I think it’s important to note that I didn’t have any problem with Bono’s when I first walked through their door the day they opened (April 1, which I find a little bitterly amusing now). I was actually really excited to try the place. I’d been following the developments on their Facebook page, watching for updates on their website, and everything I saw led me to believe that we were in for something special. After all, it’s not like Chicago cuisine is well-represented here: there’s hot dogs at Taste of Chicago during limited lunch-only hours, Italian beef sandwiches at Jerry’s 27th Street Market once a month or so, and Chicago Connection (I guess), but that’s about it. Once their opening date was announced, I counted down the days to when I’d finally be able to buy a decent deep dish pizza or get an Italian beef sandwich on a regular basis. Their location in the Fred Meyer plaza on Linder and Chinden in Meridian made it impossible to make it there on my lunch break, but after work I headed straight over, hoping to beat the evening rush.
I needn’t have worried, there were only three or four other customers in the joint when I walked in. Since it was a solo visit, I decided to hold off on pizza and try one of the sandwiches that looked so damn good on the menu.
I opted for both sweet peppers and giardiniere, though since I didn’t know how hot theirs was, I ordered it on the side. Making the sandwich took only a couple of minutes, so since it wasn’t worth sitting down, I used the time to scope the place out. It’s actually pretty spacious, and the extremely high ceilings make it feel even more so.
There’s a little bar area, a room that can be reserved for private parties, and down a short hallway you’ll find a graffiti-esque painting of a giant Chicago hot dog on one side and restrooms on the other, the genders represented by a painting of a baseball player and another of a cheerleader.
The first hint that something wasn’t right happened right when I was called back to grab my sandwich. Take a look at that picture from their menu again. Go ahead, I’ll wait. This is what I actually received…
|Shades of Falling Down|
I was a little incredulous. Was this all there was? A handful of meat and three strips of sweet pepper? Where was the crusty, toasted bread, spilling over with thinly sliced beef and dripping with dark meat juices? And where were the chips from the picture? According to the menu, chips aren’t even an available option. Oh well, though the fillings were a bit skimpy, they were still pretty good (though not as good as Jerry’s). And I couldn’t even be that upset about the bread because the style is pretty common, I just hoped for something more based on that picture.
|Side of giardiniere|
The giardiniere definitely helped, both in terms of flavor and by adding a little more substance. All in all not a bad sandwich, but a little disappointing. Still, it was their first day open and I assumed that they were probably still working out the kinks. I figured that next time I wanted the sandwich, I would just have to hope they left the bread in the oven a little longer that day. Either way, I still considered Bono’s promising enough at that point that I talked some of my loved ones into trying their pizza with me a couple of days later. And that, dear readers, is when things got ugly.
|Really study this, it comes into play later.|
It was about 7 PM on Wednesday when we placed our pizza order. I had anticipated a bit of a wait due to the restaurant having just opened the same week, but I was hoping the fact that it was a weeknight would temper it a bit. Not so much, as it turns out. We were told it would be at least a 90 minute wait for deep dish since they were backed up and only have one oven for pizzas (?!). Still, I was committed to the idea at this point and placed the order. Even though the pizzas were only twelve-inchers, we figured two Chicago deep dish pies that size should be enough. The second unpleasant surprise was when I was told that, unlike with the thin crust pizzas, there were no specialty or combination options for deep dish; we would have to pay an extra dollar per topping. So, the standard combo of pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions and olives would increase the price of $16 to $21. Like I said, I was committed. For the second pie, we ordered one that was half sausage and half just cheese. I made sure to specify the just cheese thing three times since we had a vegetarian in the group. Only one additional topping meant this one was a relatively cheaper $17.
My sister’s boyfriend and I were the ones dispatched to pick up the pizzas, and we timed our departure so that we’d get to Bono’s about 20 minutes before the pizzas were to be done so that we could hit Fred Meyer and buy some soda. I poked my head in for a time estimate and were told that the pizzas were ready and they’d just been waiting for us to show up. I was really irritated by this, having no idea how long my food had been aging under heat lamps or something. Regardless, we paid the bill and stuck the pizzas in the trunk so we could dash over and pick up our drinks. All of this plus a fifteen minute drive meant the pizzas were pretty luke warm by the time we got them home.
Before we go any further, I want you to look at the Google Images results for “Chicago Pizza”. Seriously, go ahead. I’ll wait.
Welcome back. So, I opened up the first box, and that is what I saw:
|No, it doesn’t come with cards. Those are for perspective.|
First of all, I have to give them points for being so generous with the sausage. So generous in fact that it spilled over onto the side that was supposed to be plain cheese. And what was with all the extra crust standing up around the edges?
|Deep dish pizza?|
Remember those pictures I just had you look at? Hell, scroll up and look at the picture from their own menu. Are they using stock photos or something? Actually yes, THEY TOTALLY ARE USING STOCK PHOTOS. This thing is supposed to be a pie, and it has about the same amount of substance as a pizza from the freezer section of the grocery store. There wasn’t even any sauce on it that I could detect. How pathetic would a plain cheese pizza in this style be? I opened the other box and was confronted with much the same thing, just with a wider variety of toppings and a ladle or two of sauce dumped on top of it. While we were in the kitchen staring at these in disbelief, my mother came in. After a quick look, she said “There’s no way those are twelve inches”, and went to get a measuring tape.
|Words fail me, I’m still too angry.|
The sausage pizza was roughly 9 1/2″ across. The combination was closer to 9 3/4″. Neither was anywhere close to twelve inches. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that I would call to complain and see what they had to say. I told the young lady who answered the phone that I wanted to speak to a manager, and she immediately told me that she was passing me to the owner, a woman named Pamela. I briefly described the situation to Pamela, who apologized and said she was going to have me speak to the pizza manager, which raised my eyebrow. I forget the man’s name, but I briefly explained the situation again, and then there was some conferring on the other end of the phone before the pizza manager came back and told me that the 12″ described on the menu was a typo, and the deep dish pizzas are actually only 10″. This made the price even more shocking, as far as I was concerned. I reiterated that the pizzas were not even ten inches across, barely had any toppings, and that one of them had been made wrong despite my having gone over it several times with the woman who had taken my order. The pizza manager apologized, but then went right back to trying to justify that what I saw as blatantly false advertising was merely just a typographical error. This seriously went on for almost five minutes, with me trying to explain that the whole situation was insulting at best and consumer fraud at worst, and by this time I was in such a state of disbelief and so angry that I was actually laughing. Since it was obvious that nothing was going to be done about the situation other than him basically saying “Oops” over and over again, I told the pizza manager that he could explain it any way he wanted, but a lot of people were going to hear about this.
After hanging up the phone, we pried the slices loose from the inappropriate paper they were sitting on which had come apart and stuck to the cheese, and zapped them in the microwave. My mother and sister were too disgusted to eat the stuff at this point. One of the children just plain didn’t like the pizza. For my own part, I thought the sausage one was decent for a pizza with a cracker-thin crust and no sauce. The sausage was good and there was a lot of it, and that’s all there really is to say about that one. The combination pizza had so much sauce dumped on top of it that it was really the only thing I could taste, the other toppings lending not much other than a little texture. I didn’t even notice any pepperoni, though I’d paid for it. At some point while we ate, Pamela left me a voicemail offering me a couple of complimentary thin crust pizzas, and once again explaining the typo situation. As far as I was concerned, it was too little too late. I did not want any more of their food, even for free, and repeated smoke-blowing about the typo thing just kept making me angrier. And lest you think this is just some kind of personal vendetta, check the posts from other people on their Facebook page. More of these kinds of comments are cropping up by the day.
My sister’s beau and I agreed that the two pizzas were worth about $20 total, $25 at most if we wanted to be really generous. Not inedible at all but definitely not worth a return visit. As of today, their website menu still shows the deep dish pizza as being 12″. I haven’t been back in to see if they’ve fixed their in-house menus, and I have no intention of returning to do so. Today as I was balancing out my checkbook, I came across this…
Wow. That typo certainly gets around, doesn’t it? It’s lucky they’re an independent business, this is the kind of thing that results in lawsuits these days.
Food: Nothing special. I will continue to get my dogs at Taste of Chicago and my Italian beef from Jerry’s. Chicago-style pizza? I guess I’m just out of luck. C-
Value: No matter how many inches you get for the price, it’s still too much. D+
Service: They’re either lying to me or to everyone else. Take a ruler, kids. F
Atmosphere: It was pretty pleasant the first time I went. I’m sure it’s busier and noisier now, but either way I won’t be going back. B
Final Grade: D-
Being a Chicagoan this is really sad news. The pizza looks disgusting, and the giardiniere looked gross.It looked like cooked apples! I wanted to scream, “WHERE'S THE BEEF”! I grew up eating at Al's Italian Beef and Portillos, and it's always the first stop when we fly home. They should have gone back to Chicago and done a tasting trip. It looks like an insult to Chicago cuisine! I will not be going there, so thanks for the review
Considering how disappointed I was as a guy who's only passed through Chicago, I can only imagine how offended a native must be. Glad I could save you some time and money!
Thank you very much for the review….. I had planned to try the place myself but now I certainly won't bother.
I just read your review on Bono's and wanted to offer some feedback. I work for Bono's and try to keep up with what's happening on facebook.
I want to start by saying how bummed we are that you didn't enjoy the food. I hope you give us a chance to make it up to you sometime. We are a new restaurant that hasn't even been open a full week yet. To say we have lots to learn is an understatement. We've been blown away by how busy we've been. Sometimes we literally have a line extending out the front door! That's a great problem to have, but still a serious problem.
Starting a serious eatery from scratch is no easy task. Take for example the stock photos you mentioned. We had to order menus weeks before the doors were open. I don't even think we had the ovens in place yet when we ordered the menus. So you either have no pics or go with stock photography (although I've never seen a McD's sandwich that looks like the menu board :)). We do plan on taking pics of our own food for the menu reprints.
If you're opening a new Apple Bee's, no problem, you call up the one on the other side of town and they can answer all your questions. Then you bring over a few of their people to help get the store up and running. Then you transport one of their managers to train and equip the new people. You already know what equipment to buy, what to put on your menu, how much to charge and I assume even your “Open” sign ships right to your door ready to install. When you're making something new, from scratch, there are going to be some major unknowns. No matter how much you prep and train, the unknowns are still there.
We're doing a grand opening next month sometime and hopefully we get all the issues figured out and all our new employees have learned the ropes. We also hope to have some more seating by then. We have rush moments of standing room only. Again, thanks for the honest review and I do hope we get to make it up to you sometime :).
Yeah, I'm pretty sure they could have made it up to you when you called them
that night. Give them another $40 dollars first & they will make things right. Ha. Lets do Momo's next week.
And yet not a single word about the pizza size and the (apparent) lying about it. I think THAT is why he'll never return. I know I wouldn't. It even says 12″ on the freakin' receipt! If not a lie, how can management overlook something like that?! That's dense with a capital D. Every day that goes by where it still says 12″ on the online menu makes you guys look worse and worse. Whether it's a lie or not, there are some tracks that need covering up right now.
And that pizza looks horrific, an affront to true Chicago pies. Are those in the pictures acceptable to you (especially the first one with the sausage)? I thought management had prior experience with Chicago eateries? Did the trainer even ever have experience making Chicago pies? Seeing those pictures here and on your Facebook page makes me wonder. They look like the concoctions of something out of a high-school cooking class. Someone needs to go to Chicago to pay a visit or bring someone back to train people on how to make proper deep dish/stuffed pies.
At this point I don't even care if your thin crust pizza ends up tasting as good as Aurelio's. You have some major issues to fix before your grand opening AND you come across as either fraudsters or incompetent based on this blog post. I wouldn't give your restaurant a cent right now. IF I ever decide to try the deep dish or stuffed pie, I'd better see something resembling the Google pictures he linked to above.
Well well…everone's a food critic…well I am from Chicago…livef there more than 20 years!…and I went to Bono's yesterday…and it was awesome! The deepdish pizza was right on the money…I have been to Giordanos a hundred times and waited more than an hour and a half for a deep dish or stuffed pie! Worth the wait! And if you are measuring a pie to see how many inches it is it makes me wonder how many inches you have…can I come over and measure?!! Lol
It sure seems to me that you didn't really bother reading the review other than just to skim through it, so I'll repeat a few things:
1) I am not a food critic.
2) I didn't complain about the wait.
3) I wasn't the one who measured the pizza, I'm just the one who got pissed because they lied about what it was, and then lied about lying about it.
I was amused by your implied slight on my manhood though. Here we have a business that's engaging in blatantly false advertising, and you direct grade school insults at me. That's certainly an interesting values system.
Well, I think this covers pretty much all the points I would have made, so thanks for saving me the effort!
I would add this: the restaurant seems fond of advertising that it was established in 1970. I understand that this is a reinvention of the concept in a new place and with a different management structure, but the original owner is involved and it's his recipes being used. In all that time, no pictures of his food were taken? It's true that what hits your plate rarely looks as good as it does in a menu picture, but there should be at least a vague resemblance.
Can't wait for Flying Pie to open in Meridian! If what Bono's is serving is Chicago style pizza, I'll stick with Flying Pie. I will not be going to Bono's – those pictures were horrific! Look at the picture of the sausage pizza – they are seriously calling that a deep dish pizza? They got the order wrong after he told them 3 times how he wanted it! That combination looked like something someone pulled out of a trash can, threw in a pizza box and dumped more sauce on top. Funny that they ordered two deep dish pizzas and when the customer complained about them, the management offered to make them two thin crust pizzas. Does that mean they were out of deep dish style crust and used the thin crust for his original order and rolled it up around the edges? Does that explain why they were not 12″? That definitely was not the type of crust as shown in the picture on their menu (the stock photo). When you advertise a 12″ pizza and can only produce a pizza that's less than 10 inches, there's a big problem! And when your customer points this out to you, don't say it's a typo – it makes you look like an idiot! Don't lie to your customers, they won't be back. The Bono's employee said they would like to offer some feedback, but didn't. All they did was admit that they used stock photos in their menu. I understand that when a new establishment comes along that there are “kinks” to be worked out, but if they don't watch it – that won't be necessary! Bono's, listen to your customers complaints and seriously make an attempt to make it right, or there will be fewer customers.
If you are wanting to measure a person's manhood, you need to try other websites. Also, I think for your maturity level, you should stick with Chuck E. Cheese for your pizza needs.
I think anyone who has tried Bonos would agree that they need a liitle more time to work out the kinks and I applaud them for giving it a try in this economic environment. A simple comment about your experience is acceptable. However, the added insults and threats take it too far. I could be negative and throw stones at anyone. As for the above comment “I'd better see something that resembles Google pictures . . . ” Or what, what happens if you don't? Hide behind your computer screens and make as many negative comments as you like. You see how silly this all sounds. The only people I know that would be this upset about food is FAT people. Here's a tip, get off the carbs and get in shape. It's people like Track that is causing our health premiums to go higher. Where are the reviews about salads, fruit dishes, etc., too few of them. Mostly, its pizzas, burgers, fries, etc. Yes, I saw a picture of your hand holding a Heineken and I can tell from the size of your hoofs/fingers that you are overweight. Yes, I am an expert in this area. I used to be like you, needed the fat foods to feel good about myself, but I got off my ass and did something about it. Hope you all feel better about yourselves, go back to the feeding troughs you pigs. Please don't judge me on my spelling, I said I was skinny not smart.
Hey Track . . . this is the most anyone has ever read your posts. I guess bad news real does sell. Keep up the negative reviews and maybe you will get more than 11 comments next time. What a country! Even a hack like you can make it big.
I have to admit a couple of things here. First of all, you got me, I'm not exactly svelte. That having been said, I'm a long way from having to wash myself with a rag on a stick, and I'm at the gym five or six days a week to make sure it stays that way.
Secondly, your post really got me chuckling. You obviously have a compulsive fixation with unhealthy foods. I mean I write about the kinds of things I have when I go out to have an entertaining dining experience. I don't order a lot of salads or steamed veggies when I go out, because that's the kind of thing I make at home where it costs a lot less and I can do it just the way I want it. But you dig through all these posts, find one picture of a disembodied hand from two years ago, and based on that you say I'm responsible for the rising health premiums? I'm not going to show you the results of my last checkup to prove you wrong, but you should really see a therapist about this obsession you have of looking at and reading about food that you won't allow yourself to eat. Don't get pissy with me just because you're conflicted.
Oh yeah, anonymous bloggers specializing in Boise area eateries can make it huge if they just spit enough venom. Can't you tell by all the advertising I sell on my site, idiot?
You repeatedly say that you're not a critic, so lets look at the definition of what a critic is shall we?
“Critic (TheFreeDictionary) One who forms and expresses judgments of the merits, faults, value, or truth of a matter.”
So lets see here, hmm… oh yeah you fit the definition exactly! Looks like Bono's may not be the only one in Boise to participate in the ever such vile acts of false advertising. So, being a critic, you decided to get the food on the very first week of the restaurant being open… And then proceeded to give it the most negative review possible. This appalls me as any person with an IQ above 10 should realize the fact that a newly opened restaurant will not be putting out the best food it possibly can. Don't get me wrong, it should be, but don't give the Food a D- based off of 1 experience from ordering 3 different food items. You are the WORST critic I have ever 'not' heard of.
“If you know me or follow my site at all, you know I'm reluctant to write a bad review for fear of harming a fledgling restaurant.” What sort of harm do you think that would occur from giving negative feedback? You have maybe 10 regular readers from looking at how many comments are actually posted on your reviews. Hardly enough to harm a 'fledgling' restaurant.
You may ask why I decided to point out your obvious flaws on a mediocre website (at best). And my answer is, to provide justice.
Justice? LOL. So Serious.
You are extremely entertaining. Were you pumping your fist while writing this? Run off and go waste your money on some mediocre food (at best).
How kind of you to share your expertise in fitness. If you are worried about your spelling, maybe you should get off your ass and exercise your brain as well.
Touche sir! I am glad to see that you were so excited to reply to my post, that you put down that Camel no filter and strung together a couple of sentences. Now back to you post young man, break time is over, finish that 44 oz cherry coke and remember to always ask the customer “would you like to supersize that value meal sir.” From the looks of your response, you must be a native Idahoan. Good bye to you loser . . .
As for you Track, you too made me chuckle. Your rag on a stick comment really got me laughing. Maybe in a different time we could have been friends. In addition, you have given me the courage to start my own blog. I am thinking of a healthy alternative . . . what do you think? For now, I must end this and get back to work, but always know that I am here, lurking in the shadows ready to pounce when I see you step out of line. Good bye for now . . . we shall continue this fight another time.
By all means, start your own blog! I might even stumble across it when I’m looking for healthier things to eat at home (I assume you’re talking about recipes, I mean who’s going to read a blog about the two or three healthy options at restaurants?), which is another thing I do to balance out the admittedly indulgent things I order when I go out. I don’t post a disclaimer anywhere on my site advising people that they shouldn’t eat the things I write about on a daily basis, I consider that simple common sense. Food blogs tend to fall under the categories of either decadent or puritanical, and you don’t see anybody really trying for the best of both worlds. People need to find balance on their own.
In the meantime, I shall await your future pouncings. I must admit the suspense is making me feel a little uneasy. But then again, I suppose that could be indigestion. I did have a triple decker grilled cheese sandwich for dinner last night, with bacon, sautéed onions, and the most amazing horseradish aioli. I was thinking about you when I ordered dessert though, so I had a bowl of fresh strawberries. I did use almost an entire jar of Nutella to dip them in, but you’ve got to start somewhere…
This is actually getting tiring, but I'll play some slow-pitch softball with you…
1) If you want to argue semantics, fine, I'm a food critic. Just like someone who posts their vacation pictures on Instagram is a photographer.
2) It's only a new restaurant HERE. The sign on the front says they were established in 1970, and the guy who ran the place is working at this new incarnation of it. So, unless he forgot how to cook the food he's been making for the last 40 years, this must be the way it's supposed to be. Especially since they did nothing but defend it when I complained.
3) The review was based on three items sampled on two visits, days apart. Pretty standard for a restaurant review, really. How many times does the Statesman go back? The last time I checked, Boise Weekly was doing a one visit, hit me with your best shot format.
4) This write-up has been viewed nearly 500 times since I posted it. How many of those were regular readers, I can't say. Still, I doubt only my “10 regular readers” would find information of value in it. I'd think that at least a few of my 300+ Facebook subscribers would. Sorry, not trying to toot my own horn here, just responding to your hyperbole with some actual numbers. You can't estimate a reader base on comments, any idiot (except you, apparently) knows that people are more likely to write a complaint than a compliment.
And seriously, why are my suddenly-emerging detractors going out of their way to avoid the one issue I consider the most important, which is the fact that I ordered two 12″ pizzas and received two that were less than 10″? That's roughly 17%. Would you be happy if your car had 17% less horsepower, or your smartphone had 17% less storage space, or your house had 17% less square footage? I just expect to get what is advertised and what I pay for.
“A simple comment about your experience is acceptable. However, the added insults and threats take it too far.”
(talk about insults…check out what you had to say)
“The only people I know that would be this upset about food is FAT people.”
“It's people like Track that is causing our health premiums to go higher.”
“Hope you all feel better about yourselves, go back to the feeding troughs you pigs.”
“I could be negative and throw stones at anyone.”
(you certainly did)
What a hypocrite you are! Who's out of line now? I didn't see any personal insults in his review but your reply was full of them. The one thing you did get correct was when you admitted to not being smart.
Ahaha, I am not smart, but damn it, I am skinny! Wow, the things people openly admit to.
Calm down skinny man. The first step in educating yourself is admitting that you're a moron. Now, move on to step two…
Indeed sir, you have finally hit me where it hurts the most, my lack of mental aptitude. I will forever be known as the “moron.” What will my dear wife think about this character assassination? I for one will not stand here and be victimized by your insults! I challenge you sir, to a duel! Meet me tomorrow at high noon in front of Bono's where we shall have a verbal throwdown. You will recognize me as the skinny moron wearing a musketeer hat and curly mustache. You sir, will forever be known as the “sphincter assassin” and as such will kiss my gluteus maximus when I finish verbally beating you down. Good day sir!
Wife? Wife?! No way! A better question for dear wife…what the hell was she thinking?
Just thought I'd point out that the young woman (yes, woman) that you've been trading insults with all day is not only pretty slim herself, but doesn't even eat at fast food joints (let alone work at one). She doesn't even like most of the stuff I review, it's just that she likes people like you even less.
Please accept my heartfelt apology, I meant you no harm. Sounds like we have more in common than you think.
Damn, you just get more pathetic by the hour…
Guess people are just asking for too much when they expect acceptable, palatable food, with the order correct, and accurate sizes according to their menu when it opens for business.
Alright you won . . . now I have to get back to my perfect life. Good luck with your blog and enjoy your 15 minutes of fame because it just ended with me signing off, your welcome.
Actually it's a 30% difference…a 10″ pie has 78.5 square inches of pizza; a 12″ pie has 113 square inches.
Per menu board, your $17 pizza should've cost $17/113= 15 cents per square inch.
You actually paid $17/78.5= 22 cents per square inch.
A bigger ripoff than you might've thought. If they have not fixed their menu board yet, there is a real problem with this place. I doubt I'll be visiting, though, so I guess I'll never know.
Damn, you're right. I wasn't thinking about square inches. Now I feel stupid and angry at the same time…
I came across your review today, as I was browsing the web to see what was being said about Bono's. Having just returned from a Chicago vacation, I was intrigued when I saw their junk mail coupons with pizza that looked similar to what I just fell in love with. I'm so glad I didn't waste my time! First off, $16 for a 10″ pizza is steep…much more than I paid at Giordano's or Lou Malnati's over the weekend for my cheese pizza. I'm guessing they must still be using the stock photos, because their menu online and the junk mail ad have the same photo you reference above. Thanks for a great review! I'll definitely be scrolling through your blog to see where I should be going! 🙂