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Chicago Pizza Kitchen - TERRIBLE Experience

ManAbout Dec 20, 2009 06:21 PM

I have been a fan of Chicago Pizza Kitchen since I went there about a month ago after hearing about it on Chowhound, we were served by Spiro and the two pizzas we ordered were both terrific. I didn't post a review, because this place seems to have enough fans on this board and didn't need another rave review.

But, what a difference a month makes. Spiro was nowhere to be seen this time we went. We ordered two large pizzas, and we waited for our order. And waited, and waited. Yes, I realize it takes about half an hour for the pizzas, but almost an hour went by before we got the pizzas. Luckily we had ordered the ribs as appetizers, so it was just enough to tide us over.

And when the pizzas arrived, what a DISAPPOINTMENT. The first bite, and right away, something was different. The pizzas were soggy and tasteless. As if that is not enough, a few chews revealed a bitter after taste. Check the crust, it is BURNT. That was the first pizza. The second pizza arrived and we hoped for better things, Checked the crust and again it was BURNT. There were kids in the party, they were too hungry by this time so they scraped off the toppings, which were not burnt and ate those. The Manager came by and offered to make us two new pizzas. But, we said no thanks. We were not prepared to wait another hour for the pizzas. At the end, they took one pizza off our bill and took 50% off the other one, as we did eat some of it, burnt and all. We were hungry, it was 9 PM. We didn't want to go looking for food with hungry kids.

My questions, where is Spiro? Why was there such a drastic difference in the quality of pizzas? From being near perfect, to soggy, tasteless and burnt?

Unless I hear some more good reviews from regular posters, I will not be going back here. Oh and in case you might be wondering if the reason our pizza took so long to get to us and ended up being burnt is because they are rushed off their feet, ummm. NO. We were the ONLY table in the restaurant.

  1. duckdown Jan 15, 2011 10:48 AM

    They might truly be relocating, I don't think their business was going slowly. I went there for a chicago beef dip sandwich about 2 months ago and the place was packed on the night I went, no tables available

    8 Replies
    1. re: duckdown
      hungryabbey Feb 2, 2011 05:17 PM

      Does anyone have any updates about their potential move downtown?

      1. re: hungryabbey
        magic Feb 2, 2011 06:32 PM

        No but I'm very curious, myself.....

        1. re: magic
          acd123 Feb 3, 2011 06:01 AM

          Me too. We stopped in once on the way up north and we loved it. I would be very happy to have them downtown.

          1. re: acd123
            sbug206 Feb 3, 2011 06:22 AM

            Anywhere south of Steeles would be great. The location up in Maple is just too far.

            1. re: sbug206
              Pincus Feb 3, 2011 07:54 AM

              In one way, I agree, in another way, it was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown to get delicious pizza. But I'm all for a south of Steeles move.

              1. re: Pincus
                hungryabbey Feb 3, 2011 03:38 PM

                Agreed. I ordered once.. and would pay the fee again, but I would give so much to just be able to visit.

      2. re: duckdown
        plug Feb 4, 2011 10:06 AM

        just seems kinda odd why any pizzeria would not run their business around superbowl weekend.

        1. re: plug
          Davwud Feb 4, 2011 10:19 AM

          They are closed. No word on a new location although they say they're gonna reopen elsewhere.


      3. z
        zinger Jan 14, 2011 01:29 PM

        Went by this place last Saturday night at 7pm and it appeared to be shut down. Lights were off and newspapers were covering the windows, but there was no notice on the door. Does anyone know if this place has closed for business??

        4 Replies
        1. re: zinger
          TexSquared Jan 14, 2011 02:35 PM

          According to their Facebook page they're relocating, but have not announced where. And this was a reply to a wall post, there's no mention of the close/move on their website, it's still "business as usual" there.


          This can't be good at all. If they were truly moving (and not just shutting down for good) they should have put up notices on their website and at the store that "we will be closing this location on January 7 and will be reopening in the spring at our new Pickering location" (wishful thinking on my part, I admit!).

          Maybe they are moving... back to the U.S. wouldn't surprise me.

          1. re: TexSquared
            mstestzzz002 Jan 14, 2011 02:44 PM

            Last Saturday, I tried to make an order via phone and got voicemail everytime I called.

            The message just stated the business hours (which was when I was calling) and told to leave a message.

            1. re: mstestzzz002
              abigllama Jan 14, 2011 04:18 PM

              This is horrible news. Phone message now says they are relocating and to watch for an announcement on the website.

              Wasn't there two locations last year? We tried to pick up another pizza around the holidays on the way back from Blue Mountain and they had cut their hours since we'd done it the previous ski season. Hope they're able to get back open.

              Blue Mountain Cafe
              1587 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K1H7Z3, CA

              1. re: abigllama
                jmarcroyal Jan 14, 2011 04:50 PM

                damnit ive been dying to try this place for ages but ive been putting it off. Its been over 5 years since ive been to chicago and i really miss the pizza!

                maybe ill have to make a trip to hamilton...

        2. shelleypascual Feb 15, 2010 02:04 PM

          My recent experience at Chicago Pizza Kitchen wasn't as bad. We were served luke-warm pizzas. I regret not asking them to cook the pizzas further, but we, too, waited quite a long time and were super hungry. The pizzas were still tasty, but I was left unsatisfied. Not worth it for the price.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shelleypascual
            plug Feb 15, 2010 03:17 PM

            actually i went about 2 weeks ago... my expectations were that it was not to be close to the real thing as i visit chicago often....but i was pleasantly satisfied with the product.
            the chicago beef sandwich was decent but not as good as iv'e had b4 and definitely a l'il overpriced. the pizza was good.... so far this is the best i've had outside of chicago.

          2. a
            abigllama Dec 24, 2009 12:01 AM

            Picked up a stuffed deep dish today and it was excellent. Cooked perfectly, might request some extra sauce on the next one but we enjoyed it just as much as our last visit a couple months back.

            Spiro was the one cooking and he introduced himself and his visiting mother to me. Doesn't really speak anything about what happens when he's not there. From talking to him takes his craft really seriously and is very proud of what he does so giving him a call probably wouldn't be a bad idea. Being aware of a chowmeet doesn't necessicarily mean he's following the boards here.

            3 Replies
            1. re: abigllama
              ManAbout Dec 24, 2009 07:05 PM

              Well it sounds like it is only when Spiro is working do the pizzas come out like they should. The memories of that soggy, tasteless burnt pizza are still fresh in my mind, so I am not planning to go back there any time soon. I am not not in any mood to take a chance with the novice pizza chef in case Spiro is not around.

              1. re: ManAbout
                Philip T Feb 15, 2010 03:18 AM

                Well I ordered from them the other night. His wife answered the phone and the pizza arrived tasting incredible. I even received some samples of a new spinach product they are working on and that was fantastic too.

                Chicago Pizza Kitchen is just as good as it was in November.

                1. re: Philip T
                  callitasicit Feb 15, 2010 09:19 AM

                  Has anyone tried their wings yet?

            2. a
              abigllama Dec 21, 2009 09:14 AM

              We're going to pick up a pizza on the way back from Blue Mountain on Wed. Hopefully things have not taken a turn for the worse, will report back. I salivate thinking about the delish pie we had there a couple of months back.

              1. m
                ManAbout Dec 21, 2009 06:12 AM

                It was the Maple location. If you read Pigurd's review from Nov 02, it sounds like he had the exact same experience, soggy pizza with a burnt, bitter crust. So, it does not seem to be an isolated occurence.
                What good is talking to Spiro going to do? I am not looking for a free pizza out of this. If he wants his restaurant to be succesful he needs to fix the consistency issue. Ultimately, whether he made the pizza or not, how that pizza comes out is his responsibility.

                1. y
                  youdonut Dec 21, 2009 04:21 AM

                  which location was it maple or woodbridge??

                  1. p
                    Pigurd Dec 20, 2009 07:32 PM

                    I had a similar experience.. burnt soggy pizza, not sure why so much praise for this place, should probably try again, but too lazy

                    1. m
                      ManAbout Dec 20, 2009 08:21 PM

                      His wife was there. She was the one that came over and told us that they would make two new pizzas for us. But, having waited so long for two burnt soggy pizzas, we were not in any mood to wait for another two pizzas. Maybe Spiro was there, I don't know. He didn't come out and wait tables like he did last time though. I don't know who made the pizzas, but who ever it was needs to be fired. if it was Spiro, he needs to fire himself. We were the only table, so really there is no excuse for serving pizzas like that.

                      1. h
                        hungryabbey Dec 20, 2009 06:27 PM

                        Wow, I wonder what happened. Thanks for the review.

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