We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Avoid -- disappointing, long waits, poor service, indifferent food”
2 of 5 bubbles Review of Phil the Fire - CLOSED

Phil the Fire
Cuisines: American
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Cleveland
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Avoid -- disappointing, long waits, poor service, indifferent food”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Laurel F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

35 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    7
    5
    8
    6
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Don't waste your time!”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Austriahans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Livonia, Michigan
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Disappointed!”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank lauren1ray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Strike three Phil.”
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.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Warnold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Twinsburg
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Horrible!”
Reviewed July 24, 2012

1. Service: AWFUL. We had a reservation at 7:30pm, they sit us about 15 minutes later. Our waiter could not remember our order, so he asked a thousand times what each of us ordered (6 people), even though he wrote it down (as we saw him doing it) he still managed to mixed up our order. We waited for our food...ready for this...1.5 hours! We had ordered 2 half-a-chickens, Rotisserie stile with two sides. When they finally brought our meal (after 1.5 hours of waiting), they only brought ONE order of Rotisserie chicken, why? because they were out of chickens! Really? Poor inventory planning! And of course, our waiter mixed up our order and brought us the wrong sides! He was somewhat rude and unprofessional.
2. BAR: TERRIBLE. We ordered drafted beer and waited for it a half-an-hour - NEVER GOT IT!: our waiter came back saying that he cannot bring us a drafted beer because there was a HUGE line to get a drafted beer at the bar. WTF??? I have never heard anything like this before and I go to the bars quite often. So, we ordered a bottled beer and it took him about 20 minutes to bring us the bottles. One of our guest ladies ordered a cocktail (don't remember which one), the waiter came back and said they couldn't do that one anymore (no reason why), so she ordered a margarita. 20 minutes later, the waiter brought her margarita, but it had so much salt in it that she couldn't even drink it. We thought she was just being picky and we all tried it: they must have put 2 table spoons of salt in her cocktail! My wife ordered a long island ice tea - the worst long Iceland ice tea I've ever tried! I don't know why they put so much alcohol and ice in it, probably to cover the bartender's incompetency.
3.Food: I was not really impressed with my Rotisserie chicken, it was just ok. One of our guests ordered a catfish dish - it was blend. The appetizers were over spiced - I did not feel any flavor at all (catfish wraps and chicken wraps). The sweet potato fries were not bad.
4. Music: was ok, nothing special.
Finally: we had to call the manager and he came to our table, barley said any word (he was standing like an ancient idol), did nothing to accommodate us, apologized and walked away. DO NOT GO THERE! THE PLACE IS A DUMP WITH AN AWFUL SERVICE, UNPROFESSIONAL PERSONEL, HORRIBLE BAR AND VERY POOR MANAGEMENT!

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank I G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing