Lazlo’s Drops A Little Bit Farther

June 30, 2008 at 1:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lazlo’s used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Lincoln. Long known for its excellent service, food, and beer, I recommended Lazlo’s to anybody who asked for suggestions. Lately, however, it just keeps sliding into mediocrity.

I can’t really point to a single event that started the slide. There was the opening of the south restaurant, which lacked the character of the Haymarket location from the very start. But no worries; the downtown location was still around. Then they went and stripped the soul out of the Haymarket location, moving it next door. Not to mention all of the little things, like less consistent food, declining service, and so on. At least the facilities were always immaculate. That counts for something.

Then there are examples such as what happened to The Missus and The Mother-in-Law a week ago. Problems began immediately when, after they were seated, no waiter showed up for many minutes. When he did arrive, he greeted them with a rude, “So, were you going to order some food?” They hadn’t even ordered, much less received, drinks yet. Problems continued with errors with the order and indifference from the staff. When they complained, shoulders were shrugged. It wasn’t so long ago that Lazlo’s was so eager to please that if the guy 3 tables down belched without saying “Excuse me”, everybody within hearing distance would receive a dessert on the house. (OK, it wasn’t quite like that, but at times it came pretty close.)

The Missus and I used to go to Lazlo’s fairly regularly. Now, it never makes the list of options. In the past year or more we have only gone a couple times, and only with out-of-town guests. If they keep showing all our guests the same hospitality they showed The Mother-in-Law, there won’t be many more of those visits.

Are any of you Lazlo’s fans? Have The Wilsons just had a run of bad luck with Lazlo’s, or are you folks seeing the same problems?

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The Comments

Nikki June 30, 2008 at 1:58pm

I haven’t been there in a few months, but Lazlo’s remains my favorite.  The beer is always tasty, the bathrooms are always clean, and the Rainbow Chicken is still my favorite smile

Maybe the changes you’re noticing have to do with management taking care of the new Fireworks out East?  Fortunately for them, I’ll pretty much forgive the worst server for a cup of beer cheese soup.  Mmmmmm….beer cheese.

Fletch June 30, 2008 at 2:04pm

I’d have complained, I think you’d still get a free meal out of that.

Matto June 30, 2008 at 3:13pm

I’m glad someone else feels the same way.  They just got restaurant of the year and I agree that just because it’s top of mind in Lincoln that maybe they just relaxed a bit.  I usually love their mashed potatoes, but a week ago I went and it was loaded with green onions.  I mean to the point of being not edible.  Maybe like the Huskers they have been so used to being on top they don’t know what to do when they get smacked around a bit (see 9 South Char Grill).

CP June 30, 2008 at 3:29pm

Having moved here 3 years ago, I don’t even recognize the Lazlo’s you claim was so fabulous in the past. Should I consult Snopes or are you telling me this for real?

We want to like it very much and have gotten some of the worst service I have ever seen on about every other visit in return for our stubborn belief that they were just having an “off day”. I think the last time we ate there was September or October of last year, and I don’t see us heading there again.

Food has always been fine - good actually, but the service has driven us to other places like Vincenzo’s, Parker’s Rib Ranch, Crabby Bill’s, Dino’s,  shoot… McDonalds does better. At least I don’t leave there shaking my head.

CP June 30, 2008 at 3:30pm

Oh yeah - add 9 South to my list below.

wish0922 June 30, 2008 at 3:50pm

...but it’s always been my favorite restaurant. I have not had any problems there. I’m hoping that Mr. Wilson’s family just had some back luck and that this is not a trend. That would be disappointing. But I’ll definitely take a closer look the next time I eat there.

Andrew June 30, 2008 at 4:20pm

I moved here 4 years ago and like CP above, i’ve never really liked it. I’ve gone many times with friends and co-workers, and pretty much every time I suggest some place better and people insist because it’s “so great.”

the beer is good. That is all Lazlo’s gets from me. And their lack of vegetarian options (there’s what, 2 things? maybe 3 if you order something and just have them leave the meat off of it—which doesn’t get you a discount, and doesn’t even happen most of the time because they forget) shows to me that they really don’t care. even the things everyone tells me I will absolutely love about the place (beer cheese soup has already been mentioned) have been big let-downs.

when I first moved here and had my colleagues taking me to dinner and we went there I literally was so bummed out that this was everyone’s favorite place. I moved here from southern california and thought I was in for a spell of extremely bland, boring, unoriginal, and uninspired dining.

thankfully i’ve found some decent food in Lincoln since living here and doing my own experimenting, but people, please. DO NOT TAKE OUT OF TOWNERS TO LAZLO’S IF YOU WANT THEM TO SEE WHAT LINCOLN RESTAURANTS ARE LIKE. especially if you tell them it’s your favorite.

Gene June 30, 2008 at 4:55pm

I’ve never been overly enamored with it, although I’ve never been disappointed with it. I’d rather get my Empyrean Ales from the grocery and go somewhere else to dine out.

foxspit June 30, 2008 at 4:58pm

I like Lazlo’s and, fortunately, I’ve never had the experiences everyone here relates about bad service.

christopher June 30, 2008 at 5:03pm

Lazlo’s isn’t everything it was cracked up to be. I still like the food, but the service scares me. I wound up getting a $100 gift card by sending in a letter to complain.

Basically here’s the gist of the letter. My wife and mom went to Lazlo’s (Haymarket) on a Friday night. Graduation for UNL was that weekend, and a baseball game was being played at Haymarket Park. We already were expecting a long wait.

When we got inside the lobby wasn’t too full, there were a couple of parties waiting outside. We were told a 45-60 minute wait, which was fine with us since it had been a while since we had been together with my mom.

However, there were (and I’m not exaggerating) 7 tables open when we first walked in. Yes I counted. I was thinking maybe they were saving them for a big party…like a party of 15 or something, but that never happened. Instead they sat open, and sat open, and sat open. Finally, around 30 minutes a few of the tables were seated. A few people in the lobby took note that the tables were open, and tried to sit down at a couple of them. They got the boot, and had to go wait in the lobby. Even though there were 7 tables still open.

I finally told the hostess that there are seven tables open right now at about the 45 minute mark, and we would like to eat or we’ll leave. They finally got their act together, and were able to clear out the lobby by placing people at the empty tables. We ended up sitting at a booth that had remained completely open the entire time we were waiting.

The next time we went to Lazlo’s (south location) we used the $100 gift card. Again there was going to be a wait, so we decided to wait by sitting out at one of the patio tables (there were plenty open and we weren’t the only ones that were sitting at the tables waiting to be seated). Pretty soon a server comes out and asks us for our drinks and offers to grab us menus. While the server went to get our drinks, another server/hostess said we couldn’t sit there since they were going to sit people there. We told them we already ordered our drinks, and our server came out about that time with drinks and menus in hand and told the other server/hostess to pretty much buzz off. She said if the table is open and people want to sit here I’ll serve them, especially since there were plenty of other patio tables open.

We still have plenty left on our gift card (at least enough for 2 meals), but we have yet to make another journey to Lazlo’s and don’t intend to do so anytime in the near future.

Neal June 30, 2008 at 5:21pm

I’m kind of surprised, yet not really surprised, at this response. We’ve had some consistently awful experiences there, but it still seems so popular I just figured we were having bad luck.

If not for people who have been away from Lincoln who want to eat there on return visits, we would probably never go back.

Moses June 30, 2008 at 5:32pm

When we moved away in 1998 Lazlo’s was our favorite. We moved back about 18 months ago.  We have been to each of the Lazlo’s locations exactly once since our return.  We won’t be going back to either location.

Mr. T June 30, 2008 at 5:48pm

Wow with these comments someone should drag an effigy of “Lazlo” down O street! Not to pile on to the Lazlo-bashing bandwagon here, but of the two times I have been there, I remember one person I went with found a staple in her salad. The manager did comp her for her meal. Other than that incident it was fine.

meatball June 30, 2008 at 8:06pm

I’ve noticed a drop in the service since moving here in 1993, but I’ve never had a complaint about the food. Lazlo’s - either location - still is probably my favorite restaurant in Lincoln.

Carnac June 30, 2008 at 11:27pm

It’s been over a month since I was last there, but the most recent times I dined downtown it was just the same as always.  Still a favorite (but I agree there are others cutting into my dining out budget lately).

I did see where the long time accountant/V.P. at Telesis (Lazlo’s parent company) is now at Lincoln Industries as their controller.  Super guy he is…I’ll have to ask him next time I see him.

Benn July 1, 2008 at 2:10am

Back in the mid-to-late 90s you could always count on a great meal and (especially) service, I agree.  It did seem to dip for quite a while there, but the last time I went the food and service was better again.  They finally added a few things to the menu as well.

I still like the place a lot ... Pub Club is the old reliable for me there when unsure what else to get ... otherwise Rainbow or Voodoo Chicken.

And you HAVE to remember to ask for the complimentary basket of beer bread (and some creamy garlic dressing for dipping for a small charge) ... a must on any visit.

Overall I agree with people on here it’s not QUITE as good, but I still like it quite a lot.

Jason July 23, 2008 at 3:40pm

Still good, service has been pretty good when we go there and the place is always clean.

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