Lillie’s Victorian Gives Us a Reason to Rant About Priceless Online Menus

Lillie's Exterior

A while back, we noticed that Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Grill had opened on 49th St between 8th & Broadway. Despite generally good reviews on Yelp, we didn’t get terribly excited about visiting based off of the comments (Summary: Decent place for a drink, otherwise generic pub food) and Sarah Z’s tepid review of their original Union Square location.

But curiosity did me in. After a visit for drinks with co-workers a few months back, I was impressed with the grandiose (if a bit cluttered) space, fair drink prices (for the area) and pleasant staff. I decided that their food deserved a look, and of their expansive menu of pub grub, only the Welsh Rarebit and grilled ham and cheese fell within our $10 ML limit. Since Sarah’s rarebit, if you can even call it that, wasn’t garnering rave reviews, I figured one couldn’t go wrong with the ham and cheese sandwich.

lillies ham and cheese

Diners can pick between swiss and cheddar cheeses for their sandwich, and it came out nicely browned and melty. Its heaviness and greasiness, combined with the crisp, somewhat greasy fries, would make a fine hangover cure. Otherwise it was your utility ham and cheese, with nothing remarkable, other than the shady pricing in that the sandwich turned out to be a dollar more than what’s listed online.

Shady pricing you say? Hold the presses! You see, I based my return solely on the price of the sandwich as per Menupages, which as of June 29 2012, lists the ham and cheese at $10. Had it been $11, I would have said to myself, “Self: If you review an $11 sandwich, the ML readers will leave snarky remarks, and your fragile ego can’t take that kind of abuse, so why don’t you just go write about Korean tacos again?”. Strangely, the price isn’t listed on Lillies’ website, and while I could have picked up the phone and confirmed the price, this is 2012, and I only use my phone to text friends, compose stupid tweets, and stream nyan cat videos on Youtube.

But if pretty much every single other freaking restaurant in New York City can find the druthers to list their menu prices, why can’t Lillie’s? I thought, perhaps their web designer has a deep aversion to numbers, or perhaps has some sort of weird mutant keyboard that’s missing the number keys. But nope, some (but not all) of their other clients have menu prices listed on their websites.

lillies interior

I can only conclude that this web designer gives their clients the option to list menu prices, which baffles me quite frankly. The primary reason a restaurant should have a website, is so that potential diners can go and look at the menu, get a read on prices, and make their decisions on whether or not to eat at the restaurant based on this information. Who goes to restaurant websites to read about ‘mission statements’ or watch shitty flash intros?

To actually opt out of listing menu prices tells me that the management at Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Grill, aside from not knowing what Welsh rarebit actually is, either doesn’t understand what matters to customers, or that they’re being intentionally shady. I won’t jump to a conclusion of what that may be, but I’ll conclude that you could get a better grilled ham and cheese for far less than $11 at other Midtown restaurants instead of at Lillie’s.

Lillie’s Victorian Bar & Restaurant, 249 W 49th St (btw. B’way+8th Ave). 212-957-4530


  • I hadn’t seen the interior before. Cool.

    On the prices, I’m going to say that they weren’t updated to their new pricing system. Though it is a bit silly to no have anything on your website menu these days.

    • yeah, just to be clear, I have nothing against menupages having an out of date price. They’re in the dark just as I was.

      • Since you seem to be in the know, who actually has access to edit those menus? It certainly seems like some of those restaurants don’t even have the tech-savvy to have a simple website rather than know about 3rd party menu aggregator so i doubt they update their menus knowingly.

      • The way that I understand that it works is that restauranteurs can send a link to their website’s menu or submit a menu via email or fax.

        However, it would be impossible for menupages to monitor and detect if a menu price changes. That’s why there is an option for folks to report pricing discrepancies.

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    Wow, the inside of this midtown location looks astoundingly similar to the LES location. It took me a minute to make out the differences.

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    Price points aside, another grand offender is not updating the dishes available at the restaurant. I am always disappointed when I discovered that the food I wanted to order is now ‘off’ the menu.

  • “Priceless” is not the term you want to use here, as it means something else. “Price-less” or “price-free” or “missing prices” or something like that is closer to what you mean.

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    We at MenuPages greatly appreciate the gripes voiced in this article as we are keenly aware of the need to make available up-to-date restaurant and menu info to consumers.

    I would be remiss if I did not mention the following on behalf of MP: although we are continuously updating our vast menu database, the possibility of finding out-dated menus on our site certainly exists.

    We strongly encourage our users to notify us any time a menu is found to be out of date. The easiest way to let us know is by submitting a “menu problem” for the restaurant. A menu-problem report can quickly and easily be submitted by clicking the “report errors” link which can be found to the right of the “Menu” tab on all restaurant profile pages on our site.

    Once we receive the notification, we will do our best to have the listing corrected ASAP.

    Thanks all. Happy eating, and enjoy the July 4th holiday!

    -Tom Bohan

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