One of the things I love most about Burbank is that there are so many small restaurants that have a great local vibe, serious street cred, and the history to back it up. The latest find in this vein is local favorite Chili John’s, an old-school chili counter serving nothing but the good stuff on pasta, hot dogs, with beans or straight up.
The rough exterior and worn logo are a good sign—this place has been around (for 110 years if you’re counting). And this is a book you can judge by its cover. Chili John’s is a no nonsense, no frills joint. Come in, grab a seat, get your chili and get out. It’s not that you’re not welcome to stay, it’s just that there’s probably someone waiting for your seat at the tiny counter with a front row view of all the chili action. Each bowl of chili is served straight from the pots in the center of the horseshoe shaped counter, which makes it easier to decide what you want once you’ve seen what everyone else is getting.
Walking in, you’re greeted by friendly staff who seem to know everyone in town, and their order. If you’re one of the newbies, just ask for a sample of their chicken or beef chili in varying degrees of heat. They’ll gladly let you try all the varieties so your order is just right. Top with cheese, onions, or oyster crackers and dig in. This is a hearty meal, so while their servings may look small, you’ll be full before you know it.
Nothing is better than chili leftover, so make sure you order some to go. Top your nachos with their classic recipe or crumble cornbread in a bowl to make a meal at home and bring some of that local flavor into your own kitchen.
2018 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506