The Joy Of Ordering Appetizer Platters & The Chain Known As Chevys

Sometimes the greatest act of self-love is ordering your own appetizer platter for dinner.

Appetizer platters always make me think of this girl I knew from college named Tina. I hated Tina for really only reason, mostly involving an appetizer platter. To celebrate the end of a big project,  a group of us dressed-up and met at Olive Garden. We attended a small college in rural Iowa and an evening at Olive Garden was an event. I decided to let loose and do something I’d always wanted to do: Order an appetizer platter as an entree.

The main reason I ordered the appetizer platter was because it contained a portion of calamari. Tina, my seat mate, was also excited I ordered the appetizer platter and suggested we share meals. Back then, I wasn’t confident saying “no,” so I reluctantly agreed. Trina ordered something completely unremarkable that I can’t remember and then she ate most of my calamari. I watched in horror as her hand kept reaching over, grabbing ring after ring. “I just love calamari!” she gleefully exclaimed.

Within minutes I was left with nothing but soggy stuffed mushrooms and a resentment that’s lasted for thirteen years. To this day I feel the same giddiness ordering appetizer samplers. Now, I feel confident enough to shut down bad plate sharing agreements. i.e. “I see you ordered a buffalo chicken wing basket. I’m ordering a big, boring grilled chicken sandwich. Wanna share meals?


This all brings me to this past week when I ordered the appetizer platter at Chevys. There’s nothing really earth shattering about Chevys. It’s a chain restaurant serving Mexanish food with a peppy vibe. Nothing’s very spicy. Margaritas come in goblets. Portions are huge.

Chevys is actually 32 years old. The chain, headquartered in California, has experienced multiple corporate ownerships and two bankruptcies. Over the years many Chevys have closed. 37 remain and 48% are located in California. There is only one in Minnesota. The Bloomington, MN Chevys has been located across from the Mall of America for as long as I can remember.

Jake and I used to occasionally stop by Chevys when we lived in the condos near the mall. And Chevy’s is a place I meet friends when they’re staying in the hotels near the mall on a busy weeknight. There’s no mall parking ramp to deal with and the food is predictably pleasant.

Meals begin with thin, crisp chips and salsa. The homemade salsa is not spicy, but it’s also not bland or jarred or watery. First-time visitors may wonder what the little glob of yellow stuff is clinging to the edge of their platters. Chevys calls this sweet, cornbread pudding Tamalito. The portion size is comically tiny. Chips and salsa are free here and portion sizes are generous; however, the tamalito is always served in one, perfect tablespoon-sized scoop.

And Chevys has the to-go order down to an art. On my recent visit, I ordered an enchilada meal to take home for Jake. I was very surprised when our server arrived carrying a giant, Nordstrom’s-sized shopping bag. The enchilada meal was carefully plated in a foil party tray along with a bag of chips and an entire container of salsa. We happily munched on the chips and salsa and remainder of my appetizer platter the next day.

The best thing on my appetizer platter was actually the BBQ chicken wings. You’d think it would be the taquitos or perhaps the nachos, but no. The chicken wings stole the show with their rendered crispy skin and actually spicy sauce. Who knew!

In closing, I leave you with a few thoughts:

  • Order your own personal appetizer platter for dinner from time to time.
  • Be careful about sharing appetizer platters with people you don’t know.
  • If you decide to treat yourself to a decadent treat meal littered with delightful fried doodads for dinner, don’t feel obligated to trade half of it away with someone who orders a grilled chicken salad.

Chevys Fresh Mex
2251 Killebrew Drive
Bloomington Minnesota 55425

(952) 876-0222‎


  1. Beth Ann Chiles

    I giggled when I read this post and actually read it to Chris. Trina left a huge scar on you and I am sorry for that but look how strong you are now! Ordering your own appetizer platter and owning the ability to do that. I had not heard of Chevy’s but the food pictures look pretty darn good and sometimes you just need a predictable chain restaurant, right? Thanks for sharing!

    • Jeni

      haha. oh trina. she taught me an important life lesson. i wouldn’t go out of my way to go to a chevys but like you said, if you’re looking for a predictable chain

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots

    I never order appetizers because of the cost they add to dining out. But, if I chose one as an entree…

    I had the worse Irish stew last week at an area restaurant (which shall remain nameless). It was like the chef took every left-over, dumped it in a pot and called it stew. The worst was the meat, thin slices of deli style roast beef rather than hearty chunks of cubed beef. Same for the vegetables. And the broth tasted like canned gravy. Not good. When the waitress asked about the stew, I didn’t tell her the truth. How do you handle that question when the food is not good?

    Also, when I asked about the beer deal of buy one get the second for 50 cents if you’re wearing green, she looked at me and said, “Your shirt isn’t green.” I should have walked out about then. But I responded, “I wore this shirt specifically because it’s green.” I ordered water, despite her pressuring me to order a beer. Maybe she’s related to Trina. 🙂

    • Jeni

      That sounds like an awful dining experience! I’ve never seen a stew from a restaurant with lunch meat. It’s easier for me to say this than do it but I think it’s ok if you give honest feedback. I’d guess any good chef will appreciate constructive criticism as they wouldn’t want to serve something completely off. That’s crazy too about her not honoring your green shirt. I never want to go here!

  3. Julie

    My husband left the country for business a few months ago and was gone for more than a week. Most days I just cooked at home or ate frozen pizzas/Lona’s Lil Eats. One day I went to a local chain, ordered a large appetizer platter to go and took it home and demolished it. He’s the kind of person who would judge but you are like-minded so I can confess this here and now. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I just spotted an open Chevy’s in St. Louis on my drive yesterday so now I know my next target.

    • Jeni

      I’m happy you could enjoy a treat! I wish I had more time to explore St. Louis. Loved the food I did have from Lona’s. It was incredible.

  4. Feisty Eats

    Fricking Trina!

    • Jeni

      oh trina -she taught me an important life lesson – she was actually a very nice person but just don’t share an appetizer platter with her lol.

  5. Katie

    Platters for life! I also was tricked into splitting in college, now I won’t let Trina fool me. Also, the Hyvee app platter is pretty good if you’re looking for grocery store dining.

    • Jeni

      No, not you too! I will have to check out that app. platter. Is it in the restaurant or deli section of Hyvee? I haven’t see it before.

  6. Josh

    Haha this cracked me up… I once knew a dude named Phil. Once my wife & I went to a Chinese joint with Phil & his wife. This joint had my favorite faux Asian dish ever… Peanut chicken. Breaded chicken cutlets, draped in a delicious peanut sauce. I ordered it & ate the crap out of it, but predictably still had leftovers. When we were packing up our leftovers Phil said; “Let’s switch leftovers because we get sick of eating the same stuff all the time.” Then he grabbed the leftover peanut chicken. Leaving us with his unremarkable & predictable sweet & sour chicken. On the inside I was mortified, but tried not to show it. Sadly that was the last time we ate there, and I’ve literally never seen that on a menu again. Phil & Trina should get together & go bowling.

  7. Katy F

    This cracks me up! Also, loved the chips and salsa at Chevy’s, but loved getting to meet you there even more!! ?

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