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Great Lake, best pizza in america

Great Lake, best pizza in america
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  • Post #211 - January 14th, 2010, 7:07 pm
    Post #211 - January 14th, 2010, 7:07 pm Post #211 - January 14th, 2010, 7:07 pm
    They make great, amazing, unique pizza. They don't cater to the whims of the people who want to try their amazing pizza. I find it quite enjoyable that it's a scarce commodity. I live less than half a block from the restaurant. I've had it four of five times with carryout and I do find it funny how they're not at all warm to their adoring fan base. Personally, I kind of like their attitude and maybe it's an Andersonville thing given the Tweets of the Pasticceria Natalina folks. I think that their reactions are in general due to people who expect to have something cool, unique and delicious whenever they want it, but they only produce two pizzas at a time so it creates scarcity. Sure, they could be warmer or more friendly to the folks who salivate over their unique product, but I think the NYT piece does a good job of explaining why they aren't. I go to Calo if I want friendly service and tasty pizza, but I get takeout from GL if I want something different and amazingly delicious. I really don't care if they act amazingly grateful for my business, since it's obvious they have excess demand at this point and need not worry about the demand side of their business. I think there is an issue of foodie privilege that expects the chef to be oh so grateful for the business of people who appreciate the finest things and GL is obviously not trucking any of that. And I kind of like it that they don't.
  • Post #212 - January 14th, 2010, 7:47 pm
    Post #212 - January 14th, 2010, 7:47 pm Post #212 - January 14th, 2010, 7:47 pm
    Hopped Up wrote:I think there is an issue of foodie privilege that expects the chef to be oh so grateful for the business of people who appreciate the finest things and GL is obviously not trucking any of that.

    I'm confused; are you saying that "foodie privilege" is behind the desire for basic niceties between fellow human beings, or are you saying that wanting to exchange pleasantries & a smile with someone while interacting with them is one of "the finest things"?

    Hopped Up wrote:And I kind of like it that they don't.

    Some people like less-than-warm service, and pay big money for it. Some people like to be whipped & called names by frightening leather-clad dominatrices, and pay big money for it. To each his own, I guess.
  • Post #213 - January 14th, 2010, 8:06 pm
    Post #213 - January 14th, 2010, 8:06 pm Post #213 - January 14th, 2010, 8:06 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:
    Hopped Up wrote:I think there is an issue of foodie privilege that expects the chef to be oh so grateful for the business of people who appreciate the finest things and GL is obviously not trucking any of that.

    I'm confused; are you saying that "foodie privilege" is behind the desire for basic niceties between fellow human beings, or are you saying that wanting to exchange pleasantries & a smile with someone while interacting with them is one of "the finest things"?

    Hopped Up wrote:And I kind of like it that they don't.

    Some people like less-than-warm service, and pay big money for it. Some people like to be whipped & called names by frightening leather-clad dominatrices, and pay big money for it. To each his own, I guess.


    I definitely think that they have an odd approach to customer service. And I think it frustrates a lot of people who believe that since they are aware of the quality of the food they're eating, they expect especially good service from a restaurant. GL obviously doesn't care a lick about that and just delivers great food as they indicate in the NYT article. Maybe it's an egalitarian approach that I like where no one is treated differently, regardless of their foodie credentials. Maybe it's just a reflection of the Chicago attitude where everyone has a chip on their shoulders about what they do. Maybe I just like generalities that aren't valid in this situation, but there's something about all the people that want into this place and then bitch when they can't have it just like they want it that makes me happy. Perhaps I'm just a contrarian that really likes their pizza and approach to food production.

    And as far as price goes, where else can you get the best in class for a food product at around $12-14 per person? Yes, I think $24 for a pizza is a lot, but when I eat it I can't think of another producer that has as good of a product. Where else can that be said? Yes, Hot Doug's probably has the best hot dogs in the world for a reasonable price and sells them with a smile. But is $15 really an elitist price for a place that persistently has excess demand and the people that desire the product easily have an ability to pay much more than that for the pizza?
  • Post #214 - January 14th, 2010, 9:08 pm
    Post #214 - January 14th, 2010, 9:08 pm Post #214 - January 14th, 2010, 9:08 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:Look, I really don't see how going there makes much of a difference.


    Awesome.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #215 - January 14th, 2010, 9:35 pm
    Post #215 - January 14th, 2010, 9:35 pm Post #215 - January 14th, 2010, 9:35 pm
    Hmm, I just spent 20 minutes reading the last few pages of this thread. Wish I had that time back so I could have spent it waiting in line at Great Lake. Seriously... =P
  • Post #216 - January 14th, 2010, 9:40 pm
    Post #216 - January 14th, 2010, 9:40 pm Post #216 - January 14th, 2010, 9:40 pm
    KennyZ Wrote: The most suprising thing about this current discussion is that it wasn't started by Silas Jayne.


    I cannot write LOL because it was more than that. I actually got a full belly laugh out of that one.

    Maybe this is a good time to return to writing reviews and posting pictures. I did add to the philosophical aspect of the discussion and I think a hornest nest was kicked over. It is fun, but probably time to return to business. Like the Tonight Show, I now feel the need to tune in to this place just to see. Teatpuller expressed my reservations in a very succinct manner and that's something I have to strateegerize.
  • Post #217 - January 15th, 2010, 1:44 am
    Post #217 - January 15th, 2010, 1:44 am Post #217 - January 15th, 2010, 1:44 am
    I think the media loves inventing "characters" in the food world, even if they have to sensationalize it a bit. I've only been to Great Lake twice, but I was always treated very well, and never with a hint of condescension. If I wanted zanily poor service I would go to Ed Debevics, but what matters to me is that Lessins and his wife (conspicuously absent from the NYT article) are above all, doing exactly what they want to do, and not compromising their vision which, happily for us, involves the best pizza in Chicago.
  • Post #218 - January 15th, 2010, 7:21 am
    Post #218 - January 15th, 2010, 7:21 am Post #218 - January 15th, 2010, 7:21 am
    Katie wrote:Following up on Neighbor Mike's idea, if their accountant says they're doing fine, what about hiring a hostess?

    Katie,

    Great idea, I still remember the hostess from John Bubala's Thyme, 6-feet tall, willowy, sexy, when she said "walk this way" I thought if I could walk that way I'd be on a runway in Milan.

    I will contact John B about the hostess, or her younger sister, you contact Great Lake, I am guessing they will love the idea!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #219 - January 15th, 2010, 8:00 am
    Post #219 - January 15th, 2010, 8:00 am Post #219 - January 15th, 2010, 8:00 am
    My issue has never been about the quality of the food or service, per se. It's always been about the attitude of the proprietors in interviews, in the abstract. But in their defense (!), one advantage of doing press like this is that the vast majority of folks who don't follow forums such as these get an idea of what the might expect.

    Changing the subject, slightly, I have a question for those who do regularly hit Great Lake. How kid/family friendly is it? Do you ever see families with small children dining there, or is that out of the practical question?
  • Post #220 - January 15th, 2010, 9:51 am
    Post #220 - January 15th, 2010, 9:51 am Post #220 - January 15th, 2010, 9:51 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:My issue has never been about the quality of the food or service, per se. It's always been about the attitude of the proprietors in interviews, in the abstract. But in their defense (!), one advantage of doing press like this is that the vast majority of folks who don't follow forums such as these get an idea of what the might expect.

    Changing the subject, slightly, I have a question for those who do regularly hit Great Lake. How kid/family friendly is it? Do you ever see families with small children dining there, or is that out of the practical question?


    Tone is very hard to tell in writing. You may read quotes you think sound pretentious and mean, but Lydia is very sweet and nice in person.

    I wouldn't bring kids. Not that they are not welcome, but knowing kids they will not have the patience to wait sometimes an hour for pizza. I would just get a babysitter. It's a tiny place inside and they would not have much room to move about as kids seem to like to do, and it would only upset the other patrons. It's super super small.

    All this talk makes me want to drop by tonight. It's only like 200 feet from me :)
  • Post #221 - January 15th, 2010, 10:22 am
    Post #221 - January 15th, 2010, 10:22 am Post #221 - January 15th, 2010, 10:22 am
    All this talk makes me want to drop by tonight. It's only like 200 feet from me

    If you do please send my best! :)
  • Post #222 - January 15th, 2010, 10:32 am
    Post #222 - January 15th, 2010, 10:32 am Post #222 - January 15th, 2010, 10:32 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:Changing the subject, slightly, I have a question for those who do regularly hit Great Lake. How kid/family friendly is it? Do you ever see families with small children dining there, or is that out of the practical question?

    My friends and I brought our kids (12, 9 & 6) and they were fine there. What I mean by that is that they entertained themselves during the wait-time without disturbing anyone else in the restaurant and they enjoyed the food quite a bit. That said, it's probably a more challenging environment for kids than most other restaurants because it's small, quiet and the wait-time can typically be a bit longer. If your kids are fussy (eaters), I wouldn't bother bringing them to Great Lake.

    On the plus side, the fact that the space is so small was also an advantage, since the kids are small, too. They took up a lot less room than the grown-ups. :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 #223 - January 15th, 2010, 10:40 am
    Post #223 - January 15th, 2010, 10:40 am Post #223 - January 15th, 2010, 10:40 am
    Vitesse98 wrote:Changing the subject, slightly, I have a question for those who do regularly hit Great Lake. How kid/family friendly is it? Do you ever see families with small children dining there, or is that out of the practical question?


    I took my then eight-year-old to Great Lake for my one and only visit just before the big PR blitz hit (they were busy, but not line-around-the-block busy.) It was not the easiest eating situation, even though it turned out we were sharing the big table (which I don't think exists anymore) with other LTHers. There's a long wait, the space is cramped, and you are entirely on your own for entertainment, no crayons, etc. (at the time, we took turns taking him on short walking tours of the neighborhood.) However, we've long been strategizing a return trip; I really did like the pizza.

    However, that doesn't mean you can't order a pizza and then take a short drive to the lakefront off Bryn Mawr and have a picnic. Sparky liked the pizza just fine (of course, he prefers pizza with prosciutto and arugula, so YMMV) Don't read anything into the one-and-only visit: it's just that it isn't exactly convenient for us - as parents of a school-age child, we do most of our eating out at lunchtime, and they don't have lunchtime hours. Every time we decide to go back, another media blitz hits - and I'm not sure I want to deal with parking/waiting/whining child. At some point, it will cease being a media darling and then we'll go.
  • Post #224 - January 15th, 2010, 10:42 am
    Post #224 - January 15th, 2010, 10:42 am Post #224 - January 15th, 2010, 10:42 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:My friends and I brought our kids (12, 9 & 6) and ... they entertained themselves during the wait-time without disturbing anyone else in the restaurant...


    Are you sure about that? :)

    We instantly knew who we were dealing with: LTH Krew. This wasn’t just the normal LTH scene either; this was the Deerfield contingent. They were easily 6 bottles deep in vino tinto and the DSLR was getting heavy use as hot pies arrived. As they talked about “The Best Pizza In Chicago” and Fox & Obel (poor folks, no worries if you don’t recognize the name), their bratty kids sat at a two top taking their money market portfolios for granted. I noticed that Timmy had a better cell phone than I did. Fuck.
    ...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 #225 - January 15th, 2010, 11:02 am
    Post #225 - January 15th, 2010, 11:02 am Post #225 - January 15th, 2010, 11:02 am
    Kennyz wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:My friends and I brought our kids (12, 9 & 6) and ... they entertained themselves during the wait-time without disturbing anyone else in the restaurant...


    Are you sure about that? :)

    We instantly knew who we were dealing with: LTH Krew. This wasn’t just the normal LTH scene either; this was the Deerfield contingent. They were easily 6 bottles deep in vino tinto and the DSLR was getting heavy use as hot pies arrived. As they talked about “The Best Pizza In Chicago” and Fox & Obel (poor folks, no worries if you don’t recognize the name), their bratty kids sat at a two top taking their money market portfolios for granted. I noticed that Timmy had a better cell phone than I did. Fuck.

    LOL . . . can't help the cell phone envy! :P

    =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 #226 - January 15th, 2010, 11:28 am
    Post #226 - January 15th, 2010, 11:28 am Post #226 - January 15th, 2010, 11:28 am
    Kennyz wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:My friends and I brought our kids (12, 9 & 6) and ... they entertained themselves during the wait-time without disturbing anyone else in the restaurant...


    Are you sure about that? :)

    We instantly knew who we were dealing with: LTH Krew. This wasn’t just the normal LTH scene either; this was the Deerfield contingent. They were easily 6 bottles deep in vino tinto and the DSLR was getting heavy use as hot pies arrived. As they talked about “The Best Pizza In Chicago” and Fox & Obel (poor folks, no worries if you don’t recognize the name), their bratty kids sat at a two top taking their money market portfolios for granted. I noticed that Timmy had a better cell phone than I did. Fuck.

    Ha...forgot about that site and its Herbert Kornfield-written "reviews".
  • Post #227 - January 15th, 2010, 12:45 pm
    Post #227 - January 15th, 2010, 12:45 pm Post #227 - January 15th, 2010, 12:45 pm
    That's too bad. I've got a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old, so ... no go. :( Which makes GL not only the best pizza in America, but apparently the only not child friendly pizza place in America to boot. Oh, well. Hopefully by the time they get older, in a few years, GL will be less busy.
  • Post #228 - January 15th, 2010, 1:29 pm
    Post #228 - January 15th, 2010, 1:29 pm Post #228 - January 15th, 2010, 1:29 pm
    Vitesse98 wrote:That's too bad. I've got a 5 year old and a 2.5 year old, so ... no go. :( Which makes GL not only the best pizza in America, but apparently the only not child friendly pizza place in America to boot. Oh, well. Hopefully by the time they get older, in a few years, GL will be less busy.

    Pure speculation but if I had to guess... After the last six months upon seeing your children walk through the door Nick and Lydia would gasp a sigh of relief, thank their lucky stars and anticipate a good no stress evening.

    I went with my 7 year old and had no problem at all.
  • Post #229 - January 15th, 2010, 1:41 pm
    Post #229 - January 15th, 2010, 1:41 pm Post #229 - January 15th, 2010, 1:41 pm
    Oh, honestly, people are starting to make going for pizza here sound like the invasion of Sicily.

    I've gone with my kids and had a perfectly fine time.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #230 - January 15th, 2010, 2:16 pm
    Post #230 - January 15th, 2010, 2:16 pm Post #230 - January 15th, 2010, 2:16 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:My friends and I brought our kids (12, 9 & 6) and ... they entertained themselves during the wait-time without disturbing anyone else in the restaurant...


    Are you sure about that? :)

    We instantly knew who we were dealing with: LTH Krew. This wasn’t just the normal LTH scene either; this was the Deerfield contingent. They were easily 6 bottles deep in vino tinto and the DSLR was getting heavy use as hot pies arrived. As they talked about “The Best Pizza In Chicago” and Fox & Obel (poor folks, no worries if you don’t recognize the name), their bratty kids sat at a two top taking their money market portfolios for granted. I noticed that Timmy had a better cell phone than I did. Fuck.



    My favorite part is in the comments where =R= drops a f-bomb
    You know, all street and sh*t.....
  • Post #231 - January 15th, 2010, 3:19 pm
    Post #231 - January 15th, 2010, 3:19 pm Post #231 - January 15th, 2010, 3:19 pm
    mhill95149 wrote:My favorite part is in the comments where =R= drops a f-bomb
    You know, all street and sh*t.....

    Ha! Nothing 'street' about referring to the kids as 'little F'ers.' That's about as suburban as it gets. :D

    =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 #232 - January 15th, 2010, 4:13 pm
    Post #232 - January 15th, 2010, 4:13 pm Post #232 - January 15th, 2010, 4:13 pm
    I'm going tonight! None of you fools better be in line ahead of me.
  • Post #233 - January 15th, 2010, 4:18 pm
    Post #233 - January 15th, 2010, 4:18 pm Post #233 - January 15th, 2010, 4:18 pm
    I've never been to Great Lake and so don't have any data from which to draw a conclusion about their customer service in particular, but I have a more general comment.

    I don't agree that a desire for warm, friendly customer service is either a recent "the foodie is always right" trend, or a warped sense of entitlement. People have always preferred to do business with friendly, helpful, accomodating butchers, bakers, grocers, publicans, farmers, restaurateurs, milkmen ... and everyone else who makes a living providing goods and/or services. It's not an unnatural desire.

    Perhaps that's why the nonwarm, nonfuzzy attitude of the owners of Great Lake toward their customers grates so much on some nerves. "If you don't like it, don't go there" is certainly a valid option. But so far I'm not persuaded from this discussion that there's anything unreasonable about some people being put off by it.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #234 - January 15th, 2010, 4:26 pm
    Post #234 - January 15th, 2010, 4:26 pm Post #234 - January 15th, 2010, 4:26 pm
    Katie wrote:"If you don't like it, don't go there" is certainly a valid option. But so far I'm not persuaded from this discussion that there's anything unreasonable about some people being put off by it.

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with being put off by it but IMO, there is something wrong with believing/hoping/arguing that it needs to change or that something must be done. "If you don't like it, don't go there" is a much more reasonable and realistic solution.

    Not everyone is going to love every place. Such is life.

    =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 #235 - January 15th, 2010, 5:10 pm
    Post #235 - January 15th, 2010, 5:10 pm Post #235 - January 15th, 2010, 5:10 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:There's absolutely nothing wrong with being put off by it but IMO, there is something wrong with believing/hoping/arguing that it needs to change or that something must be done. "If you don't like it, don't go there" is a much more reasonable and realistic solution.
    Not everyone is going to love every place. Such is life.
    =R=


    How could there possibly be anything wrong with someone hoping that a business alters its methods or its products?

    At some point, the trendiness and newness of this place will wear off and the owners will be wondering where the fickle masses have gone---- and bad "word of mouth" by disgruntled customers is not conducive to bringing in new ones. Please do not attempt to tell me that the owners are not in it for the money---- To believe that shows extreme naivety.

    I agree that the owners have a right to do whatever they damn well please, and it is also my right not to shed a tear if the business goes belly-up.

    Thank you to the forum members who have expressed "dissenting" opinions, also those who have posted links to the NYT article--- In my opinion, that article sealed the deal for me.
    "Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don't want no horsin' around on the airplane?"
  • Post #236 - January 15th, 2010, 5:33 pm
    Post #236 - January 15th, 2010, 5:33 pm Post #236 - January 15th, 2010, 5:33 pm
    I agree that the owners have a right to do whatever they damn well please, and it is also my right not to shed a tear if the business goes belly-up.


    That's pretty funny, under the circumstances.

    Yes, I too will not shed a tear if Great Lake's hardnosed commitment to quality which has attracted such a loyal following does them in because their following is so loyal nobody goes there and they have to lower the quality thus achieving at last the popularity they already have. Or something.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #237 - January 15th, 2010, 5:57 pm
    Post #237 - January 15th, 2010, 5:57 pm Post #237 - January 15th, 2010, 5:57 pm
    Question:

    Have any of the people who have a problem with the way the owners have portrayed themselves or the service at Great Lake actually been to Great Lake?

    There seems to be a fair amount of "well, I haven't been but..." going on here.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #238 - January 15th, 2010, 5:59 pm
    Post #238 - January 15th, 2010, 5:59 pm Post #238 - January 15th, 2010, 5:59 pm
    Danny Meyer recently opened a fairly new restaurant in Manhattan called Maialino. Below is a link to a Q/A with Nick Anderer the chef of Maialino. Scroll down and notice strangest request from diners.
    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkinthe ... s_nick.php

    The reasoning for posting this link is because I see little difference between Chef Anderer's comment and the interview Nick and Lydia gave to the NYT. I certainly wonder if Nick Anderer's comment will send Danny Meyer's restaurant empire 'belly up'.

    If there is any deference between the articles it very well may be this. Danny Meyer is one of the most successful restaurateurs in the country. His experienced staff are known for above and beyond exceptional service. They know how to react to any curve balls thrown their way and do it with a smile. Nick and Lydia on the other hand have no restaurant experience. Practically no other help other then each other and a pizzeria no bigger then many living rooms. Maybe its comparing apples to oranges with Danny Meyer. Yet, I must wonder even how Danny Meyer with all his experience would have handled the onslaught of people if it was said he served the 'Best' product in the country.
  • Post #239 - January 15th, 2010, 6:01 pm
    Post #239 - January 15th, 2010, 6:01 pm Post #239 - January 15th, 2010, 6:01 pm
    robert40 wrote:
    All this talk makes me want to drop by tonight. It's only like 200 feet from me

    If you do please send my best! :)


    I just dropped by and put an order in. Will be ready for pickup at 7:20. Right now they have a spinach pie, and a procuitto one. As well as their awesome cheese.

    I got a spinach. Will post a pic if I think of it. Do they know you? Just say Robert40 says hi? LOL.
  • Post #240 - January 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm
    Post #240 - January 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm Post #240 - January 15th, 2010, 6:10 pm
    Chitown B wrote:
    robert40 wrote:
    All this talk makes me want to drop by tonight. It's only like 200 feet from me

    If you do please send my best! :)


    I just dropped by and put an order in. Will be ready for pickup at 7:20. Right now they have a spinach pie, and a procuitto one. As well as their awesome cheese.

    I got a spinach. Will post a pic if I think of it. Do they know you? Just say Robert40 says hi? LOL.

    Oh man, I am envious! :lol: Just tell them Robert and Kathy from upstate NY. They know me but their response to you may very well be... Oh yes, that crazy family that drove here last summer. :lol:

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