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“don't waste your time or money until Phil gets better” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Phil the Fire

Phil the Fire
728 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115
216-566-7685
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Ranked #804 of 1,563 Restaurants in Cleveland
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Cleveland, OH
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“don't waste your time or money until Phil gets better”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

I was really excited about going to try Phil the Fire the Friday before Labor Day. A party of 4 arrived around 7:30. We got seated pretty quick, but were immediately told they were out of white fish and sweet potato fries. Service was slow, but waitress was trying her best. When we finally got a chance to order, they were out of more than just those two menu items. They also had no macaroni & cheese and no candied yams? WHAT? It's a Friday night, you opened at 4pm, and there's already 2 staples completely unavailable. It was ridiculous how many items were out. We asked to see the manager several times, before he finally could make his way over. I just cannot believe they were out of mac & cheese. Suggested that they send someone out to Giant Eagle or Whole Foods to pick up some cheese and pasta. Told they already had done so. By the end of the evening (a couple hours later), mac n cheese was ready. Took the order to go. Still was not worth it. How can a soul food place have no mac n cheese and no candied yams? CRAZY! We got a discount off of our bill, but unless they improve, we won't be back. Very disappointed. Really wanted this to be good, but was let down in a big way.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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36 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cleveland
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Avoid -- disappointing, long waits, poor service, indifferent food”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

We went on an August weekend, with a Groupon in hand, for the Sunday Brunch. We went early because my experience with Brunches is that they get picked over and sloppy towards the end.

First off, a very long wait (over 40 minutes) in a crowded and unpleasant lobby. Weird, because we could see lots of empty tables and when we were seated, it was in a near-empty room. I think they were short of staff -- both waitstaff and kitchen staff.

The restaurant itself is pleasant -- a cozy, dark brick lined space with a fireplace. But the brunch itself is overpriced and overpromised -- a real clunker.

The whole schtick of Phil The Fire is "chicken and waffles". For this to work, the chicken must be outstanding, the best of the best fried chicken and the waffles delicious. These two major items do not work at all here. The chicken was indifferent and tough. The buffet ONLY offered drumsticks and drummettes (the top of the wing) -- no white meat at all. And it was lukewarm and dry, and very tough.

Even worse, the waffles are generic -- no flavor -- and very soft, like white bread. Not crisp at all. The staff has severe problems keeping up with the waffles (as well as other items on the buffet). We barely got two small slices of waffle each, had to wait and it was only not an issue because they were not good.

The other thing with the waffles: the famous cinnamon butter. Really "cinnamon margarine", it was doled out in tiny, tiny scoops -- one apiece. I asked for more and didn't get any.

There are two lines, one for breakfast items and one for dinner items. Also, in the bar is a very small table with some cut up fruit, and tiny desert samples in cabinets. I suppose you don't need a huge piece of cake after a buffet, but this looked cheap.

They were out of food in both lines; the breakfast line was the worst. Stale, hard biscuits and corn muffins (they had sat far too long under a heat lamp. What kind of SOUL FOOD place can't make biscuits? FOR SHAME. They should have been bringing hot biscuits to each table (with cinnamon butter!)!!! Biscuits can't be kept well in a chafing dish.

There were generic little sausages (like the "heat and serve" type) and congealed scrambled eggs, and the worst was french toast -- triangles of blackened tough bread. Ugh. As I said, the waffle making was having trouble and the omelet station was a disaster -- they could not keep up and you had to order your waffle from your waiter (good luck finding your waiter at a BUFFET). Then they did not have ham or bacon for the omelets, just veggies. Our omelet when it came was burned and brown and tough -- inedible.

The regular food line had two distinguished items: superb mac n' cheese, bubblings with hot cheese. We were lucky to arrive as they put out a fresh dish of this. It's mostly what we ate! and also collard greens with ham hocks were excellent. Sweet potatoes were just canned, with nothing added in the way of sauce or spice.

Fried catfish nuggets were OK but they had no tartar sauce or lemon -- and they ran out fast. The chicken as I say above was a major disappointment as it was tough, dark meat and they also ran out fast.

When we tried to go back for seconds, nearly anything edible was long gone. This was at about noon!!!! They open at 11:30AM and were out food before 12:30PM!!! Horrible planning. The restaurant was not even FULL.

Beyond this, they did not refill our water or drink glasses, or refill coffee cups and we had no salt or pepper shakers, and only ONE paper napkin a piece. It took forever to get our check, as well.

This was a disgrace. We had a Groupon but at full price, this would have cost over $50 for two people, plus tax and tip!!! Even for what we paid (about $12.50 each), this was disappointing in the extreme. You'd be better off picking up a bucket at KFC.

Just avoid this place; the management is a disaster....they clearly do not care....it must be on its last legs to be run this disastrously. We will never return.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Don't waste your time!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

10 out of 20 pans usually empty on buffet. Asked when food would be replenished and person behind buffet said when it's ready! Most dishes cold and un appetizing. Website listed turkey breast, shrimp and several other dishes never came out at all. Sausage looked like microwave from a gas station. Fried chicken was good but no better than Golden Corral. At half the price, better salad bar and all the food actually out and hot a much better deal. Last but not least advertised homemade cobblers? Waitress informed us they don't have those now eventhough advertised. They had pastries that looked like they were left over from low end hotel breakfast bar. Too bad, as it's a great concept.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livonia, Michigan
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Disappointed!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

Eight of us were staying at the connected Fairfield Inn in Beachwood, OH and decided to have dinner at Phil the Fire. We were seated in a very cold room away from the other patrons. We waited 55 minutes for our meal. Two people in our party ordered chicken & shrimp skewers, however, when we were being served the waitress informed us that they only had 1 order. Couldn't she have shared that earlier so he could reorder? My chicken club sandwich came without the chipotle mayo or bacon, as promised, and the sweet potato fries were burned. Another of our party didn't receive her appetizer or 1 of the sides she ordered. In all fairness, evidently the potato corn soup and fried green tomatoes were good. Overall a disappointing experience for me.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Strike three Phil.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

We have been to this restaurant three times since they have been open at their new location. We remember the old place in Shaker Hts, and we wanted this place to succeed so much, that is the only reason we have been back three times. The first time was bad, waited over an hour for cold food and half the menu was not available. Second time we didn't even get to sit, was told they had a forty-five minute wait after an hour and fifteen minutes they closed the kitchen and said it would be another hour to be seated?! Obviously we left. After one last shot, I can say we will never be back. The service is awful even though the server was kind and polite. Again half the menu was not available. The food that did come was cold. Waited 45min after ordering and waited another hour after we all finished to bring our check and pay the bill. Restaurant was 1/4 full on a random mid week evening. Are you practicing for Restaurant Impossible or what? So sad.

    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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