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Great Lake, best pizza in america

Great Lake, best pizza in america
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  • Post #181 - January 14th, 2010, 7:31 am
    Post #181 - January 14th, 2010, 7:31 am Post #181 - January 14th, 2010, 7:31 am
    I have heard that it has taken Nick ten years to perfect his pizza to the level it is at. If so, that may be as close to rocket science as any one restaurant/pizzeria product can get. :lol:
  • Post #182 - January 14th, 2010, 8:14 am
    Post #182 - January 14th, 2010, 8:14 am Post #182 - January 14th, 2010, 8:14 am
    Q. One of our “You’re the Boss” bloggers suggested that if you raised prices, you would make more money and have fewer but happier customers.

    Ms. Esparza: That goes to an elite crowd and we’re not after that.


    I find it hard to believe that they aren't already relatively serving this crowd.
    Reading is a right. Censorship is not.
  • Post #183 - January 14th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Post #183 - January 14th, 2010, 9:01 am Post #183 - January 14th, 2010, 9:01 am
    Yeah, like this is a $17 pizza for the masses. Still, with those crowds there's obviously some degree to which they could jack up the prices further before they scare off everybody.
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  • Post #184 - January 14th, 2010, 10:08 am
    Post #184 - January 14th, 2010, 10:08 am Post #184 - January 14th, 2010, 10:08 am
    Thinking about going to GL soon, does anyone one know what the specialty pizza/pizza of the month is? or has on it? Chorizo? Pancetta?
  • Post #185 - January 14th, 2010, 10:11 am
    Post #185 - January 14th, 2010, 10:11 am Post #185 - January 14th, 2010, 10:11 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:But again, this is pizza we're talking about, and freshness of ingredients aside, it's not rocket science. I haven't been here yet, but at least I know I can.


    If it's not hard, then maybe you should do it and make the same quality of pizza - but make a larger store with more ovens, employees, and throughput. But you're not, because it's not "easy" to make consistently great pizza, or it would be everywhere.

    You should go. You write a lot about a place you haven't experienced.
  • Post #186 - January 14th, 2010, 10:12 am
    Post #186 - January 14th, 2010, 10:12 am Post #186 - January 14th, 2010, 10:12 am
    boshow48111 wrote:Thinking about going to GL soon, does anyone one know what the specialty pizza/pizza of the month is? or has on it? Chorizo? Pancetta?


    I'll try to peek in tonight, but it's not a "monthly" thing really. It changes whenever they feel like trying a new type of pizza.

    My favorite has been the sopressata. I hope they make that again soon.
  • Post #187 - January 14th, 2010, 11:20 am
    Post #187 - January 14th, 2010, 11:20 am Post #187 - January 14th, 2010, 11:20 am
    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    These guys are going to have to alienate a lot of people before their dining room is empty. This -- and the fact that are clearly not doing this for the money -- allows them to run their business in the way they see fit. As the quotes from the interview linked above show, they feel like providing the best possible product is providing the best customer service. That's their philosophy -- into which a tremendous amount of work goes -- and there are droves for whom that's enough. They can easily maintain (and probably grow) their business without having to ammend it for those who don't like or agree with it.

    Vitesse98 wrote:Cue the inevitable "if you don't like they way they do business, then don't go there" post. Or the "if it's so bad, why is it so busy?" post. There's a lot of middle ground to be explored here.

    I disagree 100%. There is no middle ground at all, as far as I'm concerned. This isn't a public trust. It's a privately-owned business. They don't owe it to anyone to change who they are or the way they do things. It's pretty clear what the deal is at Great Lake and deciding whether to accept it or not is a far better use of one's time than exploring the non-existent middle ground or trying to change it. I don't know these guys at all but from what I've read, I'm guessing that if their business dried up, they'd close the shop before they'd ammend how they run it. They're staying true to their philosophy, which is a natural extension of who they are. That's refreshing, even if it isn't to everyone's liking.

    =R=
    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 #188 - January 14th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    Post #188 - January 14th, 2010, 1:22 pm Post #188 - January 14th, 2010, 1:22 pm
    They can do whatever they want. They can double the price and kick me in the nuts when I pick up a pie. It's their place. But the product at hand is more than just the pizza (in this case). Otherwise it would be takeout only. They invite people in, so it shouldn't surprise them when people show up. I'm sure, wait aside, that 95% of all visits to Great Lakes are positive, and I'm sure the pizza is great. My point has always been that in each profile I read, I leave with a feeling of their complete, cold disinterest in the customer as anything more than someone lucky enough to eat their food. Just an unusual slant from a restaurant. Maybe they should just stop doing interviews. I mean, what's to be gained from them at this point? Bigger crowds? More attention? God forbid.

    By middle ground I meant something like, I don't know, a heat lamp outside in the winter. Something that ultimately affects them not one bit but shows they care.

    And please, the "why don't you do it yourself, then" is the hoariest ad hominem debate tactic. Clearly service is an issue here. It may not be important to you, Chitown, but it is a subject deserving of discussion.
  • Post #189 - January 14th, 2010, 1:58 pm
    Post #189 - January 14th, 2010, 1:58 pm Post #189 - January 14th, 2010, 1:58 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:By middle ground I meant something like, I don't know, a heat lamp outside in the winter. Something that ultimately affects them not one bit but shows they care.

    Thank you, for clarifying this. I still don't see things like this happening at Great Lake but now I know what you mean.

    Looking at this specific example -- a heat lamp -- it would affect them in many ways. It would require an initial purchase, gas refills or an electrical hook-up, possible installation and maintenance. Installing one might even require a permit. A stand-alone unit would need to be taken outside and brought inside everyday it's in use. Once operating, it could become a safety hazard when it's wet out (what if it gets knocked over and someone gets injured?). If the line extends 10' down the sidewalk, only a small portion of those waiting would reap its benefit anyway. I can see a lot of reasons, especially with an endlessly full dining room, that a heat lamp would be a huge, unnecessary hassle and one that would likely lead to additional headaches.

    Why can't obsessive dedication to making fantastic pizza be enough to show customers they care?

    =R=
    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 #190 - January 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm
    Post #190 - January 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm Post #190 - January 14th, 2010, 2:11 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Why can't obsessive dedication to making fantastic pizza be enough to show customers they care?

    This is the midwest - we like our obsessive dedication with a side of smiles and "hey how's it going" :)
  • Post #191 - January 14th, 2010, 2:14 pm
    Post #191 - January 14th, 2010, 2:14 pm Post #191 - January 14th, 2010, 2:14 pm
    Following up on Neighbor Mike's idea, if their accountant says they're doing fine, what about hiring a hostess?
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #192 - January 14th, 2010, 2:17 pm
    Post #192 - January 14th, 2010, 2:17 pm Post #192 - January 14th, 2010, 2:17 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Why can't obsessive dedication to making fantastic pizza be enough to show customers they care?
    =R=


    sounds like customers are incidental to their goals/objectives.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #193 - January 14th, 2010, 2:23 pm
    Post #193 - January 14th, 2010, 2:23 pm Post #193 - January 14th, 2010, 2:23 pm
    teatpuller wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Why can't obsessive dedication to making fantastic pizza be enough to show customers they care?
    =R=


    sounds like customers are incidental to their goals/objectives.

    Maybe so and that's definitely not the way I run my business but with the cat out of the bag, why is there still such longing for them to be something they're not?

    =R=
    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 #194 - January 14th, 2010, 2:32 pm
    Post #194 - January 14th, 2010, 2:32 pm Post #194 - January 14th, 2010, 2:32 pm
    Katie wrote:. . . if their accountant says they're doing fine, what about hiring a hostess?

    You answered your own question. If they're doing fine -- and making plenty of customers happy -- why bother changing anything? Maybe they like the vibe working together and don't want to change it. Hiring an outside person is no small change, especially when you work with your spouse. Maybe they don't want to spend the money. Whatever. It can be a drag being responsible for someone else, especially an additional employee.

    =R=
    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 #195 - January 14th, 2010, 2:45 pm
    Post #195 - January 14th, 2010, 2:45 pm Post #195 - January 14th, 2010, 2:45 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Maybe so and that's definitely not the way I run my business but with the cat out of the bag, why is there still such longing for them to be something they're not?

    =R=


    I dunno. I would guess most people don't lose sleep over it, but it's something to discuss. Personally, I don't care what they do. I haven't been there and never will.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #196 - January 14th, 2010, 2:56 pm
    Post #196 - January 14th, 2010, 2:56 pm Post #196 - January 14th, 2010, 2:56 pm
    teatpuller wrote:. . . I haven't been there and never will . . .

    I think I know the answer but why have you ruled it out?

    =R=
    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 #197 - January 14th, 2010, 3:17 pm
    Post #197 - January 14th, 2010, 3:17 pm Post #197 - January 14th, 2010, 3:17 pm
    Just a philosophical question here: if a restaurant offers great food, and great service, and goes to extra lengths to make the customer happy without a decrease in quality, is that place superior to a place that doesn't? If the food is all that ultimately matters, then how much weight should one ever accord service/accommodation? Is good service just incidental? A nice bonus? Because expanding the discussion beyond pizza, there are any number of absolutely great, high quality dining experiences throughout Chicago, at different price points - even a few infamous ascetics and eccentrics - and few of them seem as put out by the modest demands of the people who frequent them. Or maybe they just don't give as many high-profile interviews to the Times?
  • Post #198 - January 14th, 2010, 3:30 pm
    Post #198 - January 14th, 2010, 3:30 pm Post #198 - January 14th, 2010, 3:30 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:. . . I haven't been there and never will . . .

    I think I know the answer but why have you ruled it out?

    =R=


    I suspect it might lead to increased stress and aggration in my life. :D

    That, and:
    - hard to get to from Oak Park
    - life with little kids requires less "risky" situations
    - stronger preference for being treated well over a desire to consume "perfect" food
    - I find them pretentious and irritating.

    You asked!
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #199 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm
    Post #199 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm Post #199 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm
    Under the circumstances I can't conclude there's anything wrong with the service. This thread is full of those who claim there is a problem and those who claim not. Just depends on which side of the fence your on to determine which view you focus on.
  • Post #200 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm
    Post #200 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm Post #200 - January 14th, 2010, 3:31 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Just a philosophical question here: if a restaurant offers great food, and great service, and goes to extra lengths to make the customer happy without a decrease in quality, is that place superior to a place that doesn't? If the food is all that ultimately matters, then how much weight should one ever accord service/accommodation? Is good service just incidental? A nice bonus? Because expanding the discussion beyond pizza, there are any number of absolutely great, high quality dining experiences throughout Chicago, at different price points - even a few infamous ascetics and eccentrics - and few of them seem as put out by the modest demands of the people who frequent them. Or maybe they just don't give as many high-profile interviews to the Times?


    Good questions, Vitesse. My own personal viewpoint is that if an establishment is asking people to pay for their food, goods, service, etc. then there are minimum customer service expectations that need to be met. You cannot totally discount the customer. Otherwise, that restaurant should just give away the fantastic food that they obsessively and dedicatedly make. They shouldn't charge anyone a dime if they're not in the least bit customer-focused.

    Having said that, I'm planning to go to Great Lake sometime next week, but hey it's my choice.

    This thread reminds me of the heated Schwa thread from a year ago that the moderators locked (and I am still exercising my personal choice of not going to "worship" at Carlson's table, but that's another matter).
  • Post #201 - January 14th, 2010, 3:53 pm
    Post #201 - January 14th, 2010, 3:53 pm Post #201 - January 14th, 2010, 3:53 pm
    teatpuller wrote:I dunno. I would guess most people don't lose sleep over it, but it's something to discuss. Personally, I don't care what they do. I haven't been there and never will.
    Why is it something for you to discuss if you haven't been there, never will, and don't care what they do? That's like me talking about the East Saskatchewan Junior Varsity Curling Team and how they really should change their warm-up routine, if I've never seen them, never will, and don't care about curling.

    Vitesse98 wrote: Look, a restaurant is a service business in a service industry.
    No. That's their point. Great Lake is a pizza business, in the pizza industry. You come in, you pay them, they give you delicious pizza. They also offer a place to consume said pizza, which is somewhere in the spectrum between Harold's on 53rd and Alinea (no offence intended to either).

    Vitesse98 wrote:But it's sad to me that for a place that specializes in making, perfecting and providing the best possible product in the city, for once it's not price that's prohibitive but just the practical aspects.
    I'm sorry that it's sad for you, but the reality is that you can't have the best possible product in the city with the convenience of McDonald's drive-thru windows and the warm disposition of my Grandmother (she's very nice) at an affordable price.

    Who am I to say this? Someone who has actually eaten at Great Lake. Multiple times. The pizza is fantastic. The owners and employees are pleasant. The prices are reasonable. The atmosphere is enjoyable (each time I've eaten there I've enjoyed the conversations at the communal tables).

    People here are acting as though the people at GL are actively mean and spiteful towards their customers. They're really not. They're nice people. They're not overly warm or welcoming, but in my experience they've been totally pleasant.

    robert40 wrote:Under the circumstances I can't conclude there's anything wrong with the service. This thread is full of those who claim there is a problem and those who claim not. Just depends on which side of the fence your on to determine which view you focus on.
    Have you noticed the theme that the people yelling the loudest about how bad it is, haven't actually been?

    -Dan
  • Post #202 - January 14th, 2010, 4:02 pm
    Post #202 - January 14th, 2010, 4:02 pm Post #202 - January 14th, 2010, 4:02 pm
    dansch wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:I dunno. I would guess most people don't lose sleep over it, but it's something to discuss. Personally, I don't care what they do. I haven't been there and never will.
    Why is it something for you to discuss if you haven't been there, never will, and don't care what they do? That's like me talking about the East Saskatchewan Junior Varsity Curling Team and how they really should change their warm-up routine, if I've never seen them, never will, and don't care about curling.


    hmm. wonder why the new york times would run a big article in the business section about a restaurant that 99.9% of their readers will never go to.

    like i said, i don't care what they do. I was only responding to ronnie's points/questions.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #203 - January 14th, 2010, 4:07 pm
    Post #203 - January 14th, 2010, 4:07 pm Post #203 - January 14th, 2010, 4:07 pm
    teatpuller wrote:
    dansch wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:I dunno. I would guess most people don't lose sleep over it, but it's something to discuss. Personally, I don't care what they do. I haven't been there and never will.
    Why is it something for you to discuss if you haven't been there, never will, and don't care what they do? That's like me talking about the East Saskatchewan Junior Varsity Curling Team and how they really should change their warm-up routine, if I've never seen them, never will, and don't care about curling.


    hmm. wonder why the new york times would run a big article in the business section about a restaurant that 99.9% of their readers will never go to.

    I'm guessing the NYT article is exempted because it only had positive things to say? Such is human nature (and, in my interpretation, the underlying message behind at least a few posts in this thread): if you haven't been somewhere but say something nice, you'll be welcomed into the discourse. If you say something negative, however, you'll be told to shut your hole.

    I will say, however, that this latest spike in GL debating has raised my desire to check this place out to an all-time high.
  • Post #204 - January 14th, 2010, 4:19 pm
    Post #204 - January 14th, 2010, 4:19 pm Post #204 - January 14th, 2010, 4:19 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:Such is human nature (and, in my interpretation, the underlying message behind at least a few posts in this thread): if you haven't been somewhere but say something nice, you'll be welcomed into the discourse. If you say something negative, however, you'll be told to shut your hole.
    I think it would be equally silly for someone to say "I love Great Lake! They're such nice people and make me feel warm and fuzzy inside" if they had never been there. When one says
    teatpuller wrote:I find them pretentious and irritating

    I think it implies that you have some first-hand knowledge of their disposition.

    If we're going to start a thread in Other Culinary Chat about service in general, anyone who has ever received service would have a valid opinion in my book. In a thread about Great Lake, there's only so much discussion I can handle from people who haven't been to Great Lake. Commenting on how the service should change, when you have never actually been witness to said service, just doesn't make sense to me.

    -Dan
  • Post #205 - January 14th, 2010, 4:20 pm
    Post #205 - January 14th, 2010, 4:20 pm Post #205 - January 14th, 2010, 4:20 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Just a philosophical question here: if a restaurant offers great food, and great service, and goes to extra lengths to make the customer happy without a decrease in quality, is that place superior to a place that doesn't?

    I think the answer to this question is personal and depends completely on the preferences of the diner.

    Vitesse98 wrote:If the food is all that ultimately matters, then how much weight should one ever accord service/accommodation? Is good service just incidental? A nice bonus? Because expanding the discussion beyond pizza, there are any number of absolutely great, high quality dining experiences throughout Chicago, at different price points - even a few infamous ascetics and eccentrics - and few of them seem as put out by the modest demands of the people who frequent them. Or maybe they just don't give as many high-profile interviews to the Times?

    Just because I eat somewhere that has flaws, it doesn't mean that a) that place doesn't still have redeeming value or b) I don't also eat elsewhere.

    There are so many eating options and there's room for all of them. I don't have the same expectations for all of them nor do I hit them all with the same frequency.

    =R=
    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 #206 - January 14th, 2010, 4:21 pm
    Post #206 - January 14th, 2010, 4:21 pm Post #206 - January 14th, 2010, 4:21 pm
    teatpuller wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:. . . I haven't been there and never will . . .

    I think I know the answer but why have you ruled it out?

    =R=


    I suspect it might lead to increased stress and aggration in my life. :D

    That, and:
    - hard to get to from Oak Park
    - life with little kids requires less "risky" situations
    - stronger preference for being treated well over a desire to consume "perfect" food
    - I find them pretentious and irritating.

    You asked!

    LOL! Thanks, for the list. :D

    =R=
    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 #207 - January 14th, 2010, 4:27 pm
    Post #207 - January 14th, 2010, 4:27 pm Post #207 - January 14th, 2010, 4:27 pm
    The most suprising thing about this current discussion is that it wasn't started by Silas Jayne.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #208 - January 14th, 2010, 5:10 pm
    Post #208 - January 14th, 2010, 5:10 pm Post #208 - January 14th, 2010, 5:10 pm
    Look, I really don't see how going there makes much of a difference. I assume the pizza is awesome. It may even be worth the wait. How do I know this? Because so many people say it, say it well, and say it enthusiastically. But none of these things negate the wait, nor do they neutralize the things the proprietors have said. They couldn't be more clear or more consistent in their beliefs - good for them! - so I'm not sure how eating there will change what one thinks of those beliefs. I'll just say it again: they might be the best folks in the world, but I've never read an interview with the Schwa folks, or Kuma's, or Burt's, or Doug's, or any of the other notorious hot spots that exuded such outright bad vibes.

    I'm sure I'll go to Great Lake. But the reason I haven't been yet is because they don't exactly make it easy! The question is, is it worth the hassle? Unfortunately, the only way to determine that is by going. Hence the paradoxical gamble. Yet the very notion that I have to keep all these other considerations in mind, above and beyond the quality of the food, is on its face demonstration that quality of food is not the whole story, no matter how much they may want it to be.
  • Post #209 - January 14th, 2010, 5:59 pm
    Post #209 - January 14th, 2010, 5:59 pm Post #209 - January 14th, 2010, 5:59 pm
    That NY Times article is the first thing I've read in a long time about them that makes me want to give it a try.

    More thoughts: Funny, DH,who is opposed to queuing up for food at all times, rushed the article to me as well and decided we could give it a go.
    Last edited by pairs4life on January 14th, 2010, 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #210 - January 14th, 2010, 6:05 pm
    Post #210 - January 14th, 2010, 6:05 pm Post #210 - January 14th, 2010, 6:05 pm
    dansch wrote:
    teatpuller wrote:I find them pretentious and irritating

    I think it implies that you have some first-hand knowledge of their disposition.

    -Dan


    I would hope an interview in the New York Times would give me some sense of their disposition.
    i used to milk cows

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