Elgin server gets big tip at pub known for big tippers

ByLiz Nagy WLS logo
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Servers get big tips
Customers have left big tips several times for servers at Nick's Pizza & Pub locations in the north suburbs.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- A north suburban bar is getting a reputation for serving big spenders.

For the fifth time in the last 14 years, a Nick's Pizza & Pub employee has received a tip of more than $1,000.

Nicole, a middle school teacher, has worked part-time at Nick's for more than a decade.

"Part of it is to pay off student loans," said Nicole, who did not want her last name used. "I need the extra money to make ends meet for that."

On Father's Day a few weeks ago, she agreed to work at the Elgin location as a favor.

As she's known to do, Nicole made friends with her customers at the bar-- and made her customers friends with each other.

"What I usually do is introduce them to each other, start chatting it up as a group," Nicole said.

Then, she laid down the bill and one man said, "Let me cover that tab for them.

"I said, 'Are you sure?'" Nicole said. "That's when he filled it out and put the first $500 on there."

Repeat: The first $500.

Then, Nicole's dad walked in to join her

"He was like 'I got their tab' and I was like 'No,' Nicole said. "I gave him the tab and that's when he put $1,000 on there," Nicole said. "I didn't believe it was true. Even today, did that happen?"

It did happen. And it was Nicole's first big cash haul, but not even close to the first time it's ever happen to a Nick's server.

"It's happened six times in our restaurant between Crystal Lake and Elgin. Five hundred dollar tips have happened, I don't even know how many times," said Nick's owner, Nick Sarillo.

Maybe it's Nicole's and her colleague's camaraderie, or the cozy vibe of the crunched peanut shells on the floor, but something makes customers want to leave more than a little extra.

"For me, that's my definition of success in life," Sarillo said.