The other day, I wrote about how one can contribute to good service by pleasant interactions with the wait staff; last night, I observed how an outstanding server can be responsible for the entire evening experience being a good one.
Having driven most every Interstate and their predecessors, the US Highways in this country, I’m always impressed with the number of bars and eateries dotting the landscape of the Upper Midwestern states, particularly Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. You can find some real gems out in the middle of nowhere, and while you wonder where the population is to support these establishments away from city centers, somehow they survive and thrive, some for generations.
Nestled up in the “lake area” of the border of Wisconsin and Illinois, Upper Crust Pizza and bar is parked on County Road H, halfway between Genoa City, the first town over the Wisconsin state line, and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s playground for locals and wandering Chicagoans.
With enough seating for a horde, this is a great place to take the family or the fishing expedition, opening at 11 A daily, except closed Monday and Tuesday. Starting in Chicago over 50 years ago, the business relocated to Wisconsin in 1974, and occupies a modern roadside facility, where your children can be kept occupied for hours examining the collection of memoriabilia of all ilks that decorate the walls and ceilings. Pick one item and have your little shavers count how many of that type of item they find on the ceilings.
Upper Crust serves a variety of specialty thin crust pizza, some pastas, Italian beef sandwiches, and wings. The pizza is “Chicago-style” thin (yes, thin crust IS popular in Chicago!), with a crust that starts crispy around the rim and works into chewy towards the center. Red sauce is mild with a slight influence of herbs, and the toppings are fresh and ample. Sausage is hand pulled chunks of flavorful pork. The “genuine Wisconsin cheese” is very generous, and has a nice “pull” to it as your bite progresses through each (square cut) slice.
But the main selling point is Heather, mom by day, server by night, with a personality and service ethic to make your experience truly enjoyable. Doting, without being overbearing, Heather is a great example of a person who understands the primary premise of the hospitality industry.
Thanks, Heather, for ensuring my first stop at the Upper Crust won’t be my last. And I was kidding about the black olives.