Spago - Niagara Falls
Having been to Spago in Las Vegas, DH and I thought we would lunch at the one in Niagara Falls. We were very under whelmed. The large restaurant only had about five – six tables full during lunch hour (12:30) on a Tuesday in peak tourism season (August).
It was not a good start. They brought us some bread that was at least a day old with butter. Nothing compared to the fresh bread and unique spreads we enjoyed at the Vegas location.
I ordered a pizza and asked for them to change the type of cheese. They were very accommodating with this request and offered me a few options. My husband ordered the kobe beef hamburger. Our waitress informed us they were out of it. She said (in a surprised manner) that it was a popular item that day and every table was ordering it. Gee, of course, a kobe hamburger for $16.
We then opted to share the pizza and a salad. Both the pizza and salad were enjoyable. We may visit again when we go back, but our expectations are low.
Total bill with tax and tip, and one large bottle of mineral water was $40.
We had a really disappointing experience in Spago in Maui. Poor service (we asked for wine recommendations, they asked "well, what do you like?". We asked to speak with the sommalier and they gave us a blank stare and said..."he's working at our restaurant in Chicago right now". Oh, ok then)
Food also poor for the $300 US.
Ah...the restaurant in Niagara Falls is NOT a Spago restaurant, it is a Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe.
Big difference! Spago is definitely WP's flagship restaurant in his fine dining portfolio, whereas he is only a limited partner in the Niagara restaurant. The only thing Wolfgang Puck has to do with this restaurant is the original concept and the bucks he gets from the folks who actually operate it.
Wolfgang Puck has become a brand name and very big business, over $200 million/year in sales. For more info check out www.wolfgangpuck.com.
Wolfgang Puck owns/operates somewhere close to what I believe is 49040987578438.48367 establishments. None of them live up to the original Spago. Wolfgang Puck hasn't equaled Spago in decades. Now, Wolfgang Puck = Corporate Culinary Sellout.
But if you walk into a Puck Grand Cafe expecting Spago, that isn't Wolfgang's fault. Kinda like walking into an Olive Garden expecting Todd English's Olives. Two very different animals -- both of which are nothing to get excited about.
In my view, Lee Hefter is the lone star in the Wolfgang camp. Without him, Spago Beverly Hills would sink like the rest of the ship.