Monday, July 9, 2012

Phil the Fire and a Luau Winner

Thank you to everyone that entered the Shoes and Clothes for Kids ticket giveaway to their annual Luau on the Lake this weekend. I used, and it selected lucky #19...Michelle from All Lacquered Up. For sharing her favorite summer drink, white sangria, Michelle has won two VIP tickets to the event. It's not too late to purchase them online for just $40 before July 11th. They will go up to $50 after that, and are will also be available at the door. If you do purchase them online, make sure that you add "Bite Buff" to the Special Notes section of checkout to be entered into an exclusive social media raffle at the event. You could win a basket full of fun prizes. I hope to see you there!

Last weekend, "R" and I found ourselves over on the east side doing some errands (which included a stop at Jeni's in Chagrin Falls for my favorite seasonal flavor- Brambleberry Crisp). So we decided to catch an early dinner at the newish Phil the Fire in Beachwood. The chef/owner has a long history in Cleveland, but has been off the culinary map locally for a while. Fans were excited to see him pop up again, and that he was continuing to offer his famous chicken and waffles.
This "Comfort Food for the Soul" restaurant offers diners traditional Southern fare. After our trip to New Orleans in March, I was even more excited to try out this restaurant. Overall, it was the closest that we've come to having good Southern food here in Cleveland.

We shared the Fried Green Tomatoes with greens and fried corn served with aioli ($7.95).
They were served burn-your-mouth hot, but once they cooled down a bit we were able to dig in. The breading dominated the flavor of the tomatoes, so a lighter breading would have elevated this dish a bit, but they were fried nicely and were still enjoyable. The greens were almost as good as the ones we had in NOLA, but the real star of this dish was the fried corn. As you can see, it is more like a creamed corn. But the flavors really popped, and I would order this as a side dish with any meal.

"R" went with the famous Chicken and Waffles with a Quarter Chicken, including a breast and wing for $15.95. He also decided to go with a sweet potato waffle for an additional fee.
It was served with house syrup, butter, and hot sauce. The chicken was lightly breaded, not greasy, and still moist throughout. (Ugh, I hate the word moist). The sweet potato waffle was tasty, but the center got very soggy very quickly. He also loved the addition of hot sauce to the plate.

I absolutely love traditional Southern side dishes. I had already decided to make a meal of just side dishes before I saw that they offer that as an option on their menu- genius. For $14.95, you can enjoy three side dishes as your entree.
I went with the Three Cheese Mac and Cheese, Candied Yams, and Fresh Collard Greens. All were prepared just as I expected, and I left satisfied with the experience. Only real misstep was a bone in the greens. Not a pleasant experience to find in your mouth.

Nothing blew me away, except for the Fried Corn, but overall we did enjoy the meal and it brought us back to NOLA for a minute. To be fair, after eating down there, nothing up here could truly compare to the amazing fried chicken and other traditional fare that we dined on. Service was attentive and our meal was served quickly. It is a family-friendly spot, with plenty of free parking since it is attached to a hotel. This restaurant probably won't make the cut again when we are dining out on the east side, but if you enjoy Southern cuisine then I do suggest checking it out.

Phil the Fire
3750 Orange Place
Beachwood, OH 44122


bonnjill said...

Have you tried Jezebel's Bayou or Battiste & Dupree yet? I've tried Jezebel's and liked the food. I keep meaning to try Battiste.

Bite Buff said...

No, haven't been to either yet. But Jezebel's was on my radar. Thanks for the reminder!

Crystal @EatDrinkClev said...

I only order the chicken and waffles - plain waffle and boneless fried chicken - and love it! I'll have to try the fried green tomatoes one of these days - they look great!

Mark Chesler said...

...On March 14 and March 29, 2003, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, Oberlin College class of ‘73, executed two $20,000 promissory notes to Phil B. Davis, Phil the Fire’s flamboyant proprietor, at prime plus 200 basis points, collateralized by an equity stake in Phil the Fire. Mr. Davis, a former deodorant salesman, failed to make a single payment on the bargain-rate loans. On October 31, 2003, the well-heeled ice cream czar and the wannabe waffle king consummated a Halloween wing-and-a-prayer loan consolidation through a $100,000 line of credit issued by Shore Bank. Mr. Davis subsequently defaulted on every facet of the original loans.

According to Cuyahoga County Court records, Phil the Fire’s tax returns, prepared by leading public accounting firm SS & G, show a loss of nearly $50,000 in 2002. In an amended July 19, 2004, brief attached to the extensive litigation spawned by Phil the Fire’s demise, Phil B. Davis declares on line #93, "Defendant never claimed that the operations of Phil the Fire on Shaker Square had yielded a profit after its first year of operations." The Ohio Department of Taxation affixed eight liens totaling $69,555.63 to Phil the Fire’s Shaker Square carcass. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation weighed in with unpaid claims of $7,265.37.

Mr. Davis’ Shaker Square operation inherited the retail storefront formerly occupied by Hungarian strudel purveyor Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, a 49-year Buckeye neighborhood fixture employing a bevy of elderly, veteran strudel kneaders. On assuming the balance of Lucy’s ten-year lease, Mr. Davis seized $75,000 in specialized bakery equipment belonging to Lucy’s proprietor Michael Feigenbaum. Lucy’s never fully recovered and, according to Mr. Feigenbaum’s Hotel Bruce web posting, is "living on fumes."

On Sunday, March 26, 2006, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a front-page expose detailing the implosion of both the Shaker Square and downtown Phil the Fire and Waterhouse Restaurants, established with the financial backing of fugitive Atlanta hedge fund manager Kirk Wright. I, not any member of this body [Oberlin City Council], was the original source for that story.

Wanted on state and federal mail and securities fraud warrants for allegedly absconding with $185 million in investor assets, Wright targeted novice minority investors, particularly professional athletes with significant discretionary income. Equipped, according to the New York Post, with "a materialistic streak that would make Madonna blush," Wright’s illicitly acquired auto collection included a Bentley, a Jaguar, an Aston Martin, a BMW and a Lamborghini. A March 9, 2006, Wall Street Journal article reported Mr. Wright’s financial seductions occurred in "suites he rented at Atlanta Falcon football games." Since February 2002, SCA’s financial patron, Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank, has owned the Atlanta Falcons. According to Phil B. Davis’ Cuyahoga County court filings, Davis "met twice with Wright in Plaintiff’s Atlanta office."

In a short, tumultuous five-month life-span, Phil the Fire’s illiquid downtown Cleveland gravy train racked up well in excess of a million dollars in unpaid debts and forfeitures — including over $15,000 in Ohio workers compensation liens — was on a C.O.D. basis with vendors and, according to Phil Davis’ July 28, 2004, court filings, had a chronic negative cash flow. Channel 19 reporter Scott Taylor ran an investigative piece broadcast March 14, 2004, on Phil the Fire Gateway’s imminent meltdown. On March 23, 2004, the IRS slapped a $226,259 tax lien on Phil the Fire for failure to pay federal withholding taxes. On April 15, 2004, Phil the Fire employees picketed outside the swank downtown eatery to protest their untendered paychecks.

Mark Chesler said...

Although Phil Davis’ initial capital contribution to the Gateway Phil the Fire restaurant was a nominal $100, as set forth in the operating agreement, Mr. Davis retained a 60% ownership stake. On March 31, 2004, as the downtown Phil the Fire hemorrhaged cash and the chickens came home to roost, Mr. Davis borrowed $20,000, via a promissory note, from Phil the Fire’s talented chef, Alexander Daniels. Despite receiving $50,000 from Mr. Wright on April 26, 2004, in an impetuous, global out-of-court settlement, Mr. Davis defaulted on the bulk ($15,000) of Mr. Daniels’ unsecured loan and a contracted $11,000 culinary consultant’s fee...

Anonymous said...

You have to try Jezebels & Zanzibar. Jezebels is the best in NEO to Nola and as far as southern cuisine Zanzibar is second to none for full service.

Bite Buff said...

Phil the Fire has closed. 10/2/12