Food of the Eighties, Chilito
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A chili and cheese burrito from Taco Bell. Came out late 80's, died an unfortunate death in the early 90's. Was the staple of my college career, I might add.
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The following are comments left about Chilito from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

Sara S - September 26, 2007 - Report this comment
It's still available. It's now callled a Chili Cheese Burrito. It's still pretty good!!
Angie - April 25, 2008 - Report this comment
Yeah, they're still around, but, they had to rename them because "chilito" meant something naughty in Spanish! Haha!
Kepi - November 11, 2008 - Report this comment
I don't think we even have chili cheese burritos anymore :( I loved these in H.S.
Toby - October 13, 2009 - Report this comment
Taco Bell actually acquired this recipe from a fast food place called Zantigo, which was a start-up business for KFC in the mid-80s. Zantigo was sprouting up all over the lower midwest (Cincinnati, Louisville)due to one of the earliest value menus. Unfortunately,KFC was purchased by Pepsi Food Service (now YUM!)in 1987, and Zantigo was absorbed into Taco Bell.
Amanda - August 09, 2010 - Report this comment
Oh yeah, this got me through college....
HK - August 22, 2010 - Report this comment
The legend of the Zantigo Cheese Chilito must live on; How did we ever let Taco Bell phase out such a memorable mix of spicy sauce and cheese? I still have dreams of their taco burrito and chilito :(
exotica - October 27, 2010 - Report this comment
i dont no him, but i nee a menu from him.
james - February 12, 2011 - Report this comment
for all of you chilito die hard fans looking for the holy grail recipe of mexican fast food!the chilito!!! i was a cook at zantigos in reno nevada while i was in high school, and the chilito was by far the hottest item on the menu. there was the cheese chilito,and the diablo chilito( spicy green). the key ingredient was the seasoning mix that went into the sauce. i wish i had stollen a bag of this seasoning so i could replicate it. the sauce was a mixture of seasoning( secret) pure ground beef, tomato sauce, tomato puree, and water.after the ground beef was fully cooked the other ingredients were added and blended with a large mixer until it was a runny sauce consistency. it was spred on a tortilla with monterrey jack and cheddar cheese and microwaved for 30 seconds viola!! ECSTACY!!!! the diablo sauce was the same process only with a different sauce and chunks of beef. i enjoyed every minute of working at the best mexican fast food restaraunt and i still miss this food 35 YEARS LATER!!!
Kev - October 25, 2011 - Report this comment
There are Zantigo's restaurants in Minneapolis
Tom - June 13, 2012 - Report this comment
ZANTIGO'S!!! That was the best fast food restaurant in the world! Far better than dorito-taco making Taco Bell. The Taco Burrito was huge and full of fresh, crisp veggies. The chilito had a finer-textured, more subtly-flavored sauce than the impostor currently on offer from Taco Bell. Zantigo's was fresher, the dining room had much more mexican/aztec flair, and the food rocked out! I still remember having a Taco Burrito with my sister, still goggle-eyed after seeing "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Oh, man...
scher - March 27, 2013 - Report this comment
I loved ZANTIGOS so much that there were times i actually stood outside their doors in the morning just waiting for them to open so i could get a cheese chilito and bowl of their Awesome Green Chili!!!! And their Taco burrito was to die for, when Taco Bell close them down and took over i tried their food, but in "NO WAY" was it anywhere as good as Zantigos!!! I wish my kids could have enjoyed THE "BEST" MEXICAN resturant ever in the whole world>>>Maybe some Millionaire can start Zantigos up again....I WISH!!!!!
Jim - October 24, 2013 - Report this comment
go to zantigo dot com They still exist!!!
Connie - February 19, 2014 - Report this comment
They still exist, however, the hot chilito is no longer the same. Apparently the company Zantigo used to purchase the 'secret' seasoning packets from has gone out of business. Zantigo has been trying and trying to duplicate the taste, but still hasn't acheived the same great flavor. Use to go there several times a week, for the hot chilito, now maybe once a month... miss the hot chilito..
Jay - June 12, 2014 - Report this comment
I loved the Chilito green and red, Taco Burrito, Chips-n-Cheese, one of my other fav's was chili by the bowl, and of course the green, delicious. The TV commercials had Ricardo Montelban, saying Mexican-American dishes served in fresh and exciting new ways. I almost don't blame the former owner, how could you turn down 850 million, that's 1.5 billiom im todays money, wish I could find some recipes.
Lisa - June 22, 2014 - Report this comment
THE Cheese Chilito from Zantigo's in Tucker, Georgia was the BOMB! These are my best memories of the 1980's! It was so gooey, it was impossible to drive and eat at the same time. I once rear-ended an El Dorado, and had the cheesy mess stringing from my face. Should have got a DUICC, for I was surely under the influence of the Cheese Chilito! Taco Bell's Chili Cheese Burrito is only just getting me by, and only when they manage to keep it on the meny and if they are having a good day. I'd pay nearly anything to have one sent to me.
Tom - June 24, 2014 - Report this comment
Some Taco Bell restaurants still serve the Chili Cheese Burrito (Chilito). There used to be a webpage dedicated to the Chilito, it went off-line about 3-4 years ago, and the webpage had a list of Taco Bells that still served it. My recollection is that the list was concentrated in the areas around the old Zantigo markets; Ohio, Kentucky, etc, but there were a few in other areas. Zantigo got me through college (Ohio State) in the mid-80s, the Chilito was a staple of our diet.
Karen - July 09, 2014 - Report this comment
Zantigo's still exist in Minnesota and they have the chilito. Go to Might be time for a road trip!
Sarah - August 29, 2014 - Report this comment
The Zantigos in Minnesota is not the same as the restaurant as the one we grew up with.
john - October 29, 2014 - Report this comment
Go to zanz in Mankato Minnesota. Best one ever
Peggy - February 02, 2015 - Report this comment
Zantigo please come back to Cincinnati area your cheese chilito are the best been 30 yrs since I've had one my kids are grown & still miss them also
Gary - March 17, 2015 - Report this comment
i worked at Zantigo located in Hamilton Ohio back in 1983. The one thing that Zantigo had over Taco Bell was the fact that Zantigo did not use cheese sauce on anything. Zantigo used REAL cheese and melted REAL cheese on their products. No cheese sauce.
David - May 14, 2015 - Report this comment
I was a manager at the Zantigos and the corner of High and Hudson near Ohio State Campus in the early 1980's. The sauce that we used to make chilitos was either the red (mild) or green (hot) chili. We would purée the chili until it was a smooth sauce, spread it on half of a flour torilla and cover it with a mixture of white and yellow cheddar cheese. It would then be place in a press and melted. I still make them at home using Hormel chili without beans and adding chili powder on green chilis depending on how hot I want it. It is not exactly the same, but, I really like it.
Cherie - June 04, 2015 - Report this comment
Try the Taco Bell Enchirito.
Food reverse engineer - January 06, 2016 - Report this comment
1 can refried beans 1 pound ground beef 1 pounds shredded cheddar cheese 1 can (6 ounce size) tomato paste 2 1/4 cups water 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 1/4 c chili powder 2 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar 1 tablespoon minced dried onions 2 tablespoons canned jalapeno slices fresh burrito tortilla shells First brown the beef in a pan, finely breaking up the meat with a fork. Combine the tomato paste with the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Add the cayenne pepper; chili powder, salt cornstarch, vinegar, and dried onion and stir. Chop the jalapeno slices very fine. You can use a food processor, but don’t puree. The best kind of jalapenos to use are those bottled for nachos or pizza. Add them to the mixture. Heat the mixture to boiling. Continue to stir about 3 minutes and remove from heat. Once the beef is cooked drain all of the fat out. Add half of the refried beans to the beef. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce mixture. Add half of the cheese, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Spoon 3/4 cup of the chili into each tortilla, add cheese and tomato sauce mixture (as desired) and wrap up the tortilla. That's a WRAP! :)
Becky - February 05, 2016 - Report this comment
I was an Assistant Manager at Zapata's fast food Mexican restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis. The original sauce for the Chilito was made by hand in bulk every couple days. I remember preparing the fresh green chilis and adding them to the ground beef and spice mix. The mild chilito was good but the green chili chilito was the best thing I have ever tasted. There were only five Zapata's then, before we got bought out by KFC. We were never the same after that. There is a Zapata's Mexican restaurant in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and I would love to go see if they have it but I don't think I could handle the disappointment if not. The cheeses we used in our food were Monterey Jack and Cheddar mixed in equal proportions. Gosh it was good.
Ronda - February 24, 2016 - Report this comment
Cheese and Onion Encilada!!!!!!!!
Blaze - May 05, 2016 - Report this comment
The enchilada was great to it was in columbus ohio god i miss that food. Was way better that Taco Bell
Paul - July 20, 2016 - Report this comment
Becky, from February 05, 2016. When did you work for Zapata/Zantigos? Which location? I was a manager in the Cincinnati area and transferred to Minneapolis in the early 80's. I was at Lake Street and DT on Hennepin Ave.
Bernie - December 22, 2016 - Report this comment
Don and Kerry reopened Zantigo after the name lock expired. The first one was very near my home. It closed for some unknown reason. It seemed busy all the time. A little expensive but good. There are still Zantigo in Minnesota, not sure how many. I went to the Woodbury Minnesota location yesterday, 2 bowls of green chili to go, chips and cheese, extra cheese and 6 mild chilitos. In the 70's I used to go to a local Zantigo in Saint Paul on Snelling Avenue and another in Roseville MN near my work place.
Joe - January 02, 2017 - Report this comment
I think there a five now in Minnesota, specifically Minneapolis/St. Paul area and suburbs
Bobby - April 29, 2017 - Report this comment
I haven't thought of Zantigo's in years. I grew up on Hudson St. just down the street from their Hudson & High location in Columbus,OH. I would walk in there with $3 and buy way too much food to eat in one sitting. When I read the comment from the manager of that same restaurant, I just had to ring in with my own Zantigo story. I think they shut that location down in '86 or '87. Just another nostalgic piece of the 80's that we'll never see again. Good memories.
Jeff - May 06, 2017 - Report this comment
Heading to eat at Zantigo's tonight with my wife and daughter. Started eating there when they were called Zapata's. My son and daughter have eaten there for their entire life.
Kathy - June 30, 2017 - Report this comment
I worked at Zapata's from 1973-1974 in St.Paul. Best red chili( which was made with cubed beef) and green chili too. It was the broth from the chili that was used in the quesadillas( which later changed name to a chilito). I moved away to northern Minnesota and have tried to duplicate the flavor of those chili broths so I could make my own quesadilla/chilito. I have never got it right and was searching the Internet and came upon this page and had to comment.
todd - July 15, 2017 - Report this comment
i remember when i was a kid in the 80s my mom would get me them chilitos it was my favorite!!
Ronnie - January 25, 2018 - Report this comment
They got rid of it because it means "small penis" in spanish
I♡♡the'80's.. - January 29, 2018 - Report this comment
Really Ronnie? I guess you would know! Ew! No wonder they changed the name as no ond wants a "Chillito"..ya know what I mean? YIKES!
Edina Grad - June 03, 2018 - Report this comment
Remembering our trips to Zantigos after Hockey games for Cheese Chilitos!
Billy G. - September 05, 2018 - Report this comment
Zantigo's resurfaced about 10 years ago in Minneapolis - St. Paul. Apparently, two high school friends bought the recipes and rights to the franchise. There are 8-10 locations. They have the classics: Hot Chilito, Mild Chilito, and the Taco Burrito (add sour cream). Check it out!
Terry C - December 06, 2018 - Report this comment
There are just four Zantigo locations in the Twin Cities, MN area right now. I worked at Zantigo when the name changed from Zapata. I am pretty sure that the green chili was made from pork. The red chili was made from cubed beef.

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