I came here with my daughter one Friday night and we had a bit of a wait, so that should be a good sign, right, that lots of people want to eat there? At the end of the meal, I concluded that the explanation was that there were either a lot of people who were clueless about this restaurant (counting myself as a former member of that group) or were clueless about how good food and beer taste.
I have to say that Granite City's facility is very attactive and much more upscale than any other brewpub I've been in, the equal of most of the higher end restaurants in Madison. That was one of only two highlights with this entire meal. They have a lengthy menu, with enough menu choices that it almost seems like too many and with so many different styles, ranging from American to Asian to Italian, that it is difficult to believe they could do a good job at many/any of them.
We sat down and had a lengthy wait before our server, a middle-aged woman, brought us a complimentary tray of carrot sticks and ranch dressing, the only other positive experience of the entire meal. We experienced a lengthy wait before receiving our beverages and initially, our server forgot my daughter's drink; we also had a lengthy weight for a bottle of ketchup. That was par for the course that night, very slow, inattentive service, delivered in an unfriendly manner by someone who ought to have had the experience to move her backside a bit more quickly and at least pretended to be pleasant.
I ordered the reuben and our crappy server listed a bunch of sides that I could select with it, and I chose sweet potato fries. I believe my daughter had macaroni and cheese, but it may have been a sandwich; whatever she ordered, she didn't like it much. My reuben was supposed to have a half pound of corned beef, but I doubt it had even a quarter pound of meat in it, definitely false advertising. Honestly, I think it had at least half as much butter on the bread as it had meat in the sandwich - it was extremely greasy, the greasiest reuben I've ever had, which really detracted from what might have been a pretty good sandwich.
I ordered a beer sampler tray with 8 glasses of their beer. Let me preface this comment by saying that I consider myself to be rather knowledgable about beer. I've visited most of the brewpubs in Wisconsin, I've had beer from every brewery in the state, and I enjoy a broad variety of beers. I'm also a homebrewer. I know what a good beer tastes like. Two of these eight beers were drinkable. Several, of these were so awful I didn't bother with a second sip. Almost none of them tasted like beers of that type were supposed to taste, with no wheat flavor in the wheat beers and no refreshing hop bitterness in the pale ales. Four of the beers were swill, so bad that I suspect that GC's brewer got lazy, didn't adequately clean their tanks, and the beer was contaminated.
GC's manager, a younger, cocky sort of guy, stopped by and asked disinterestedly how our meal was. I told him my reuben was really greasy and explained to him that the beers really weren't good at all, they were not representative of their types, that I was familiar with all of the state's microbreweries and Granite City's beers were by far the worst beer in the state. The manager could see I had hardly touched six out of eight of the sampler glasses. He looked up in surprise and said with a sneer, "Well I'm sorry we don't meet your standards," turned his back on us, and walked away. If this jack*(*ss had no intention of doing anything if there was a problem, why the hell had he bothered to ask?
After a long wait, our server finally brought the check. I discovered that she had charged me $3 extra for my sweet potato fries. I asked her why she had never told me they was an extra charge. She said it was clearly marked on the menu. and walked away. A $3 upcharge for switching from regular fries to sweet potato fries???? I've never heard of that excessive of an upcharge anywhere. For $3 I could have bought more sweet potatoes at a grocery store than anyone could eat for an entire meal - they only cost GC maybe 20-30 cents more than regular fries. After being extremely slow, inattentive and unfriendly, our server was already getting less than a 15% tip, but with this overcharge on the side dish, I took the extra $3 out of her already-reduced tip. On the way out the door, I stopped at the front desk and asked to see a menu. The same manager handed me one and notwithstanding he could see I was not happy, did not ask me if there was a problem. Sure enough, in very fine small print, not clearly stated as on most menus, there was a mention of the upcharge on the sweet potato fries.
In summary, we had bad food, slow, inattentive service, some of the worst beer I've ever drunk, and management was rude and awful. Quite frankly, if I was the owner of this restaurant disguised on one of those reality shows and I encountered this level of service, I would have told the server to finish her current tables, go home, and in a week come back to explain why she should still be working there, and with the manager, I would have fired him as soon as I could have brought another manager in to fill in for the rest of his shift. I recommend staying far away from this joint, especially when Madison has perhaps the best brewpub in the country, the Great Dane, and a second very good one nearby, the Vintage Brewing Company, only a mile away.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.