In the 1970s, Mexican cuisine was reinterpreted in USA and transformed into a restaurant chain spotted all across North America: Chi Chi’s.
Created in Minneapolis, the chain was betting on the increasing popularity of Mexican cuisine – well at least, Mexican food as interpreted for the middle class.
This family-style restaurant was filled with bright colours – like red, yellow and green and usually had plenty of Mexicana – sombreros, striped blankets and tall blue glasses for the salty margaritas.
For those who wanted to take a risk in dining in the 1970s, this chain introduced them to Mexican casual fare that was a step up from fast food offered at Taco Bell – tacos, burritos, enchiladas, all laden with plenty of cheese and salsa.
Check out this tv commercial from the 1970s that encouraged Americans to check out the fun and flavours of Chi Chi’s.
Chi Chi’s chips and salsa was always served at the beginning of the meal, like a traditional Mexican restaurant. It became a staple of the chain and became a grocery store item.
But as the years went on, and tastes evolved, the chain lost its popularity. A health issue at one of the restaurants resulted in the remaining restaurants closing – and one of the food chains of the 1970s disappearing in North America.