In parts of Europe, as generations of travelers have learned, restaurants often close for several weeks in the summer, and while I would wish to deprive no hard-working line cook of her three weeks in a rental flat in Elba, chiuso, closed, may be the saddest word in the Italian language. If you’re planning to visit Rome in August, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack a lunch.
Most U.S. restaurants stay open throughout the summer, although anybody who has eaten an August meal at a high-end French spot in New York may wonder why she’s just paid $400 for a lunch that was probably cooked by one of the dishwashers. But L.A.’s Vietnamese stalwart Golden Deli has always closed for a few weeks in the summer. And in some parts of town, no midsummer date inspires quite so much joy as the August 1 reopening of Chili John’s in Burbank, when the regulars who had been forced to punch holes in their belts and cut back on Lipitor during the restaurant’s monthlong annual vacation rush in to sate themselves on vast bowls of chili spaghetti, overfilled glasses of root beer and slabs of pineapple cream pie. Is there a new Hollywood lounge on Paris Hilton’s beeper this week? Probably. But this is Chili John’s.
Chili John’s: 2018 W. Burbank Blvd., Burbank; (818) 846-3611. Open Tues.–Fri., 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat. till 4 p.m. $ No alcohol. Takeout. Lot parking. Cash only.