Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
May 12, 2008 02:34 PM

Tony's Southern Comfort - Horrible!

I went there recently for a lunch outing with my co-workers. Despite all the hype, I really wasn't too impressed. First of all, I'm not a restaurant snob and I'm happy to sit down and munch at any hole-in-the-wall joint. However, this place is seriously filthy. There are stains in every place imaginable, and the decor looks straight out of the Salvation Army. Not only that, but the area we were seated in smelled strongly of a mixture of body odor and rotting food, possibly coming from the stain-ridden curtains. The waitress was alright in general, but pretty apathetic and the snot pouring from her nose wasn't too appetizing. Another group of people were seated directly behind us a few minutes after we came in, and they were being seriously loud and obnoxious - not that that's the restaurant's fault but I don't quite understand why we couldn't have been given a little more space when the rest of the place was totally empty.

So, now we get to the food. We ordered the fried potatoe slices as an appetizer and I have to say, they were pretty delectable. The potatoes were cut in thin round slices, thicker than a chip but thinner than a fry. They came with a great dipping sauce too, sort of horse-raddish based. As for the entrees, my friend tried to order the fried chicken that was posted on a whiteboard as the daily lunch special but was told that they were out. I work in the food industry too and I understand that it happens sometimes, but this was at 12:00pm and I felt they should've either been better prepared and/or at least taken the special off the board as soon as they ran out. She ordered pork chops instead and rated her meal as average. I ordered the famed chicken fried steak and really wasn't that impressed. The meat was kind of greasy, and the breading was scarce and soggy - not crisp and flavorful. I usually don't expect the meat itself to be all that flavorful, as the gravy usually makes the whole meal for me. Not this time - the gravy was completely flavorless as well, not to mention there was hardly any of it. In fact, the whole meal was pretty tiny. I'm only 5'2" and 105 lbs, so it doesn't take much to fill me up but I left here feeling hungry. The steak was smaller than even the average grocery store steak, and the side serving of mashed potatoes was maybe a little over a quarter cup. Now for dessert. At first, my friends tried to order the banana pudding, which is a fixture on the menu, but was told that they were out of that as well. So they opted to try the cobbler and the pie, though I don't remember what variation of fruit they contained. My friends said the desserts were so-so, kind of stale and super microwaved. Not to mention I could clearly see the snotty waitress go directly from our table and into the kitchen, then scoop the desserts out of a pan without washing her hands which really grossed me out.

All in all, I would never consider going back there. It was my first time, and maybe it was an off day for them - but in my opinion, there's no excuse for being that off. I really wish I could've had a rave review experience like so many people here seem to have had, but this just didn't do it for me.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm afraid I have to second TheSprinkler's disatisfaction with Tony's.After reading all the hype I took a friend for a lunch recently only to have what was a truly bad CFS.Salty to the extreme-neither of us finished our steak and the sides weren't worth eating either.The torn and tattered booth sort of described the whole experience.I was looking forward to the meal,but came away thinking I won't be returning.A few days before this I had a real fine lunch at Hoover's, but Tony's Southern Comfort was no comparison.Live and loin,I guess.Chow

    1. Hate to hear this. I was planning on going to check this place out. I like Hoover's and have one close to me, so guess I'll stick with that.

      10 Replies
      1. re: amykragan

        For what it's worth, I had Tony's fried chicken (drumettes as an appetizer AND the chicken wings and waffle as a main course) within the past month and didn't notice any drop-off in quality. The CFS can be a dud, depending on the time/day of the week/who's cooking, but I almost always go for their fried chicken if I'm ordering a fried entree. Their fried catfish is my fall-back option.

        Personally, I don't like Hoover's food at all. But then again, the ambience, hit-or-miss quality, and worldview of soul-food restaurants is not for every diner.

        1. re: MPH

          I'm apparently now going to Tony's enough that I get regularly high-fived and clapped on the back en route to the table when I arrive there. Which is awesome. And I agree: the fried foods are great!

          The fried chicken is my favorite in town. (Anyone know somewhere else I just have to try?) And the CFS is a work of art. OK, sometimes the meat is stringy, but that goes with the territory.

          P.S. While Hoover's is no Tony's, and while I haven't been to Hoover's in at least a year, I've had some really good CFS at Hoover's. And some good ribs. I've also had many mediocre items, so be warned that YMMV.

          1. re: tom in austin

            >>The fried chicken is my favorite in town.

            Mine too, when they have it!

            The past 2-3 times they haven't had it.

            Tom do you know when does Tony's positively definitely has fried chicken?

            For those times when they don't have it, where do you consider 2'nd best?

            I believe there's another place w/in 5 min of Tony's that I've seen recommended here. I thought the name was P.Terry's, but their location via the web doesn't jibe with where I'm thinking. It definitely said "Fried Chicken" on their sign outside.

            1. re: sweet100s

              We went there for lunch and I rather enjoyed it. I had the wings and waffles and the wings were excellent! They were larger than expected and I think they use paprika or cayenne in the batter. The wings were crunchy with a nice flavorful twang to them without being overwhelming.
              The waffle was nice and homemade, but the highlight of the meal were the wings.

              My husband got the catfish, with mashed potatoes and greens. The greens were really good, the potatoes just okay, and the catfish was just acceptable.

              The stars of the meals were the wings followed by the greens. I would go back there without question for the wings (and probably the yams which I have had before and they looked the same though I didn't try them) and I look forward to having them again.

              1. re: shan

                Went at lunch a few weeks ago. Seated and waited 15 minutes--no wait service--got up and left

              2. re: sweet100s

                Gene's New Orleans, maybe? Nubian Queen Lola's?

                1. re: sweet100s

                  must be somewhere else. P. Terry's is a burger joint on Lamar & Barton Springs

                  1. re: sweet100s

                    Maybe I've spent too much time at Roscoe's, but I don't consider chicken wings to be "fried chicken", and they looked pretty weird all lonely on the plate next to the waffle. Why not a nice thigh or bone-in breast?

                    1. re: sweet100s


                      Do you mean Terry's on Airport? I drove by the other day and it jogged my memory of your post. Never eaten there, but MPH hated it.

                      1. re: mkwng

                        Hey, I think that is it!

                        OK, I'll avoid it; thanks!

              3. A friend of mine went there yesterday and was very dissapointed. They were out of Chicken Fried Steak! WTF???

                1. Oh wow. That's awful. I was there on May 27th and my chicken (breast) and waffle were fantastic. Corn bread was great, too. My dining partner had the day's special, beef tips over rice and greens for her side. She said it was terrific.

                  I've always had attentive, friendly service there. I've never had any reason to doubt their adherence to cleanliness as far as handwashing, etc, but I'll agree that the decor is on the lower income side. Then again, if I wanted fancier surroundings I'd go elsewhere.

                  I'm usually there around 11:30am, to beat the lunch crowd and make sure they don't run out of fried chicken.

                  1. I've been once and I was disappointed. I convinced my boyfriend to order the CFS as he had never had it and was starving. It was just plain bland. I liked the texture of the fried batter but that's about it. I got the chicken and dumplings and they were ok, but way too smoky and over-seasoned for me. Maybe I should have dunked his CFS in my soup?