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phx - what place are you glad you gave a 2nd chance


i know everyone has bad experiences, they happen :( what place did you give a second chance after a bad initial visit, and now, you're so glad you did?

here's mine :

padre's, on camelback near 10th-ish street

my first visit was awful - the wine was stale, the chips were ancient, the steak was like a tire, the waiter surly, and every single person there was loud, rude, and obnoxious. UGH

but - recently went, and - the clams app was fantastic. the shrimp entree was divine, the margarita was excellent, chips/salsa great, wait staff friendly and efficient - it was a really good meal, quality ingredients ably prepared, in a nice friendly place with good staff. i've been back for drinks since, even!!

anyone else have a place you're glad you tried again?

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  1. yippeee! you know, I'm their biggest fan 'cause i live around the corner and hang out there. i think its totally underrated, and I honestly think part of that is how young the owner and staff are.. they're really turned that place into a wonderful spot. i was at their new years brunch and loved it.

    so happy to hear things turned around.

    1. China King at Ray and Alma School. We tried it for dim sum a while back and it was horrible. No selection, carts didn't move, and the what we tried we weren't keen on. We went back this past weekend and loved it. We stuffed ourselves on shumai, pork buns, pot stickers, and more. Best dim sum we've had in ages.

      1. Sabuddy -- First time I went to the original location in Tempe I thought the hummus was salty and the service weird. Now, I'm a huge fan.

        Fate -- I'm still irked by the sometimes microscopic portions, but I found the service and food much better when I visited on an off night midweek rather than on a crazy First Friday.

        Portland's -- First visit was a disaster because a friend thought it would be a good choice for a pre-theater dinner. Friend didn't realize that Portland Street is more than half a mile north of the Herberger, so we had to try to eat at a fast pace that the kitchen was not prepared for. Subsequent visits purely for a meal at Portland's, without a rush to get to an event further to the south, have been much better.

        Pane Bianco -- Went on a Saturday after if first opened when the lines were long. Didn't seem worth the wait. Felt much better when visiting again on a typical weekday.

        3 Replies
        1. re: silverbear

          Texaz Grill - First time I went I ordered one of the specials which wasn't that good. Every time since I have ordered the Chicken Fried Steak. By far the best CFS in the west.

          1. re: ValleyFever

            I visited Texaz Grill a couple months ago and the CFS wasn't very good at all - the meat was quite tough. Perhaps it deserves a second chance...OTOH, Ranch House Grill's CFS is awesome! Also looking forward to trying Overeasy's version.

            1. re: azhotdish

              See, and I don't care for RHG's CFS (it's the batter). Now their Spicy Tortilla is another story. I'll eat that till i can't walk.

              Do try Texaz's again if you get the chance. I've never had a tough steak there, and I go every couple months.

        2. Believe it or not, my first visit to Rancho Pinot left a lot to be desired - the ribeye was overcooked to my specs and quite fatty; service was also intrusive. On subsequent visits though, my experiences were nearly flawless in terms of food and service and definitely one of my favs in town.

          1. Add to my list above Copper Star Coffee. I wasn't thrilled with my first visit, but since then I've become a fan. I've heard complaints that the cofffee is weak. That may be true, but I don't really notice since I'm not a big coffee fan anyway. I like Copper Star for the Harney tea sachets and the iced cappuccinos in the summer.

            Copper Star Coffee
            4220 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

            1 Reply
            1. re: silverbear

              The coffee was terribly weak on my first and only visit to Copper Star--I took the fact that the person behind the counter acknowledged as much as a bad sign. But given that they are more local to me than Lux and my visit was right after they had first opened, they are still on my "give them another chance" list.

            2. The Vig on 40th street. Thee weeks after this joint opened, Michelle Laudig at New Times ripped everything from the food to the patrons...even commenting on the fancy cars that filled the parking lot. Nikki Buchanan at Phx Mag echoed many of her comments a couple weeks later. I must say, I had to agree with much of their criticisms....my wife and I tried it a few times early on, and the food left a lot to be desired. I think the ownership must have listened. I've heard they brought in Micheal Demaria from Michael's at the Citidel, and his team to reconstruct the menu and put in place a new Chef and kitchen crew. Nikki must have given them another try, because she recently named them with one of the best new restaurants in Phoenix. When we read that we felt compelled to give them another try. We're glad we did. The menu is still very basic, filled with grill type items that might be best categorized as comfort food with a twist. But everything our crew has tried has been solid. We love the wings, burgers and many of the salads...the rock shrimp appetizer is terrific. It's all priced reasonably and the food can be enjoyed in a cozy booth or by the fire on their spacious patio. I heard bad things about the service early on as well, but our servers are always friendly and efficient. People can find fault in any restaurant, but The Vig seems to have found it's stride by offering a basic 'grill' menu at reasonable prices along an atmosphere that not many establishments can match. It's no five star restaurant, but I don't think that is The Vig's intent. It's a neighborhood tavern where the food is as good as the people watching. We're regulars, now.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mrfoody

                I went in the early days of the Vig and haven't been back. i was in the same unimpressed boat as everyone else. maybe its time for a return visit.

                1. re: mrfoody

                  The chef there now is Lenard Rubin. Some may remember him from Medizona and he is now at the Vig after stints with the Pointe resorts and SouthBridge project

                2. Padre's is pretty good I LOVE their black bean soup it is yummy and almost a meal.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: drewb123

                    Padres has always been great, IMO.

                    But our "2nd try" place was Mi Patio. Went there and got the usual taco-type fare the first few times, not really blown away. But then went back a year later and had the Camerones Del Diablo (really super-spicy with warm tortillas and spiced veggies...mmmmm) and the Hornitos Plata silver tequila shots. Been hooked ever since.

                    1. re: drewb123

                      yes the black bean soup is fabulous in every way!!

                    2. Interesting thread. I'm glad that you started it.

                      Back when my wife was interviewing in PHX, we chose Vincent's on Camelback for our "big dinner." I had read reviews in several publications and on the Internet, and thought that I knew what to expect. They were filled to about 90%, and our server had a major attitude, especially with regareds to wine. The food was OK, but the service left too much to be desired for us.

                      Flash forward a year. I kept reading/hearing about Chef Vincent, and just could not stay away. We booked, with some trepidation. They were at about the same level of fullness. This trip was nothing like our introduction. The service was highly attentive and the pacing was perfect. All of the attitude was gone, even with regards to the wines. Night and day!

                      We have been loyal diners ever since, and I am so glad that we went back.

                      I have two other stories, with similar outcomes, but these places are on another board on CH, Hawai`i and New Orleans.

                      Lon's at the Hermosa also fell from grace with us, but managed to get us back and have done very well since.


                      Lon's At the Hermosa
                      5532 N Palo Cristi Rd, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

                      Vincent On Camelback
                      3930 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018