Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm Hot 'N' Cold about Fire 'N' Ice

Guest post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

Fresh off of last night's long-anticipated opening of Good Sports Bar & Grill on 2nd and Broadway, I heard that the other end of West Broadway had a new business up and running as well. I was thrilled to hear of another restaurant opening at Penn and Broadway.

That excitement in my throat quickly turned to a pit in my stomach, or more specifically, a breaded, deep-fried pit. On the one hand, we've had the old Bean Scene building sitting vacant for a while now, and I want to see new businesses spring up. Even so...

...this place really seems like just more of the same. Granted, I had heard rumors that the proposed name was "Wings and Things," or maybe the somehow more horrid-sounding "Wangs and Thangs." And there was talk at one point that they'd be applying for a license to stay open until 3 a.m. I shuddered at the thought; at 3 a.m. just about the only people out and about are those who left the bar at 2 and still haven't found their way home.

Still, I'd rather be celebrating a new sit-down restaurant than thinking, "Whew! Crisis averted!" Just because something isn't as bad as it could have been doesn't mean it's good enough.

On the other hand, I watched the guys behind the counter and they were busting their tails. I worked in food prep when I was in college, including a fair amount of time sweating over a fryer and stove. So I appreciate what it takes to do that kind of work all day, every day. It's not easy. And the food was decent, at least. So there's a part of me that watches these guys and thinks, "Any time somebody works that hard and puts out a decent product, I want to see them succeed."

But my biggest issue here is that even if I WANTED them to put my food on an ACTUAL PLATE instead of a styrofoam container, I COULDN'T. There are tables and chairs still in the place, but it almost seems like that's an afterthought. If all this restaurant had were the kitchen, counter top, and about 30 square feet for people to wait, I don't think that would affect their business model in the least. I was aghast at the idea of how much more junk will wind up as litter and then in our landfills because of the way this business is set up.

In fairness, I heaped praises on food from the Bangkok Market, and that came in plastic containers as well. But at least that food had far more nutritional value.

I hope the business owner finds success in NoMi, but I can't help but think that we deserve better on West Broadway.


Nicole Doran said...

Nice Hawk! Good review. I'll hit up when I want cheese fries and lotsa mayo on my philly.

I do wish we had better but as you said it could have easily been worse.

Ranty said...

Oh my... no plates?


MeganG. said...

OK - I have to say - for someone who hasn't eaten BREAD or FRIES in a looonnnnggggg time - that damn philly cheesesteak is making my MOUTH WATER!!

MikeT said...

I ate there yesterday.
It seems they still have a few things to work out. It was kind of slow and the crowd was getting surely.

The interior looks like it isn't finished yet. I'm hoping they put a little more effort into making it more inviting. It's pretty utilitarian. You'd never say; "Hon, let's go down and have dinner at Fire 'N' Ice" tonight. No. You'd say; "swing by and pick up some sandwiches on the way home".

The food was okay, actually. I couldn't eat there too much, I think my cholesterol levels went up just walking in the front door! But as an occasional treat, sure. I had the Phillie Cheesesteak. Get the small unless you are really hungry. Great fries!

I'm still curious about the rib joint that is opening at the old Delisi site.

Low End Leroy said...

man... that looks good, but I'm really counting on Amoroso's bread.

even w/out real Philly bread, I will support this place, provided:

1. I don't feel like I'm in an old burger king; and

2. the place is clean ---- HEAR ME?...*CLEAN!* when I go in to check it out for the first time.

M. Clinton said...

The key to a good business in the food industry really is #1 Good Food, #2 Good Service and #3 Clean. As basic as that sounds, it amazes me how few places can't hit all three of those. Lets hope Fire N Ice does not disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Just what we need....another ghetto resturant...bravo.

Michael Spivak said...

I hit it up today. As mentioned, they definitely still have some kinks to work out, but the food was decent, not great, the fries were heavenly, and I left incredibly full. Next I'll have to check out Good Sports on the other end of Broadway. I worked a bit at Legal Aid last summer and we wondered if it was ever going to open!

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

I agree with the commenters regarding the french fries. My goodness, they are excellent--quite a guilty pleasure, but excellent nonetheless.

Still, can we get some plates please? Even if there are few changes to the menu, I think there are plenty of things that could be done to make the restaurant a sit-down destination.

Johnny Northside said...

Not the best thing we could get in that location, but certainly not the worse...

The Keith Reitman of fast food joints.

Johnny Northside said...

This is what my joke references about Keith Reitman, "not the best, not the worst."

Anonymous said...

LOL. The Keith Reitman philosophy sure comes in handy!

From what I hear, Keith is now the mediocre landlord to a JNS favorite political fringe candidate, Kenya McKnight, who is renting the space above the Golden Chicken Shack.

Hopefully she's not WORKING at the chicken shack also. Just sayin'.

Johnny Northside said...

Indeed, bad things happen to young women of small physical stature who work at the chicken shack. I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

The Walking Drum said...

Maybe we should organize a "sit in" waiting for these plates to appear. We could bring some plates of our own and maybe a fork and every time someone orders bang our plate and fork together.

I have to admit though, I am looking forward to trying a new philly cheeze steak place.

Low End Leroy said...

Stopped by on Saturday afternoon around 1:30.

Busy. People are trying it out.

Food smelled good.

Menu- impossible (almost) to find.
They were actually in a little box by the cash register.

Signage- none found. Where do I "ORDER?" Where do I "PICK UP" my order? Hopefully, signs are on order.

Nice folks. Palestinian guy from Ramallah.

They take credit cards (MC & Visa).

Didn't quite feel like a Burger King.

The Philly Steak is VERY TASTY! Dangerously Tasty, in fact b/c it's probably not low in calories.

We'll be back, but we'll call ahead so we don't have to wait so long for our sandwiches...


Anonymous said...

I gotta admit... seeing and reading the reviews, I decided to grab some lunch there. Long wait, like everyone else said.. and I notices at least 2 paper signs that warned the customers about a 20-30 minute wait, since they make everything 'fresh'.

So I got the philly cheesesteak and fries. It was $10 exactly. It was alot of food. It was good. Real good. I couldn't eat it all teh time because too greasy and unhealthy.

The other clientelle was pretty sad. While waiting there were 2 different ladies who got into extended discussions with the cashier about their dissatisfaction. I don't think it was anything the restaurant did, it was just that these ladies like be be overly picky and find some power in the food service providers that they choose to frequent.

I felt real bad for the guys.