You could easily pretend you’re in Montana at Chili John’s, where the interior is covered in murals of mountains. But you’re in Burbank, sitting at a counter, staring down vats of chili and trying to figure out which one you’re going to eat. First-timers should go for the original beef on rice and beans, hot, with all the fixings (including oyster crackers and a drizzle of apple cider vinegar.) It’s good chili, but you’re really at Chili John’s to chat up whoever is inside, like the couple having lunch who’ll tell you to be brave and get the hot-but-manageable spice level, a guy behind the counter talking about his recent trip to Louisiana, and the teenaged server who will nod seriously when you ask if you should get the lemon cream pie.

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