Friday, May 30, 2008

creepy abandoned highway kmart chichis

So, hey internet. Have i ever talked about the CACC in Springfield, VA? If not, I'm dumb. It's not far from my house, and it's been there forever (right off 395/old keene mill road, before you reach the KMart Shopping Center. Also, KMart/Trader Joes/BuyBuyBaby? Riddle me this: those three places seem totally incongruous.)

Ok, so. John has sent the below in, because he is awesome and has a camera with him at all times apparently. Or, even better, made a special trip to that crazy-ass KMart/TJ's/Baby shopping area right off the craziest-assest highway (the Mixing Bowl, three superhighways merge, it's insanity) just to capture the glamour that is Chi-Chis.

Woot, thanks John!




22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chi Chi's is still alive, unfortunately not in the USA. :(

http://www.chichis.be/

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to see the INSIDE of one of these long-forgotten ChiChi's.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of great memories from this Springfield Chi Chi's - family parties, end-of-season soccer parties, it was great. Thanks for featuring some pics of the old place. I miss the giant nacho pizzas.

ivan denisovich said...

you mean the Mexican Pizza?

DMC3472 said...

I actually went last month to take some pictures of a creepy abandoned shopping center that once contained a Carmike Cinemas movie theater where I used to work. . . which was right next to a Chi-Chi's where we would hang out some times after the theater closed for the night.

After the Chi-Chi's closed down permanently, it was converted in to a restaurant called "Backstage" - but still looked like a Chi-Chi's.

Here are what remains of the restaurant:

Chi-Chi's entrance:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mcbabb/20080712WaverlyPlace/photo#5234738186996147842

sign:
http://picasaweb.google.com/mcbabb/20080712WaverlyPlace/photo#5234738375071712514

Anonymous said...

Wow, I never knew that so many people shared my pain in missing Chi-Chis! The local one here in Lafayette, IN closed in 2004 and was torn down. There is now a Home Depot in its spot. Still, everytime I drive by the former home of my fave restaurant, I crave that yummy salsa.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I used to work there back in the early 80's. It's amazing how things have changed. There use to be 3 hour waits to get in there. I had lots of friends and we had such good times. There wasnt much else around at the time expect for bob's big boy next door and a Charlie' Restaurant/Bar. Great memories - thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Interesting facts for you - The dining rooms used to be called if I remember - the Sun Room, Garden Room, Main Dining Room (center sunken room).

Anonymous said...

One of my managers and I went to the Chi-Chi's in Springfield VA to take some artifacts to put in our restaurant in Charlottesville. While we were sitting there in her pickup another truck pulled up with a trailer and she said "What store are you all from?" We howled with laughter. We knew there would be a day that Chi-Chi's would close. We decorated our restaurant pretty nicely with the stuff our RM gave us from that Springfield store.

Ken said...

Man. I'm glad I'm not the lone voice in the wilderness that misses Chi-Chi's. Here in the KC area, we had a couple at the end. One, yes, became a Carraba's (proving there is justice in the universe, the second store they opened closed after a year). The one on the Missouri side of town, adjacent to the equally deserted Independence Center mall, sat empty for ages until the whole lot finally got knocked down for some new development that took advantage of the proximity to the Royals & Chiefs stadiums. The Chi-Chi's I grew up with in West Des Moines, Iowa (which appears to have been one of the last to close) didn't stay vacant long, considering that it was in a prime area. Gods, I get such a craving for those shrimp & crab Cancun concoctions. Thank God there's ex-cooks willing to share the recipes on the internet!

Anonymous said...

I remember eating there right when it was built. they had great salsa and food, much different than it became later in the late 80's. the salsa i remember being fresh. fell in love with that stuff.

Btw, that's the same parking lot Howard Stern had a card table set up to promote himself while at DC101. (I think DC101). I was crossing the lot from my mom's office to the record store there. he wanted me to pass out his flyers one day for him and I said no, he called me a pussy and i walked away feeling dread and defeat. but at least I remember telling him no. fu**er. FU Howard.

Mark said...

It's depressing to see this place described as "creepy, abandoned," though it certainly is both. My very first job was as a busboy at this exact Chi-Chi's in 1982-1983. There was a 2 hour wait at all times, and it was an intense work environment. The general manager (a guy named Joe) was trained at the Cornell school of restaurant management, and he ran a tight ship. We were told it was the busiest and most profitable restaurant in the chain. I know quite a few of us lowly bus boys have went on to great colleges and careers with fond memories of this place.

Anonymous said...

Nice work...I took this up a few years ago in Western PA:

http://freshpopcornproductions.blogspot.com/2006/02/chi-chis-signifiers.html

http://freshpopcornproductions.blogspot.com/2006/02/demolished-chi-chis.html

http://freshpopcornproductions.blogspot.com/2006/02/abandoned-chi-chis.html

chakalux said...

I worked at Chi-Chi's in Greensboro, NC for years starting in '82. It looked to be the same style building as this one. I have a lot of old 35mm prints of the inside and outside that I need to find and scan.

A previous poster mentioned the dining rooms as : Sun, Garden, and Main. There was also the "Terrace", which was on the opposite side of the building from the Sun and Garden.

When I started, the guest "birthday song" was sung to the melody of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" but later changed to the tune of "La Cucaracha".

Anonymous said...

I actually worked at that Chi-Chi's! It was #1 in the country for years.

Jennifer said...

I really miss ChiChi's reataurants! I still see the salsa for sale in the groccery store.

There was one I went to often in Independence, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland). I would take a picture for you, but it's not creepy or abandoned anymore! It's converted to a double restaurant now- Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill.

Anonymous said...

I used to work at the one in Springfield around 82-84. I started as a bus boy then went on to be a waiter. It was so incredibly busy at the time and so many stories to tell. What ever happen to the old crew from back then? I remember one of the cooks always yelling out for more Moo Cow! (ground beef). I remember having to say - Welcome to Chi Chis, here is your hot and mild salsa made fresh daily and your warm corn tortill chips - I friggin hated doing that!

Ken said...

Oh, man, I used to live for the free nachos. Yeah, I'd camp with a friend or two but we always made sure to leave a big tip for the wait staff. I know waayyy too many artist / wait staff folks to ever consider not leaving a tip.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I used to meet girls in VA to make out here in the late 80s/early 90s. It was a good landmark when meeting chix online (from BBSes then, the web didn't really exist). I have more memories of the parking lot than the actual restaurant. I had no idea it was abandoned. Sad!

fripperie said...

Heh - i grew up near that Springfield Chi-Chi's. We didn't go back much after my mother ordered a dessert burrito (pineapple or something, wrapped and dolled up with whipped cream) that actually came out of the kitchen with a beef burrito instead. Whipped cream and all...

John said...

I'm the guy who took the pictures of this Chi-Chi's back in 2008, and unfortunately it looks like this Chi-Chi's has finally been torn down. I drove by there today (July 10, 2010) and the building was gone. The restaurant next to it (which was there when I took the Chi-Chi's pictures) is still standing, even though I'm pretty sure it was also abandoned at the time and remains abandoned today.

Anonymous said...

I opened 30- 50 chi-chi's, including Greensboro. The
The staff was great!! As a km, gm, then supervisor....
Thanks for great memories..