City Hardware gets second chance

City Hardware is located in downtown Florence on Court Street. They are open seven days a week from 11a.m. to 10 p.m.

I believe wholeheartedly in second chances, and food is no exception. I reviewed the downtown restaurant City Hardware when it opened earlier this year, and my review was nothing short of brutal. I gave them two out of five stars — and I’m a self-proclaimed foodie who likes to think I know good food when I come across it.

I’ve been wary of re-entering the establishment since January, but after coming back to Florence at the beginning of the semester, I decided to give City Hardware another chance.

I went to City Hardware at dinnertime with a group of friends. The restaurant was crowded, but not overly so. We were barely seated before our waiter Alex was at our table, taking our drink order and offering us suggestions for appetizers.

Whoa now… is this the same restaurant I was in back in January?

The menu stills boasts an expansive list of beverages, as well as appetizers, entrées and desserts. The restaurant runs the gamut, serving everything from burgers to flatbreads to entrées like bacon-wrapped meatloaf.

I decided not to go to with the California burger like I did with my previous review, opting instead for the rotisserie chicken with fries and steamed broccoli.

My glass of water was topped off at least twice before my meal arrived, which was about 15 minutes after we ordered — a far cry from my first experience.

As someone who cooks often and usually for other people, I always say you eat with your eyes first. Presentation is important, and it’s safe to say City Hardware has nailed it since their opening.

My food looked immaculate when it arrived, and it tasted even better.

The bourbon BBQ sauce is a great complement for the chicken, and the steamed broccoli was cooked just right. Typically, the entrée comes with caramelized onion mashed potatoes, too, but I substituted French fries and they were just as good.

I almost declined dessert, but let’s be honest. Dessert is always the best part of a meal.

Alex mentioned a few desserts before dropping “bananas Foster cheesecake,” and as soon as I heard it, I cut him off mid-sentence, requesting it.

The slice of cheesecake was big enough to share with the other four people I was with (begrudgingly, of course), and it was worth five stars on its own.

City Hardware has a truly unique atmosphere, and it’s trendy without being over the top. I will stand beside my former statement that some dishes are a touch overpriced, but the friendly service and laid-back atmosphere makes up for it.

First impressions certainly aren’t everything — way to prove me wrong, City Hardware. Keep doing what you’re doing.