who snagged the red leather booths.

They (Chili's) completely demolished the old building and we (Abernathy's) had to serve Mon - Fri lunch to the sounds & vibrations of heavy equipment. That lasted much of the summer of 1989 - I remember the year because they got the Chili's structure built just before the Loma Prieta quake.

We had a great relationship with the Chili's folks, but Nick really took advantage of them. Our only ice machine was outside ("Ab'z" went through a lot of ice) and it was old and in summer it couldn't produce enough, so we used ice from Chili's. It got very embarrassing for we employees who had to go beg for more. But we kept all the Chili's employees satisfied with free drinks after work.

Martha Ross, AKA Soccer Mom said...

Hi Greg,
Thanks for your post and your insight into the building. Hmm. Makes me think it's time to update this story and find out what if anything is going into the old Chili's site.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line here, is that Walnut Creek people have shown their true colors and are the exact reason why this city has been voted one of the most hated and disgusting cities in the nation!!! Simply because of the people and the attitude that inhabits it! Do yourselves a favor and look up the city of Walnut Creek on yelp. You hating pussies will cry yourselves to sleep tonight.