BIG CH-CH-CH-CHANGES AT PATRIZIO

Several weeks ago, FB reported that Jack Knox, owner of Patrizio and Café Pacific, sold Patrizio to Ed and Lee Bailey, who, in Jack’s words, are “smart and talented people and sophisticated investors.” I’ve heard nothing but complaints about the popular HP spot since the takeover. Here are two reports from FrontBurnervian Foodies:

Number One: Two girlfriends and I were sitting enjoying our crab claws and Sauvignon Blanc when this Dallas-tan fellow in a charcoal gray, double-breasted suit with pink pinstripes, baby pink shirt, hot pink tie, and pocket square, rolls up to tell us he always has to stop to see the beautiful ladies at HIS restaurant (yuck!). He proceeds to tell us that he’s the new owner and he’s about to shake things up. He’s already introduced a list of fine wines with more change on the way. I looked longingly at my crab claws and politely asked that he leave those untouched. He let me know that although it’s a favorite, they really don’t make enough money on them so maybe he will raise the price. He then told us his background in the restaurant business…he owns something like 25 McDonalds in Plano (Yikes!). After way too long, he left and our food arrived. For the first time ever, my Penne Caprese was bland and the pasta was undercooked.

Number Two: My wife and I are long-time customers of Patrizios, usually two or three times a month. We’re simple folk and for us, it doesn’t get much better than crab claws on the patio. We went last night for an early dinner, our first visit since the ownership transfer.
The waitress, obviously new to Patrizios, introduced herself and said that she’d be taking care of us for the evening. She also seemed new to that type of a restaurant. Told us to wave at her when we were ready to order. Ask several times if we wanted another round of drinks. (Uhh, no, but how about two more glasses of Chardonnay?) We ordered crab claws and thoroughly enjoyed them as always, the buttery broth seasoned perfectly.
When the bill came, I had a little sticker shock. Patrizios is now charging $24.95 for a single order of the appetizer.
I figured it to be the current market price but asked our waitress about the increase anyway. “It’s a larger portion now,” she said.
I was going to say something but didn’t. It seemed the same size to me, but what do I know, I’m not in the restaurant biz.
Our waitress continued. “The crab claws are very popular right now too. And, you know, when stuff is popular, they charge more.”
“Oh, I get it.” I nodded like her explanation made sense.
She leaned a little closer, a conspiratorial grin on her face. “Things are getting ready to change around here too.”
“Really,” I said. “You mean like the crab claws?”
She ignored my feeble attempt at humor. “In a couple of weeks, this will be a totally different place.”
“Because of the new owner?” I signed my check.
“Uh-huh. Big changes.” She nodded. “It’s gonna be great, you wait and see.”

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