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Byline: Linda Brandt
Chasen's shares famous recipe
From the day its doors opened, Dec. 13, 1936, to the day they closed, April 1, 1995, Chasen's restaurant just east of Beverly Hills, Calif., enjoyed the loyalty of thousands of famous customers and a reputation that made its name practically inseparable from chili.
It was founded by Dave Chasen, a vaudeville performer known for his "idiot's salute" and for the chili he would prepare backstage for his fellow performers. When vaudeville's heyday ended, Chasen, backed by friends, including Frank Capra, who loaned him $200 and the use of his fireplace in which Chasen could fine tune his recipes for chili, barbecue sauce and ribs, opened Dave Chasen's Southern Pit (Capra is credited with the name), which had six tables, an eight-stool bar and a tiny kitchen.
Pretty much on the strength of that chili, which became world-famous, and a host of celebrities who …