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  • Post #211 - October 18th, 2008, 8:26 am
    Post #211 - October 18th, 2008, 8:26 am Post #211 - October 18th, 2008, 8:26 am
    jesteinf wrote:Totally honest question:

    If you didn't read LTHForum, is there any way you would know that you need to order ahead of time if you're planning on eating at Burt's?


    If you didn't read LTHForum, you probably wouldn't have the phone number to order ahead anyway. It is unlisted.
  • Post #212 - October 18th, 2008, 8:46 am
    Post #212 - October 18th, 2008, 8:46 am Post #212 - October 18th, 2008, 8:46 am
    It's not *really* unlisted, in that you can find it here, on Yelp, and in 8 of the top 10 google results (almost all in the snippet) for "burt's place, morton grove, il"
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #213 - October 18th, 2008, 10:04 am
    Post #213 - October 18th, 2008, 10:04 am Post #213 - October 18th, 2008, 10:04 am
    Look, I traveled almost 2000 miles to eat at Burt's, and I will gladly go again, but there is no reasonable basis for the "defense" of what happened here.

    A pizza restaurant that has been written about in local and national publications, including a cover spot on Saveur Magazine if I recall correctly, and they turn away someone on a Friday night at 8PM because they have 10 people coming in? Heck, if they had a fire in the kitchen...or if the employees walked out out en masse...then mybe I could understand it.

    Bolivar is owed an apology by Burt's and a free dinner and gas money in my opinion.
    Bob in RSM, CA...yes, I know, it's a long way from Chicago
  • Post #214 - October 18th, 2008, 1:26 pm
    Post #214 - October 18th, 2008, 1:26 pm Post #214 - October 18th, 2008, 1:26 pm
    I was doing such a good job of keeping my mouth shut, but with that last sentence of RSMBob's post I can't contain myself any longer. Further, in rereading this post in order to proof it, I'm having second thoughts about submitting it, but here goes...

    Okay, for starters, Boivar and his wife did not come in on a Friday night, they came in on Thursday, when we close at 9:00pm, not 10:00. Bolivar's initial post was issued on Friday and he makes mention of going to Burt's "last night".

    Now before I go any further, let me just say to Bolivar that I'm sorry you were turned away, and in what would seem to be a less than pleasant manner. However (long pause), let me get this straight; you have read the five and a half pages already posted about Burt's here on LTH, you have read about the quirks and oddities of the place, you have read the posts from folks who have had similar experiences to yours due to not calling ahead, you have read further posts from a myriad of other posters who STRONGLY recommend that you do call your order in ahead of time, you actually had the foresight to make a call to make sure the place was open and yet, you did not place your order??? Sorry sparky, but you're losing sympathy points real quick here.

    As for how this unfortunate situation could have occurred. let me posit a possible scenario based on 35 years of experience. Bolivar called to check on Burt's hours at 6:00pm. He wasn't told to order ahead of time when he called. He may have hung up before anyone had the chance to make that suggestion. Or, there may not have been any immediate need to place an order when he called at 6:00pm. It might have been dead; I'm quite certain that they didn't even know about the party of 10 people until much later in the evening.

    As for those 10 people "taking everything we've got"; at that time of the evening that may have very well been the case. Burt makes the pizza dough well before the beginning of the night so that it can rise a couple of times and then get patted into pans where it rises again. He makes enough dough for any given night based on his best guess after 45 years of being in the business.

    If the early part of the evening is busier than expected, he still has time to make an additional batch of dough which can rise sufficiently to be used later in the night. However, there is a certain point in the evening where it is pointless to make more dough as it will not be ready to be used before they are closed. That's why it was possible for them to run out of dough one hour before closing on a Thursday night.

    I suspect this is what happened to Bolivar that Thursday night. He called at 6:00pm when there was no inkling of what was to come, so no urging for an advance order. During the TWO HOURS from the time he called to the time time they actually showed up, there may have been some other business at Burt's (imagine), including, but not limited to, the 10 people who were smart enough to call their order in ahead of time.

    As for the notion that our "celeb" customers get preferential treatment, you could not be more wrong. I have regretfully turned away many a familiar face who we simply could not accommodate in a reasonable amount of time. It is no fun I can assure you. We do not live to send people packing. We want to comfortably serve as many people as possible. Calling ahead makes this possible.

    The simple fact is, we are a small restaurant; there is no "secret" back room that will take on an additional 30 customers. As has been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, there is one pizza oven that will only hold so many pizzas at a time. There is only one guy making all the pizzas and most of the other food. And that is why people come to Burt's. That is what earned him a GNR. That is what got him on the cover of Saveur.

    Pre-ordering is not a big secret. In addition to LTH, Burt's has been reviewed now on Yelp, Centerstage, SeriousEats, Menuism, Chowhound, Planet99, Chicago Pizza Club, Tastybeat, and whole mess of others, all of which have shared both success stories and failures based on the calling ahead issue. It shouldn't even be an issue anymore.

    There's probably more I've got to say, but probably shouldn't. Besides, I've got to get ready to go into work at Burt's tonight.

    Buddy
  • Post #215 - October 18th, 2008, 11:13 pm
    Post #215 - October 18th, 2008, 11:13 pm Post #215 - October 18th, 2008, 11:13 pm
    Buddy,

    Your well-thought out reply is appreciated. Heck, you are probably the main reason I did make the trek to Burt's though it's not exactly convenient coming from southern California, even when visiting my family in Downers Grove.

    Bottom line is there is no winner here. Stuff happens...it was a tough night all around. 20+ years ago I worked in the restaurant industry as a high school and college kid, and I know what it was like when we closed at 9 and sure enough, at 8:57 a party of 6 would come in, order, and linger...argh. I do think given the situation...and yes, a pizza place CAN certainly run out of dough...that Bolivar should have been treated more kindly and respectfully, quirks or not.
    Bob in RSM, CA...yes, I know, it's a long way from Chicago
  • Post #216 - October 19th, 2008, 3:22 pm
    Post #216 - October 19th, 2008, 3:22 pm Post #216 - October 19th, 2008, 3:22 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:. . . let me get this straight; you have read the five and a half pages already posted about Burt's . . . you actually had the foresight to make a call to make sure the place was open and yet, you did not place your order??? Sorry sparky, but you're losing sympathy points real quick here. Buddy


    I respectfully disagree. And if your mind set were other than defending your employer, I would think you would see it more clearly and acknowledge that customer service is oftentimes a big, big problem at Burt's. And of course it's not when you are there, but many, many other times. But on this and other sites there are reports that people have gotten poorly served and treated too many times at Burt's. And I have seen, observed and personally read about too many customer service problems at Burt's.

    The business needs to improve and their client base needs to support and reinforce that with ownership. Or else turn it into a private club as someone above suggested. As long as they are open to the public, more must reasonably be expected. The owner is a "nice guy" but what happened to Bolivar is terrible and apologies plus would be insufficient in the opinion of many others reading this.

    It was a shame that Bolivar traveled from way far away (think I read 30 plus miles or more) and would get treated in the fashion he and his family was. I can just imagine traveling from so far away and not knowing the roads and maybe the Chicago highways and expresssways too well to get to the "north side somewhere," and not knowing exactly (or even approximately) what time one can really arrive at, but desiring what has been reported as a good pizza tasting experience, how does one reasonably say "and have the pizza ready at 7:47 pm" (or "thereabouts!"). Nonsense. There is not a rule on this thread that indicates that one could only get a pizza if they called ahead.

    Most pizza places that I know of make a supply of dough for more than the night and refrigerate anything unused for the next day's use. That is commonplace at 95% of most pizzerias. And refrigerated dough, according to many pizza making websites, is oftentimes superior in some people's opinion, to that made for daily use. I'm not saying it is, but a business must do what is necessary to satisfy customers, or get out of the business of trying to serve customers. I agree with RSMBob, Bolivar is owed an apology by Burt's. I don't think it can be simpler than that.

    Otherwise, OK, here is the rule folks: DON'T go to Burt's unless you call in advance and get a commitment that they have enough dough for your order. Otherwise stay away. And if you get a commitment . . . good luck . . .
  • Post #217 - October 19th, 2008, 4:12 pm
    Post #217 - October 19th, 2008, 4:12 pm Post #217 - October 19th, 2008, 4:12 pm
    Sundaze wrote:Most pizza places that I know of make a supply of dough for more than the night and refrigerate anything unused for the next day's use. That is commonplace at 95% of most pizzerias.



    And 73.6% of those are not worth eating.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #218 - October 19th, 2008, 4:26 pm
    Post #218 - October 19th, 2008, 4:26 pm Post #218 - October 19th, 2008, 4:26 pm
    Sundaze wrote:The business needs to improve and their client base needs to support and reinforce that with ownership. Or else turn it into a private club as someone above suggested . . .

    Frankly, Burt needs to do nothing. The man's 70+ years old and probably making just as many pizzas and as just much money as he desires. He's not going to change and I'm guessing that he couldn't care less about about the complaints. He's obviously at capacity and has a large enough customer base that he's not worrying about eroding it, at this point.

    I would call what happened to Bolivar unfortunate but I wouldn't call it a shame. It's too bad that when he called, no one apparently suggested that he pre-order. It's too bad that even after reading this thread, he didn't ask about that detail.

    Burt is a business owner. He's not an indentured or public servant. As long as he doesn't discriminate, follows the health code and pays his taxes, he's free to run his business as he sees fit. We, as prospective customers, have 2 choices: we're free to patronize his business or we can choose to avoid it. Complaining may make some of us feel better but beyond that, it's unlikely to have any effect at all. I get the distinct feeling that Burt's been doing this long enough to have already considered the potential repercussions of his actions, and determined that he doesn't give a rat's ass. When is the customer not always right? When the business owner in question can survive on his own terms. In many ways, I envy Burt. I'm not at liberty to run my business the way he runs his but a boy can dream . . . :wink:

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #219 - October 19th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Post #219 - October 19th, 2008, 4:33 pm Post #219 - October 19th, 2008, 4:33 pm
    Sundaze wrote:Otherwise, OK, here is the rule folks: DON'T go to Burt's unless you call in advance and get a commitment that they have enough dough for your order. Otherwise stay away. And if you get a commitment . . . good luck . . .
    Is Sundazed saying that Burt and Sharon don't keep their promises? What is the basis of this accusation? Has this person called in an order and it was not ready? This statement is ridiculous hyperbole and borders on libel.
  • Post #220 - October 19th, 2008, 4:44 pm
    Post #220 - October 19th, 2008, 4:44 pm Post #220 - October 19th, 2008, 4:44 pm
    The business needs to improve and their client base needs to support and reinforce that with ownership. Or else turn it into a private club as someone above suggested. As long as they are open to the public, more must reasonably be expected.


    Why!
    This line of reasoning continues to amaze me.
    I have been disapointed by a number of places that have not lived up to expectations where either the food or service are bad or I feel that I wasn't treated properly. It happens and I don't go back because I choose not to.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #221 - October 19th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    Post #221 - October 19th, 2008, 5:30 pm Post #221 - October 19th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    Ronnie: You sound like me. I said the same thing when I read the various posts. Burt puts out a fine product and he puts it out on his terms. To say that this is a "mom and pop" operation, is a true statement. When we call ahead and place an order, we are greeted with sincere appreciation for not only our ordering, but our patronage. And I'm talking sincere thanks-be it from Burt, Sharon or Buddy So lighten up folks. Let's enjoy Burt's for what it is. .
  • Post #222 - October 19th, 2008, 6:45 pm
    Post #222 - October 19th, 2008, 6:45 pm Post #222 - October 19th, 2008, 6:45 pm
    While I agree that, under ideal circumstances, things shouldn't happen at Burt's the way the sometimes do. But the fact is, all the complaining in the world isn't going to change the way things are. Burt will close up and retire before he changes. Good or bad, that's the reality of the the situation.
  • Post #223 - October 19th, 2008, 7:02 pm
    Post #223 - October 19th, 2008, 7:02 pm Post #223 - October 19th, 2008, 7:02 pm
    Sundaze wrote:. The owner is a "nice guy" but what happened to Bolivar is terrible and apologies plus would be insufficient in the opinion of many others reading this.


    .



    Really? What if he showed up at, say, Alinea, without a reservation, at opening, the restaurant would be less than full, and he was told that they would not be able to accomodate him. Do you think an apology that he could not be served would be insufficient?

    Kinda the same thing in my eyes.

    He showed up, they couldn't serve him (or her) because they they were booked. Sorry seems to be enough.
    Check out my Blog. http://lessercuts.blogspot.com/
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  • Post #224 - October 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm
    Post #224 - October 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm Post #224 - October 19th, 2008, 7:10 pm
    thick wrote:So lighten up folks. Let's enjoy Burt's for what it is.

    Doesn't seem to me that it's really an either/or. I totally agree that Burt's is a treasure that should never change, and I feel "more power to Burt and Sharon" for being able to do things on their own terms. I also feel the response Bolivar got at Burt's was unfortunate, and my empathy for him as a customer doesn't allow me simply to say "them's the breaks," or "what did you expect?"

    If there is a guilty party, it may not be Burt and Sharon, or Bolivar--but LTH itself! We are the ones who turned Burt's from a hidden neighborhood gem, known only to exactly as many patrons as it could serve, into a "find"--a find later to be found by Saveur and Anthony Bourdain, not to mention, apparently, the whole food-blogging world. Burt and Sharon may not want to work as hard as they now have to, and I wouldn't blame them if they didn't. The LTH Effect may not be an unmixed blessing for them.

    Would I know about Burt's if it weren't for LTH? No, I wouldn't, so I'm grateful that LTH turned me onto it, by simply doing the thing that LTH was designed to do--create a community in which people could share their restaurant discoveries with one another. But that can be a double-edged sword.
  • Post #225 - October 19th, 2008, 7:26 pm
    Post #225 - October 19th, 2008, 7:26 pm Post #225 - October 19th, 2008, 7:26 pm
    Strike LTHforum down with a lightening bolt!

    The first damning post that brought Burt's to our attention was written by none other than BuddyRoadHouse himself! Dated March 27, 2006.

    There was an eerie silence broken by this post by Josephine who I joined for a two-pizza night dining at Burt's and Pequods to see if BuddyRoadHouse was was right or wrong. We would have been very delighted to have written a response either way. Dated April 7, 2006.

    It has been all downhill for Burt ever since.

    My sincere apologies. :D

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #226 - October 19th, 2008, 9:01 pm
    Post #226 - October 19th, 2008, 9:01 pm Post #226 - October 19th, 2008, 9:01 pm
    JLenart wrote:

    Really? What if he showed up at, say, Alinea, without a reservation, at opening, the restaurant would be less than full, and he was told that they would not be able to accomodate him. Do you think an apology that he could not be served would be insufficient?

    Kinda the same thing in my eyes.

    He showed up, they couldn't serve him (or her) because they they were booked. Sorry seems to be enough.


    I don't think it's the same at all. A fine dining restaurant that expects to have a full house turning someone away is different in a few respects. First, it's a general expectation that "fancy" restaurants are more likely to require reservations. Second, the fine dining establish very likely would apologize to the customer, which didn't happen according to Bolivar's telling. Third, I've never been turned away from a restaurant because they had no food, and certainly not because it was an hour before closing and there were ten people in the restaurant.

    Before I'm attacked for wanting to "tell someone how to run their business," let me say that I have no intention of doing that. All I'm saying is that this is a very strange and unique situation. Plenty of people run businesses in ways that perplex others. Rudeness, strange decisions, etc., are present wherever you go. But the seeming indifference to whether you please the people who allow you to do what you do, combined with running your business in such a way that it doesn't fulfill its purpose (that being serving people pizza), seems to be not just a bad business plan, but a complete lack of manners as well.

    I agree completely that no one can tell Burt how to run his business, but at the same time, no one can tell Bolivar or anyone else that they have to like how the business is run. I think a few of you need to recognize how to tolerate opinions that don't dovetail with your own.
  • Post #227 - October 19th, 2008, 9:39 pm
    Post #227 - October 19th, 2008, 9:39 pm Post #227 - October 19th, 2008, 9:39 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote: Sorry sparky, but you're losing sympathy points real quick here.


    Yes, Burt can run a business any way he darned well pleases. No, he's certainly not going to change nor does he need to, evidently.

    I ordered once from Burt's, was prepared for the worst service and plenty of attitude, but got fine service and even a smile. I thought the pizza was pretty good. Overrated (gasp) in my opinion, but very good.

    But I think the fact that a legitimately disgruntled patron who expressed his negative thoughts in a fair and appropriate way is addressed as "sparky" by one's of Burt's chief employees shows that at times the crusty and lovable Burt's experience can cross over into borderline arrogance and even a demeaning tone.

    The guy was rightfully ticked off about his experience. Should he have known to call his order in ahead? Maybe. But for others to compare showing up at Alinea without a reservation to not phoning in a pizza order at an establishment that can't handle 10 customers an hour before it closes is laughable.

    I'm not saying that Burt, Buddy or anyone within a 20 mile radius of Morton Grove should give two hoots about what I say or frankly any comments in any forum. I think it would be comical for anyone to threaten not to go there again. Burt doesn't care about that, nor would most people who have run a business for 30+ years any way they darn well please.

    But it amazes me how much Burt's kool-aid floats around this board and he gets a free pass by so many because his pizza tastes good to a bunch of foodies and plenty of common folk. There's enough proof that the man can be wonderful, but also plenty of evidence that he can also really treat people lousy. Yes, it's fine to say that the man's pizza is the best on the planet, but that doesn't mean his acerbic demeanor or sometimes crotchety outlook is so lovable or even acceptable.
  • Post #228 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    Post #228 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm Post #228 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    mikehartnett wrote:I think a few of you need to recognize how to tolerate opinions that don't dovetail with your own.


    Bravo.
  • Post #229 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    Post #229 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm Post #229 - October 19th, 2008, 10:03 pm
    Yes, it's fine to say that the man's pizza is the best on the planet, but that doesn't mean his acerbic demeanor or sometimes crotchety outlook is so lovable or even acceptable.


    It's acceptable to me. I won't cry if his business goes back down to pre-Saveur levels, and I don't think he would, either.

    My personal experiences with the service have been exceptional, but if yours haven't been, or you're concerned they won't be, don't go. Makes it easier for my pizzas to get a spot in the oven.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #230 - October 19th, 2008, 10:16 pm
    Post #230 - October 19th, 2008, 10:16 pm Post #230 - October 19th, 2008, 10:16 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Strike LTHforum down with a lightening bolt!

    The first damning post that brought Burt's to our attention was written by none other than BuddyRoadHouse himself! Dated March 27, 2006.

    There was an eerie silence broken by this post by Josephine who I joined for a two-pizza night dining at Burt's and Pequods to see if BuddyRoadHouse was was right or wrong. We would have been very delighted to have written a response either way. Dated April 7, 2006.

    It has been all downhill for Burt ever since.

    My sincere apologies. :D

    Regards,
    Apologies accepted, along with many thanks to you and Josephine for being the brave souls who took me up on the dare.

    I'm fascinated by the range of responses here. There are a lot of points to cover, and I'm going to admit up front that I'll most likely miss something, so apologies for that. First off, there's the notion that Bolivar is owed anything beyond an apology. Sorry, but I don't buy it. Assuming that his experience unfolded exactly the way it was described in his post, I'm not sure what else could have been done to appease the Bolivar family, except to be a bit more pleasant in sending them on their way. When you're out of food, you're out of food.

    There's no secret agenda, no saying, "Y'know, I'm tired, I think we'll close up early tonight." In fact, if there were 10 people soon to show up on Burt's doorstep, I can assure you, if he had the food to serve, he would just as soon do as much more business as was possible while sitting there with the big group.

    As for Burt making more dough than he needs and then refrigerating the rest, he goes one better: He makes more dough than he needs and throws the leftovers away at the end of the night! He determined years ago that leftover dough did not give him the proper texture and consistency that he wanted in his finished product. Rather than taking the cost effective route, he stuck to the principles of high quality.

    Unfortunately, there are rare occasions when even "more than enough" just isn't enough. As I described in my first response to this issue, there is a breaking point in the evening where it simply doesn't pay to make more dough as it will not be ready to be used in time. If the order from the 10 people came in after that break point, then Burt's hands are tied and there was absolutely nothing that could have been done to have enough dough beyond the big order.

    The "Alinea" argument intrigues me too because I had the same thought and the same internal response as mikehartnett (see, I can be objective) when he wrote, "it's a general expectation that 'fancy' restaurants are more likely to require reservations." As I thought it out though, I settled on the logic that while Burt's isn't a "fancy" restaurant, it is not the typical assembly line pizza joint either. Different rules apply.

    The call ahead "rule" isn't a rule because Burt dictates it to be so, it's a rule because anyone with an ounce of common sense understands that it is the best way to do things given the circumstances of Burt's limited resources (seating space, oven space, and time constraints that are a result of the two prior items). Further, as I stated in my initial response to Bolivar and any other outraged parties, those limitations are no secret.

    As has been pointed out by myself and more than a few others, Burt's has been reviewed both positively and negatively on nearly a dozen different websites. The overwhelming number of negative reviews were posted by people who didn't bother to call ahead. They were met with reactions similar to the one Bolivar received. However, without being privy to the conversation, I cannot speak for Sharon or her manners one way or the other.

    I will say that when I am confronted by someone who did not call ahead on a busy night, I try to temper my response. But the simple fact is, if I've got a restaurant FULL of people who did call ahead, I'm going to bust my hump to take the best possible care of them and not compromise their experience for someone who didn't think to make the call.

    Finally, as for my bias in this matter, I think some of my comments above will illustrate my relative level of objectivity. Even if I were not personally involved, I would recognize that some common sense has be exercised. To reiterate, Bolivar stated that he had read this thread, understood the pluses and minuses involved, even went so far as to make a call to check on the hours and still didn't bother to place an order. Then he expected the conditions that existed when he called at 6:00pm to be exactly the same when he arrived at 8:00pm.

    Folks, I miss opportunities all the time in both my business and personal life; we all do. The mature ones among us realize the parts we ourselves played in creating these disappointments. The immature ones always blame someone else. If Bolivar was spoken to harshly, I apologize for that. But the fact is that he himself, knowing in advance all the circumstances described above, made his own failed evening.

    In fact, consider this: If Bolivar had called his order in ahead of time, those 10 people who shut him and his family out might have been the ones who were turned down.

    That's all I've got for now. Tomorrow morning I leave for a distributor's food show in Reno. With any luck I'll meet some of them wacky Reno cops I've seen on the TV.

    Buddy
  • Post #231 - October 20th, 2008, 1:09 am
    Post #231 - October 20th, 2008, 1:09 am Post #231 - October 20th, 2008, 1:09 am
    JLenart wrote:Really? What if he showed up at, say, Alinea, without a reservation, at opening, the restaurant would be less than full, and he was told that they would not be able to accomodate him. Do you think an apology that he could not be served would be insufficient?

    If you called Alinea and asked "What time do you close?" would they tell you the time without mentioning that reservations would be required or that they were booked for the evening?

    What if you made reservations at a fine-dining spot and they didn't warn you that a jacket would be required, but turned you away when you arrived without? How about if you wanted a light meal and only discovered when you arrived that a degustation menu was all that's offered? Or arrived at a bar to discover they won't serve chardonnay, Cosmos or gin-and-tonics?

    How much homework should a potential customer need to do before going to a restaurant? How much responsibility does a business have to let customers know ahead of time of its rules or idiosyncrasies?

    This has been an interesting discussion and perhaps belongs in the Where do you go to be abused? thread.

    Some restaurants bend over backwards to accommodate customers; others operate on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Burt's is the latter. It has its ardent followers who are prepared to deal with its idiosyncratic rules.

    People who don't care to put up with those quirks may prefer to go to Pequod's, which makes the same style of pizza in less kitschy surroundings, doesn't require reservations or pre-ordering and takes credit cards. It's less unique an experience and whether the pizza is as good is arguable, but you won't risk being turned away.

    Pequod's Pizzeria
    847/470-916
    8520 Fernald Ave., Morton Grove
    http://www.pequodspizza.com
  • Post #232 - October 20th, 2008, 5:37 am
    Post #232 - October 20th, 2008, 5:37 am Post #232 - October 20th, 2008, 5:37 am
    Okay, I know I said wouldn't comment any further on this topic until after I returned from my trip to Reno, but there I was lying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off when I had an epiphany. I think I finally understand the main issue that is sticking in several people's collective craw.

    Of course, there's the one concern about how the Bolivars were spoken to. I think I have addressed this sufficiently; I wasn't there to hear the actual exchange, so I can't really comment on that, other than to express apologies if it all happened exactly the way it was described.

    I think the other concern, which I have just realized, is that when Bolivar called to check on the hours, he was told 9:00pm, and in some of your minds there is an enforceable contractual obligation to be open and have food available until that time.

    Interesting. Now, I'm not just dismissing this notion. I've given it some thought and have come up with this potential scenario: Let's say that the 10 people had called and placed their order well before that breaking point in the evening when it no longer makes sense to produce any more pizza dough. Burt says to himself, "Hmmm, this order is going to clean me out. I'd better make some more dough; enough to last until the end of the night. In fact, I'll make enough dough to make 50 pizzas just to make sure I'm covered"

    So he does that and all appears to be right with the world. Now, at 7:59pm--one minute before Bolivar walks in the door--a group organizer for the NRA calls up and says, "Hey Burt, we're having a big meeting here to organize a rally to protest Morton Grove's anti-handgun laws. We're gonna need 50 pizzas to feed the crowd; here's my order." Leaving everyone in the exact same situation they were in before.

    My point is, regardless of my absurd story, you never know how many calls you're going to get in a night. You can only do so much prep work. You can only anticipate so far before it becomes ludicrous. If in fact Bolivar was treated rudely in all of this, it was wrong, and one more time, I apologize for it. However, that was the only real and definable offense that was committed that night.

    Buddy
  • Post #233 - October 20th, 2008, 8:10 am
    Post #233 - October 20th, 2008, 8:10 am Post #233 - October 20th, 2008, 8:10 am
    I too learned about Burt's from this website. I've posted before about, when telling people the "rules" about Burt's, that more than a few compared it to the soup vendor on Seinfeld. That doesn't stop me from wanting to go there. In fact, I gleaned enough info from this board to know to call before going. So, if I can do it, why can't others? Maybe people are reading every other or every third post and somehow skipping the relevant information. I doubt it, but it is possible.

    I have found Burt and Sharon to be way more than friendly whenever we've been there. I've seen folks come in without calling ahead. Did they get a puzzling look from Sharon? Yes. Were they treated rudely or sent away? No. Does it seem to fluster her? Maybe, a little. Sharon just goes in back to see if Burt can accomodate them. I've never seen it where they couldn't, although it wasn't ever near closing time.

    I, in fact, love the fact that you can call ahead. We dine often with our four year old daughter. She hasn't much patience, so the fact that we can call ahead and have a pizza ready within 5 minutes of arriving is great. No fidgeting at the table while a pizza cooks. My daughter adores Burt. (I think she thinks he's Santa Claus ;) )
    She always asks for Burt to come out so she can say hi whenever we are there. She loves talking to him and Sharon. They are always very nice to her. In fact, we took her there for her birthday dinner. Burt gave her a present. A small stuffed dog. I'm sure it was just something he had lying around, but it sure made her day to get a present from Burt himself.

    They are very nice people who want to run their restauarant a certain way. Who are we to say they should or they shouldn't do it the way they see fit?
  • Post #234 - October 20th, 2008, 8:57 am
    Post #234 - October 20th, 2008, 8:57 am Post #234 - October 20th, 2008, 8:57 am
    Cathy2 wrote:There was an eerie silence broken by this post by Josephine who I joined for a two-pizza night dining at Burt's and Pequods to see if BuddyRoadHouse was was right or wrong. We would have been very delighted to have written a response either way. Dated April 7, 2006.

    Little did you know at the time, Cathy, that you and Josephine opened up Pandora's box.

    Fun to stroll down memory lane on the thread you linked. I see that my own (grateful, excited) first post on a visit to Burt's occured just five weeks after yours. I'm not usually as on the cutting edge as that!
  • Post #235 - October 20th, 2008, 9:03 am
    Post #235 - October 20th, 2008, 9:03 am Post #235 - October 20th, 2008, 9:03 am
    mikehartnett wrote: I think a few of you need to recognize how to tolerate opinions that don't dovetail with your own.


    If this was directed at me, that's cool.

    However I find that I do recognize the opinions of others. I'm one of the very few here who found love for Chalkboard and the now closed Erba, dissent from the love of Bistro Campagne and a few others and am quite open to the opinions of other LTHers.

    Hearing these opinions and discussing them in an open and friendly forum is what makes LTH a great place.

    My first experience with Burt's was the same as a few here. I wander in, want to be seated in the mostly empty restaurant and was told no. Not in a rude way at all.

    It didn't stop me from trying again following the odd procedures of the owners. And I'll do it again.
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  • Post #236 - October 20th, 2008, 9:16 am
    Post #236 - October 20th, 2008, 9:16 am Post #236 - October 20th, 2008, 9:16 am
    LAZ wrote:What if you made reservations at a fine-dining spot and they didn't warn you that a jacket would be required, but turned you away when you arrived without?

    I had a very similar experience at Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa, FL. We called in advance to ask if shorts were permitted and were told that they were. Made perfect sense, as it was 90+ F with 100% humidity.

    However, when we arrived at the restaurant, we were told that because we were wearing shorts, we could only be seated in the lounge. Having driven nearly 90 minutes from Orlando, we were upset because we didn't want to sit in the lounge -- with the smokers -- so we asked to speak to a manager. We recounted our phone conversation to the manager on duty, who claimed to be the person to whom we had the phone conversation. He wouldn't budge and was remarkably unaccomodating. We didn't ask for an apology. We didn't whine about what happened (well, maybe just a little :wink:). But the point is, we went somewhere else for dinner and had a great meal. I've returned to the area several times since then and have never even considered going to Bern's. I could care less if they change their policy or their manner one bit because it's irrevelant to me. I'll never set foot in the place. They're free to run their restaurant in the way they want and I'm free to accept it or not. I'm sure they're not hurting for business and that's part of the point. I don't expect them to change. They're doing just fine running the place the way they do and I'm happy to avoid the place knowing that they do not meet my personal standards.

    As an aside, we were bemused to see all the cargo pants and torn blue jeans coming out of the restaurant as we stood in the parking lot deciding where to go for dinner.

    =R=
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  • Post #237 - October 20th, 2008, 9:32 am
    Post #237 - October 20th, 2008, 9:32 am Post #237 - October 20th, 2008, 9:32 am
    I've got nothing of any value to add, but can't help but think that the barbecue world has done a good job of tempering customer expectations. It is not unheard of down here to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning, drive over an hour to a barbecue shack, wait in a mile-long line, finally get to the front only to find out they're sold out. And yet we shrug it off as the nature of the business. Go home, regroup, and try again next time. It's not an apt comparison, I realize. This thread just made me think about that for a sec.
  • Post #238 - October 20th, 2008, 9:39 am
    Post #238 - October 20th, 2008, 9:39 am Post #238 - October 20th, 2008, 9:39 am
    I've gotten to the point on this thread where I just can't contain myself.

    I grew up about 4 blocks from Pequod's, about 6 blocks from Burt's, and have been eating this pizza for, um, 40 years. I've been perfectly happy knowing that Burt was the original owner of Pequod's and that his pizza was one of my favorites and that his tiny, quiet, former blacksmith shop created a great product.

    Then came LTH. Doomsday, armageddon, and patrons. Damn.

    My favorite tiny neighborhood pizza place, the one I don't get to very often anymore because I live 20 miles away, has become something "other". Fancy that, it has even been compared to Alinea!

    For crying out loud. ANY restaurant that gets this much ink spilled is going to have trouble living up to diners' expectations, whatever they may be. So let's take a collective breath and recognize this is a dinky, family run joint producing a specialty product with a long lead time. Assembly line it ain't.

    BuddyRoadhouse is right and shouldn't have to keep defending his employers (and friends). I feel badly for those who have had a less than perfect experience. I find it helps me in these situations to sigh softly and remind myself that it's only dinner and not the end of the world. I regroup and start looking for other places to eat. What's my alternative? Getting mad hurts me, not anyone else, especially at a place where the owner is quite comfortable doing things his own way.

    Enough already.
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #239 - October 20th, 2008, 9:40 am
    Post #239 - October 20th, 2008, 9:40 am Post #239 - October 20th, 2008, 9:40 am
    Hear, hear.
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  • Post #240 - October 20th, 2008, 9:51 am
    Post #240 - October 20th, 2008, 9:51 am Post #240 - October 20th, 2008, 9:51 am
    I agree that there has been more than enough about this already, and one perhaps unnoticed and unfortunate outcome is that a new poster has been unnecessarily bashed throughout. Bolivar didn't attack Burt, Sharon, or anyone else in his post, and he didn't demand any apologies. He posted about his experience and asked whether it was typical. I actually found the data point he provided useful. I've always known that one might have to wait a very long time at Burt's, but never knew that also meant you could be turned away an hour before closing. By no means do I think Burt has any obligation to change this practice, but - as a potential customer – I think it’s useful information. If I ever do show up unannounced, I'll be sure to have a backup plan.

    So, to Bolivar: Welcome to LTHForum. I don't think you've done anything wrong here, and I hope you continue to post about your restaurant experiences.

    Kennyz
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

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