Opinion: The Day After Free Pizza Day
Free pizza day was bigger than expected and ended earlier than anticipated. Read our thoughts on the event.
Rick Santos' restaurant, De Carlucci's Pizza, is far from a big-time corporate business. Santos recently moved to Skokie from Brooklyn to open his first pizza shop at 4010 Main St. just a few weeks ago.
He's a small business owner trying to make it in a brand new environment.
My encounter with Santos came after a reader tweeted me saying I should check his pizza out. My plan was to have a review of Skokie's newest pizza spot. To my surprise, Santos insisted we put a blurb in the story about giving every customer a free pizza slice.
I thought, "Awesome." Here's a guy who just moved to Skokie and wants to give out free pizza to the community. There's no business oriented relationship between Patch and De Carlucci's and since he wanted to do something for the community I was more than happy to help.
After a hiccup with the initial launch to free pizza day, everything was squared away for Tuesday, July 24. To my surprise - and Santos' - free pizza day was much bigger than we both anticipated.
It was awesome to see the community get together all through a small article posted on Patch. When I saw Santos, he was running back and forth from his kitchen to the front counter to serve customers. Like many small businesses, his staff consists of family. In Santos' case, his brother and teenage daughter.
As time passed, word began to spread about free pizza day and Santos was soon overwhelmed; he was running low on canned pop and ingredients. When I asked him how many slices he'd served that day, he confidently said about 1,000.
One thousand jumbo slices of pizza.
A jumbo sized slice like the one Santos was serving typically goes for about $5 at most restaurants. Multiple that by 1,000. That's what Santos gave out to the community in a three hour span. If you ask me, that's pretty generous.
A few bad apples -
Some people came to the counter asking for five slices of pizza, citing the other four were for people at home (to whose order Santos fulfilled). Others posted comments on Skokie Patch telling Santos to go back to NY because they missed out on their free slice. Really?
There were also some other comments that are just too vulgar to print. I was shocked that some people would get this stirred up because they missed the deal.
In a lot of ways, I felt like I was representing Skokie when getting to know Santos. And to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed by the actions of a select few.
Just to be clear - the vast majority of people that stopped by were great. Some sent me emails asking me to tell Santos "thank you." The people waiting in line when I stopped by seemed to be having a good time. And a lot of people that missed out were very understanding. To those of you who were, thank you for your decorum.
I'd like to apologize on behalf of Skokie Patch for those that missed out on yesterday's deal. We helped promote free pizza day and we're also responsible.
If it's any consolation, you can email me with your contact information and I'll forward it to the owner for a possible voucher.
As for Santos, he was all smiles when he touched base with me late last night. He was very grateful to those that showed up to try his product. He also reached out to some readers that missed the deal via comments.
"You can't please everybody," Santos said. "I'm just happy so many people showed up and tried out my pizza."