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Naf Naf Grill - Niles Version

Naf Naf Grill - Niles Version
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  • Post #61 - January 25th, 2018, 11:59 am
    Post #61 - January 25th, 2018, 11:59 am Post #61 - January 25th, 2018, 11:59 am
    Lenny007 wrote:
    Dave148 wrote:
    "I don't want to be lumped into Mediterranean, which is getting crowded; we're not going to become a salad concept. We're going to stay true to three things: pita, shawarma and falafel."

    To that end, the chain is changing its name to Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill.


    Hard to overprice salads and keep them fresh at the same time, so they they give it up. Can't sell enough shishkebabs to make profits, so they gave it up too.
    OK, I get the name has to be understood by simpletons.
    Chipotle Mexican Grill, Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill... but what do they grill? Do they even have a grill?


    They assemble everything to order and you can definitely still get a "salad" bowl.
    The shawarma is grilled.
    Methinks you're just trolling.
  • Post #62 - January 25th, 2018, 12:56 pm
    Post #62 - January 25th, 2018, 12:56 pm Post #62 - January 25th, 2018, 12:56 pm
    lodasi wrote:The shawarma is grilled.


    Isn't the shawarma cut from the spit?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #63 - January 25th, 2018, 1:02 pm
    Post #63 - January 25th, 2018, 1:02 pm Post #63 - January 25th, 2018, 1:02 pm
    stevez wrote:
    lodasi wrote:The shawarma is grilled.


    Isn't the shawarma cut from the spit?


    Yes, but it is still grilled from an external heat source while spinning on the spit. And I think they also now do a secondary grill on a grill top, at least at the Chicago-Washington St location.
  • Post #64 - January 25th, 2018, 1:06 pm
    Post #64 - January 25th, 2018, 1:06 pm Post #64 - January 25th, 2018, 1:06 pm
    lodasi wrote:
    stevez wrote:
    lodasi wrote:The shawarma is grilled.


    Isn't the shawarma cut from the spit?


    Yes, but it is still grilled from an external heat source while spinning on the spit. And I think they also now do a secondary grill on a grill top, at least at the Chicago-Washington St location.


    Been a while since I've been there but they have (or had) grilled beef tenderloin on the menu in pita and plate options.
    Cookingblahg.blogspot.com
  • Post #65 - May 14th, 2019, 11:16 pm
    Post #65 - May 14th, 2019, 11:16 pm Post #65 - May 14th, 2019, 11:16 pm
    Ordering online from the Deerfield location, choices are frustratingly limited. They've dumbed this down so much, it's hard to even make sense of things. It come down to a pre-fab bowl, (with a base of hummus, basmati rice, couscous or salad) or a pita sandwich. The only plate available is chicken breast kebab plate. It appears that my preferred Naf Naf protein, chicken thigh, isn't even offered at this location. I feel like ordering from here would be condoning their game plan, so I doubt I ever will.

    =R=
    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 #66 - May 15th, 2019, 12:05 am
    Post #66 - May 15th, 2019, 12:05 am Post #66 - May 15th, 2019, 12:05 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Ordering online from the Deerfield location, choices are frustratingly limited. They've dumbed this down so much, it's hard to even make sense of things. It come down to a pre-fab bowl, (with a base of hummus, basmati rice, couscous or salad) or a pita sandwich. The only plate available is chicken breast kebab plate. It appears that my preferred Naf Naf protein, chicken thigh, isn't even offered at this location. I feel like ordering from here would be condoning their game plan, so I doubt I ever will.

    =R=

    Only the oldest three locations have the full menu. The rest only have the fast-casual Middle Eastern assembly line.
  • Post #67 - May 15th, 2019, 6:50 am
    Post #67 - May 15th, 2019, 6:50 am Post #67 - May 15th, 2019, 6:50 am
    Apropos of nothing, even though this Naf Naf is closest to my home I will drive another 10 minutes or so to any other Middle Eastern spot. The service has dropped off to the "barely interested" level. On my last two visits the people behind the counter outnumbered me by 3 or 4 to 1 and I had to wait a ridiculous amount of time for a to-go order. The few people dining in already had their food.
  • Post #68 - May 15th, 2019, 8:11 am
    Post #68 - May 15th, 2019, 8:11 am Post #68 - May 15th, 2019, 8:11 am
    And sadly, these are the same people that bought Blackwood BBQ. Seeing the same thing there, new people every time in and a lackluster attitude to get things right. Changes to some of the sauces are minor but apparent (Chicago and KC used to look/taste completely different, now not so much) and the 'fast food' shadow is creeping in.
  • Post #69 - May 15th, 2019, 9:36 am
    Post #69 - May 15th, 2019, 9:36 am Post #69 - May 15th, 2019, 9:36 am
    lodasi wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Ordering online from the Deerfield location, choices are frustratingly limited. They've dumbed this down so much, it's hard to even make sense of things. It come down to a pre-fab bowl, (with a base of hummus, basmati rice, couscous or salad) or a pita sandwich. The only plate available is chicken breast kebab plate. It appears that my preferred Naf Naf protein, chicken thigh, isn't even offered at this location. I feel like ordering from here would be condoning their game plan, so I doubt I ever will.

    =R=

    Only the oldest three locations have the full menu. The rest only have the fast-casual Middle Eastern assembly line.


    I noticed the menu scale back when I first stepped foot in one of these satellite locations a few years ago. Pretty sure the very first thing I looked for on the menu was the chicken thigh as well. I've learned that a decent naf-lite bowl for me is:
    Base: Baba G (not hummus, not salad, not rice. Ask or tell them to use Baba G.)
    Protein: Chicken or Falafel. (I tried their steak....once)

    Everything else is just whatever floats yer boat, but I must have pickles, garlic sauce, and TWO ladles of schug. I can happily eat a bowl concocted with Baba G and chicken, and a generous amount of the schug.

    The only think that will remind you of the Naperville joint is the pita and pickles and schug, but I've found solace in a baba g bowl with chicken slathered in schug.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #70 - May 15th, 2019, 10:30 am
    Post #70 - May 15th, 2019, 10:30 am Post #70 - May 15th, 2019, 10:30 am
    seebee wrote:The only think that will remind you of the Naperville joint is the pita and pickles and schug, but I've found solace in a baba g bowl with chicken slathered in schug.

    Yeah, it's a distant shadow of its former self. Clearly, they've gone PE-fast food-corporate. What's funny, though, is that they don't even do that well. I'm on their email list and I've noticed that there are no links (other than to unsubscribe) in the emails they send. I get offers and 'Naf Perks' notification emails that provide no direct means of reaching their website. They contain no links for viewing a menu, checking locations or actually placing an order. Brilliant.

    =R=
    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 #71 - May 15th, 2019, 1:11 pm
    Post #71 - May 15th, 2019, 1:11 pm Post #71 - May 15th, 2019, 1:11 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    seebee wrote:The only think that will remind you of the Naperville joint is the pita and pickles and schug, but I've found solace in a baba g bowl with chicken slathered in schug.

    Yeah, it's a distant shadow of its former self. Clearly, they've gone PE-fast food-corporate. What's funny, though, is that they don't even do that well. I'm on their email list and I've noticed that there are no links (other than to unsubscribe) in the emails they send. I get offers and 'Naf Perks' notification emails that provide no direct means of reaching their website. They contain no links for viewing a menu, checking locations or actually placing an order. Brilliant.

    =R=


    I recently went to the one in downtown Chicago on Washington & Franklin after not going for awhile due to an office move.

    I also noticed the staff was not as well trained/polished as I remembered and the restaurant seemed a little dirtier. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Certainly a result of the new ownership unfortunately.
  • Post #72 - May 15th, 2019, 1:13 pm
    Post #72 - May 15th, 2019, 1:13 pm Post #72 - May 15th, 2019, 1:13 pm
    JoeChicago wrote:I recently went to the one in downtown Chicago on Washington & Franklin after not going for awhile due to an office move.

    I also noticed the staff was not as well trained/polished as I remembered and the restaurant seemed a little dirtier. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed this. Certainly a result of the new ownership unfortunately.

    That and expanding too rapidly. When that happens, service and quality almost always suffer because of it.

    =R=
    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 #73 - May 15th, 2019, 3:32 pm
    Post #73 - May 15th, 2019, 3:32 pm Post #73 - May 15th, 2019, 3:32 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:That and expanding too rapidly. When that happens, service and quality almost always suffer because of it.

    =R=


    I really don't think it's rapid expansion. They were doing fine for quite some time after they expanded. It's an issue of giving up. There was a pizza place, Persona (stupid name) that opened not too far from the Washington/Franklin Naf Naf a couple of years ago. The pizza was not great, but light years ahead of what Blaze sells and had a nice crust. They were pretty solid for 6 months and then they just gave up. Quality slipped and they couldn't recover the goodwill they had developed and ultimately closed.

    Without a good manager (or better yet, an owner that would keep tabs on a regular basis) these places can't be expected to maintain quality. Culver's corporate rules with an iron fist and will take away your franchise if you aren't on top of things 24/7. That's how all of these should operate. By the time the customers are complaining, it's too late.
  • Post #74 - May 15th, 2019, 10:36 pm
    Post #74 - May 15th, 2019, 10:36 pm Post #74 - May 15th, 2019, 10:36 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:That and expanding too rapidly. When that happens, service and quality almost always suffer because of it.

    =R=


    I really don't think it's rapid expansion. They were doing fine for quite some time after they expanded. It's an issue of giving up.

    It's a chicken and egg situation. I see giving up on quality as another side effect of the higher-level decision to make expansion the primary objective.

    =R=
    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 #75 - May 16th, 2019, 8:51 am
    Post #75 - May 16th, 2019, 8:51 am Post #75 - May 16th, 2019, 8:51 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:That and expanding too rapidly. When that happens, service and quality almost always suffer because of it.

    =R=


    I really don't think it's rapid expansion. They were doing fine for quite some time after they expanded. It's an issue of giving up.

    It's a chicken and egg situation. I see giving up on quality as another side effect of the higher-level decision to make expansion the primary objective.

    =R=


    I suspect you are right. The problem is, like most expansions that ignore the very reasons that make a place popular, it is only a matter of time before business lags, locations close, and the greatness that we all remember is completely gone, as is most likely the good will that kept us coming back with the hope that it could recover.

    It reminds me of what happened to Maggianos and Corner Bakery. Concept sold to Brinker and expanded, Corner Bakery sold again to another group. Menus changed and the things that made it great slowly disappeared over the years.
  • Post #76 - May 16th, 2019, 9:01 am
    Post #76 - May 16th, 2019, 9:01 am Post #76 - May 16th, 2019, 9:01 am
    I went to the Rt 59 Naperville location yesterday and was surprised at the apathy from the employees, and the tables were crazy sticky despite me arriving before the l unch rush - the place was empty. Felt sad.

    Then my falafel pita came and it was pretty darn good. Better than what I've had in a while even though I suppose I just lucked out and hit a high note - because I've had the lows too as they grow more inconsistent. But, jeesh, I wish they'd wipe down the tables.

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