Coyote Crossing, West Chester

April 4th, 2004

Market & Walnut Sts
West Chester, PA

Rating: 2 silver spoons out of 5

Overall: A bustling, upscale Mexican eatery in the heart of West Chester that is a fun place to go but ultimately suffers from average food and long waits. The West Chester branch of the popular Conshohocken restaurant is a bit larger (including a rooftop deck that will seat 100 in good weather), so hopefully the queue will be a bit more manageable.

Food: Traditional Mexican — from expected favorites like enchiladas and fajitas to more creative fare such as the Molcajete Azteca (meat of choice, veggies and Mexican spices served in a volcanic rock), and Filet Mignon (on special recently). I have to admit that on several visits to both the Conshy and WC locations, I have been somewhat unimpressed with the food here. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a Mexican place is great for two obvious reasons: fun atmosphere and the tendency to forget details after a few margaritas. Although Coyote Crossing is often packed to the gills in both locations, the fact remains that the food is rarely better than average, overpriced fare. Especially when you factor in how long it takes just to get a table, it’s hard to justify the wait.

Bread: Great homemade chips and fresh salsa. The salsa is more like pico de gallo (dry chopped tomatoes and onions with cilantro)… personally I never cared for this, but those who enjoy that will be satisfied.

Bar: Is there anything better than a Mexican bar? Great margaritas and other tropical drinks, along with a good selection of Mexican beers and fabulous homemade sangria make this one tops.

Service: The WC location has not been open long so there are still some issues on busy nights handling the large crowds, however the waitstaff was fine.

Value: As stated earlier, the food is average and priced higher than it should be. Expect to pay close to $50 per person.

Details:
# of times we’ve eaten there: 1 in WC (plus a few times in Cohshy)
Reservations: No
Payments: Cards
Bar: Full
Website: http://www.coyotecrossing.com
There is also a Coyote Crossing in Conshohocken, PA

34 Responses to “Coyote Crossing, West Chester”

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  1. Martin says:

    Looks to be closed and replaced by a sports bar (sigh). The open table link is down, and there were signs on the outside proclaiming it to be CJ’s Sports Bar, or something similar.

    Personally, I won’t miss it. It always looked dark from the outside (“is it open?” was always the question. There’s better Mexican food in town, and the service was always offhand. The roof top garden was always nice, though.

  2. LT says:

    We ate on the rooftop on a busy Saturday night. The food and service were great. The nachos and margaritas are delicious. I would definitely recommend this place!

  3. Jeff says:

    Sadly, the Coyote has gone downhill over the past year or so and each visit is worse than the prior one. I will say that Conshy has not dissapointed at their location. Anyway, the service has been miserable, the food has been mixed (some still incredible but some not so great). Also, for some reason I get very annoyed that their “specials” remain on the menu for YEARS. HELLO?! IT IS NOT A SPECIAL IF IT IS A PERMANENT ITEM. Last visit I ordered a sangria since I loved it last time at the Conshy location. It came and I about spit it out..it was CRANBERRY JUICE with fruit in it! I called the waiter over to ask what the bartender was smoking, and he said “that’s just how he makes them.” Nice. So I told him to sub a margarita…which came TWENTY MINUTES LATER, AFTER we we HAD OUR CHECK! (but oh, it was on the bill still!). I’ve had it and we won’t return, even with their seemingly endless buy one get one promos to entice people in.

  4. angie says:

    Thursday, June 5th 2008

    What was I thinking!!! I wanted to suprise my husband with a great mexican meal and drinks on the rooftop. We had never been there, but alway talked about giving it a try.
    We went to the rooftop and waited at least 12 minutes before we were even noticed–when we were seated to eat, the menu appeared very appealing—-WRONG! The food was HORRIBLE. The special, tilapia was old and fishy and awful, as was my husbands steak–and for $24.00 And $28.00. ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE HORRIBLE. hAPPY birthday HON, so sorry for that disaster.

  5. Tim says:

    I’ve visited three times, each time hoping it would improve. It hasn’t. Everything is overpriced – drinks and food both – but I guess you’re paying for the Manhattan decor and the roof garden, but certainly not the service.

    However, the last visit turned out to be dangerous to our health! As three out of five in our party ended up being being ill overnight after eating at the restaurant. Curiously, as one was a vegetarian, one ate fish, the other the beef, the only common food they ate was the salad. Being a sound citizen, I contacted the restaurant, twice to report the fact and our concern. Nobody got back to me. That’s how much this establishment cares about its patrons! Because of that, I contacted the Chester County Board of Health and reported the occurences, and I’d encourage anyone who has a similar experience to do the same.

    We’re lucky in West Chester to have many fine restaurants, unfortunately this isn’t one of them. Avoid!

  6. Theresa says:

    Don’t go – service stinks, attitude stinks, food is overpriced. Waiters can spill drinks all over you and the management acts like it’s a normal daily occurence. Complacent, conceited, rude – this place will leave you wishing that you had stayed at home.

  7. Theresa says:

    Someone recommended this place to us. What were they thinking??? A waitress knocked a tray of drinks onto my husband and all over his suede cost. His pants were wet, covered with ice, and his coat was a mess. The service was extremely slow. The food was ok, but overpriced. WE asked to discuss the spilled drinks with the manager, who just looked at us like we were a pain. When we asked for the bill, they offered my husband one free beer to make up for drenching his clothing. They were rude, complacent, conceited, and it was a dissapointing night out. Since then, I’ve heard MANY people complaining about them. How the heck do they have ANY customers?

  8. Holly says:

    CALL THE BOARD OF HEALTH ON THIS PLACE!! I ate here on Sunday, September 2 with my brother and my boyfriend. It was a gorgeous evening and Coyote seemed to be the best option for outside dining. We will never return. Exactly 24 hours after eating there, all three of us were struck with nausea, vomiting, diahrrea, chills and fever. While this is not consistent with food poisoning (we all ordered different entrees anyway), it’s very consistent with unhygenic, sick kitchen workers who don’t wash up between the restroom and food prep — and then pass the Norovirus onto unsuspecting customers. Stay away!!

  9. Jack says:

    Ditto the ridiculous high price considering what they are feeding you. Have been to the Conshy location several times – latest being a month or so ago swearing to never return — way overpriced and average fare.

  10. Steph says:

    TERRIBLE. The customer service, alone, is worth a boycott. It is overpriced and the atmosphere leaves much to be desired. I can’t say much for the food. The drinks are nothing special. With so many other places in town to choose from, why go here?

  11. Steph says:

    TERRIBLE. The customer service, alone, is worth a boycott. It is overpriced and the atmosphere leaves much to be desired. I can’t say much for the food. The drinks are nothing special. With so many other places in town to choose from, why go here?

  12. don cooper says:

    this place is just awful. on a sunday night with many outside tables available, we could not have just 2 out of three people order entrees. it’s their rule.
    beside- the salsa had some hair in it of unknown etiology and the flatware was dirty. i would stay away from this place.

  13. Fabian says:

    This restaurant sucks! The food was remarably below avarage, the price much too high for that, the service bad (no knife for my partner, no appetizer, no look into the eyes) and the credit card was booked 10 USD higher than authorized! This is neither professional nor good taste!!!

  14. Rachel M. says:

    The food was so good (I had chicken enchilladas), the place was SO pretty, and the bar was really nice. Unfortunately, the young, blonde food runner was REALLY CREEPY!!!

  15. Matt says:

    Mixed feelings on this one. I have been to Conshy about 30 times and WC about 5. Over time it became pretty clear that the margarita’s are great, the food is decent to very good at times, the prices are too high and the wait for a table is often too long considering what you are getting. We still do the occasional business lunch here and I believe the owner is a good guy who is trying hard, but I fear too much was invested in the ‘space’ in WC leaving the food lacking and the prices too high to ultimately make it the destination that I think many were hoping for.

  16. Mike says:

    If you’re looking for good magraritas this is the place (just bring your wallet)
    If you’re looking for even decent mexican food, you’d be much better off going to La Tolteca; Coyote Crossing entrees are not even worth half of what they charge. Apparently all the money went to the decor and none to the food. New Owners take over this month.

  17. Kurt says:

    My wife and I have dined at Coyote several times over the past 2 years. The margaritas are excellent but the food is average, you would be better served taking 6 of your friends out for the same price you would pay per person. The “Late Night” that turns the restaurant into a thug dance club truly ruins any upscale atmosphere management is trying to create.

  18. Ron Mexico says:

    Happy to see that there is a possibility that these places are closing down. Have always been treated in a rude manner. What was a good idea aimed at an up-scale clientele is really geared for a sub-par demographic. Best of luck on your next project, but for now, close the doors.

  19. JW says:

    (copied from the CC closure thread http://chi17.stablehost.com/~undiscov/mainlinedine/rest/coyote-crossings-closing.html )

    I was part of a group of about 20 people that were treated fairly badly by CC’s staff at their West Chester location on their stunning roof area. We were told AFTER ordering and AFTER our food arrived that we would have to vacate our table in 1hr because not everyone had ordered entrees (some had ordered appetizers but most (13) in our party were eating and all were drinking). After the manager dropped this bomb on us and claimed it was “policy” (the universal excuse of the unimaginative), several in our party made a beeline for the door, reducing our party by about half. Adding insult to injury, these tables remained vacant and were not cleared, nor reset, for the remainder of the time the party stayed. Furthermore, we found the waitservice to be marginal, many in our party had to resort to going to the bar for drinks since refreshes were infrequent.

    I was pretty upset about this visit to Coyote Crossing because I had suggested it to the group, which consisted of both employees and colleagues from my workplace, a major West Chester company. The entire party was disgusted by the treatment and the “policy.” So, the next day, I called Carlos (at the manager’s suggestion) to address it.

    After being first a touch defensive, Carlos accepted what I was saying and understood the gripes and very generously offered to host the entire group for a return visit. After a few more conversations, the whole group came back (even including a few who weren’t at the previous visit, with Carlos’ generous blessing) and Carlos treated us to many pitchers of Sangria, Margaritas, and appetizers. It was a truly generous gesture from a man that I came to respect in our conversations. He clearly cares about doing the right thing for customers and his restaurant. He and I spoke about the blood, sweat and tears that went into the West Chester renovation and the unbelievably beautiful roof space. Everyone in the party was pleased and seemed to come away with a much-repaired perception of Coyote Crossing.

    But, to my surprise, no one has suggested a return there. Considering the generosity and the beauty of the space, I figured my colleagues and employees would be eager to return, but they weren’t. When I heard the rumors about CC closing, I was saddened for Carlos but I wasn’t really that surprised.

    I’ve thought for a while about what CC might be doing wrong and why 20 people who got free food and drinks there courtesy of the owner wouldn’t want to go back. I’ve asked some, and it turns out that some have been back and have been treated poorly on other visits, and others have said that they think the food is overpriced. I had a conversation this past weekend with a local restaurant enthusiast who chalks it up to “city restaurants” not meeting “country tastes”. This enthusiast made the case that some local Fine Dining establishments such as Nectar and Coyote Crossing seem to be relying on atmosphere and cache (IE price) too much – as if they are catering to conspicuous-consumption customers in the same way that top Philadelphia/NY restaurants do, but that many Suburb customers aren’t as interested in these things, nor are they terribly interested in appearing wealthy (especially if they’re not). Nectar certainly has no shortage of willing customers – on all my visits the place has been packed, but the enthusiast tells me that she thinks that these are primarily Main Line “snobs” who want to show off and spend lots of money at the best restaurant within driving distance (hey, check out my $13 martini!).

    So, if Nectar is successful, what’s the problem with CC? Maybe it’s the genre. Maybe customers see Southwest/Mex as a step down in sophistication from Nectar’s Asian Fusion. Maybe the fact that CC’s service is clearly a step below Nectar’s is a factor. Maybe it’s demographics – anyone with a local background (like mine) would tell you that Nectar is in prime location for “old money” (both Jewish and Christian) on the rapidly-extending Western Main Line but West Chester is a rapidly growing county seat that has long been home to mostly middle-class WASPS.

    I really don’t know why (or even if) CC might be closing its doors. I do know that even outside the 20 people who visited with me, I’ve heard very little praise for anything but the roof space. For my part, I have nothing but the highest regard for Carlos and I appreciate his generosity and dedication. I’ve been generally unimpressed with the food and the Margaritas have varied from great to horrible in my visits there. I think that Carlos may be ahead of his time for the area. maybe West Chester isn’t ready for TexMex Fusion and maybe the customers he’s courting have an idea of what Southwest cuisine should be and are unwilling to consider his interpretation. Regardless of the reasons, I hope he succeeds and wish him the best of luck in all his endeavors.

  20. Tracy says:

    A 1st time visitor to WC October 13, 2006, a great restaurant, the special, a fish entree, was excellent, and a chicken dish, spicy, but very good, service was a little slow, atmosphere on the roof noisy but fun and the diners really seemed to be enjoying themselves!! I will definitely go to CC again when in West Chester – thought that it was a beautiful place!! Pricey, but worth it! Would love to have the recipe for the fish – reading the reviews, I got an impression that some people just want to prove that they are “discriminating gourmands” by dissing the place!! I think it’s called showing your …. CC I’ll be back!!

  21. Chris P. says:

    Amen to the opening comments and to the observant diners who dissed this place. You all are right on the nose and I feel your pain! Over the years, I’ve seen CC go through several chef changes, each time promising to reinvent the menu and improve consistency and flavor only to find the same overpriced, poorly prepared, bland food (including the salsa & chips). PS, I find the margaritas cloyingly sweet.

  22. Matt says:

    I really wanted to like the rooftop bar, but the worst bar service in West Chester makes it really hard. First off, the bartenders ignore customers to chat with each other. Then when they finally do take your order, they don’t even make it themselves, they have to tell somebody else to make it. Terrible set-up. 2 opportunities for them to mess up your order, which they do on a regular basis and it takes them twice as long to do it. I’ve been there several times and have talked to other people and everybody agrees about the terrible bar service. I truly hope the management address these issues. They just need to redesign the rooftop so bartenders make the drinks, then they need to fire all the current bartenders and hire people who know what they are doing. Not to mention they run out of stuff and it is very overpriced.

  23. Rebecca says:

    Despite the questionable reveiws that I read about this place, I still thought it might be worth the trip for a margarita on the roof-top deck. This was not the case. The deck was overcrowded and we were constantly being bumped by hurrying waiters and buss boys, which I understand is typical Friday night stuff… but the bartender service was non-existant- we had to ask three times for a diet coke, and I who can typically eat or drink anything sent back my toilet water tasting margarita twice! Not once, but twice, and I’ve never done that before in my life. I finally just asked for a beer. We also noticed all around us people were sending their drinks back too. When the time came to close our tab, we found that the bartender had charged us for the margarita I sent back and the beer I got to replace it.
    When we did finally get a table (where we were sat directly across from the busy hot kitchen that smelled a little like decomposing food) we reluctantly decided to stay and just ordered Nachos which we thought couldnt be ruined too easily. They came out in about one minute (which means to any restuarant patron that they were waiting there before you even ordered them) and were a) cold and b) soggy. We had had it by that point, and just got our check to go.
    The ambiance of the roof top deck was nice for the first five minutes of being there, but it did not make up for the lack of service… if you do need to go there, go on a less crowded night, and just order a beer.

  24. Dawn says:

    I went for the first time a few weeks ago and it was great. It was a Friday evening around 6 pm and the deck was open. The decor is really great and greeted very warmly by a host.

    The food was delicious and service was good. Drink coco loco was splendid. yes, It is a little pricy but the athmosphere was tremendous. I’m going again next week.

  25. Fred says:

    Food overpriced, service terrible. Upon entering restaurant no one at front desk to meet/seat you, had to appraoch a waitress in order to get a seat. Hostess working the upstairs outdoor bar and waiting our table. After seating, ordered a drink & meal at the same time, drink didn’t arrive until our main course arrived, wanted another drink but didn’t want the long wait for it to arrive. After completing our meal waited 20 minutes then had to approached another waitress just for our check. Restaurant not even busy so didn’t understand the poor service. Chicken enchalata missing one thing – CHICKEN!!!!!!
    Steak tasted good yet at $39.00 was a bit overpriced.
    West Chester Coyote Crossing just lost a customer.

  26. Norman Braun says:

    This may be the worst restaurant we have gone to in WC. The rooftop wasn’t even close to open as it was advertised to be. My wife’s black bean soup had no black beans???? Our waiter had no clue about anything but esp. he had no clue as to what kinds of margaritas they served. I never leave less than a 15% tip and usually 20%- I left AERO. BAD!!!!!

  27. Emma says:

    I went with my family on a Sunday night and thought the food was great. The hostess did take her time to seat us, however once we had a table our waitress was great and overcompensated for the wait. I thought the food was filling, and it is not the stereotypical mexican food like burritos and tacos, but the menu offered other main courses that were unusual. It was refreshing to eat something other than the normal tex-mex. Yes, it is noisy place, but it adds to the fun atmosphere. I definately recommend this place, just be willing try something new and orginal. I give it 4 out 5 spoons

  28. Ted says:

    My wife and I had margaritas and dessert at Coyote Crossing and had a wonderful time there. The margaritas were very good and the desserts were excellent. They serve the creme brulee with 151 rum on top. They light the rum to carmelize the sugar – it’s fun to watch and tastes great! We sat at the bar and people are right – it’s noisy. If you don’t like a fun atmosphere you can get a table upstairs – its much quieter there.

  29. Kathy says:

    Coyote is overpriced! I bought the most expensive thing on the menu (tiger shrimp) and I was still hungry after finishing my meal. The decor is beautiful and it is an inviting place. I just wish the menu had more variety and wasn’t so darn expensive. 2 out of 5 spoons.

  30. HC says:

    I’ve been here and the Conshy location three times and it’s consistently disappointed. Marginal tex-mex, at best. Even worse, it’s overpriced marginal tex-mex. During my three visits (which spanned the course of a year), each time the special was sea bass. How is that a special?! And if you ask the servers what their favorite dish is on the menu, they will all tell you it’s the sea bass (which happens to be the most expensive item). The chips and salsa are the one decent thing, so happy houring at Coyote isn’t a bad option. But for dinner, do yourself a favor. Skip Coyote and go to El Serape in Blue Bell. You won’t be disappointed…

  31. Frank says:

    My party of 8 went to Coyote Crossing in Nov 2004 and I wouldn’t go back. I found the food and beverages to be overpriced and under quality, the service poor and the atmosphere pretentious considering its other shortcomings. I haven’t been to the Conshohocken location but I won’t bother after eating at West Chester’s.

  32. John says:

    I have been here twice over the past few months. The first time I went, on a Wednesday evening, I loved it. The margaritas are absolutely top notch, some of the best I’ve had. I think the salsa is very fresh tasting and the chips are nice and crispy.

    The first time there for my entree I had chicken enchiladas mole, though unfortunately they forgot the chicken. The server told me he would replace it but no one came to check on us for five minutes, so I just ate it. The cheese they used was very good, but the mole sauce was just tolerable, and I’ve had much better.

    The second time I went for my birthday on a Saturday night. The noise level was ridiculous, and we were seated as far from the bar as possible. I had to sit as close to the table as I could and really put some effort into talking with (and hearing) my wife. The chips, salsa, and margaritas were just as good, but the entree – a special of the day – was quite dissapointed. It was a breast of chicken stuffed with ham and roasted peppers, with a green cream sauce on top. Everything tasted very bland, and it felt like something I could have made in 10 minutes at
    home, instead of paying $22 for. I should note though that the sides that come with the entrees are excellent.

    Unfortunately I don’t believe we’ll be returning, as the price is not representative of the food quality. We’ll instead head over to some of the authentic Mexican restaurants in Norristown, which while not as glitzy offer much better food for much better prices.

  33. NLK says:

    A group of us met for drinks at the bar last month and then went upstairs into one of the many dining areas and had a wonderful dinner! The food was great (especially that evening’s specials) and the restaurant itself is beautiful inside. We had great service as well. I would give it 4 out of 5 silver spoons.

  34. RD says:

    Looooooong wait – of course, longer than stated at the hostess stand. Terrible service – slow, incorrect appetizer and one of four entrees were not dressed as mentioned in the menu. The food is good, but all things considered, try another WC establishment! Coyote is not worth the price.

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