Friday night marked the end of a long first week at school. My husband and I were exhausted, but hungry, and debated ordering in or eating out. In order to make dinner a little have a bit more of a celebratory feel, we decided to go out, but were intent on going somewhere casual and comforting. We ran through a few options, most of them being chains like Chili’s or Cheesecake Factory, but eventually we settled on a local chain called Chelo’s here in Providence.
I don’t know why we don’t got to Chelo’s more often– it has a huge menu, great desserts, and a nice, low-key vibe. You could literally go here in sweatpants and not feel awkward. That being said, it is not a fast-food restaurant, so you can expect to sit and enjoy good service, which is exactly what we did.
Chelo’s is pretty vegetarian-friendly too, as long as you remember you are not getting gourmet or creative dishes. The menu has a good selection of vegetarian apps, salads, a few pasta and sandwich options, and even a veggie burger. Chelo’s is perhaps most known for their epic desserts, which include classics like chocolate or banana cream pie and chocolate chip cookie cake.
Our experience was fantastic– we were seated at a huge booth right away despite the fact it was a Friday night, and our orders were taken promptly. I had a major nacho craving, so we ordered their nachos with the chili in a separate bowl (since it had meat in it). It was loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, banana peppers, salsa and sour cream (both on the side), and the chips were fresh and crispy. My husband and I both loved them.
For dinner, I ordered their southwestern veggie burger off of their summer menu. It was described as a patty made of beans, veggies and sweet potatoes, and it was topped with a chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. I also had some curly fries on the side, which is one of my favorite things at Chelo’s. Everyone knows seasoned curly fries at a restaurant are rare!
While the burger was probably just a frozen one, similar to the black bean Morningstar patties, overall the whole thing was really tasty and well-crafted. From bun to toppings, it was a very satisfying and flavorful burger– I could only eat half! Puny it was not! The fries were amazing as always.
I was so full after that meal, but it is shameful to not order dessert when at Chelo’s. I debated between the chocolate cream pie and strawberry shortcake, but went with the latter option because it felt more “summery.” Little did I know I would be presented with a mountain of strawberries, whipped cream and yellow cake. The dessert was enormous and easily could serve four.
I could only eat a few bites but it was a satisfying few bites. My only gripe was that the strawberries seemed to be sweetened in a type of syrup, and I definitely would have preferred fresh berries. Still, it wasn’t too sweet, but a little went a long way. The nice thing though is since it was like a parfait, I was able to wrap it up to take home for my husband’s breakfast the next morning!
Though it’s nothing fancy, Chelo’s is a really fun place to go to when you just want to relax and eat comfort food. I also have heard that the quality of food and service depends on which location you go to, but our experience at the Providence Chelo’s was excellent.
What’s you favorite chain restaurant, local or not?