Is CityScape Hurting Sens Asian Tapas and The Breadfruit?

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SensSign1.jpg
​A few years ago, downtown's menu of dining options could be counted on one hand, but slowly, ever so slowly, that situation has been changing. With the arrival of CityScape, the high-rise residential, retail, office, and hotel complex in 2010, those in downtown now have more options of where to eat than before -- and most are within walking distance from apartments and workplaces.

Has the increase in restaurants hurt independent eateries on the periphery of Downtown's bustling core?

Chef Johnny Chu of Sens Asian Tapas says it has.

Chu, whose former restaurants include Lucky Dragon in Tempe and Fate in the Roosevelt Row arts district, says his current eatery has seen a drop in business from his core clientele of young downtown professionals.

"Most of them would rather walk than take a car," Chu tells me. "And the parking around here is expensive."

A months-long road construction project right by Chu's restaurant last year added to the problem.

Given the drop in business, Chu tells me, he will be closing his lunch operation in the next few weeks. Nearby neighbor and casual Jamaican restaurant The Breadfruit did the same on January 1.

Has Chu considered a change of location?

"I'm a downtown person," he tells me. "I'm not going anywhere."

Sens Asian Tapas will continue to be open for dinner service and, although Chu has no plans to relocate his current restaurant, he says his newest venture, one he's currently working on, will be located in Midtown.

Ah, progress.

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Location Info

Sens Asian Tapas & Sake Bar - CLOSED

705 N. First St., Phoenix, AZ

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Ok, I love Sens, but has anyone else been there lately?  Maybe the problem is the fact that service has become absolutely horrible.  On my most recent visit about 2 weeks ago, my fiancee and I waited in the bar for about 15min for our table, where we were passed by every employee several times, and were unable to get anything to drink.  Then upon being seated (at one of the 4 tables that had been empty since we showed up), it took another 15min for someone to bring menus, 10 more for drink orders to be taken, another 15 to get our drinks (better than the couple next to us who waited 30min for theirs), our water glasses were filled once and we were never asked if we'd like another drink in the 1.5hrs we were there, and so on.  It was similar service the time we ate there before that, though not nearly as bad.  The food's still awesome, and I don't need someone checking in on me every few minutes or anything, but it's at the point where I'm not sure if I want to go back.

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