Chi-Chi's Restaurant

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This 2001 photo shows Chi-Chiís Restaurant in the middle of Huntingtonís downtown Superblock.
 The restaurant was closed and demolished in 2003 to make way for construction of Pullman Square.

File photo | The Herald-Dispatch

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HUNTINGTON ó The Chi-Chiís Restaurant chain, popular for its Tex-Mex food, was founded in 1975
 in the unlikeliest of places for a Tex-Mex food chain: downtown Richfield, Minnesota, a suburb
of Minneapolis. Chi-Chiís expanded rapidly. By 1995, the chain had grown to 210 locations.

After months of speculation that the chain might be interested in locating on Huntingtonís downtown
Superblock, ground was broken March 14, 1990, for construction of a Chi-Chiís on the
 long-vacant tract. When construction was completed the restaurant
 became the first business to open on the Superblock.

The new restaurant was an immediate hit. Interviewed by The Herald-
Dispatch in March 1991, Assistant Manager Robin Hayden
said it was serving about 4,000 people a week ó far
more than the chain had anticipated.

But the days ahead would prove numbered for both the
 Huntington restaurant and the Chi-Chiís chain.

When plans were completed for what became the Superblockís Pullman Square
development, the planners said Chi-Chiís didnít fit in with the plan and would
 have to go. The restaurant chain initially balked at selling out but after
lengthy negotiations, agreed to do so. The restaurant closed in
April 2003 and was demolished a month later.

The Chi-Chiís chain filed for bankruptcy in August 2004 and a month later
 was hit with the largest hepatitis A outbreak in U.S. history, with
 at least four deaths and 600 other victims sickened.
 Within a month, the chain was out of business.

Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Mar. 29, 2022.

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