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Great Lake, best pizza in america

Great Lake, best pizza in america
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  • Post #451 - March 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    Post #451 - March 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm Post #451 - March 15th, 2012, 7:49 pm
    Darren72 wrote:
    spiffytriphy wrote:For BYOB restaurants, is it customary to charge a corkage fee to everyone in your dinner party regardless of whether or not everyone drinks? My brothers and I weren't sure if that's just protocol so we didn't say anything, but I'm just curious for the future when we dine out. Thanks!

    My recollection is that Great Lake charges a "recycling fee" of $2 per bottle. Is that different from what you were charged?

    spiffytriphy wrote:Oh ok! We were charged $2.50 three times on the receipt. Maybe I interpreted it wrong and it was because a total of three 12oz beers were consumed? Oppps my bad!!! Now I feel dumb lol

    They used to charge a recycling fee per bottle. Now, they charge $2.50 per person for BYOB. It's listed on the menu on the wall. Works out fine for most drinkers, not so much for one beer per person types (though it's probably still less than a decent beer at another restaurant).
  • Post #452 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:22 pm
    Post #452 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:22 pm Post #452 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:22 pm
    Image
    nice salad, I sure wish they would have mentioned that they were out of walnuts
    for a place that take such great care in what they do, it was a total misfire to miss letting us know that in fact they were not serving what they were selling….
    #1 pizza
    Image
    Great pizza, simple yet complex

    #4 pizza
    Image
    B&L bacon, onion and Crème fraîche. Nice but we liked the #1 pie better

    While they could not read buy mind, I think I would have preferred a little bit of char
    on the pies. But, for 90% of the folks, the pies were cooked perfectly. I figured this was not the place to give them directions of ANY KIND!



    I wish I had read this thread before we came as I had not realized they had no bathroom and with an 8 year-old in tow, it made for a difficult evening, running to a another restaurant so he could take care of things… Also, the CC tip thing was strange and we had no cash nor the motivation to hit an ATM to tip above the $75 and change we spent for two pies and an incomplete salad.


    Oh yea, it did not help to have been castigated for not closing the door exactly as they wished seconds after arriving! Really? that's how you greet your paying customers???? Having the seat right at the door, ( so glad it was mid 70's tonight) I spent a great deal of time making sure the door was close to their EXACT specifications from the moment I sat down until the moment I left….
    I just did not want another guests to be yelled at like I was! :)

    My take away is that we are just not the kind of customer they wish to serve and we will not be back. Great pizzas but totally lacking in any customer service
  • Post #453 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:57 pm
    Post #453 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:57 pm Post #453 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:57 pm
    I spent a great deal of time making sure the door was close to their EXACT specifications

    Is there another option other then open or closed? :?
  • Post #454 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:10 pm
    Post #454 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:10 pm Post #454 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:10 pm
    robert40 wrote:
    I spent a great deal of time making sure the door was close to their EXACT specifications

    Is there another option other then open or closed? :?


    Well, when it is ajar. And that is just not allowed at GL :oops:
  • Post #455 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:44 pm
    Post #455 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:44 pm Post #455 - May 3rd, 2012, 10:44 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:Great pizzas but totally lacking in any customer service


    This should be their tag line. But I love the pizzas.
  • Post #456 - May 4th, 2012, 6:33 am
    Post #456 - May 4th, 2012, 6:33 am Post #456 - May 4th, 2012, 6:33 am
    mhill95149 wrote:I wish I had read this thread before we came as I had not realized they had no bathroom and with an 8 year-old in tow, it made for a difficult evening, running to a another restaurant so he could take care of things…

    I actually thought it was illegal under city ordinance for any food establishment in Chicago not to have a restroom facility for customers. (But then, I thought it was illegal to raise chickens in your backyard.) I remember hearing this years ago, and experience has borne it out (i.e., I have never yet encountered an exception). Am I misinformed?
  • Post #457 - May 4th, 2012, 6:43 am
    Post #457 - May 4th, 2012, 6:43 am Post #457 - May 4th, 2012, 6:43 am
    riddlemay wrote:
    mhill95149 wrote:I wish I had read this thread before we came as I had not realized they had no bathroom and with an 8 year-old in tow, it made for a difficult evening, running to a another restaurant so he could take care of things…

    I actually thought it was illegal under city ordinance for any food establishment in Chicago not to have a restroom facility for customers. (But then, I thought it was illegal to raise chickens in your backyard.) I remember hearing this years ago, and experience has borne it out (i.e., I have never yet encountered an exception). Am I misinformed?


    They do have a restroom. You go through the kitchen off to your right.
    mhill95149, did you ask and were told they didn't have one?
  • Post #458 - May 4th, 2012, 7:50 am
    Post #458 - May 4th, 2012, 7:50 am Post #458 - May 4th, 2012, 7:50 am
    Darren72 wrote:
    riddlemay wrote:
    mhill95149 wrote:I wish I had read this thread before we came as I had not realized they had no bathroom and with an 8 year-old in tow, it made for a difficult evening, running to a another restaurant so he could take care of things…

    I actually thought it was illegal under city ordinance for any food establishment in Chicago not to have a restroom facility for customers. (But then, I thought it was illegal to raise chickens in your backyard.) I remember hearing this years ago, and experience has borne it out (i.e., I have never yet encountered an exception). Am I misinformed?


    They do have a restroom. You go through the kitchen off to your right.
    mhill95149, did you ask and were told they didn't have one?


    We were told it was not for customers. There was NO confusion on this, bathroom was not for our use.
    We were told to leave the restaurant, cross Clark st. and use a toilet in another establishment. To their credit, they have a sign on their door stating "no public restroom". I of course have seen that kind of sign before and usually it means no bathroom for non-customers but here at Great Lake Pizza it means no bathroom for anyone!
    I was not about to argue with the GL staff women over this as my son had pressing needs!
    She did mention that Trotter's to go (NPI) did not offer customers a bathroom! And the she started talking about square footage but I had decided to move on and take care of my son....

    Darren, I'll assume but you post that at one time they allowed customers to use their bathroom but as of last night that is no longer the case.

    To me it is just another example of the disconnect these folks have with being in the hospitality industry. Best of luck to them but now that the lines are gone, I wonder about their longevity as good food is only part of the equation.
  • Post #459 - May 4th, 2012, 8:01 am
    Post #459 - May 4th, 2012, 8:01 am Post #459 - May 4th, 2012, 8:01 am
    I am excited to be able to confirm that on my one visit here (last summer) I used the restroom. The reason I remember it so clearly is that I was explicitly instructed on the path to use to get to said restroom, lest I take a wrong turn, panic, and fall into the dough or something. Everyone else who needed to used the restroom was also shown the true path and I am pleased to report that no one fell into the dough that evening.

    I liked the pizza, but these guys are hilarious.
  • Post #460 - May 4th, 2012, 8:03 am
    Post #460 - May 4th, 2012, 8:03 am Post #460 - May 4th, 2012, 8:03 am
    mhill95149 wrote:Darren, I'll assume but you post that at one time they allowed customers to use their bathroom but as of last night that is no longer the case.

    Someone must have fallen into the dough. :(
  • Post #461 - May 4th, 2012, 8:06 am
    Post #461 - May 4th, 2012, 8:06 am Post #461 - May 4th, 2012, 8:06 am
    cilantro wrote:I am excited to be able to confirm that on my one visit here (last summer) I used the restroom. The reason I remember it so clearly is that I was explicitly instructed on the path to use to get to said restroom, lest I take a wrong turn, panic, and fall into the dough or something. Everyone else who needed to used the restroom was also shown the true path and I am pleased to report that no one fell into the dough that evening.

    I liked the pizza, but these guys are hilarious.


    Yeah, they must have changed their policy (or the bathroom was out of order....). Like cilantro, I was directed to their bathroom when I asked about it.

    I tried to fall into the dough, for research purposes, but the restraining wall was too high for me.
  • Post #462 - May 4th, 2012, 8:19 am
    Post #462 - May 4th, 2012, 8:19 am Post #462 - May 4th, 2012, 8:19 am
    The previously available bathroom is now off limits. I think it has to do with city regs about customers in food preparation areas.
  • Post #463 - May 4th, 2012, 9:41 am
    Post #463 - May 4th, 2012, 9:41 am Post #463 - May 4th, 2012, 9:41 am
    Wow....these people sound lovely...glad the lines are diminishing....
  • Post #464 - May 4th, 2012, 10:45 am
    Post #464 - May 4th, 2012, 10:45 am Post #464 - May 4th, 2012, 10:45 am
    Is customer bathroom required by square feet or by chairs? I owned a hot dog stand in FL and it was seating. I took the seats out and just had counters to avoid problems that the previous owners had with undesirables utilizing it for who knows what.
    As far as Great Lakes goes, sounds like management is totally lacking in an overpriced pizza place. I had a pizza store too. Between hotdogs, pizza's and soda from a gun, the owner can rake it in. That's why when I see outrageous prices for these items I walk away. Thirty dollars for a pizza? C'mon...
    I'm curious if they charged you full price for the salad? Did you complain? Bugs me when people get ripped off and take it, swearing not to return. Return or not-you still should not pay for BS and the management should be advised.
  • Post #465 - May 4th, 2012, 10:52 am
    Post #465 - May 4th, 2012, 10:52 am Post #465 - May 4th, 2012, 10:52 am
    mhill95149 wrote:$75 and change we spent for two pies and an incomplete salad.
    I want to try that #1 pizza. I have for years. But those prices for this kind of pizza is just ridiculous. And that kind of service on top of it? What balls.

    And TooHot is right. You're paying a lot for this food AND being treated a little rude. They give a you a salad that's not complete and still charge you full price? I would let them have it before I left. But in a fair way. If they are willing to accomodate, I won't go over the top. If they act indifferent, it's on. I happen to like confrontation. :wink: I want to get everything out on the table. But I'm not a jerk about it. Right is right.

    That being said, I still want to try it! :twisted:
  • Post #466 - May 4th, 2012, 11:16 am
    Post #466 - May 4th, 2012, 11:16 am Post #466 - May 4th, 2012, 11:16 am
    I believe customer bathroom is dictated by number of seats. 0-14, none is required, IIRC. I probably don't remember correctly, though.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #467 - May 4th, 2012, 12:55 pm
    Post #467 - May 4th, 2012, 12:55 pm Post #467 - May 4th, 2012, 12:55 pm
    TooHot wrote:As far as Great Lakes goes, sounds like management is totally lacking in an overpriced pizza place. I had a pizza store too. Between hotdogs, pizza's and soda from a gun, the owner can rake it in. That's why when I see outrageous prices for these items I walk away. Thirty dollars for a pizza? C'mon...


    TooHot - as someone in the business, what did you think of Great Lake Pizza? Do you really think they are raking it in at $30 a pizza?

    Since you also had a hot dog place, I'm curious what you think about $10 sausages at Hot Doug's? (The nerve of that guy, eh!) Then again, at Hot Doug's you can leave the door open or close it behind you; totally your choice.

    Ram4 - that #1 is indeed awesome. You should try it.
  • Post #468 - May 4th, 2012, 2:41 pm
    Post #468 - May 4th, 2012, 2:41 pm Post #468 - May 4th, 2012, 2:41 pm
    I did indeed have an awesome #1 at Great Lake.
  • Post #469 - May 4th, 2012, 2:43 pm
    Post #469 - May 4th, 2012, 2:43 pm Post #469 - May 4th, 2012, 2:43 pm
    "...the state’s plumbing code requires all restaurants with a combination of more than ten employees and seats to have men’s and women’s washrooms. Extremely small restaurants are not required to have public men’s and women’s restrooms, but they are required to allow patrons to use the employee restrooms." http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/11/09/many-restaurants-ignore-rules-for-public-restrooms/

    "food service establishments with no more than 10 combined employees and seats (for patrons) at any one time need not provide public restrooms, provided the employee restrooms are accessible and made available to the public." http://www.ada-il.org/questions/q_requirements_bathrooms.php

    So, how many seats does Great Lake have? Fewer than nine?
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #470 - May 4th, 2012, 3:07 pm
    Post #470 - May 4th, 2012, 3:07 pm Post #470 - May 4th, 2012, 3:07 pm
    Please, folks, let's keep the discussion focused on Great Lake, not on ordinances/enforcement or other more general issues that would be best discussed elsewhere.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    for the moderators
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #471 - May 4th, 2012, 4:58 pm
    Post #471 - May 4th, 2012, 4:58 pm Post #471 - May 4th, 2012, 4:58 pm
    I suspect that someone visiting Great Lake after reading this thread would be totally shocked. "Where are these nasty proprietors I've heard all about?" I think that's what you would be asking. I've had a couple incidents where there were minor service issues, so minor I would never have complained (like not bringing us water immediately), and they went over the top to make it up to me. I just find that they're very nice people running an incredibly small business in which they want to deliver the very best product they can.

    If you go, just realize: get there early, have a cell phone in case a table is not immediately ready, be prepared to walk around the area or have a drink while waiting since you can't wait inside, don't go expecting a fancy restaurant, be prepared to dine at a communal table, close the door thoroughly after you have entered or left, and most importantly . . . savor every bite! Personally, I've never tasted better pizza (i.e., crust + toppings, combined).
  • Post #472 - May 4th, 2012, 5:00 pm
    Post #472 - May 4th, 2012, 5:00 pm Post #472 - May 4th, 2012, 5:00 pm
    Since you also had a hot dog place, I'm curious what you think about $10 sausages at Hot Doug's? (The nerve of that guy, eh!)


    Oh, that's silly. Not only is Doug one of the nicest people I've ever met, the generosity I've seen him extend to everyone from picky kids to people who make it to the front of the line with no money has been remarkable. And the vast majority of items on his menu are less than $10 by far.

    However, he and his staff do ask that the airlock door be kept shut, but that's to keep the draft out of the eating area.
  • Post #473 - May 4th, 2012, 5:27 pm
    Post #473 - May 4th, 2012, 5:27 pm Post #473 - May 4th, 2012, 5:27 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Oh, that's silly....


    My comment was sarcastic (it isn't an accident that I picked the most expensive thing on his menu...). I was trying to make a point: I think the oversensitivity in regards to the Great Lake people is amazing. Perhaps some things about GL mean that it isn't the place for everyone. But most of us are really happy that such a great place exists. Forums being what they are, once a place is tagged as being "unfriendly," people find it hard not to post about every perceived slight. So we can trade anecdotes about whether one person's perceived slight, or another person being on the receiving end of their generosity, means that they are terrible people. But that seem petty to me.


    Vitesse98 wrote:However, he and his staff do ask that the airlock door be kept shut, but that's to keep the draft out of the eating area.


    Ah, that's the difference. :) I think the GL folks want their door closed to keep the monsters out.
  • Post #474 - May 4th, 2012, 7:41 pm
    Post #474 - May 4th, 2012, 7:41 pm Post #474 - May 4th, 2012, 7:41 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Please, folks, let's keep the discussion focused on Great Lake, not on ordinances/enforcement or other more general issues that would be best discussed elsewhere.

    This is focused on Great Lake. Whether or not it has a bathroom available to patrons is a reasonable thing to want to know.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #475 - May 4th, 2012, 8:35 pm
    Post #475 - May 4th, 2012, 8:35 pm Post #475 - May 4th, 2012, 8:35 pm
    Obviously all these service issues aren't imagined. I will say that in the 10 or so times I've been I've never experienced anything but pleasantries. I haven't seen anyone else being treated poorly either.

    Just my experience,
    Jeff
  • Post #476 - May 4th, 2012, 10:27 pm
    Post #476 - May 4th, 2012, 10:27 pm Post #476 - May 4th, 2012, 10:27 pm
    Katie wrote:This is focused on Great Lake. Whether or not it has a bathroom available to patrons is a reasonable thing to want to know.

    Agreed. However, discussion about the ordinance is not. Please, let's keep this on track.

    Thanks again,

    =R=
    for the moderators
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #477 - May 5th, 2012, 8:05 am
    Post #477 - May 5th, 2012, 8:05 am Post #477 - May 5th, 2012, 8:05 am
    jvalentino wrote:Obviously all these service issues aren't imagined. I will say that in the 10 or so times I've been I've never experienced anything but pleasantries. I haven't seen anyone else being treated poorly either.

    Just my experience,
    Jeff



    I'd like to cosign this post. Been there about the same number of times and never observed anything other than reasonably friendly service.
  • Post #478 - May 5th, 2012, 10:20 am
    Post #478 - May 5th, 2012, 10:20 am Post #478 - May 5th, 2012, 10:20 am
    hotsauceandbluecheese wrote:
    jvalentino wrote:Obviously all these service issues aren't imagined. I will say that in the 10 or so times I've been I've never experienced anything but pleasantries. I haven't seen anyone else being treated poorly either.

    Just my experience,
    Jeff


    I'd like to cosign this post. Been there about the same number of times and never observed anything other than reasonably friendly service.

    My mom and sister tried going there once. They were open, were not all that busy, and they didn't even acknowledge their presence waiting in the front of the place for a table, so they left.

    Being aloof or lacking in common sense customer service is one thing. Refusing to serve a customer is another. No one in my family will try to go to this place again.
  • Post #479 - May 5th, 2012, 2:36 pm
    Post #479 - May 5th, 2012, 2:36 pm Post #479 - May 5th, 2012, 2:36 pm
    And that's sort of it, isn't it? If the Great Lakes folks were the nicest, most accommodating folks, to everyone, then they could probably charge even more without complaint. But there are enough data points out there indicating they are not, for whatever reasons, the nicest, most accommodating folks, at least not consistently. Which of course is their right - "No soup for you!" - but it does make it harder to stomach (so to speak) the high prices and other factors.

    I mean, I've wanted to come here for a long time, but I've never made it, not because the prices are high (though they are), and not because it's hard to get there from Oak Park (it is), but because I'm not willing to pay those prices plus pay the potential metaphoric price of long waits, erratic service, etc., especially since I often try food spots with my family/kids, who are less flexible, patient or otherwise amenable to surprises than I. And even then, I love that we live in a city with so many other great options, pizza or otherwise, at just about every price point, that I'm willing to say ce la vie about certain roads not taken.

    Really, though, regardless, I'm amazed when restaurants are not accommodating with kids. Even Katy's in Westmont has taken my kids through the kitchen to the bathroom before.
  • Post #480 - May 5th, 2012, 4:48 pm
    Post #480 - May 5th, 2012, 4:48 pm Post #480 - May 5th, 2012, 4:48 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:I mean, I've wanted to come here for a long time, but I've never made it, not because the prices are high (though they are), and not because it's hard to get there from Oak Park (it is), but because I'm not willing to pay those prices plus pay the potential metaphoric price of long waits, erratic service, etc.

    It's sort of the same with me. I'm very willing to believe--in fact, I do completely believe--that on nine out of ten nights, the GL folks are as nice as can be. But the chance that I'll be there on that fateful tenth night, and be told I have to stand up (because they don't like that I moved a chair), or be denied use of the restroom, or be scolded for whatever reason, is enough to make me shy away.

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