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“Don't tweak the recipe”

Spang's Italian Restaurant
Ranked #13 of 29 Restaurants in Saint Germain
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Delivery, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff
Naperville, Illinois
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Don't tweak the recipe”
Reviewed June 14, 2012

I have been coming up to the Northwoods since my grandfather first took us in the late 70's. I have since carried this tradition on with my family and one of the things we would always look forward to was Spangs pizza. I was very surprised to learn that it is under new ownership. We immediately recognized that the pizza did not taste the same (even my kids noticed). I can only hope new ownership goes back to the original recipe that was so good and kept customers coming back.

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Michelle S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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109 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Eagle River, Wisconsin
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“New Owner/Manager”
Reviewed May 26, 2012

There are positive changes at the ‘new’ Spangs but with change comes growing pains and they are certainly experiencing some.

We’ll start with the pizza which we had as take-out last weekend. The sausage recipe was changed, why I don’t know because it was pretty darn close to perfect the way it was, and it was not good. The pieces were the size of small meatballs and they were too soft and totally tasteless. We’re told they are tweaking the recipe so clearly they’ve been getting feedback. Nice to know they are listening to their loyal customers!

Upon entering the restaurant you notice they removed the cabinetry above the bar and enlarged the front counter. They opened things up and it looks good. We were told the kitchen was backed up, despite the dining room not being full, so we sat at the bar to have a drink. The drinks were of decent size and price.

There were 2 bartenders which seemed one too many. They spent a lot of their time chatting with each other instead of the patrons and it was awkward trying to get their attention to ask questions. Every time we did so, the answer was “I don’t know” instead of “I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you”.

We were given menus to look at while waiting at the bar. The first thing we noticed was the new menu items, many of which sounded very good, including lots of gourmet pizzas. One thing missing was the perch which was always one of our favorites. Also missing were beverages and desserts. While the menu was attractive, there were a lot of typos. We asked the bartender for a take-out menu but she said they didn’t have any. I asked if the menu was on their website, no website. I asked if the menu was on their Facebook page and she shrugged. Hmmm…..

Upon entering the dining room, our first impression was that we really like what owner Tom Niewald has done with the place. Having sat in those small, hard church pews more times than we care to remember, the presence of new booths and tables was a welcome sight. Our booth was extremely comfortable and could easily have fit 6 people. The new pendent lighting over each table was a nice touch as well. There was also a very high quality disposable napkin with each place setting. Missing from the dining room was some nice Italian background music which would have made the entire experience more intimate.

The restaurant floor appeared to be over-staffed so it was odd that we had to wait a bit too long for wait staff to come to our table. Once our waitress, Sandy, arrived she did an adequate job serving us. We observed another waiter by the name of ‘Mingo’ who appeared to be very conscientious. Throughout the evening, we overheard a handful of complaints by patrons, and all the staff seemed to handle it quite professionally.

Sandy asked for our drink order and I asked where the wine list was. There wasn’t one. Considering liquor and wine is where a restaurant makes their largest profit margin, I found this strange. Sandy had a wine ‘cheat sheet’ that she let me look at but it was pretty vague. I told her what I wanted and she went to the basement and found a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for us. It was a 2009 St. Supery from Napa Valley and was excellent!

After ordering, Sandy brought a plate of bread and dipping oil to the table. One used to get a plate of antipasto but this was a nice touch. The bread and oil were good but not great. The bread could have had a harder crust and the oil seemed a bit under seasoned.

The next course was soup but my husband received a salad instead. Sandy promptly exchanged it for the Italian Wedding soup he ordered. While the soup was well seasoned, it wasn’t hot enough. After a long wait, dinner arrived. My husband had the veal parmigiana which had no bed of pasta with it. Considering the entrée was $19, they could have included that which is pretty much standard.

I had the Maryland Lump Crab Cakes and Prosciutto Mozzarella Crostini. The crab cakes had a genuine flavor but were mushy and not served with the remoulade sauce as described in the menu. When I asked for it, I was brought a little plastic container of 1000 Island salad dressing. Not good!

The crostini was visually pleasing but it wasn’t baked as the menu described. I should have sent it back to be warmed but I was so hungry at this point and didn’t want to wait any longer to eat.

After dinner was cleared our waitress, Sandy, didn’t offer dessert, coffee or an after dinner drink. By this time we had been in the restaurant for over an hour and a half which seemed a bit long for supper so we just paid our bill and headed home.

I’ve been going to Spang’s since it first opened and have been a loyal customer since then. Spangs Italian Restaurant is a landmark in St. Germain and I want the new owner/manager to succeed. They had some opening night jitters and have some kinks to work out but hopefully they’ll do that quickly before losing regular customers. Will we try it again? Absolutely!

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Sue C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
51 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“northwoods”
Reviewed January 29, 2012

every thing is good try the rosies thick crust! this is a classic italian eateryin the northwoods

Helpful?
Thank scar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
16 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Don't miss Spang's!”
Reviewed September 28, 2011

A must stop on every trip to the St. Germain area. You won't regret it. Fabulous pizza and meals. Atmosphere and staff are great.

  • Visited September 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FL2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wausau, WI
Level Contributor
45 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Love the Food!”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

Try the deep dish pizza! A bit of a wait, but well worth it. Charming old church pews for seating in the dining area. Good prices - great food. Nice staff. Love to eat there.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank travelerMary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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