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“Service was terrible, but food was great”

The Phoenix Emporium
Ranked #25 of 168 Restaurants in Ellicott City
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Glen Burnie
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
“Service was terrible, but food was great”
Reviewed May 17, 2013

My spouse and I decided to give this place a try because it looked cool and unique. The food was terrific. We each got sandwiches and cream of crab soup. All of it was great. The problem was the service. Our waitress took our order without writing anything down and seemed to be more concerned w/the chit-chat at the bar than with us. It took forever to get our drinks and we eventually realized that quite a few other guests who'd come in well after us were already eating while we hadn't even gotten soup yet. We had to ask for our soup again and she finally brought it. Our meals still didn't appear and we were ready to pay for our drinks/soup & leave. During all this time, the waitress ignored us & didn't come near unless we called her over. When we told her we were ready to leave, she sputtered that our food would be out soon. My spouse asked if she'd forgotten to put in our order (this seemed to be the case). She insisted it was put in as soon as we'd ordered, but when she left our table, we saw her run over to the station, enter something on the computer, & rush back to the kitchen. It was clear she'd forgotten our order--that stands to reason since she hadn't written it down to start with! We finally got our food after a long wait...the saving grace was, as I said, that the food was terrific. The waitress was much more attentive after we got our order, but we were still annoyed. We understand people make mistakes and we'd have been okay w/her forgetting to promptly enter our order if she'd just been honest about it. I'm not sure we'll go back.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Susan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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69 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Woodbine, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“lots of imports”
Reviewed March 18, 2013

the food was pretty good and the atmosphere is a typical yuppie type bar with lots of beer choices. This is not my typical type of hangout spot. The sandwiches are pretty good if you want a good beer and a meal

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank imwild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Diners, drive-ins and dives, oh my!”
Reviewed February 25, 2013

My partner and I used Yelp on the fly to aid us in finding a quick bite to eat in Old Town Ellicott City. This place was within walking distance of the Main St. shops and there was no wait to be seated. It's sort of one of those outdated bar-dives that you don't want to look too closely at, but you know when you walk in what you're about to get...beer, service and good, cheap food. If you walk in and you expect to get something more, this isn't the place for you. We loved it and would drop in again anytime.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Bugmenotgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Tasty Pub Food”
Reviewed January 17, 2013 via mobile

Great location in Historic Ellicott City. Tasty food and very reasonably priced menu. Dinning atmosphere definitely is a pub. The fish and chips are a must try.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mynej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
“Tasty food, slow but cheerful service”
Reviewed January 14, 2013

Visited on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Classic pub atmosphere with lots of flat screen tvs. Restaurant on the left, open to the bar on the right. Maybe a half ozen other diners in the place.

Good burger, done perfectly to order. HUGE chicken ceasar salad. Great baked brie with ample cranberries and fresh toasted french bread. Special soup was beer, bacon and cheese - wonderful flavor - heavy texture - came with 3 saltines - what no toasted french bread? Classic cream of crab which my grand daughter pronounced "excellent" and she's a cream of crab fanatic. Old Bay fries were crisp and tasty. I'd rate the food well above average for your typical pub.

The problem was in the service. We waited a good 10 minutes before anyone noticed we were seated. Then a server came and apologized and said the other server had our table and disappeared. The second server was another 5 minutes in coming out. We staggered through ordering sodas and lemonade, no effort to take appetizer order and disappeared before we could request. Then 5 sodas came out in two different trips. No trays? The cheese soup appeared next - but no crab soup. We all sat and waited for the crab soups to appear while the cheese soup got cold. The waitress finally reappeared and asked if there was something wrong with it - then hearing that we were waiting for the other soups, took it back to rewarm. Meanwhile, a few other tables had gotten their crab soup - our soups didn't show up for another 5 minutes - again in two deliveries - still no trays? Sandwiches finally arrived after we had been in residence for about 45 minutes. It was strange.

Although Maryland has a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, another patron was chain smoking at the next table. I'm not into confrontation, so we tried to ignore the nasty smoke drifting across our table - and though it was obvious to both servers, nothing was said or done to ask the woman to douse the cigarettes that she was using an empty beer bottle to tend. Yuk.

To their credit, the servers were quite cheerful on a dreary day, but I was wondering if their favorite tv show was running in the kitchen - because they were camped out there most of the time.

As I've said in other reviews, parking in Ellicott City is a nightmare. It is scarce and spread randomly and if you're not into hiking hills, don't bother. New meters have been installed, but they are wrapped up. None-the-less they were enforcing the 2 hour parking that will go with the meters and we witnessed several irate visitors return to their ticketed cars.

Although I wasn't in a hurry, between the slow service and the parking situation, I won't be visiting Ellicott City again anytime soon.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank sandyshoes1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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