Archive for October 2010
on the satchel’s pizza homepage is a “see how we’ve grown” series of a couple videos. john orth and i just made another to add to the series with a 2010 video. you are the first to see it here. it should show up on the homepage soon.
busy weekend. gators won! hell yeah.
taking the bambinos out for trick or treating of course. boy is an owl. girl is a cat.
premiere of video here:
new blog coming soon. find out here what it’s all about.
in the very back of the parking lot, squished up against the back fence, i built the walk-o-junk. i started it a couple years ago maybe and finally got around to finishing it a few weeks ago. now complete with lights and stepping stones and pebbles and a swag of lids the whole way. menu back 49 just came out, entitled the walk-o-junk. it’s just another thing to see on the tour.
bad-O-mime… fountain-O-junk… walk-O-junk… what’s my obsession with sticking O’s in between words? speaking of O’s, i guess i jumped the gun with my jack-O-lantern photo and happy halloween title because here i am with still 2 days to go before halloween and i’m blogging about the walk-o-junk and leaving my scary jack-o-lantern post behind…. i hope you’ll forgive me.
halloween is always such a slow night for us, maybe the slowest. i’m glad it’s on a sunday because we are closed anyway. it’s been a busy week. saturday was insane… and i went to a wedding saturday night and missed all the fun. i do not miss a weekend night unless i have a good reason. and when i do it seems it’s always really really busy, like “what the heck am i not there for” busy. the word was they were cutting cheese and mushrooms by 8:30. yikes. can’t remember the last time we were doing that. and it also means that pies were getting out slowly as someone had to be prepping instead of pizza making. when you have one dishwasher and one salad maker and 5 pizza makers, it’s a pizza maker who has to split off to prep. anyway – we do our best. there’s no doubt about that.
i must admit – i had forgotten that tonight was the championship game when i got to work…. but fortunately john came to get some footage and i made this 7 minute film as a way to unwind after work. it was a very busy and stressful night for me. we made some big mistakes… we also sold our 30 deep dish by 7 pm and i’ve ordered more pans and by next weekend we will be able to make 40… believe me – my life mission is to make it work no matter what.
carve out 7 minutes to watch our bocce tournament. you’ll feel a part of the fun.
this is what it looked like from my seats last saturday night. it would have looked even better had the gators won. but i gotta tell you, it’s ok that they are losing right now. i know lots of folks are upset but this is a new team and a coach who has had a health scare and we have to be patient and wait for them to get it together. folks need to relax. the gators will be coming back strong soon.
thanks to danny ponce for inviting me to the game. i had a great time.
this photo was sent to me from a woman in northwest arkansas. she spotted this sticker… had a double take… figured out it said satchel’s pizza and looked us up. she has a 7 year old named satchel and so a new friendship is born. we’ll be sending out some cool satchel’s stuff to them soon.
we got killed all weekend. we made 30 deep dish saturday, all looked good, but we sold them out between 11am and 2 pm. we could have sold 30 more easily. some customers were mad – why don’t we just make more? anyway – we weren’t prepared for the ESPN bump – i should have been prepared but i just didn’t imagine everyone would want our deep dish. anyway – next time i’ll be ready. i’m buying 20 more pans and we’ll bump daily production (at least on weekends) up to 30 or 40. it will be a challenge to find space to proof 20 more but i won’t let that stop me.
more about the skybox seats later….
i wasn’t sure how i planned to make it through another day but it seemed much easier and turned out to be even busier. what causes that?
then i took a customer up on the offer to watch the homecoming gator game from his skybox. that was a treat. what a way to be a gator fan…
the gators didn’t play well and lost but it was such a fancy and mesmerizing environment, that it didn’t even bring me down. sure – it’s fun when they win – but they have to lose to make the winning so exciting. right? don’t answer that.
if i thought i was niave yesterday, today i think i haven’t been born yet.
i wanted to “set the record” for how many deep dish we could sell today and – well i did that and i also failed. we have 20 deep dish pans. we should attempt about 30 deep dish for a day like this. we did 38 but they weren’t all worthy….
i will explain it like this: i feel guilty and bad going into a friday night without any deep dish to sell. because it’s friday night and we should have some deep dish available, but when we sell out (like we have been lately) before the night even gets going good – i feel bad. so i tried to push the envelope of what i could accomplish… 2 of them weren’t fit to go out and one of them went anyway and i had to really apologize for that one. it was a disaster. but i want to give the official and real excuse that it was because our soda machine went out about 8:30. i was so busy trying to get the soda machine fixed that i wasn’t paying close enough attention when that last deep dish went out.
anyway- i am going to buy 20 more deep dish pans very soon. i am going to learn to meet the demand for my product. today was a lesson for me on my limits. tomorrow i will attempt no more than 30 deep dish pizzas… and if we are out by 2pm then so be it.
i made a lot of pizzas today, a lot. if you ate at satchel’s the chances are i made your pizza and i believe in it. (unless you were the late unlucky couple sitting at paris. you got a bad pizza but a good deal … they got free pizza tonight and a ticket for half off next time…
tomorrow will likely be insane – homecoming friday. my plan is to take it one pizza at a time, as fast as i can make them. my plan is to try and get them perfect, every one. my plan is to make as many deep dish as we can manage. ever since espn, everyone wants the deep dish.
what a crazy thursday we had too. we harvested lots of pounds of shiitake mushrooms from our shiitake farm today… we’ll have shiitakes all weekend – ones i just picked today.
shiitake footage coming soon.
remind me to tell you about the box seat tickets that were given to me tonight. i’m taking the biggest gator fan i know – my mom – to the game in style saturday night. don’t stress…. i’ll throw out some pics of it all soon.
we usually get about 100 hits a day to our website. saturday we got about 900 and sunday at 550 is still 5 1/2 times our average…
we normally sell maybe 6 or 7 deep dish pizzas on tuesdays… yesterday we sold 23 and it was a challenge to get that many proofed on a tuesday… i’ve lost count of the deep dish pies we sold wednesday but it’s more than 23… business was up 50% over normal tuesdays and wednesday was hopping too…
you see i thought, “cool- espn wants to feature a quick spot about our place.” and i had no idea the response would be so great.
i keep thinking, “but these people MUST know we’re here…” but i guess it helps when the TV reminds you.
there’s really no advertising that can do that. i mean, i don’t have anything against advertising but the word of mouth has really worked for us. todd blackledge said that 2 years ago when he was in town for a game, someone told him: “you gotta go to satchel’s…” and he remembered and found us. that’s the sort of thing which has made us successful… friends telling friends… folks being excited about their favorite pizza joint. i’m grateful. i’m also surprised at the bump that short piece gave us. How many folks are coming to town this weekend for homecoming? lots.
this wonderful neighbor i once had, named Sophie Sadlik, used to make these amazing “cookies” and bring them to my wife and i when we were first married and living near citizen’s field over 10 years ago. she would bring a huge zip-lock bag of frozen cookies and we’d be halfway through the bag before they even thawed properly and the rest of the way through it by nightfall the same day. i saw her son walking the neighborhood the other day and beseeched him for the recipe. i left him with my email address and along comes the recipe the next day. i made the cookies monday night and they were all gone before lunch on tuesday, 3 dozen cookies, between 4 adults and 2 kids… we will be serving these “sophie cookies” very soon.
anyway, she used to give me advice on how she didn’t get robbed in the neighborhood. her house was always modest looking, with bushes neatly trimmed and grass mowed… “you know how i keep so safe? ” she would say in her beautiful Polish accent…” i don’t advertise… see – i don’t advertise.”
the neighborhood wasn’t particularly UNsafe, i never felt that there was any danger to begin with… but when i would mention how nice the neighborhood was, and how much we liked it, she would always launch into talking about how she had lived there so many [hundreds of] years and…”never had any problems… because i don’t ad-ver-tise.”
to be honest i was never entirely sure what she meant but i will surely never forget her secret to me and those incredible cookies. i’ll take some photos next time i bake them, how ’bout that?
i don’t know when it started, maybe 20 years ago visiting howard finster, but i felt compelled to make the Wall or walk-o-junk. at first i thought it would be a low wall of cemented junk… but the space dictated something else.
there was definitely a time when i could envision the idea of bringing a bobcat in to scoop it away because it would be dangerous…and even c said she never thought i would pull it off…
i had my serious doubts until the very end but i did – for the most part, minus the swag of lids that leah is assembling to ice the cake if you will -finish the now titled Walk-O-Junk…
and tonight was the first time i’ve seen the walk-o-junk finished and lit and in place …
and yesterday i was scooping some pebbles that line the walk when this friendly practically barefoot superman comes strolling up to tell me he’s todd blackledge and wants to do a segment on the restaurant. i might as well be talking to jimmy stewart or something, this guy is just easy going and glad to be there.
from what i understand he came in and ordered a salad and calzone, and then decided that we could qualify as the taste of the town. he was back today and devoured THREE mama deep dish slices for lunch and pretty much wiped out a large pizza for dinner when he came back with a few friends.
the ESPN crew was tight. 4 guys, a digital still camera and a nice video unit. Dave, Sven Brian and Todd. they somehow slipped in on a busy Friday lunch rush and filmed with lights for 2 1/2 hours, and it went off without a hitch. if you know our place then you know it’s simply not big enough to have a film crew there, so how did these guys make this happen as if it were nothing?
anyway- tonight was one of the busiest nights i can remember. Todd Blackledge came back for dinner but settled for take-out and got a pretty soggy pie and let me pick the second. i made a pesto with steak, tomato, feta and carrots.
the gators are going to WIN tomorrow night. they are going to win for 3 reasons:
1. they need to and will prove that they are not alabamas chumps but were just having a bad day…
2. they really don’t want to lose TWO games in a row.
and 3. they want to feel good about satchel’s being chosen as the taste of the town and if they lose then they might feel like we also lost. (think about how you feel when the gators lose.)