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March 27, 2009
I first visited Bandera April 2007 when we stopped in for a drink while waiting for friends. We ordered the grilled artichoke as an appetizer and had margeritas and martinis. The bartender (Suzanna) was amazing. She made me want to become a bartender, her service was so perfect. She had exactly the right balance of fun and friendliness without being overbearing and fake. She was not just nice to the customers, but she had fun with her coworkers as well. You could tell that she (and everyone else) really loved their jobs and that attitude had a surprising effect on the service and the whole atmosphere. The margeritas were foamy and delicious (they add egg-whites to their custom-made mix to make them foamy!) and their martinis where beyond excellent (after 10 minutes sitting out, my martini glass was replaced with a new ice cold one!). The grilled artichoke was to die for. About a month later I had the opportunity to return to Phoenix on business for 3 nights. The first thing I did when I arrived was to go to Bandera (Suzanna was there) and order the artichoke and a marguerita. I'm embarrassed to say I spent all 3 dinners at Bandera. That is saying alot because Phoenix has a thriving restaurant scene, I love food diversity and I was on an expense account. Over those three nights I had: Chilean Seabass, filet mignon and beef ribs. All were out of this world. I had the opportunity to see and smell the grilled salmon and the grilled chicken and these also looked amazing. Every night (Tues, Wed and Thurs) were packed full of people and the bar was full of diners (several of which I saw on multiple nights). The atmosphere was exciting, bustling and fun. It's not a question of whether I will go to Bandera the next time I'm in Phoenix, but whether I will visit Phoenix the next time I go to Bandera.