Adios Macaroni Grill, Hola Plaza Azteca?

My family were pretty loyal patrons of the Macaroni Grill in Manchester for birthdays, celebrations, and whatnot. So, it made me a little sad when it closed down a while ago. However, the faux-stone building has a new tenant —Plaza Azteca Restaurante–a chain from south of the border. And by border, I mean the Mason-Dixon line, as it is based in Virginia.

They did a nice job transforming “Italy” into “Mexico” on the inside and our server– we’ll call him Miguel–seemed like a pleasant enough guy…until he started calling us “amigos”…every single time he said anything: “Can I get you something to drink, amigos?”; “I’ll be right back with some chips, amigos”; “Here are your chips, amigos.” Seriously irritating. The chips came with a decent salsa and a very different orange cream dip which I wasn’t a fan of, but probably good for those who like a milder taste.

The menu is pretty vast and reasonably priced–my cheese enchilada, chile relleno, rice and beans plate was only $7.50 and you could get a pitcher of Bud for around $10. The Boyfriend ordered some special I can’t find on their overly colorful online menu–but it was on Miguel’s suggestion (amigo) and consisted of beef, veggies and whatnot on a chapula-style tortilla with a creamy sauce.

The food came out faster than Speedy Gonzales himself could have made it, which was impressive (and a bit disconcerting). My dish was a little boring, but definitely filled me up, and was probably better than anything I could make myself. The enchilada sauce reminded me of what I get in a can at the grocery store. But the chile relleno was pretty decent and the portion of rice and beans was generous. My margarita wasn’t overly “margarita mixy,” but I also couldn’t taste any tequila. Boyfriend didn’t love his dish–it was too heavy,  but better as leftovers apparently (which Miguel came to wrap up while Boyfriend was still eating…awkward).

Miguel also came to check up on us about four more times as we were trying to relax and finish our drinks, each time telling us to “take your time, amigos.” Needless to say, this had the opposite effect as I started to feel like I should chug my margarita…not that chugging the practically virgin drink would have affected my ability to drive. While Boyfriend was signing the tab, Miguel was hovering and made the type of comment no server should ever make: “Oh, just round it up, I’ll even do a dance, amigo!” You should never talk about the tip with the customer unless it’s to thank them for their generosity. Duh!

So, while I’m very glad we tried a new place, I think I’ll stick to Pancho Loco in Vernon if I need a Mexican fix.

One salt shaker, because I’m not your amigo, amigo.




  1. Hola Amigos, I must admit I was a little surprised to receive the printed out version of the feedback that was left on me on my service and the restaurant I work for. Although I do appreciate constructive criticism it was a little disheartening to see that my attention to my customers was taken in a native way. My name is not Miguel as I was referred to in the feedback. My real name is Roberto. I am a 8 year veteran of the United States Air Force. After my commitment was met, I wanted to find a profession that I felt was my true calling in life. Roughly 5 years ago I started working for a Mexican restaurant that was unlike any other I have ever seen in my life and being from El Paso TX I thought I has seen all the industry had to offer. I was so taken by the restaurant, at that very point I knew where the next path in my life was going to take me. I was just finishing up the end of my 4 year active duty commitment when I made a plea to the manager to allow me to work there on the weekends, even if it was for free. He agreed and from that point on I have dedicated my life to the service industry. It is my passion to treat every customer the way I would want to be treated as if they were my own family. So I do apologize in you felt the term amigo was “Seriously irritating”. It is my way of allowing you to feel welcomed.
    From my own personal expense I can’t remember when I have ever had a better tasting Margarita. In fact I just recently celebrated a birthday and had the pleasure of enjoying a Frozen House Margarita on my day off and let’s just say I only needed one to have a pleasant birthday.
    The feedback was honest and was welcomed, I always appreciate a good constructive criticism but in my personal opinion it seemed a little bias. I welcome anyone to try any other Mexican restaurant, or for that matter any other Margarita in town and then come in to Plaza Azteca. You can even ask for me if you like and you be the judge. Good service? Good Margaritas? or both good service and great Margaritas and leave your feedback on the The CuT
    By the young people of Connecticut, for the young people of Connecticut

    Thank you,
    Sincerely Submitted
    Roberto, Server


  2. Glad you found your calling, Roberto. For the record, we changed the name to give some level of anonymity, but I guess that’s out the window. In any case, good luck to you.


  3. Happy birthday, Roberto…perhaps your margarita was made special as it was your birthday–it definitely should have been!


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