On a rather nice evening in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, my life is changed by two pizzas.  It is at Great Lake, named by Alan Richman in a GQ article as the best pizza in America.

Great Lake

Pizza has been a large part of my life, as you can tell by my posting history.  Today I don’t want to strictly speak of pizza, but of pizza expectations.

The Rolling Stones once wrote, “You can’t always get what you want.”  And Charles Dickens once wrote, “WTF?  I went to this pizza joint in Andersonville and tried to order a pepperoni pizza and they wouldn’t make it for me.  So much for my great expectations!”  A blessing and a curse, people are curious about this small pizza joint because of an article in a men’s magazine.  That’s it.  Of course, a lot of people just skimmed it, which is, well, quite evident from the behavior of customers I witnessed.

1. If you want a pepperoni pizza, go to Domino’s.

One guy who sits down near my group of friends is threatening to do just that.  He’s incensed.  He read that stupid article in GQ and wants the best pizza in America, damn it!  The staff sighs and points to the chalkboard, where 3 pre-determined pies are available for order.  On a given night (depending on the availability of fresh produce and meat), there is usually a veggie pizza, a meat pizza and a white available to order.  All are $20 plus a pizza.  They don’t make pizza on demand.  The guy gets up with his girlfriend (who is hilariously mortified) and leaves.  The waitress shrugs and tells us it happens at least three times a night at this point.

2. If you want a short wait, go to Pizza Hut

If you go to the Yelp page devoted to Great Lake, most commenters complain about the wait.  Waiting half an hour to forty five minutes for a pizza is, seemingly, forever.  Hmm…why don’t we look at home-made pizza recipes online and see how long they take to cook?  Well, most recipes have a pizza cooking for 20 to 30 minutes.  So, wait.  Because the GQ article predisposes you to the idea that the wait is long, waiting a completely normal amount of time for a pizza to cook is too long?  A freaking Digiorno takes 23 minutes, for christ sake.  You’re here to eat quality food, not a fucking Marie Calendar’s Insta-meal.  Waiting an extra 15-20 minutes never killed anyone.  Unless you’re insane and under the assumption that eating uncooked pizza is great.  Or you eat raw dough.  Weirdo.

3. If you want to make snap judgements

Go to Yelp!  There are millions of them!  In fact, I’m thinking I should start combing the catacombs of the webbernet looking for the worst and most obnoxious Yelp! reviews out there.  You know the ones I’m talking about:

Karen M. – This place sux!!!  My mom’s pizza is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better.  And the service was trble.  Awful.

WHO GIVES A SHIT?!  You don’t go to a restaurant to eat your mom’s pizza.  And as I will point out in the upcoming weeks, the reason it doesn’t taste like your family meals is because YOU SPENT AT LEAST FIVE YEARS BEING EXPOSED TO THE COOKING IN YOUR HOME.  You build up a natural affinity for your mother/father’s cooking (as long as it doesn’t suck butt), and it tastes specific and wonderful.  It should.  But when you go out to eat at a specialty pizza shop like Great Lake Pizza expecting everything to be traditional and just like home cooking, you should just cut yourself some slack.  Stay home.  Order in from Sarpino’s, they have those trucks and their fliers are everywhere!  Kick back and enjoy your perfectly bland experience as you watch reruns of “Farscape.”

Because heaven forbid that anything is new or different!  You might just have to complain to an online review site and potentially ruin other people’s experiences with completely groundless claims of mediocrity.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Great Lake is a fine pizza establishment with wonderful pizza made with farm-fresh produce and meats.  Just order it for pick up if you’re a pansy and can’t wait a bit.

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One Response

  1. Kali

    Amen! I am seriously tired of hearing people’s complaints when a restaurant opens to a great deal of fanfare due to a rave from website/magazine/etc. Meals are made to be enjoyed, not to be wolfed down so you can rush back to your laptop and make sure yours is the first to review on Yelp.

    (Full disclosure: I do have Yelp profile but can’t bring myself to post a review due to the excess of douchebaggery floating around there.)


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