I had already marked Lou Malnati’s as a destination on my deep dish quest in Chicago. After checking into my baller hotel (it’s baller, I just wanted to say it again), the concierge informed me that Lou’s was his favorite place to get pizza in the entire city, and that the popular joint had just opened a new location only four blocks away.
Holla! I’m on it!
I walk four blocks in a downpour to reach Stop #1 (of course, after an entire summer of one of the worst droughts in history, my solo vacation is just a monsoon). I run across the street, stomping the puddles as I go, and suddenly find myself standing in front of my destination. The place is pretty big, and the front windows open up for that fresh-air-feel. It seemed decent enough, but nothing to write home about.
I walked in, the host was pleasant, I said “just me!”, and he asked if I’d like to sit at the bar. My boyfriend and I are both bartenders, so I do have a soft spot for bartenders surrounded by an empty bar. I agreed to the bar seat offer, and quickly unloaded my umbrella and purse underneath my seat.
The “bartender” … (she didn’t do much of anything, which leads me to question whether or not she actually possesses this title), was slow to approach me. Another girl sat down into a seat just to my right, (I had actually passed her walking on the sidewalk a few blocks south of Lou’s), and our bartender eventually made her way over to us. The other girl ordered a beer (she’s clearly taking full advantage of her vacation, and in retrospect, I wish I would have done the same), and I just ordered a water. Well, I looked at the menu for roughly five minutes, although it takes literally about 30 seconds to decide what you want for lunch, before the bartender offered to take my order.
I ordered a house salad, a personal deep dish sausage pizza, and a diet soda. Let me excite you with this picture before i divulge into the details of the adventure:
The following describes my Chicago Deep Dish Adventure: Spot #1:
House salad: Umm… well… I got a gorgonzola dressing, and it really lacked flavor – how does that happen?! I feel as if that sums it up.
Deep dish pizza: After I waited nearly ONE HOUR, no joke, it was just … okay. Here is the story: The girl next to me ordered right after me and had her pizza FINISHED by the time I got mine. The bartender had to tell me three times that a manager was figuring out the situation (that’s about the only talking she did to me), and fiiiiinally a manager delivered it. Now, I’ve been in the restaurant industry for eight years. When someone’s food is clearly taking a very long time, a manager always addresses the guest, apologizes, offers some sort of pleasant gesture (such as comping the meal, or at least half-ing it, etc.), and reassures the guest that they are doing their best to correct the situation. This manager dropped my pizza off at the end of the bar, so the bartender could retrieve it. There were two of us at the bar, and my neighbor girl had an empty plate. Who the hell do you think the pizza goes to?! This is not a difficult situation to correct. So, my bartender brings it to me. She checks back when I’m waiting for a box for the remaining half, and said “worth the wait, isn’t it??” Well, no. It was not worth my wait. This is my vacation and I would rather not spend it waiting for your kitchen to fix their shit.
Service: After much thought, I am going to rate this service as abysmal. My soda came after I had finished my salad, and I had to ask twice for it. My water sat empty the ENTIRE time I was there, except for the very end when I was ready to go. Not having a manager address the fact that a small, six-inch pizza took nearly an hour was really just the icing on this shit-filled cake. Do your job, man. You’re in guest service, why don’t you offer some decent service to your guests.
Disclaimer: I am NOT generally a complainer. As I’ve mentioned, I am a bartender, and I know exactly how this shit works. This service was definitely in the bottom 10% of my all-time rankings, and the pizza was just okay. I brought half of it back to the hotel, and I just surrendered and gobbled the whole thing down as soon as I got back. The crust was suuuuper greasy, but still a little too crunchy, and I had to add a shit load of crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.
Overall ranking on my deep dish adventure:
Lou’s did not prove itself in this adventure. If I ever decide to eat there again, I’ll get delivery. Or I’ll sit at a table with a real server.
Now I’m going to go shopping … and get a beer! Cheers to solo vacation!