My son and I loved the "old" Minnici's at 1st and Springfield. Sure, it was a little shabby, unglamourous, but the food and service were always excellent. Then the restaurant moved to "rich people land" at the Crossing in SW Champaign, and they've gone downhill ever since. Some things are good -- the ambiance, lighting, and general openness of the floor plan compared to the old place. It all looks very fresh and inviting. But the menu has changed, and unfortunately, so has the service. The formerly gooey pizza bianco is a dried up nondescript cardboard dish on flatbread. I brought a companion to try my favorite dish, the pork chop campangola, which at the old restaurant was a triumph of simplicity, a pork chop grilled to perfection, doused in a bit of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and some spices. Fast forward to the new Minnici's -- a pork chop with no perceptible grill flavor, in fact no flavor at all except lemon juice. It was acidic and barely edible. I kept having to pour olive oil on it to soften the flavor.
Then there was the service: we were seated quickly on a Wed. evening (1/2 off house wine on Wed.) but our waitress was slow to appear. So slow, that another couple was seated after we were but their waitress appeared way before ours did. Incensed, I complained to the hostess. A short while later our waitress appeared, apologetic and ready to please us. Unfortunately, when I asked for no carrots with my vegetables she brought me carrots, and she was slow to clear our dinner plates (opting to clear the table next to us instead), and slow to bring the bill. I think this place is both trying too hard for a more haute cuisine and not trying hard enough for good service. If you do go, ask for the chocolate cake, not listed on the printed menu, it is divine.
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