Loyola: Local Pizza Place Slices Prices in Half with Monday Special
Patrons enjoy their favorite menu items at 50 percent off every
Monday at Carmen's in Rogers Park. (Photo by Nimrah Pervez)
By Nimrah Pervez
The Red Line Project
Posted: Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011
On a recent Monday night, the noise of hungry patrons can be heard from outside Carmen’s Pizza and Pasta in Rogers Park.
Through the front window, a long line filled with college students and families anxiously awaiting the pizzeria’s buffet of pizza,salad, soup, and more.
When the economic downturn started in 2008, many locally-owned businesses and restaurants took a financial hit as customers saved money by cutting down on dining out.
But some businesses, such as Carmen’s, have brought customersback by slashing prices.
Carmen’s, located at 6568 N. Sheridan Rd., is a family-owned pizzeria that has been shaking up the neighborhood with its new Monday Special of 50 percent off the entire menu.
“Monday’s weren’t very busy,” said restaurant manager Gustavo Salgado “We were looking for ways to get people in.”
While Carmen’s has been a well-established pizzeria in the area for more than a decade, it recently added the Monday special that attracted attention.
On Mondays, the entire menu, including the buffet, is 50 percent off. This bold feature was put in place almost three months ago, and does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon according to management.
The discounted Monday menu seems to have worked, based on interviews with patrons and staff.
“We are getting a lot of people in on Monday’s now, we are satisfied with the results,” said Salgado.
The results have pleasing for the restaurant’s management and for customers. Located walking distance from Loyola University, there is a huge student demographic.
Alexis Raphael, a sophomore at Loyola University, comes to Carmen’s every Monday.
“My favorite part about Carmen’s is that I can afford it,” said Raphael, 21. “The food is really good though, but you can’t beat half-off.”
Students are not the only ones thrilled about the Monday discount. Families in the neighborhood are also taking advantage of the half-price menu.
According to a costumer spending survey conducted by Booz and Company, a global management consulting firm, the unstable economy has consumers spending less on dining out. In 2008, 43 percent of respondents reported eating out less. While the economy is slowly recovering, American’s are still looking for the best deal.
“We love taking our daughter out to eat, she has a ball,” said Shanna Makda, of going to family dinners again, “Prices like this help to do it more often.”
Salgado said he is also excited to have the families back.
“We have been getting a lot more families coming in again. It has been a lot of fun,” Salgado said.
Carmen’s appears to be the only restaurant on the block offering this kind of discount. Located near a few different restaurants, Carmen’s Monday special is unique in the sense that no one else is doing it.
“I am pretty sure we are the only ones doing this kind of thing,” Salgado said. “There are student discounts at a few of these places, but nothing like this.”
The menu prices may be cut in half, but the variety of food offered has not been cut down. Menu favorites include the buffet, which is a popular item with the college kids.
“The thing about us college guys is, we are hungry!” joked Loyola senior Kamran Syed, “I like the buffet because I know I am leaving full.”
Another favorite is the oven baked stuffed pizza. Prepared to order, this item can take up to 35 minutes to be ready, but this doesn’t stop people from ordering it.
Carmen's deep-dish stuffed pizza is a favorite among customers. (Photo by Nimrah Pervez)
“It is definitely a favorite,” said Salgado.
Other menu items include eight different kinds of pasta, with six different sauce choices, 14 different kinds of pizza, soup, salads, sandwiches, and of course dessert.
“The menu has variety, which is great when you are trying to feed a 3-year-old,” said Makda, “Plus, we have come almost every other Monday, and we still are trying new things.”
With the discount, Carmen’s Pizza is now one of the busiest Monday night restaurants on the block.
“We won’t be getting rid of this any time soon, so for now, it’s here to stay,” Salgado said.
Listen to customers Shanna Makda and Alexis Raphael talk about Carmen's:
Editor's note: Carmen's Pizza closed at this location in July 2011.