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For more than a half-century, this local chain has been serving up sopapillas, enchiladas, and rellenos. Don't take our word for it--ask President Obama, who stopped here for dinner during a post-election visit to Phoenix. The story goes that the chimichanga was invented here, and we tend to believe it - this signature dish says a lot about the Sonoran-style cuisine served here.
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2013 has already seen the birth of one new food and beverage industry awards. This time, it's the Arizona Restaurant Association's turn to give props to "industry players embody the pursuit -- the ach... More »
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CatCalls2010 Macayo's Depot Cantina Has Lost It's Shine I am saddened, shocked, pissed off, grossed out and disillusioned. I popped in for a taco and a drink the other night only to find that Macayo's has fallen from grace.... far and hard. The main points...garbage, flies, hair, distracted and discourteous wait staff, funky food and uncaring management. Maybe the crazy screaming guy in the parking lot was an omen. I was trying to walk around the perpetual rivers of water (??) that transverse the parking lot while simultaneously keeping my distance from the overflowing, hideously smelling garbage containers on display. (The gates were open...probably because the garbage was so deep and so funky smelling that closing them might have been fatal to anyone on the other side.) I actually turned around to leave but the siren's song of a well-poured shot was too alluring. The patio was dark, without even a path lit to the front door. With feline grace and stealth (hey, I didn't fall over anything) I managed to find the entrance and maneuvered my way to the end of the bar. There were less than a dozen people, including staff in the bar and everyone seemed riveted to the games on the TVs. Football and baseball were playing...both near game ends...so I understood the delay in staff seeing me. I'm thinking that the barman's teams were losing as explanation for his less than enthusiastic greeting. I ordered my shot. It was not quite short but certainly not spectacular. And, weirdly...very warm. I don't mean room temp. I mean really warm. Ick. The chips and salsa arrived. I didn't notice the hair firmly attached to the salsa bowl until later. I know. Gross. I just wanted some sour cream to go with my chips. And, maybe a taco to soak up some of the booze. My menu was stuck together with some brown, dried stuff that had welded half of it closed. Again, gross. I waited for the sour cream. In vain. It arrived in a small, rapidly melting plop of a little scoop on my "careful, the plate is very hot" taco order. The taco was so poorly built and had been under the lights for so long, the meat showing at each end was hard and nearly black. The taco itself had melded to the plate and I had to pry it off and reform it. The sour cream? The only part that didn't liquefy was the tiny section that landed on the little pile of shredded lettuce added to the plate to take up space. Just a little pile of fast wilting iceberg strips that were soon swimming in the milky mess that was once sour cream. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do with it. The main ingredient in the taco was lettuce so I don't think it was meant to add. Not even one tiny cube of "failed to gas ripen" tomato was in view so I don't think it was meant as edible garnish. Between the blisteringly hot plate, the burnt meat, the liquefying sour cream and the stray strips of rapidly fading lettuce, I didn't think it could get much more unappealing. Wrong. When I went back to the chip bowl.... moments before I found the hair attached to the salsa...little tiny black flies crawled up from the bottom of the chip bowl and flew away. I was done. Although, I had to wait to get my check. I was charged for everything, including for the sour cream as a side dish. On my way out I asked for a manager. I told him about the hair and the flies. The response? "I know the bowl was clean when I put the chips in it." and "Sorry you are not happy." (Note to manager: Look to the chips. The chips, sir, not the bowl.) So, overall...Macayo's doesn't seem as refreshing as it once did. This cat calls Macayo's Depot Cantina a train wreck. CatCalls2010 Macayos Depot Cantina Is a Cool Spot Finally, a place I can really recommend. Macayo’s Depot Cantina is everything a joint should be. Attentive service, long pours, clean bar, tasty food, decent entertainment, a marvelously varied customer base and no sticker shock when the check came. Plus, they have nifty special effects. Over the course of a half dozen visits (between me and companion) Macayo’s Depot just keeps getting better. The place is huge, with a patio almost as big as the interior and both inside and outside are well maintained by staff that never seem to slow down. Chips and salsa were offered (or simply brought) every visit. Menus (clean, too) were offered but not shoved at me, which I appreciated. (Hey, sometimes tequila is enough!) The bar inside has 11 TVs, turned to 5 different channels. Nifty Special Effect: Every once in a while, the program schedule shows up on one screen so patrons can peruse their viewing options. The barman was happy to change the TV nearest me to the game I wanted. Free food is available every day during Happy Hour, to go along with impressive and varied drink specials. The music in the bar is a little too hard edged for me and after quizzing staff, they agreed. I’m not looking for mariachi sounds but the thud of house music gets old, fast. Next visit, I’m going to ask about it. I have a feeling Macayo’s Depot listens to customers. Happy Cat. Food arrives promptly, with the mandatory, “Be careful. The plates are hot.” I don’t think I’ve been to a Mexican food joint where that isn’t the mantra. The “hot” plates arrive with ample portions of beautifully presented, flavorful classic Mexican cuisine. The tables are clean and (mercifully) sized for real people to sit at them, with comfortable chairs, too. The silverware (well wrapped in linen napkins) is spotless, condiments sit neatly in recycled six pack beer carriers and servers are alert to customer needs. The “how is everything?” check in and managing the bill happens in real time. Happy Cat. Macayo’s Depot Cantina is filled with interesting and conversation provoking bonuses. The huge wire cage filled with empty tequila bottles that stands at the doorway between inside and patio is strangely beautiful. Strategically located blackboards and chalk give customers an opportunity to express themselves. Live music on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons proves to be a taste of acoustic heaven. (Although, the patio chairs need to be silenced. The startling sound of metal screeching across eoncrete is just awful.) Overall, Macayo’s Depot Cantina is wonderful. Good service, great food, both indoor and outdoor bars are on the money, entertainment is tight, and the prices are friendly. This cat calls Macayo’s Depot Cantina a great place and worth the trip.
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