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Why I no longer order lunch from Malnati's [Highland Park]

Why I no longer order lunch from Malnati's [Highland Park]
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  • Post #61 - October 1st, 2021, 12:45 pm
    Post #61 - October 1st, 2021, 12:45 pm Post #61 - October 1st, 2021, 12:45 pm
    JoelF wrote:I worry in particular for the sausage: Italian sausage everywhere but the extended Chicago area (Milwaukee and environs seems to be within its reach, but not Indy or St Louis) seems to be awful, which accounts for sausage being the most common pizza topping here and nowhere else.


    Yup. It's fair however to worry about all the ingredients. If they find a different source for the cheese, sauce, sausage, heck pretty much any of them including the flour or cornmeal for the crust, then the whole product spirals downward. Make changes to save a few cents on the cheese, or use a generic tomato sauce and it will not be Malnatis in anything but name.
  • Post #62 - October 1st, 2021, 12:59 pm
    Post #62 - October 1st, 2021, 12:59 pm Post #62 - October 1st, 2021, 12:59 pm
    HonestMan wrote:Maggianos is just horrible now. I went to the Naperville location and it was just sad. Boring, scaled back menu, crazy prices and mediocre food.
    Haha, thanks for confirming my suspicions. I haven't gone there in about 4 years, primarily just because the way the menu had gone back and forth.
  • Post #63 - October 2nd, 2021, 3:07 pm
    Post #63 - October 2nd, 2021, 3:07 pm Post #63 - October 2nd, 2021, 3:07 pm
    I don't understand why the private equity partnership share of ownership of a company changing hands means necessarily that prices will go up and quality will go down.

    I'm seeing restaurant dine-in and carry-out prices up everywhere lately, presumably because of restaurants trying to recoup losses suffered during the covid pandemic and also having difficulty attracting and retaining employees as the covid pandemic wears on.

    I don't have any firsthand experience of quality declining recently for Malnati's in particular, and I don't recall seeing any reports of it on this forum by anyone else.

    Could it be that businesses sometimes rearrange their financial arrangements and it doesn't mean anything in particular for customers?
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #64 - October 4th, 2021, 12:41 pm
    Post #64 - October 4th, 2021, 12:41 pm Post #64 - October 4th, 2021, 12:41 pm
    thetrob wrote:
    JoelF wrote:I worry in particular for the sausage: Italian sausage everywhere but the extended Chicago area (Milwaukee and environs seems to be within its reach, but not Indy or St Louis) seems to be awful, which accounts for sausage being the most common pizza topping here and nowhere else.


    Yup. It's fair however to worry about all the ingredients. If they find a different source for the cheese, sauce, sausage, heck pretty much any of them including the flour or cornmeal for the crust, then the whole product spirals downward. Make changes to save a few cents on the cheese, or use a generic tomato sauce and it will not be Malnatis in anything but name.

    Marc reassured that there are no personnel changes, no staffing changes and no changes with their famous pizza.

    https://flip.it/zfTyMr
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #65 - October 13th, 2021, 2:59 pm
    Post #65 - October 13th, 2021, 2:59 pm Post #65 - October 13th, 2021, 2:59 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Cynthia wrote:Just read that Lou Malnati's has been sold.

    I think it's just that the already-existing or already-planned private equity piece has changed hands. I think you can continue to expect higher prices, along with diminishing quality and service.

    The principals from the Malnati family will reportedly continue to be involved. I don't think you can make any conclusions yet about the quality. Higher prices and service issues seem to be common throughout the restaurant industry these days, due to labor and supply chain constraints.
  • Post #66 - October 13th, 2021, 4:52 pm
    Post #66 - October 13th, 2021, 4:52 pm Post #66 - October 13th, 2021, 4:52 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Cynthia wrote:Just read that Lou Malnati's has been sold.

    I think it's just that the already-existing or already-planned private equity piece has changed hands. I think you can continue to expect higher prices, along with diminishing quality and service.

    The principals from the Malnati family will reportedly continue to be involved. I don't think you can make any conclusions yet about the quality. Higher prices and service issues seem to be common throughout the restaurant industry these days, due to labor and supply chain constraints.

    My conclusion was more of an educated guess, based on how numerous other ventures have gone after PE money came in. Hoping I'm wrong because my family enjoys Lou's and the convenience it offers but I doubt I will be. And who knows what involvement the Malnati family will continue to have? If they own less than 50% of the shares, I doubt it'll be anything but marginal.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #67 - October 13th, 2021, 6:22 pm
    Post #67 - October 13th, 2021, 6:22 pm Post #67 - October 13th, 2021, 6:22 pm
    Quoting from the Malnati's topic (whose posts I read after I posted mine above)...

    Katie wrote:I don't understand why the private equity partnership share of ownership of a company changing hands means necessarily that prices will go up and quality will go down.

    I'm seeing restaurant dine-in and carry-out prices up everywhere lately, presumably because of restaurants trying to recoup losses suffered during the covid pandemic and also having difficulty attracting and retaining employees as the covid pandemic wears on.

    I don't have any firsthand experience of quality declining recently for Malnati's in particular, and I don't recall seeing any reports of it on this forum by anyone else.

    Could it be that businesses sometimes rearrange their financial arrangements and it doesn't mean anything in particular for customers?


    Dave148 wrote:
    Marc reassured that there are no personnel changes, no staffing changes and no changes with their famous pizza.

    https://flip.it/zfTyMr


    Maybe we should give them a chance and see how it turns out, instead of wild-ass guessing.
  • Post #68 - October 13th, 2021, 6:37 pm
    Post #68 - October 13th, 2021, 6:37 pm Post #68 - October 13th, 2021, 6:37 pm
    nsxtasy wrote:Maybe we should give them a chance and see how it turns out, instead of wild-ass guessing.

    Feel free. As I posted above, my family likes Malnati's. We'll continue to order from them until it declines. If it doesn't, great. Just because Mark says nothing will change doesn't mean that such decisions will always be within family control.

    I don't think anyone's feelings or bottom lines will be hurt by my wild-ass guessing. :wink:

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #69 - October 14th, 2021, 7:40 am
    Post #69 - October 14th, 2021, 7:40 am Post #69 - October 14th, 2021, 7:40 am
    Wild-ass guessing?! That's what this forum is built on... :)

    I think the parallel between what's going on at Malnati's and the Portillo's IPO is is more than sheer coincidence. It's two classic cases of--for the founders/owners anyway--gettin' out while the gettin's good.

    One of my most favorite movies recently is 2016's 'The Founder' about Ray Kroc, portrayed by Michael Keaton. It delineates how the mass production of McDonald's products developed, so quality & practices were identical in Bangor or San Diego.

    And I believe maintaining that pan pizza or Italian beef QC with rapid expansion of stores is going to be by far the major challenge. The 'Tastes Of Chicago' mailers we all get about mail ordering the product is another permutation with a different subset of issues. My opinion only--I have had both remotely and Portillo's does a better job than Malnati's, although neither is up to eat-in-restaurant standards.

    I don't have the energy to go back to see how the Uno's expansion took place years back, but I do remember being less than enthused at the pizza quality near the Portland, Maine airport a few years ago. Good luck to both.
  • Post #70 - October 14th, 2021, 9:07 am
    Post #70 - October 14th, 2021, 9:07 am Post #70 - October 14th, 2021, 9:07 am
    jnm123 wrote:I think the parallel between what's going on at Malnati's and the Portillo's IPO is is more than sheer coincidence. It's two classic cases of--for the founders/owners anyway--gettin' out while the gettin's good.

    And I'm certainly not begrudging them a thing. I'd almost certainly do the same. I wish them the best and am happy that guys I went to high school with took something their Dad started and took it to beyond where anyone in the family probably could have ever imagined.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean it's good news for customers. History suggests that it probably won't be. But that's life. It's no more than a case of divergent interests. No good guy, no bad guy. Just people living their lives the way they want. As long as they're not actively harming anyone -- and they're not -- they have no responsibility to hold back the growth of their business because some whiny customers (aka me) hope it won't ever change for the worse.

    =R=
    Same planet, different world
  • Post #71 - October 16th, 2021, 11:03 pm
    Post #71 - October 16th, 2021, 11:03 pm Post #71 - October 16th, 2021, 11:03 pm
    The Malnati brothers are a little older than I am, we had friends in common in junior high and high school but didn't really know each other except in passing, although I know one of their wives' family for decades. They are all 55+ at this point, so I totally understand slowly divesting.

    I've had their deep dish as dine in a couple of times this summer when back home visiting family. It's still good, although I prefer Nancy's stuffed if I'm going to ingest that many calories.
    "Fried chicken should unify us, as opposed to tearing us apart. " - Bomani Jones
  • Post #72 - October 17th, 2021, 4:31 pm
    Post #72 - October 17th, 2021, 4:31 pm Post #72 - October 17th, 2021, 4:31 pm
    jnm123 wrote:
    I don't have the energy to go back to see how the Uno's expansion took place years back, but I do remember being less than enthused at the pizza quality near the Portland, Maine airport a few years ago. Good luck to both.



    The UNO’s situation is hardly comparable. The non Chicago outlets were never intended to truly duplicate the Chicago original and were initialized by a Boston concern. In fact, when the Boston company eventually purchased complete control of the Sewell’s interest the contract included a provision that the recipe and techniques used at the original Chicago locations would not be changed, leaving the new locations free to devalue the product and name.

    Malnati’s, on the other hand, is not a two location concern selling “foreign” rights, but a 60+ location empire with outlets as far away as Arizona. A plethora of additional outlets, particularly if they are franchises, may not retain quality, but the Chicago area core could easily remain the same.
  • Post #73 - November 9th, 2021, 11:56 am
    Post #73 - November 9th, 2021, 11:56 am Post #73 - November 9th, 2021, 11:56 am
    I don't order Lou's very frequently as I just don't have pizza often. I normally enjoy sausage as the lone topping on any Lou's deep dish I get.

    I decided to try their special limited time pizza, a pizza with Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Giardiniera. I've had Italian beef/giardiniera pizzas before but only with thin crust. This thick crust version just isn't working for me as there isn't much sauce so the overall ratio is off, and most importantly the giardiniera has big chunks of carrots & cauliflower.

    For me personally I realize that with giardiniera I like adding it to a pizza after it has been cooked, much like I do anchovies. Neither of these are an all the time item for me but just when the mood strikes
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #74 - November 9th, 2021, 3:12 pm
    Post #74 - November 9th, 2021, 3:12 pm Post #74 - November 9th, 2021, 3:12 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:I don't order Lou's very frequently as I just don't have pizza often. I normally enjoy sausage as the lone topping on any Lou's deep dish I get.

    I decided to try their special limited time pizza, a pizza with Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Giardiniera. I've had Italian beef/giardiniera pizzas before but only with thin crust. This thick crust version just isn't working for me as there isn't much sauce so the overall ratio is off, and most importantly the giardiniera has big chunks of carrots & cauliflower.

    For me personally I realize that with giardiniera I like adding it to a pizza after it has been cooked, much like I do anchovies. Neither of these are an all the time item for me but just when the mood strikes


    I actually ordered the special in thin crust. I did not order well done bc I know from past experience that it leaves the beef with the texture of jerky. It was okay, but prefer sausage well done with giardiniera, no beef necessary.

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